How to travel with your surfboard

We want to make sure your surfboard travels safe and comfy, so here are our tips to protect it while traveling by air.
Cesar Alvarez
Cesar Alvarez


Surf nomad

Roaming the globe with a surfboard and a laptop, crafting digital stories that ride the wave of surfing culture.

Surfers are travelers by nature. We spend all-year-round looking for the good waves in every corner of the world. If you are going on a proper surfing trip, you will want to take your baby (or babies) with you. We want to make sure your surfboard travels safe and comfy, so here are our tips to protect it while traveling by air.

First, let’s get these clear:

1. Is it safe to carry my surfboard on a plane?

Surfing is gaining popularity, so most airlines today will know how to properly handle surfboards. However, accidents do happen, so make sure you follow our recommended steps. While there’s nothing worse than arriving at your surfing spot and realizing your baby is broken or damaged, all you really need is a bit of protection and you should be good to go.

2. Can I carry it on any plane?

Check the policy. Fees go from 0 up to two hundred dollars, and some airlines just don’t allow to carry surfboards at all. Before buying your flight tickets, check the list of surfboard-friendly airlines and their corresponding fees for this year. Make sure you double-check fees weight allowances for the dates you will be travelling before moving forward.

3. Will I need a heavy bag or coffin?

A good quality travel bag should be OK as long as you have put enough padding. Some people go as far as getting heavy bags with wheels, but this may only be necessary if you are carrying a bunch of surfboards with you. Also, remember that heavier bags usually mean heftier fees.

4. Is a board sock enough to protect my surfboard?

This is the most lightweight protection you can get, and it can be a good starting point if you want to keep your surfboard safe. It will also keep away wax, sand, and water from the rest of your things, but keep in mind a sock is far from being enough to fully protect your board. If you are going to use one, make sure you know the nose shape.

How to prepare your surfboard

All you need is a little bit of time and some materials. These three steps will go a long way and guarantee worry-free trips with your surfboards.

1. Take out the fins
Remove the fins (and don’t forget to pack them) and make sure the leg ropes are place in a different compartment of your bag, as these can crease into your bag and leave an ugly dent on them.

2. Pick your wrap
There is no universal wrapping method, but some materials are the favorite ones experienced surfers:

-Pool noodles or foam isolators: pool noodles or foam isolators are placed over the rails of the board (you will need to split them down the middle for these). After you have wrapped the rails with them, you can use tape to make sure things stay where they should. Make sure the tape you pick does not leave any residue on your surfboard (try masking tape or painter's tape)

-Bubble wrap: it should cover the bottom and top of your board. If you have enough to cover the rails as well it will be even more protected.

-Towels and clothes: use towels, wetsuits and clothes for extra cushioning.

- Dividers: if you are carrying two surfboards, don’t forget to place your divider on the top of the first board. Use towels if you don’t have one.

3. Protect tail and nose
Finally, add any extra padding you want around the tail and the nose of your board. Don’t forget this step, as this points of the board will be more exposed, which means they can crack more easily. Towels and clothes can be used for this, or you can also use specific protector (nose and tail guards). These are usually very cheap.

Ready for your new trip?