Going on a Surftrip with your toddlers ?
Tips for those who decide to take their young children on a surfing trip
Since birth of our children, we think about the moment they'll be able to surf, so we can both share our passion.
But a question embarrasses us and remains open every time we think of a Surf Trip vacation - especially as the last one was 2 years before the birth of twins and it's getting a long time since...
Between legitimate worries of a mother, sermons of grandparents " Are you are crazy, did you really plan to go to Costa Rica with your kids ? ", your husband's hesitation grin that says it will not be as great as your last Indo Trip, where you were tearing the waves all day long, on a roadtrip as two raging teens, and you remember with nostalgia your romantic evenings together, facing the sunset until dawn...
If the choice of a trip with teens is another adventure in itself, starting with young children (2 to 10 years) may be a handicap, especially if you go for surfing. But the good side is the one you do not think about and we will try to tell you !
Why is it a damn good idea for you ?
- Flying away from your routine, work and your neighborhood, feel the adventure, is already an excellent idea. Win the challenge of travelling together, forgetting the many reasons to give up is the best way to build family ties. And this little moment of madness is necessary for the well-being of your family life - not in any way of course, especially with toddlers.
- You will discover that adapting yourself to the rythm of your children, you will better relax, reconnect with the pleasure of a nap, take time to enjoy them, through the activities that you will share together.
Giving them their first surf lesson to the edge of the waves, paddling on a Stand Up Paddle in calm waters, it's great - remember to follow certain rules discussed below.
- You'll meet different people. No more evenings drinking beer in the beach bars with your buddies. But people approach you more easily with children (cool, daddy will make new girlfriends on the beach ...)
- Family Life 24 hours 24, in a setting where everything is different from home, will make you look your offspring differently. You're going to be perfect in the role of the nurse coating with Biafine cream the sunburn of the youngest or as a games organizer on the beach with local children.
- Your couple will be in harmony. You will discover a mother soothed by having her children close to her on a trip (no more phone calls to your mother to ask "Are Children ok ? Oh it's a cold. Is he coughing a lot ?...) and will enjoy the moments when the children are deep asleep in the hammock under the trees. Your wife will admire you in this new surfer dad role under the tropics, and you'll be her hero. Might be useful for your libido...
- You will also discover surf spots in a different light. Your formatted mind will be intrigued by incessant questions and remarks of children about the beach, the waves, the dangers they sense and the games they expect.
- How lucky you are ! You will be able to surf the early morning session when the beach is deserted. Your little 4 years old wakes you at dawn. Thanks to 8 hours time difference.
Why is it a good idea for them ?
- There is no better school of life, even when we are 5 years old. Children are small ultra instinctive beings, on the lookout for everything and they know very well what makes a difference with their lives at home. They are true chameleons and adapt smoothly to all that bother adults (schedules, food...)
- If they are many, their fraternal ties will be stronger. Less fights, jealousies, they will have things to share. Learn to surf together in a new setting is ideal for fun. Buy them a camera just for them. This will have their own pictures and memories, different from yours.
- They will be more independent. We can ask them to perform tasks they balk at home and explain their direct usefulness in a fun way (helping Dad to store the boards under the trees, preparing dinner at Surf Camp or bag for the trip).
- Meeting other children from the planet allows to build relationships, trying to speak a few words in the local language, playing in the waves with new language, color and different culture buddies, is perfect to discover other children's world. In fact, they all have the same desires, the same laughter and joy, and share will be as rewarding for you.
Ok, but when the world of Candy Collapses ?
Your little one is crying for two days, he looks lost away from home. And worry is now getting into nervousness ...
It is normal if he loses some cues at the start. Small children are rarely seen staying long in this attitude (within hatching a disease, then you have to be vigilant and seek promptly medical attention). In general the situation soon return to normal. Having your parents with you and a vast discovery playground under the nose rarely resist to their curiosity which finally erase the great sorrow.
They are fed from the beach and bicker endlessly about activities...
Take a break from your daily schedule of surfing activities at the beach. They should also not last more than 2 hours and be spread throughout the day, focusing on the early morning and late afternoon to avoid the hot sun. Remember to go for short excursions, visit a village nearby, discover the fauna and flora of the country.
They do not want to take surf classes with the tan man who speaks a weird language...
Start with your own teaching, smoothly at the edge of the water. If after three days they feast and gain confidence, take them to the group class at the surf school. Stay during the first course, so that your child starts to be confident.
The guacamole, bitter yogurt, spicy meatballs, yuck ! Where are my Kinder and vegemite spread on my toasts ?
Do not panic, remember that it took you 30 years to love rice & curry. Bring your spare ammunition of food they love (avoid products that flow, melt or are forbidden to import in the visited country). Normally, selecting among the ingredients of local food and asking non spicy version, they should eat everything. Feast on tropical fruits (carefully peeled), vegetables (cooked and do not eat too much quantity), meat, poultry. Let them discover the flavors by showing them that you find it good also. In general, after a long time frolic in the water, they will not refuse to take their fork.
The wonderful sounds of the tropical night during your romantic evenings in the hammock's bungalow are now far away. Children whine, cry, can't sleep and you end up all night on the patio watching the ocean with the apparence of a tortured victim...
Sea breeze is good for sleeping, but also the salty breeze can make one's nervous... In general it should disapear after two nights, although children are often much less affected by time difference that we expect. Contrary to what you think they better manage their resilience than adults.
Check that the mosquito net is in place, turn off the air conditioning and operate the ceiling fan which rocks and prevent from catching a cold. Take him out with you for a moment on the terrace, walk a bit to the beach and lie down in the hammock with your child for a quarter of an hour before to bring him back to bed.
At that time, hammock will be only for you and your spouse...
He is always asking after his grandma and his favourite teddy (bear)...
Please do not forget his security blanket. It will be almost impossible to replace. And if you lose it, good luck ...
Regarding grandma, he will soon forget - There's always a nice local grandmother who will be interested in your children.
Before Travelling :
Plan your trip by listing the positive and negative aspects. This will help you to choose between two destinations.
Warning : A long journey in Camping Car is a whole other topic that has nothing to do in terms of preparation. If you go for a short vacation (8-15 days) opt for an accommodation not too roots to facilitate comfort and keep you from expanding the list of what you will have to put in the bags.
Make a check list that will grow over the weeks. Do not take their bodyboard, buckets, shovels and other toys, they will benefit from these holidays to find other game resources.
Check the sanitary conditions of the country and check if the hotel, the Surfcamp or villa are close to a clinic or hospital.
Select an airline with the most direct flight. Small children by plane, it's not great pleasure...
Plan your aid kit...
Anti-diarrhea tablets, rehydration solution and gastric dressing (Smecta), unbreakable thermometer, paracetamol syrup, eyes and ears drops, waterproof bandage, adhesive sutures (Steri-strips) disinfectant, compresses, arnica cream, small scissors, tweezers, needle (for bulbs and spines), anti-mosquito spray lotion (the coilers, coils that burn burning are often provided by hotels), anti itching cream, tiger Balm (for small hits and headache, in massage).
Take just the amount of medication depending on the duration of the trip.
Avoid suppositories traveling, it's not a good idea...
Warning : In some countries, two thirds of the drugs in circulation are counterfeit. Do not buy unless it is really necessary.
In case of serious problem, call your travel insurance (it is imperative to suscribe a Repatriation & Assistance quality insurance, not just the one from your credit card, which often does not cover everything).
Remember to remove all the drugs from their packaging and keep them recorded in a small box. It earns four times more space !
Vamos a la Playa...
To change after surfing, beach poncho is also a must for children.
Always have handy wet wipes (useful when they picked up drooling shells and have spread sand in their eyes).
Beware of the sun. Plan their lycra, a bob covering the shoulders, 2 pairs of sunglasses - we recommend the Retro Kids BabyBanz with an adjustable headband, high index sun cream, after sun milk and a big tube of Biafine cream.
Plan also rubber sandals to walk on the beach to avoid the blows, cuts on the rocks or coral...
Let's Go Surfing !
Regarding Surf activities, start alone with them (do not forget to put them back when you row, so that they won't be too much sprayed by water and wave foam). Then go to group classes, they will enjoy it.
A young Australian Lucia, 2 years old, and her daddy, explain you about the technical tricks to start surfing.
Choose a school close from your accommodation or a surfcamp to prevent you from running from one place to another.
Introduce him his surf teacher and stay with your child the first session, to make him confident (they are still babies)
If you decide to go on a ride with Stand up Paddle, check the marine forecast, look after the safest routes, check also sea bottom and currents, even in a quiet lagoon. Tell Surfcamp reception or surf school when you leave and the duration of your trip, that should not be more than an hour.
4-year-old Eliana a tiny Hawaiian girl, enjoy the surf playground.
If you want to go for a boatrip on the reef to ride waves for yourself, do not take your toddlers with you. It is not a good idea and they'll soon get bored onboard. Taking advantage of them quietly on the beach and in the wavesfrom the shore remains the ideal.
If they were getting lost on the beach or in the surrounding area, there is an identification bracelet for Mini Traveller, handy.
Finally, we offer you a compilation video of true beach Rookies who smash the waves.
So if you dream that your toddlers will be the next candidate, save your pennies, get ready, your next family Surf trip is on the way !
5 years old Steve Roberson already shooting Honolua Bay break. A future candidate for the XXL Big Wave Challenge in the next ten years.
The brats team ! Terrors of the beach, 3 brothers Justin, Eric 6 years and Baby Steve 4 years. The next surf buddies of your children...
Kobi, a stylish traveler who tears the waves on a maldivian cruise.
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Working for several years in tourism in France and abroad, Jean-Hervé Cristol (aka Jean Révé) also has a large number of kilometer mark traveling around Planet Surf in search of endless summer waves.
In 2004 he created Destination Surf, the first agency specialized in Surf Travel , then Endless Summer a blog with tips, info and travel stories, in order to enjoy and share this rewarding experience with all surf travelers. → Learn more