Surfboards, the ultimate dilemma, which sizes to take? How many to take? What if the forecast is wrong?...
All of these are valid concerns, and there are many situations in which it is normal to bring another board, in fact most people do. Personal experience has told us that two boards is enough to cover the majority of situations, and any more can often be a burden, with extra airline fees, and just making it harder to get around.
We will often bring a high-performance shortboard and a groveler. But, your choice of boards will usually come down to your own personal preference and what you're comfortable surfing.
2. Board Bags
Surfboard bags are essential, they are the first line of defence against a bumpy drive and an uncaring baggage handler. With this in mind you need to choose wisely, something light is always good, although don't compromise protection - we'd recommend using a board sock, or even layering your wetsuit on your board. Another thing to add is how your board should fit in its bag, you want it to be tight, but not too tight - we would advice going a size larger on your board bag than your board, this also gives you space for some added protection.
3. Wetsuits and Boots
There's no sugar coating it, a good wetsuit is the difference between a trip being comfortable and completely unbearable. Lucky for you, we've got you covered. The best piece of advice we can give you is do as much research as possible about where you are going, especially the water temperature at the given time of year - for those colder temps you're going to want something on the thicker side, at least 4/3 and consider a hood, separate or attached. For those warmer climates you're going to want something thinner, no more than a 3/2, in fact it might be so hot that you wont need a suit altogether, lucky you! In that case grab a good pair of board-shorts and a nice rash vest to avoid burns.
Another thing to consider is a good pair of boots, if you're going somewhere with some sharp reefs these are going to be essential - there's not much worse than getting slashed on your first day.
4. Leashes and Fins
These really go hand in hand when it comes to essentials, and not being prepared for a little bad luck can really make or break your trip. With this in mind we would insist that you take more than one set of fins - they are light and easily packable, and doing this can be a real life saver, especially out in the middle of nowhere without a surf shop in sight.
Moving onto leashes - as you probably know, these can break. We'd recommend taking one or two thinner leashes for those days that you're not going as hard, and a thicker one for when you want to throw down on some bigger surf.
5. Necessary extras
The smaller things are easily forgotten, and dearly missed. First things first, don't forget to pack a surfboard repair kit - even with two boards it's better to be safe than sorry. We'd recommend grabbing an elephant seal repair kit, it's light and very easy to slot in a pocket.
Another piece of kit that can easily be left on the kitchen counter is that pesky fin key, from our experience getting a couple and just putting your spare in a smaller backpack pocket is a good way to avoid losing one.
Something else we'd advise, especially for those colder climates, are some surf ear plugs, stopping swimmers and surfers ear and keeping you comfortable and worry free.
One more thing to add, is remember to grab some extra wax on your way out the door, you can never have enough!