10 worst Hassles in Surf Trips
Exhaustive status report of all problems that may ruin your next trip Surf
Who has never lived horrible Surf trip conditions, please rises up ... And leave. You have never gone on a trip.
The perfect trip is the one reported by the hansome boastful guy trying to monopolize the conversation during dinner, showing postcard waves on his Instagram account and telling everyone about his last adventures in Nicaragua, just intending to prick your girlfriend (fortunately, most girls prefers modest and timid adventurers, a bit strand - It's your case).
If it seems that we remember only the good times of a trip, you remain skeptical because you will never forget this Trip hopelessly messed up 4 years ago with your best friends who are your worst enemies today on Facebook.
To prevent our travellers and give the Pavlov reflex to those who love when it hurts ... we have listed the 10 most common hassles during a surf trip and asked Dr Trip Hot specialist in neuropathic psychoses of surfer, to give us his kind advice.
Avoid Inbetweeners Loose !
1 - Wrong fellow travelers
You did not imagine so, but starting with your two best surf friends turned to utter mess.
Yet everything had started well three months ago, when you were looking after the most awesome plans, drinking a beer pack lying on your couch. But one do not improvise a trip with several people in a foreign country, without anticipating the basic rules of cohabitation.
If you bought a package including airplane tickets, transfer and Surfcamp lodging, usually the price of the service is defined and payed in advance, you'll have less bad reasons for arguing.
If it is a Surf Cruise, we'll be speaking through you soon in an upcoming article specially dedicated !
If your Trip is a traveling Surfari without pre-established steps, it' is more complicated. Do not tell "We'll see on the spot", without having look prior departure for maximum info, you may yell after each other from the first day.
You all must agree on :
- Money. It is the fuel for the trip. Telling "we'll pay on site" is not the solution. Before leaving, establish a car rental budget, an accurate per day amount (3 meals, accommodation).
- The pace of the trip - You do not have all the same expectations (cool we're all cool, 300 kms a day to see the country in 15 days, 12 hours of surfing + 6 hours fiestas + 6 hours of sleep)
- Guy or girl - instructions ? Be careful if you are alone and go with a couple, risks exist (not to prick his girlfriend, it's very ugly), but you will not have the same rhythm and problems may arise in type of room (after 3 nights in a triple, the little couple will look for privacy and you'll pay for a single) and rhythm of activity (You may soon spend the morning session alone after 4 days, because of conjugal duty calling).
- 3 buddies. Not always the correct number. If one stands behind the opinion of the other one remains on the tile. And ditto for accommodation, not always easy to find the right lodging. It is said that two belong together, so why not 2 pairs of friends, balance is better and if the pairs are separated temporarily it's to better find again their gregarious spirit.
Doctor Trip Hot: Evaluate your Surf Trip buddy by letting him sleep with your board before departure. If in the morning, his cheek is flavored with coconut wax and he has a smug air, it is a sign that he is unstable and could betray you on the trip.
2 - Your board, this cumbersome object of desire...
If you go with your girlfriend, do not show her how much you care about your board, more than her. Before departure, avoid her presence during the 2 hours when wrapping your baby.
Before plane take-off, do not pull the sleeve of the hostess, showing her that it is your boardbag that Porter drags on the floor and throw in the cargo with momentum. Do not talk all the time about her (your board) to your buddy during the 10 hour flight and do not get worried as a mother who does not see her child at school's gate, when the turnstile of baggage conveyor will stop and your board will not be on it.
2 options :
- You do not know that in most airports, oversized baggage recovers to a specific gate. You'll jump for joy discovering it in the midst of the strollers, mountain bike, packed TV, golf bags.
- Your board suffered a referral error and is en route to Sao Paulo, then you just landed at San Jose, Costa Rica. You'll have to borrow your friend's one (all the boards in a boardbag is good, but it's all or nothing) or rent a board at a local store in the country. Advantage : If you break it you will have less regret, although you'll have to pay it back to the shop. With a little luck, you will find your board in Costa Rica on the day of departure.
Lost board during a trip remains an eternal problem. Broken on the reef into 3 pieces or flying from the car's roof to end as a sculpture under the wheels of the minibus that was overtaking your car, we've all experienced these mishaps.
The ideal is to travel with 2 boards if your trip is long. if not, to rent one before departure at the surf camp that hosts you. No more hassle. In the Maldives, there is even a service that delivers you boards, longboards and SUP at the airport upon arrival, with catalog preselection ! (contact us)
To help you, check the Bible of surfboards airfares.
Doctor Trip Hot : A classic transposition of desire. Your board is flat and cold, but impossible not to live without her phalic shape. Stop waxing your board with as much energy ... Cut the cord (the leash ?).
3 - But what a beautiful hotel !...
On the website of the Surfcamp, the indication mentioned "You will stay in a dorm in a friendly and spacious living space, with other surfers from around the world, to share together your passion." $ 8 a night + breakfast, the proposal was ideal.
On arrival at the camp, you actually had a dozen new roommates. Bunk beds on three levels, stuck so close to each other that you can feel the rum breath of your neighbor, sprawled on a filthy mattress, no mosquito net, WC in the dark of the garden. A chance, your bed was nearest the skylight, lean opening of this nice cell where you payed 12 nights in advance.
To avoid the hassle of lodging, avoid to pay all your stay before departure (except if bought from a travel agency where you'll have guarantees and pay in euros).
If on the Camp website, you are asked to send a transfer in $ to Pablito on a Panamanian account, be alert on the non-recoverable cancellation fee at the other end of the world, transfer and banking fees and rates, often important. Otherwise, once there, ask to see the room before you pay.
Also beware of advices overvalued by your friends who have been there 2 years ago. The level of accommodation (hotels, Surfcamps ...) is changing rapidly and opinions are to be checked. Of course Hotels reviews sites and forums are an important indicator, but be wise. They are like health forums, you always think you have to rush to hospital while you're just suffering from stomach ache...
Doctor Trip Hot : These boarding school environments are conducive to rekindle memories in college litterature, harmful to good mental and sexual development of a surfer, so to his balance, vital faculty for this sport, I'd say.
4 - A dream car...
"Sorry, but we no longer have 4x4 and sedans were all requisitioned for a medical seminar. You can have a Toiatsushi 300 TS model 2 seats at the front, and your friend can go behind with luggage. Let the trunk open for the boards. Fix it all strong together and it will be fine ... "
Unfortunately this is the kind of surprise we are sometimes faced upon arrival at the airport.
If the battle of bullying seems lost, try a bakchich, it often works (some countries are champions in this kind of sport). Otherwise, request reimbursement that will happen several weeks after your return, and send one of your friends to find another Car rental desk in the terminal. Otherwise taxi to a hotel downtown and looking for a new car enter the next morning.
Do not get the car on arrival at the airport, especially in the evening. Always have straps for your boards. Be rather transfered to the hotel or Surfcamp by the transfer desk and take your car the next morning. This allows time to organize yourself, after a good night's sleep, and you will easier be able to understand the additional 12 insurance sections not included in the contract.
You are tanked in the sand at 50 km from the hotel, wanting to see the waves more closely. The tide rises, it's dark at 6pm at the equator and you hear strange whistling in the bush that worry you. In fact it is only the rear tire that has just burst, skating on stones.
A night under the stars is fun, and your changing of the guard to look after the boards on the roof is only at 3 am, lucky !
Think to advice Camp or your hotel if you leave for the day. Be very careful if you rent motorbikes, you multiply your risk by 5. In case of more serious problem such as accident, especially if you spill a pedestrian, quickly notify the local police, locals are often rude with westerners in this case. Immediately notify your travel insurance that will tell you what to do.
Doctor Trip Hot : Car is a real macho symbol. Break the codes (not the road codes). Adding 3 long phalus on the roof boosts the feeling of power of the surfer. Fancy with a 4x4, big car, small board ?...
5 - Let's go surfin !...
You have watched 34 videos of the spots on Youtube, checked 12 surf reports in 3 languages, scroll almost 750 photos of this dream place. The movement of the transparent and warm water rocked you every evening before departure. You are there ! Despite the time difference, you're standing at dawn and whisked away to the beach to admire... the motionless lagoon where evolves 2 sleepy fishing boats...
No waves for 6 days, no better exposed spot to capture more swell, and in addition, no other fun activities for your patience. You will love to play cards with your friends.
Finally, the waves are here this morning. Nearly fifty surfers have the same rage that you and half a dozen surf schools also joined you off to celebrate the event.
Same version, but XXL : The shorebreak is a solid 2 meters for 1 week, the reef is on fire, the ocean is shaving cream colour and even the Australian guys are prostrated on the sand. You who came to Bali to take advanced courses, mainly study the theory from the bottom of Legian bars, depressing in front of MTV.
Finally, the waves are calm and flawlessly, 5 feet with a small offshore wind. You enjoy the view while packing your suitcase, the taxi to the airport waiting for you at the door of the hotel.
Clearly, choose the right travel period will increase your chances of not leaving for a bad Surf Trip.
Doctor Trip Hot : Stress must vanish. Often pull hotel toilet flush, it will make the waves come, empty the sink, it will appease them. At the airport, report directly to immigration custom officer that you will not return to his country if the waves are not at the rendezvous next time.
6 - Our marine
For your family trip this year, you had eliminated Western Australia, Reunion Island and Namibia Surf from your travel wishlist. It is better for your children, even if they love orcas from Marineland in Antibes. You are now cool, at the edge of this beautiful Caribbean island where you landed 4 days ago, quietly waxing your board for your morning session on the reef, when you ear that a 5 meters tiger shark prowls for 3 weeks on the spot.
Convinced that he is waiting for you or your children, whose meat is more tender, the rest of your holiday is ruined by this dark patch that obsesses you. What do you do ?
Verify rumors with the hotel, surf schools.
Avoid surfing spots located on the coral reef barrier.
Do not surf if it rains, the day after storm when the water is dark, avoid early morning and sunset session.
Never surf alone and let your children frolic in the waves only on the edge.
Few dangerous sharks attacks are reported in areas known to have no accidents for decades.
You'll most often have the chance to meet dolphins at the peak of the waves...
Doctor Trip Hot : Do not watch the series "Jaws" or the charming film "Orqua killer whale" before you travel. Beware especially of sharks lurking in bars or at night in certain neighborhoods.
7 - Miam...
No fear ! You do not care much to have a mosquito net to sleep, to take just one shower a week, eat everyday sand chicken seasoned with chili.
But that was the other day with your buddies and girlfriends, sitting warm and cozy under the lights of a trendy restaurant, sipping an espresso, telling them that you love traveling Roots.
But sometimes we're too smart and when on site we regret to have forgotten the sanitary precautions.
You won't forget the night you were praying the porcelain god, leaning or sitting on top of the toilet, privileged place in the Top 10 of the traveling galleys.
The local food is generally healthy and rarely vehicle microbes, contrary to popular belief. It is often the one who prepares and the preparation conditions that are causing trouble.
The antiseptic gel is a priority, because we always catch germs with our hands that go to mouth. Wash them frequently, cut your nails and brush them every time.
Whatever the style of your Trip, organized or unbridled, plan your emergency kit - check list in this article.
In case of serious problems, inform your Travel insurance. It is imperative to take out a correct insurance policy, not just that of your credit card, which often does not cover everything.
Remember that lurks severe diseases (hepatitis A, B, bilariose) intestinal bacteria that nail you in bed with fever, rotting your beautiful journey to the land of waves.
And if you are not in good condition, you will not have strengh for surfing and farewell Instagram post from your session at sunset...
Doctor Trip Hot : The miracle cure : wax your board. Melted it's a waterproof sun protection for the face and a great anti mosquito on the feet (slight drawback : Glue a little to linen). Ingested in balls, reveals an absolute gastric dressing. Plan-in about fifteen of them in your boardbag to troubleshoot potential stunned surfers.
8 - Locals only...
You had yet complied with the rules of propriety described in the Surfer Guide concerning locals and their annoyance about the mass of gringos pounding on their spot. Do not land in shiny 4x4, remove the sticker from the car rental company on the rear window, do not park on the best location on parking lot, where we can check the waves at its best, hide the key under the bumper, leave nothing visible on the seats, do not to paddle to the peak on the first day with 2 GoPro cameras screwed on your head and your board.
Yet your Toiatsushi TS 300 was still vandalized two times already. Undoubtedly the Metallic Plum color disturbed them ?
You paddle out to sea and raise your hand arriving at the peak where there's already a dozen surfers. 2 tattooed guys meet you by raising arms and hands, but with their major tense as a universally recognizable sign. Not to impose, you stay on the shoulder of the wave and you settle for the mediocre waves, hoping a local surfer will fall on a bomb, to get a chance to take off.
You'll have to come at dawn, to try another spot or to become their best friend, offering a general round of beer in the evening, without forgetting to mention that you are neither American or Australian or Brazilian, known for their hegemony in the waves and their art of droping waves.
If despite this, hard core surfing is your thing, plan to get tattooed and start pumping iron at your fitness club by Christmas.
Who has not felt this frustration at the peak, not to catch a single wave and feel to spend a disappointing trip ? Famous spots are often ultra crowdy during high season, prefer inter seasons, often less crowded but with still good surf conditions.
Today it is a distressing reality, given the growing number of surfers. However, you still have in memory this magical session with your 3 mates in the water, with no one else. This is precisely the Instagram post you were showing your friends back from trip...
Doctor Trip Hot : Get your surfer look before departure. Shave your head. Allow ten UV sessions, 2 hours of daily pumping iron, a serie of tribal tattoo designs neck to wrist and from calf to the top of the foot. You may file down your canines, it helps. One or two large skull rings will make the last touch of your look, saving you taunts at the lineup of the waves.
Avoid this look if you are interested in the following section.
9 - I love watching the girls...
If you do not go in couple for your surfing trip, shortly mentioned in our blog, you will definitely make women's meetings. We remind you that you came to surf, but hey, you have to share and mingle with the population, it is one of the trip values.
To avoid putting yourself in difficult situation, there are some rules.
Avoid getting interest to the sister of the owner of Surf Camp, especially if he is South American. You will end up alone in the bar with warm beer...
Do not invite girls to surf, most are wary of surfers. It is a shame, but it's like that.
Do not say that you find corny the tanned and muscular Californian surfer sitting next table, he is perhaps the brother of this American beauty who smiles at you.
Learn Jack Johnson songs on guitar, it can be useful in the evening by the fire on the beach.
Do not convince yourself that this Indonesian girl find you irresistible, especially if it is 3 am and you're catching a cold in the air conditioning at the bar of the Silver Moon nightclub, with your two friends.
Clearly, respect the local girls. They do not need to be there just to bring fun for your holiday, Flee shady places, avoid chasing local girls in Western bars. Beyond diseases, you maintain an ugly system and it is the best way of getting into trouble or serious glitches with weird guys.
Meet together, be relaxed, natural, and what needs to happen may happen.
Doctor Trip Hot : Remember that a surfer has only one fiancée : his board. Infidelity and you'll be punished the next day when she will refuse to drop in the waves and will plant its fins in your bottom.
10 - Custom Zone...
After 1 hour and a half cutting up your boardbag to see if you were not cannabis mules, some heavy and suspicious glances and a quadruple inspection of your passport, welcome to your new destination Surf !
Know this, surfers are suspicious population with most customs and immigration services. Their roots style, the clichés of the broke and drug addict surfer are still alive and will stick to your skin during your stay. Some countries are specialists (Indo, Philippinnes, Morocco), do not play with customs officers, the penalties can be heavy...
Always have the vehicle documents in order, the police will most certainly stop a car with boards on the roof rather than a wobbly local minibus or overloaded freight truck. Think about the bakshish option, it can be useful on the road.
To prevent theft of your belongings (phone, credit cards...) use the safes of the hotel or the reception ones, not the car or any hideout in Surfcamp room.
Make a statement to the local authorities, the document will be useful for your insurance. When you go surfing, do not take all your belongings in the vehicle, divide them. Eg : store your chip phone in a different location than the device, ditto for credit cards, one at the hotel, the other with you.
If you lose or get your passport steal, contact the consulate or embassy asap, waiting too long could prove complications for your return.
Use the travel belt, super convenient to have money, documents and prevent theft or loss. We like this thin and discrete model.
If you end up at the police station, do not say you've come to surf, but rather to study the
tropical flora, orchids specialty. You will spend less time.
At customs formalities counters in the airport, be low profile. Do not invade the terminal with carts filled with 3 boards and playing pinball with passersby. Be courteous, avoid your smug face, remembering your last 5 seconds tube this morning.
Missing your flight back because of minor entanglements with the authorities happens sometimes. You will rely on facebook, but at what cost !...
Doctor Trip Hot : When the customs officer will report his nose from your passport stuck under the scanner and ask you a question with an english accent that sounds like Portuguese seasoned with Italian, prefer the Yes to the No, do not sweat, don't let him repeat the sentence. Do not attempt to joke and do not look back thinking ihe's talking to someone else. Inhale loudly thinking that he love foreigners and he is happy to see you leave the country healthy.
If you recognize one of your misadventures in these 10 Surf trip hassles, it means that you are a normal traveler.
One can ask the question of why we still decided to go back on trip ? No doubt the attraction to the dark side of the world and its mysteries. Good or bad adventure, the laws of chance and luck are the salt of a journey, one that is diluted in the ocean of all these waves we have yet to discover...
I'm gonna make you trippin !
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