Your ideal surf travel quiver
Having your perfect quiver, your collection of surfboards to have the right board for the right conditions is a never-ending quest. From shortboard to longboard, from Twin fin to SUP, and everything in between… having another option of what to surf, can make the decision more difficult. But the possibilities for fun are endless.
But what about a surf travel quiver?
Three boards would be ideal. Sure, pros have to travel with more than this. But you really don’t want to do it! Having three shortboards/ fish etc. in your board bag is bulky and heavy. But it is still manageable. A good triple board bag (without wheels) including the boards, and some boardshorts, towels, and clothes stuffed around it, should be under 30 kg. With this, you’re still allowed to fly. And a lot of good airlines don’t even charge you extra.
Keep in mind, 30kg is a lot! If you only have to carry it from the airport to your rental car, or to the waiting speedboat in the Maldives, this is ok. But if you want to travel around a bit, it’s too heavy in my opinion.
One board quiver
If you always surf the same board, you really know the feel of it, and how it reacts. This can be helpful if the conditions reach the upper end of your comfort zone. On the other hand, if you’re really used to it, (and have the right board) you can surf it in less than ideal conditions and smaller waves too. And it makes traveling so much easier and gives you options you don’t have with a big boardbag. I did trips with only one board, and it is doable. But if you really want to surf, traveling with two boards is in my opinion way better.
Looking at shortboards as one-board quivers, they usually have a few things in common. These boards are well-balanced step-down boards, as I like to call them. They have a bit less rocker, are a bit wider, and have the widest point more to the front. In short, they are designed to help you paddle faster and catch the wave earlier and easier. This is crucial in small and weak waves. But at the same time, it can help to do a take-off before it gets too steep in bigger waves.
Step-down boards are designed to be surfed in less than perfect waves, and this is what most of us surf very often. If the waves get flawless every now and then, the wave is doing the work and you can surf whatever you want. This means you lose a bit of performance in your step-down board. But if you’re honest, just having a high-performance board doesn’t make you a high performer!
The other downside is, that if the waves get really steep and big, these boards give you less hold than shapes that are designed for exactly this.
But how often are you going to surf big and hollow waves on your trip? If you are going to surf only such waves, your one board quiver should definitely be a board that is made for this. But if only one day per month is going to be like this, is it worth carrying a board around for this one day? If your answer is yes, your two board travel quiver is easily packed!
Two board travel quiver
Option #1: Normal and bigger waves
No doubt. You have to bring your every-days board. The one we were just talking about. And if your destination is going to have big(ger) waves regularly, you have to bring a step-up board. A board that is probably a bit longer than what you usually surf, but with around the same volume. This makes the board thinner/ narrower. But with more rocker, it will still have a good maneuverability. And if the waves offer enough space, you can surf it and turn it like a smaller board. You could call this board a high-performance good wave board.
My step-up is around 6 inches longer with pretty much the same volume. It does feel long when I’m on it. But this gives me a mental advantage, as I tell myself: “This is my board for the big days, the drop is going to be easy, and it will hold!” And if the waves are actually big enough, it is surprisingly agile. But as I am so used to my “normal” board, it needs to be a good size day for me to take it out. But if I do, I know it’s going to be a session to remember!
If you need something for even bigger days, you would pack a big wave board and have to surf your everyday board until it gets too big.
With a big wave board, you need something even longer, but also more volume. This is probably not a high-performance board anymore, as you’re looking for good hold in down-the-line surfing. Maybe barrels and some big carves. Now we’re talking about a semi gun or a gun.
Option #2: Normal and smaller waves
The other possibility is, to bring your everyday board and an extra small waves board. This does make sense, as you usually get more smaller days than bigger days. During months and years of surf trips all around the world, I often had only 1-2 days per month, when I really needed my step-up board. But having something to have extra fun when it gets small, comes in handy more often. This depends definitely on the destination and season of your trip. But will be the same for most of us and many destinations.
Your everyday board is your everyday board, because you hopefully are going to surf it on most days. But having a board for smaller days or weaker waves makes often a big difference. I started a while ago to travel to destinations where I didn’t think that I will have great waves every day. But the destinations were interesting to me, and I want to discover something new. Like the Dominican Republic for example. It was a great trip and I loved every single day of it. But to be honest, I wouldn’t have had so much fun, if it wasn’t for my twin fin!
Option 3 board quiver: You have to carry a lot
Option Step-down: You have to surf your normal board when it gets big and perfect, BUT you’ve got more fun when it gets very small
Option Step-up: You have to surf and struggle with your normal board when it gets very small, but you’re equipped for the big days. Or you simply take a day off from surfing when it gets too small…
How to chose the right boards to pack
You have to think about the range of waves you can surf with each board, and where they are at their best. Of course, the surfability of your boards will overlap. You should try to get the biggest surfable range with two boards, while the range of ideal wave size is not overlapping. And on top of this, having that range of ideal wave size around there, where you expect the waves to be.
5’5” Roby Hendra Twin Fin
Surf from almost nothing to head high
Ideal in clean, mellow, and weak waves
5’10” Studer Fusion
Surf from hip-high to overhead
Ideal in chest high to slightly over high
6’4” Semente Hitch
Surfs from chest-high to double overhead
Ideal in overhead and more
These three boards cover everything I surf. To bring them all is the perfect travel quiver for a trip that is pure wave consumption. If there is nothing but surf, or if there is a rental car waiting outside the airport… why not? I brought them with me on a boat trip in the Maldives and was more than happy to have them all. Same in Morocco. BUT I don’t like to travel like that! And this is what your travel quiver is… a compromise!