As a surfer you have to travel. Forget 9/11, the Bali bomb, tsunamis – as hideous as they all, chances are you’re not going to get caught up in all that. But what you will definitely face as a traveller is the curse of the baggage handler, so taking care of your boards is numero uno on your list.
Get a good board bag. The size will depend on on the size and number of your boards. You’re investing time and money to score the best waves of your life, so always take more than one board to handle the surf you’re heading off to, and any snappage/damage that may occur. A good board bag is a long term investment, so spend a little cash. Packing boards into shitty bags can be the most frustrating thing ever, while a decent bag makes it bliss. Some board bags have divider to keep your boards separate, if they don’t have them use your wetty or a towel. This will stop the dreaded wax-on-the-bottom-of-the-board syndrome.
If you have fixed fins, put the boards nose to tail. Always pad out the nose otherwise you’ll dent the bottom of the other board. It also means there’s less chance of snapping out fins.
If you’ve got fin boxes, lay the boards in the same direction, This should (if the rockers aren’t too different) give you plenty of room for other boards.
The board on the bottom should go deck down. Don’t pack boards rocker to rocker. The next board should also go deck down.
If you have fixed fins, use fin guards. You can make these out of polystyrene or foam offcuts from your local surfboard manufacturer. Otherwise use boots, your wetty or towels to pad them.
If you’re finless, use the boots and wetty to guard the nose and tail from damage.
Some people pack as much in their board bags as possible, including clothes. You can do this, but keep the board bag at a reasonable size so it doesn’t freak the check-in clerks. Most airlines will allow you two bags anyway.
Remember, travel costs, but it’ll provide you with the best memories of your entire life. If you have to give up a beer or two for a ticket or a decent travel board, do it. You won’t regret it.
And just in case…