For many surfers, being able to travel with your board is a must! Whether you’re jetting off to Bali in search of the best breaks, or keeping things local on the Cornish coast of the UK, where you go, the board should be able to go too! We know that surfboards are one the most precious items we own (not to mention expensive), so keeping your board ding-free is a must for any trip away.
We share a few ways to ensure your board is travelling in first-class style and protected the best that it can be.
First things first, let’s talk surfboard bags. Here at Wetsuit Centre, we stock a great variety of surfboard bags from the best brands on the market such as Creatures Of Leisure, Rhino, FCS and Sola. We stock surfboard bags in a variety of sizes to accommodate short boards, longboards and mini-mals. Like boards and suits, you’re going to want to invest in a great quality surfboard bag. There’s no point saving up for that dream board for it to get damaged on your first trip away!
Surfboards are extremely delicate by nature, and unfortunately, if you’re putting your board on a plane, the way your board is handled is out of your control. Investing in a decent board bag is going to be your best way of preventing any unwanted damage and disappointment when arriving at your destination. We’ve picked a few of our favourite surf bags below.
The Best Surfboard Bags For 2023
Ocean & Earth Quad Wheel
Best For: High-grade protection
Ocean and Earth’s wheeled surfboard bags are the ultimate choice for long-distance travel. The bag is constructed to the highest standard, with 25mm padding where it counts (nose, tail, rails), 20mm on the sidewalls and 10mm elsewhere. This is a heavy-duty surf bag designed to withstand intense travel trips, to keep your board in the best condition possible. The addition of wheels becomes a real bonus for travellers, meaning you don’t have to carry your board underarm wherever you go. This bag style is available for longboards and shortboards.
- Double Thick Gusset Padding
- Compression Straps
- Wheel System
- Comfortable Shoulder Straps
- ID Pocket
- Board Divider
Creature Of Leisure Reliance
Best For: All Rounder
The Creature Of Leisure reliance board bag is designed with lightweight and compact travel in mind. What’s great about this board bag is its dual-capacity feature, meaning you can take two boards with you on your trip. That means you can bring your go-to and a backup board so you can be sure you won’t have a wasted trip. It’s made with 8mm of foam protection, meaning you can be confident your board is well-wrapped up and protected from any bumps along the way.
- Holds 2 Boards
- Flip-top lid access
- Marine Grade zips
- 8mm Foam protection
- Shoulder strap
Alder Global 24/7 Surfboard Bags
Best For: Quality For Price
Alders’ global surfboard bags are made to the best specification while keeping the cost low. It has all the key features you would look for in a trustworthy surf bag and would be suitable for both a short trip and a long-haul flight. The bag is designed with a silver tarp underside meaning it reflects the sun and keeps your board cool, essential for avoiding delamination and messy melted wax. Alders’ best-selling 24/7 range is available in a variety of board sizes, ranging from 5 ft’9 to 10ft, so there is sure to be a bag to fit your board.
- 5mm day bag
- Reflective underside to protect your board against direct sunlight
- Detachable shoulder strap, carry strap and padded handle
- Durable Polyester
Board Socks & Other Options
If you’re only planning on heading down the road with your board in the car or van, use a sock. A sock offers protection for light scrapes and is the perfect alternative if you are sliding your surfboard in and out of the vehicle during surf trips. We recommend padding around the rails when the board is resting in the car. You can use towels or even your changing robe to do this.
They’re also great to put your surfboard in as an extra layer of protection when packed into a more durable board bag for flying. A sock is great to have at hand for transportation between surf spots and accommodation when you’re at your destination, instead of using your heavy-duty bag.
Protect Your Surfboard With Extra Packaging
So if you have invested in a good board bag, you’re set to go, right? Not quite! If you are travelling on an aeroplane or using public transport like buses and trains, it is best to throw in some extra padding.
There’s no right or wrong when padding your surfboard to protect it. You could be extremely over-cautious and wrap the whole thing (and we don’t blame you if you do!) but this can be wasteful and also a pain to re-pack if you’re on the move a lot!
Instead, you may want to turn your attention to the main areas which attract the most damage. Below, you can see our diagram of places that require additional attention:
Surfboard Areas Prone To Damage
It is essential to know the areas of your surfboard, which are susceptible to damage. When using public transport, people don’t necessarily understand how fragile surfboards can be, so it is essential to ensure any accidental knocks won’t harm your board!
The most fragile areas are the tail and nose of your board which can be easily knocked, cracked or dented when being transported. Therefore, ensure these parts receive extra TLC with padding. The second most delicate areas are the rails, these tend to receive pressure when packed amongst other luggage and should have some extra padding in transit.
How to Protect Your Surfboard From Damage
Some people like to purchase foam tubes, such as scaffolding protection tubes or foam pipe insulation to tape around the nose, tail and rails. Bubble wrap is also a great way to wrap these areas. Often, people like to cover their whole board with a couple of layers of bubble wrap for peace of mind. Once you have sufficiently wrapped your board, you can pack it in the board bag.
Towels and wetsuits are also great protectors when packed inside your board bag as well as being a practical solution if you have lots to carry. Distribute them evenly across the body and bottom of your board or wrap them around the rails or tail for extra padding. It’s best to still use additional padding as well as your towels and wetsuits.
Take Out The Fins
If you can, remove the fins - providing that they are removable! Use a towel or any other form of padding and pack them in the board bag with the fin key. Not every surf spot has a handy surf shop close by where you can purchase a last-minute fin key, so we’d recommend purchasing a fin key before you leave for your travels.
If your fins aren’t removable, make sure to pad them sufficiently. You can buy commercial fin protectors or get hold of some polystyrene blocks to slide over the fins.
Remove Your Leash
Anything that can be crushed into the board should be removed, including the leash. Simply take it off before you start padding your board. Try to pack it neatly, so it’s not too much of a headache to untangle when you arrive and are raring to go in the sea.
Take Off Any Surf Wax
Another tip before you pack your board is to remove the wax when travelling to hot destinations. It will save the wax from melting in your board bag. Make sure to pack some of your favourite surf wax in your suitcase for your trip, and apply it before you use the board.
If your bag doesn’t come with a built-in ID tag, it is essential that you label your surfboard bag with your home address and the destination address. We all know someone who has lost their board bag at some point while travelling on a plane and ensuring you have these addresses will make reuniting so much easier! Make sure to add any additional warning stickers too, such as ‘fragile’ or ‘surfboard inside’.
Surfboard Repair Kits
If, for any reason, your board does get damaged en route, don’t despair, our surfboard repair kits are here to help! Our surfboard repair kits are suitable for a variety of surfboard constructions, such as fibreglass, EPS and epoxy surfboards. We also provide sun-curing surfboard repair kits, which are fantastic for quick surfboard repairs while you are travelling. Our repair putty, tape and resins come from the most trusted brands on the market, including Solarez and Phix Doctor, so whatever you choose, you’ll be in great hands!
There isn’t anything more frustrating than getting a ding on a board, and this can be heightened when you are away and don’t have the tools to easily fix your board like you would at home. For that reason, we would advise every traveler to have a repair kit on standby. If you need some extra guidance on how to use your kit, we’ve written a useful blog on how to fix a broken surfboard.
If you’re not planning on travelling overseas and simply want to transport your board in the best way possible when driving, there are plenty of ways to get your board and vehicle ready for this. We offer a variety of roof racks and soft racks which are easy to fix and remove, totally secure and available and different price points. For our local surfers hopping over to a nearby beach that doesn’t warrant the use of a car, we also offer a range of bike racks which are ideal for transporting your board safely and securely (not to mention fantastic for the environment!).
When it comes to travelling with your board there are lots of accessories that can make the experience a little bit more comfortable and enjoyable. From our most-loved changing robes to our waterproof car seat covers, we have all the accessories you could need for the surf trip you’ve been dreaming of!
Hopefully, we have provided you with fundamental tips on how to travel with a surfboard. With a combination of a great surf bag, some extra padding and a trusty repair kit, you should be ready to board your travels! If you have any further questions about travelling with your surfboard, please don’t hesitate to contact our friendly team, we’d be happy to help!
If you’re looking for some inspiration for your next surf trip, check out our blog on the world’s biggest surf locations. Now, where next?