Surfboard Travel Quivers [3 Great Options]

by Fraser
Published: Last Updated:
quiver ©thefreesurfer.com

Your Ideal Surfboard Quiver

Having your perfect snowboard quiver (your collection of surfboards to suit most conditions) is a never-ending quest.

Trust me, I’ve been working on mine for years!

From shortboard to longboard, from Twin fin to SUP, and everything in between…  Having options for different waves and conditions is essential.

But this process becomes even more difficult when you’re travelling (unless you have the worlds largest board bag?). 

So let’s take a look at how to compile a surfboard travel quiver!

The Perfect Surfboard Travel Quiver?

Three boards is ideal.

Sure, pros have to travel with more than this. But you really don’t want to do this!

Having three shortboards/fish etc. in your board bag is bulky and heavy. But it is still just about 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 (I’ll resist the urge to name the bad ones here). 

Keep in mind, 30kg is a lot!

If you only have to carry it from the airport to your rental car, or to the speedboat in the Maldives, this is ok. But if you want to travel around a bit, it’s too heavy in my opinion.

So what are the other options for a travel quiver? 

1. The One Board Quiver

Lip tech surfboard travel quiver thefreesurfer.com

The same board, surfed at the upper and lower end of its range. It works… but is definitely not ideal.

Some surfers will only ever travel with one surfboard. The “chosen one”. In some ways, this makes a lot of sense.

If you always surf the same board, you’ll 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. I’ve done trips with just one board, and it is doable. But if you really want to surf, traveling with two boards is way better (in my humble opinion).

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). When used as a a one board quiver, you’ll often want a bit less rocker, a little more width, and the widest point more towards 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 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 do turn 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 Downsides?

If the waves get really steep and big, these “good all-rounder” 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? Be honest.

If you are only going to surf such waves, your one board quiver should definitely be designed for this. But if just one day per month is going to be like this, is it worth carrying a board around with you for this one day?

If your answer is yes, sounds like you need a two snowboard travel quiver!

2. Two Board Travel Quiver

Option #1: Normal and Bigger Waves

Step up surf travel quiver

My surf travel quiver a few years ago. Worked in most destinations and seasons! (more about the Semente boards here)

No doubt, you still need to bring your “every-day board”. The one we just talked about as a one-board quiver.

Then if your destination is going to have big(ger) waves regularly, you should probably bring a step-up board. This board is probably a bit longer than what you usually surf, but with around the same volume. This makes the board thinner/ narrower. But with a little 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 Board?

I aim for around 6 inches longer, with pretty much the same volume. It does feel a little 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!”

When Do I Use It?

When the waves are actually big enough, it’s also surprisingly agile. But as I am so used to my “normal” board, it needs to be a good size day for me to take out the step-up. But when 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 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 even some barrels and big carves. Now we’re talking about a semi gun or a gun.

Option #2: Normal and Smaller Waves

step down surf travel quiver

My travel surfboard quiver on most trips now. A twin fin that works in almost nothing (weak waves) and my trusted everyday board that works up to a good size.

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 my months and years of surf trips around the world, I probably had 1-2 days per month when I really needed my step-up board. But having something to have extra fun when it gets small, came in handy much more often.

But this depends on the destination and season of your trip (which will be the same for many of us). 

Having a board for smaller days or weaker waves makes a big difference. I started to travel to destinations where I didn’t expect great waves every day. But the destinations were interesting and I wanted 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!

surfing a twin fin small wave board

Small and weak but empty waves in the Caribbean. But nevertheless great fun with the right board

3. Three Board Travel Quivers

As discussed, covers you for all conditions. But you have to carry a lot!

How To Choose The Right Boards To Pack

Think about the range of waves you can surf with each board. Where a dn when are they at their best?

Of course, the surfability of your boards will overlap. You should therefore try to get the biggest surfable range with two boards, without overlapping the ideal wave size range for each board too much.

Examples:

5’5” Roby Hendra Twin Fin

Conditions: Surf from almost nothing to head high 
Ideal waves: clean, mellow, and weak waves

5’10” Studer Fusion

Conditions: Surf from hip-high to overhead
Ideal Waves: Ideal in chest high to slightly overhead 

6’4” Semente Hitch

Conditions: Surfs from chest-high to double overhead
Ideal Waves: Ideal in overhead and above

surfboard travel quiver explained

To give you an idea of how to choose the boards for your surf travel quiver. Consider what range will the waves most likely be? What board can you surf then?What board would you like to surf then?

These three boards cover everything I surf. Bringing them would be 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! Which is exactly what your travel quiver is for… a compromise!

Conclusion: A Surfboard Travel Quiver Is a Compromise… Always!

But that’s enough about me and my own travel quiver musings…

How about you?

What setup do you like to bring to your more far-flung surf destinations?

Let me know in the comments below! 

Equally, if you’re completely stuck between 2 boards, I’m more than happy to lend my thoughts. 

Happy travels!

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