A Guide to Travelling with a Surfboard

A campervan on the road


As surfers, our surfboards are arguably the most precious (not to mention expensive) items we own. We might not be travelling abroad to warmer waters this winter, but even a trip to a UK surf spot should warrant that your surfboard travels in luxury - nothing ruins the mood more than an unnecessary ding!


If you’re in search of a surfboard bag, take a look at the vast range we have at Wetsuit Centre. If you need further advice, read on to discover our top tips for looking after your board when on the go!


Two surfers with their boards on holiday looking at the sea


Get a Good Board Bag


First things first, if you have a board that you couldn’t possibly live without, it at least deserves a decent board bag!


There are various types of board bag, some more protective than others and each have their specific uses.


A benefit of investing in a decent board bag is that you don’t have to focus as much attention in additional protection or packaging, which is necessary when boarding flights.


Hard Surfboard Case


The most protective of all the surfboard bags! Like a hard shell suitcase, but a safe little home for your surfboard when in transit.


These aren’t necessary for travel on an aeroplane, but they will offer the upmost shielding for your board. They tend to be hefty in price, so take a look at the other surfboard bag recommendations which are fit for the job if you’re trying to budget.


10mm Surfboard Bags


Ideally, if you are travelling a lot or using an aeroplane or public transport, a sturdy board bag of around 10mm is the go-to solution for board protection!


If you’re unsure which board you will need, or want to share the airfare with a friend, bags which can fit multiple boards are available! Other significant design features of board bags can include wheels which make transportation that little bit easier!


Take a look at the features to look out for in a durable surfboard bag:

  • Thick padding, especially around high impact zones (see the next section for more information).
  • Strong and padded handles and shoulder straps.
  • Heavy duty zippers.


Surfboard Sock


In the car? 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 Robie 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.


Bubble wrap


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:


Wetsuit Centre diagram of surf board areas prone to damage


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.


Foam Tubes and Bubble Wrap


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. Most 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


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. 


A surfboard with colourful fins


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. 


Don’t forget the fin key! Unfortunately, not every surf spot has a handy surf shop close by where you can purchase a last-minute fin key.


Not Possible?


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 the 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 the 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. 


A plane window looking at clouds

Additional Tips


When we’re free to roam the world again, 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’. 


Hopefully, we have provided you with fundamental tips to keep your board as safe as possible while being transported. What tips have you picked up along your travels? Why not share your advice with us on our social media channels?


Whatever board you want to protect, we have the ultimate bag! Wetsuit Centre have board bags covering all shapes, sizes and budgets! Why not check out our range?