10 Things To Pack for a Surf Trip by Gretchen Que

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While packing itself is a tricky art to master, traveling with a surfboard demands more attention than the usual underwear-count concerns. Just like any other skill, you’ll get better over time as you learn from mistakes. But here at Surfista Travels Philippines, we’ve gone the extra mile by making (and learning from) all these blunders for you, so you can skip through the hassle.
You might want to bookmark or print out this list for your next surf trip, to ensure that you’ve got everything together. After all, borrowing might not be an option as your friends could already be at the line up by the time you figure out you’ve left something. Let’s start with things you absolutely must not leave behind, then work our way down to things you might be able to make diskarte for.
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Gretch (far right) on a surf trip with her friends and fellow Surfistas!

10. Key to your tie-downs/roof rack
When you leave this behind, the trip is over even before it begins. You can always cut your way through your tie downs, but that creates the new problem of how you’ll drive your board home. Turning to sampayan strings won’t do, as the drag created by your accelerating car will surely flip your board off the roof. Personally, I secure my tie-down key with my car key so I only keep track of “one” thing.

Tie downs are very important for a surf trip. A couple of macho surfer boys don’t hurt either! ;) Mark Mabanag & Luke Landrigan being wonderful caddies on a surf trip!

9. Fins, Fin Key, Back Up Screws 
Your friends love you to death, but there is absolutely no way they could get you out of this one, short of lending you their board. And that means, one sits out while the other rides. Store your fins in your board bag to ensure that they always come with your board. Know what type of key your fins require: FCS keys are shaped differently from Futures keys, and even within the same brand the models could vary. Just as there are different keys, there are different screw sizes. Make sure you have the correct back ups in case the sand decides to eat up your teeny screw. To keep them all together, I use a Sticky Bumps fin bag where I also store my wax.
8. Leash
The locals and the surf schools could probably cover your ass on this one, but you might not be able to surf at your optimum. Surfing with your own leash that meets your body and board length specifications ensures your safety and of those around you. Using your own leash also means that the length is suitable for the types of maneuvers that you’re practicing for.
7. Foil Tape & Duct Tape
It is heartbreaking, but dings and cracks happen even to the best boards. After silently weeping, you can perform a “first aid” to save your session until you get your board properly repaired. Use your hands to feel your board through. Once you find the ding, dry that part with a towel. Cut/tear off a section of foil tape and fully cover the ding. This layer temporarily waterproofs the crack. Then, cut off a slightly larger piece of duct tape to stick over the foil tape as foil easily tears. If in La Union, you may seek out Aki San for his board repair expertise.
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Dings, broken boards, injuries are always part of the surf adventure. Be prepared!

6. First Aid Kit (for yourself)
We love our boards but we’ve got to love ourselves too! Remember, safety above all else. A little scratch here and there is inevitable, but fin cuts and deep reef cuts require professional medical attention. And NO peeing on jellyfish stings. Just no.
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5. Wax
Because otherwise, shame on you.
4. Dry Bag
Getting in that last surf session right before heading home is totally worth it. But that leaves your clothes with no time to dry. Bring an extra bag made of canvass to store your wet stuff in.
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3. Treats for the Locals
This entire list is written under the (duh) assumption that you already have your own board. Which means that you’ve been surfing for a while. Which means you KNOW the locals. Never forget those who pushed you into your first wave. The guys who cheered you on as you dropped in on THEIR wave. The people who shared their food, their beer, and their secret spots with you. Chips and drinks are always welcome. Sometimes, I bring them free stickers and shirts I get from surf brands I support. :)

Locals love stickers!

2. 90s Music
If I’m driving and you’re not, you better start singing.
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It’s always good to have good vibes and good music with you on your trip.

1. Underpants
This item makes the bottom of the list, but important still. You are expected to bring at least one more pair apart from the ones you’re already wearing on your way there.
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We know you don’t need to wear a lot to go surfing and the hot weather makes us want to take our clothes off, but yes… bring extra underpants. ;)

The best tip I can offer is to keep everything together as much as you can. I have a bag that’s dedicated to surfing and nothing else. This way, I simply have to return all of my gear in the same bag after they dry. Best of all, I don’t have to pack and unpack for every trip. Do yourself a favor and spend more time surfing and less time looking for things. See you at the line up. :)

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