How To Plan Surf Trips
Figuring out how to plan surf trips is a great way to waste time in the office. But just because a spot looks great on an online advertisement does not mean it is the right spot for you. Soul searching should be your first move. Determine your ability and your desires. Then, it is all about research.
- Season. Let’s say you are good, naïve or brave enough to challenge Pipeline on the North Shore of Oahu. Maybe this is your lifelong dream. Well, you would feel pretty bummed if you went in the summer when the North Shore is perfect for snorkeling, fishing and paddling. Oceanic activity varies from season to season. If that perfect 10 wave you saw in Surfer magazine is during a south swell yet you are going in the winter…You will feel cosmically screwed and pretty damn stupid with all your boards and no waves. When you are picking a spot, make sure to find out which season will have the most waves. Some places are firing all year but most of the truly epic spots like the North Shore are seasonal.
- Ability. If you have ever lived in a resort town you may have noticed that visitors tend to leave their brains back home. Having a short amount of time spurns them to brave all sorts of activities they would usually never try. If you are a decent surfer, why waste money to fly to Patagonia to look at monster waves you will never be able to surf on much less paddle in? When you plan surf trips, you have to be realistic. Most of us are not professional surfers who tackle 20 foot faces with a string of adoring fans trailing behind us. A 20 foot wave would probably kill you. Look for fun destinations with multiple wave breaks suitable for all levels of surfing. The more spots to choose from, you more adventures you will have.
- Gear. After you have figured out your destination, it is time to start packing. Besides the obvious stuff like sunscreen and clean underpants, you will need to think about surf gear. Remember to check out the water temperature. Many people visiting California are surprised at just how freakin’ cold the water can be. Wetsuits are often a hassle to rent because they just won’t feel the same plus you know someone has pee’d in it. If your destination is a sandy beach, footwear is not a big deal but some islands are known for lava rock. The Hawaiians have two words for lava rock. Pahoehoe is smooth lava rock and it is easy to walk on. But aa is chunky, sharp and will cut your tender feet to shreds. You may need more than a pair of flip flops for aa. Surfboards are a huge consideration for any surf trip. If possible, you will want to bring a quiver that contains a variety of surfboards to be prepared for all conditions. If your destination is infamous for lost surfboard bags (cough!Costa Rica), it might be wise to leave the custom boards at home. Generally speaking, there are few situations a longboard or a quad fish can’t handle.