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surf essentials surf trip packing guide ultimate travel

The 20 Ultimate Surf Essentials For Your Next Surf Trip

Jetting off on your dream surf trip? These surf essentials should be on your surf trip packing list! Everything you need to enjoy the waves of your life!

If you’re busy planning your dream surf trip you’ll want to be prepared – packing the right surf essentials for your next surf adventure can make the difference between an amazing time for of waves and scrambling around for new kit if you’ve accidentally forgotten some of your own.

So be prepared and add these surf essentials into your bag before you jet off…


The 20 Ultimate Surf Essentials For Your Next Surf Trip

1. Zinc

I’ve tested out a few brands – including Sun & Earth, Surf Durt and Surf Mud – and personally my favourite has to be Sun & Earth.

Its held up across Indonesia, Maldives and Australia (all places that you can easily get burnt), applies easily and stays on for the whole session, Plus it’s 100% manufactured using solar power, using certified organic ingredients which is epic!

It’s also reef safe too so kudos for that guys!



surf essentials packing list surf trip

2. First Aid Kit

It’s always best to have a solid first aid kit and not need it than get smashed on the reef on a remote island and wish you had one!

My Dads a paramedic and recommends everyone travel with their own set of sterilised needles too as a lot of non western countries will reuse them and that’s the last thing you want happening!



3. Ding Repair

Another hope you dont need it situation! The last thing you want is to ruin your awesome surf trip due to a ding on your favourite board!

Solar Rez is still my go to for this – easy to apply, dries fast and you can get both an epoxy and resin version.


4. Spare Leggie

Was sooooo glad I paid out for a spare leash on my Mentawais trip – you never know when you’ll need one!

If you’re hunting for big waves and in the middle of nowhere a few spares between the group is a must.

My go to is the Creatures of Leisure Reliance Comp, with the Reliance Pro being a great option for bigger, heavier waves.



surf essentials packing list surf trip

5. Board Bag Padding

No one wants to head off on their dream surf trip and arrive, only to find their best stick has been smashed up by those less than caring baggage handlers.

So make sure you pad out that board pre flight.

I’m not just talking shove in your clothes and some towels, lets go industrial! Pipe lagging is one of my go to surf essentials and it’s easy to run along the rails, light and reusable.

If you want to go eco friendly the guys at Flexi-Hex have an amazing recyclable option, however its more for single trips than reusing lots and lots, especially when it gets wet.


6. Reef Boots

Yeah we all know they suck to surf in and ruin that picture perfect image of you on that gorgeous tropical wave – but avoiding getting a foot full of urchins is worth packing the booties for!

Ripcurl do some epic lightweight, foldable reef boots which are great to shove in last minute and aren’t stiff on the feet.



7. Rash Vest

Some people swear by surfing in cotton t-shirt but the new t-shirt style rashes by the likes of Ripcurl come highly recommended. All the loose comfort of a tee but quick drying, heaps lighter and definitely rash free!


surf essentials packing list surf trip

8. Dry Bag

Whether you want to keep your snacks or camera safe on a surf trip a dry bag is a must.

You can grab some cheap 10 litre dry bags, however if you want to go all out the Code 10 Backpacks offer all the waterproof security you need in a standard backpack format – perfect for day trips on boats and keeping sand out of everything too.



9. Fin key(s)!

Once of the most overlooked surf essentials!

We’ve all been there – unpacked the surfboards and realised you forgot the fin key!

Or worse still managed to round one off an render it useless!

So attach one to your keys NOW and tuck away a spare somewhere…I keep mine in the first aid kit!


10. Spare fins

Not something a lot of people will leave out but having a spare set of fins (even a cheap set) should definitely be an essential part of everyones surf packing list.

Even spreading out a few spares between a group is worth everyone chipping in on.

I managed to misplace 2 FCS and 2 future fins on an Indo surf trip (honestly think they were pilfered out of my bag as no clue where they went and were all wrapped up!) which meant both my boards were useless…luckily the crew I was with was a bit more organised!


11. Local Cash

Grab some local cash BEFORE you head to the airport for better rates and less hassle.

Try and get some small notes in there too – trying to barter down your airport taxi only to have to ask for changes is not going to go down well!



surf essentials packing list surf trip

12. Travel Credit/Debit Card

Alongside the local cash make sure you have some backup credit/debit cards. Chances are your usual bank card will hammer your for payments aboard (especially ATM fees) so have a hunt around for good travel card to take with you on all your trips.

For anyone from the UK I’ve been using Starling Bank for over a year now and love it – zero fees abroad (including ATMs) and no monthly costs either. Winning!

And for the Aussies the ING Orange Everyday is a solid shout too.


13. Reef Safe Sunscreen

Ok so you’ll be packing suncream anyway (hopefully!) but lets go one step further and make it reef safe sunscreen.

Coral is highly sensitive to changes in the water, including slicks of suncream – and healthy reefs mean epic waves…so everyone wins!


14. Boardies Or Bikini

Unless you’re heading to colder climates a couple pairs of boardies or bikinis should be a no brainer. If possible try to pack at least 3 – one dry pair for on land and 2 alternating for your surf session.

Not for the fashion show – but to allow everything to dry properly and avoid chaffing and nasty tropical rashes.



15. Aftersun

We all have that session where we stay out too long, forget the zinc in a rush to paddle out first or are just super sensitive to the sun, so alongside everything else a good bottle of aftersun is a must.

When you arrive at your base whack it in the fridge as well for even better results – trust me, you’ll be thankful you did!


surf essentials packing list surf trip

16. Wax…The Right Wax!

Dont be the person sponging wax of everyone, it’s a surfing basic guys and girls!

Just make sure you pack the right surf wax for the destination too – dont bounce from Europe winter to Indo tropics and expect your wax to handle it, you’ll need to strip it down and make sure it’s ready for the right water temp.

Check out these surfboard wax tips to make sure you’re totally prepared!


17. GoPro

You didn’t get the barrel unless you have the shot of it right?! I’ve been using GoPros on my adventures for years now and they’ve just got better and better. 

The GoPro Hero 10 takes things to a new level though with epic in camera stabilisation and improved photos too – perfect for mounting on your board or filming your crazy surf trip!

Check out my full GoPro Hero 10 review here.



18. Duct Tape

If there’s one surf essential that is often overlooked but and absolute Swiss army knife for surf trips it’s duct tape!

From quick ding repairs to covering up reef cuts, fixing sunnies and securing padding to your surfboard for the flight, a roll of this is a must!


19. Travel Insurance

We all know accidents can happen in the water – bouncing off the reef, “fin”juries, it’s part of being in amongst the waves. So make sure you’ve got some solid travel insurance for your surf trip too.

Not only should it cover getting hurt, but also missed transfers, delays, lost luggage and sickness…getting air lifted off an island with hectic Bali belly isn’t going to be cheap so its better to be safe than sorry!

Personally I recommend World Nomads Travel Insurance – so click here for a quick quote.



20. Sunnies

As surfers we’re exposed to the sun a whole lot more than the average person – and you’d be surprised how much damage the reflective rays off the sand and water can do to your eyes. So do yourself a favour and invest in a solid pair of sunnies.

They don’t have to break the bank, just make sure they’re certified and if you can spend the extra dollar to get polarised lenses – not only will they protect your eyes but they’ll take all the glare off the water surface too.

Check out Cab 9 Eyewear‘s awesome range of sunnies, all with polarised lenses – my personal faves are the C9Xs.

Are you planning an epic surf trip soon?

What are your surf essentials?



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