Independent Surfer

Surf Travel Essentials Checklist: What's in Our Surf Box

We always travel with what we refer to as our “surf box.” For us, this box is a woven bamboo box that we put right into our suitcases as-is. However, we know that many other people carry their surf travel essentials in a small bag or throw them directly into their board bag.  Whatever way you decide to carry these surf travel essentials is up to you – the important thing is that you bring them with you on your next surf trip (although we would totally recommend the box since it is really easy to unpack and makes us feel at home rather than like we are living out of suitcases).

Sunblock and Zinc

Here are the surf travel essentials to keep in your surf box. First, and most obvious, is sunblock and zinc. Here, in Indonesia, it can be really hard to buy sunblock in remote villages. If you can find sunblock, it is likely that it will be a small quantity, of a random brand, and very expensive. So, when traveling to remote places, we recommend that you plan ahead and bring a lot of your favorite items. Remember to also bring body sun lotion as well as face zinc sticks. We don’t necessarily have a favorite brand, but we have previously used and liked Zinka, SunBum, Surface, and SunZapper.

Surfboard Repair Essentials

The next surf travel essential is a ding fix kit. Obviously, if you snap your board in half, you’re not going to be able to fix it by yourself. But, when you get regular reef dings every other session, you’ll want to be able to do quick patch ups so you can get back out there instead of spending the day trying to find a local ding repair shop. We would recommend a full ding kit that includes fiberglass cloth, q-cell, etc. But, if you are trying to travel really light, then just a small kit of solar res and sandpaper would get you by.

In addition to a ding fix kit, we like to carry other things that we would need to fix a ding. Specifically, we carry scissors, cling wrap, tape, and super glue. Super glue is an especially useful one since it can have so many uses. We have used super glue to repair our traction pads, GoPro, shoes, etc. 

Fins and Leashes

Our fourth surf travel essential is extra leashes and leash strings. When on a surf trip, it’s super likely that you will break at least one leash. If you don’t break your leash, then at the very least you will likely stretch it out and make it less safe to use. In our experience, it can be difficult to buy a high quality leash in the exact size you want. Better to just toss a couple in your bag in case.

The fifth surf travel essential is extra fins and fin keys. Again, this is pretty obvious, when surfing, you can easily lose a fin on the reef or even lose a fin when taking them out to pack your board bag. Making sure you have extras will make it that much easier to get back out in the surf. Personally, we have found this to be the most difficult item to buy in remote places. If they do carry fins, they are likely in a size, shape, or color that isn’t your favorite, and very expensive.

First Aid

We’ve already mentioned bringing a ding kit for your board.  In addition to this, be sure to bring a ding kit for yourself. By that, we mean a first aid kit aimed at surfers. In our first aid kit, we have Swim Ear (alcohol ear drops that help prevent and treat ear infections), antibiotic ointment, q-tips aka cotton buds/swabs, Band-Aids, elastic wrap (the kind for wrapping up a sprained ankle, wrist, etc.), sports tape, tweezers, nail clippers, cotton rounds, DayQuil and NightQuil (basically day time and night time cold medicine), Xanax, and the best thing we can recommend is self-adhesive tape! THIS IS OUR MUST HAVE – it is perfect for wrapping around a wound to keep a bandage in place when out in the water. We couldn’t recommend this more.

Wax and Comb

Finally, make sure you bring a bunch of surf wax and wax comb. We don’t need to spend much time on this since it is quite obvious, but it could be easy to forget if you are too focused on preparing the rest of your essential items.

The Checklist

To summarize, here is our Surf Box checklist:

We hope you found this list helpful! Please let us know if you have anything else in your surf travel essentials kit that we should add to our list.

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