Surfboard, boardshorts or a wetsuit. These are a given on any surf trip. However, if you’re going the make the most of your travels, stay safe and get some crazy waves to boot, there are a few things you really should take as part of your must-have items. Here’s a list of 5 things you need to take on a surf trip – from Indo, to Hawaii, to Mexico and more.
I’m not talking a ‘standard band-aids and pair of tweezers’ kit you get at any Walgreens. I’m talking a bonafide first aid kit that will patch up reef scrapes, campfire burns, and machete chops to the shoulder. Well, maybe not machete chops. Our friends at Carryology have put together a great guide for building the ultimate first aid kithere. Personally, I always make sure I have non-toxic super glue for stitch free cut closure, antiseptic powder or gel to keep things clean, plus one of those silver thermal blankets to use as either a sunshade or to keep hypothermia at bay. Knowing you’ve got some basic medical supplies on shore lets you let loose that little bit more while in the water.
I don’t tan. I freckle. So, I’m all about lathering up with zinc even if the moon is especially bright. If you do tan, the World Health Organization still thinks you should protect your skin from burning and minimize the risk of skin cancer. Surfers spend more time in the sun than most, so be smart and get your act together. I use a long sleeve rash vest, sunscreen for my legs and skin-colored zinc for my face. I also pack a surf hat if I’m hitting the tropics.
Most surfers are fairly environmentally conscious and I’m no exception. I take my stainless steel water bottle wherever I go to avoid more plastic ending up in our oceans. Sea Turtles and other ocean fauna will thank you too. At night, fill it up with gin and fresh coconut water for a stealthy cocktail too. Hello.
“A towel, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy says, is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker.”Douglas Adams was totally correct when he wrote this, even if you’re not doing interstellar travel. Towels obviously dry you after a tumble in the salt, but they also double as a pillow when rolled up, a little blanket if you decide to nap under a palm tree somewhere, plus protection for your surfboard’s nose or tail when you pack in it a boardcover. A good towel is worth its weight in gold.
This might sound a little trite, but it’s a dead serious inclusion on any surf trip. Any time you’re chasing waves, you’re relying on Mother Nature to deliver the goods. Sometimes, she’s having a swell party on the other side of the world and leaves you with no waves. This is where a good attitude (or a deck of cards) comes in handy. Explore the local villages, ask camp staff about the history of the area, go on an impromptu adventure, or set up a high-stakes poker tournament. Keep the energy lively and vibrant. There’s nothing worse than people whinging about no surf and stinking up the vibe of the whole trip. Leave all negativity at home. If you’re lucky enough to be going on a surf trip somewhere, you’re up there in the top 1% most fortunate people on the planet. Act like it.
Tim Hawken is an Australian writer who enjoys surfing, Indian food and romantic midnight strolls to the beer fridge. He has clocked up visits to 23 countries on 5 continents (and counting). Find out more about his weird world by heading tohis website, or following him onInstagram andTwitter.
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