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How to pack your surfboard for a surf trip?

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Planning a surf vacation?

Here’s how to get your boards ready:

Surf vacation – if you ever had one you know the extent of which your excitement levels are skyrocketing only from thinking about the next destination. You fantasize yourself riding the perfect waves of your next destination and already planning what breakfast you gonna have after another epic morning session. But first and foremost, on each surf trip, it all revolves around our gear. Our dreams of perfect 3-4ft endless walls will come true only if we will be prepared to any kind of conditions and not only follow our optimistic minds. From surf trip to surf trip, we gain more knowledge and experience of how to travel with everything we need, while keeping on minimal, easy to carry packing.

The most important item of course is your board bag, the same bag used to carry the surfboards and transfer them to the destination safely and in one piece. Experienced surfers among us have probably had one or two board-bags in their lives and already hold an idea of what is the ideal case for them. We are approaching here a wider public who have not yet experienced the packing process for a surf trip. We will give you some essential and useful tips on how to choose your first board-bag based on your needs and how to pack your surfboards right.

How to choose the best board-bag for your upcoming surf vacation?
There’s plenty of surf gear out there – hundreds of different board bag for every type of use – lighter bags for daily use all the way to heavy ones who can carry all your quiver at once.

Board bags are divided into three main categories:

Day Bags – Easy to carry, usually tailored to contain 1-2 surfboards and are used for short trips – usually not suitable for flights


Compact Bags – Board bags with compact design based on the layout of the surfboards. Have solid isolation that can handle flights and usually tailored to carry 2-4 surfboards.


Coffin Bags – Wider and slightly reminds a coffin, these board bags designed to carry 4+ surfboards. These big board bags are usually equipped with wheels to enable easy carrying at the airport and taxi to the hotel.

Dozens of surf trips around the world have thought us that for the average joe who usually travels with 1-2 surfboards, the Compact Bags will provide the best solution when you think of the protection verses clumsiness equation. Protecting your precious equipment on the other hand and traveling with minimal hassle and weight on the other hand.

What to pay attention to when purchasing a board bag:

Whether if you purchase a brand-new board bag or a second hand one, pay attention to the following tips to maximize the protection of your equipment:

• Internal straps to tighten the surfboards inside the bag – these straps will ensure that your board doesn’t have move freely inside the bag in case the board bag is slightly larger than the boards you fit inside.

• External straps to reduce the case volume – For example If you purchase a case that can fit up to 4 surfboards but panning to take only 2 boards for your upcoming surf trip, it is very important to be able to reduce the volume of empty spaces inside the case.

• Dividers – The dividers provide additional protection between the surfboards within the case by preventing the friction of one surfboard in the other and providing the ability to absorb pressure in case there’s a weight load on the bag.

• With / without wheels – We all had this dream of feeling like pro surfer and getting around with a big Coffin that rolls comfortably on a wheel set. However, you should consider that the wheels add to the overall weight of the bag which we most often carry on our shoulder. Therefore, we recommend purchasing wheeled cases only if you plan to fly with 5+ surfboards. For up to 4 surfboards we believe it is certainly possible to carry on the shoulder and avoid the extra weight.

You’ve already bought a case, how to pack your boards for the ride:

To pack or not to pack? An old debate among surfers from all over the world is to which extent it is essential to pack your boards before fitting them in the board bag. There are the extra caution ones – those who spent two days packing and used a whole bubble wrap roller on each surfboard, and the carefree which use no protection except for some towels and swimsuits thrown between the boards. We believe that most of the ideal is at the center, each surfboard should be given the respect it deserves in proper and efficient packaging and on the other hand there is no point in exaggerating.

Before you start wrapping your surfboard, make sure you took off the leash and the fins. If you travel to a different climate with different water temperature use the opportunity to take off the old dirty wax from the board so you can easily put new one when you arrive.

It is recommended to wrap your boards with 1-2 layers of bubble wrap. For maximum protection, try to use masking tape to tighten up the bubble wrap to the board in order to reduce its ability to move. Fold the free ends of the bubble wrap around the tail and the nose to create extra protection and reduce excessive nylon use.

More and more surfers are using nowadays sponge rolls that can be cut and wrapped around the surfboards’ rails. Although this is a slight deviation from the middle of spectrum mentioned, we certainly prefer to keep our rails in one piece. The rails can be wrapped under or above the bubble wrap.

Useful tip

When wrapping the surfboards, a little thought must be invested in how we will unfold the surfboards when we arrive at the destination and how we can use the same wrapping tools to re-pack on the way back and on our future surf trips (no need to fill the world with unnecessary plastic). We recommend using scissors to make a cut thought the wrapper length and to create an opening from which we can remove and insert the surfboard and use tape to tighten it up. Make sure the tape you are using isn’t too strong, so it won’t damage the bubble wrap each time you open it.

After packing each surfboard individually, we will place the surfboards within the bag by their size. The largest surfboard at the bottom and the rest above it in descending order. Fill the gaps created between the noses and the tails with some bubble wrap leftovers or by using towels and clothes.

After we placed all the boards inside the board-bag, it’s time to thigh up the internal straps of the bag around the boards. Now all you have left is to close the bag and use the external straps to reduce volume and unnecessary free space.

When checking in to your flight, we always recommend to ask for the famous ‘fragile’ stickers and make sure all carry on straps are either removed or placed tight to the bag. Free straps can easily get caught on objects and damage your bag which is the only protection for your boards.

The process of packing your board can be easy and fun if you do it effectively. It may take you some time and energies if this is your first time doing it, but we promise that after several surf vacations you’ll be able to get your boards ready within less than 30 minutes.

We hope you find this article useful and that your board will make it safe to you next surf vacation.

Do you have another essential top we didn’t mention? Feel free to send us feedback from your personal experience.

See you soon,
Global Surf team!