There’s nothing more exciting than when you have just stepped off the plane in a foreign country ready for a few weeks of waves and warm water; except if on arriving at your destination to find your boards battered, or even worse broken.
January is a popular time for us Brits to escape the harsh winter and head to warmer climates in search of sun and surf- so we caught up with team rider Stu Campbell ahead of his winter travels for some invaluable advice on packing boards.
If you have removable fins it’s a must to take them out for ease of packing. If you have fixed fins then get a black of foam to put over them. De-waxing isn’t essential, but if your heading somewhere tropical and your going to be hanging around for buses etc then it avoids a sticky situation when you come to unpack your boards, and if you are lucky enough to be heading somewhere warm your going to need different wax anyway so it will mean you can get in there quicker at the other end.
All bulky soft items such as towels, wetsuits, dryrobes, beach blankets, hoodies etc are great for cushioning your boards and protecting them, so save room in your luggage and use them in your board bag. If your packing light and still want to cushion your boards bubble wrap is your best bet, and/or pipe insulation on the rails. Don’t only use cushioning on the nose and tail, but between boards too, but watch out for leashes and other hard items getting stuck between boards as this could cause pressure dings.
It is best to order boards by rocker, the flattest boards at the bottom, and generally by length too, longest at the bottom. Sandwiching a board with a lot of rocker between two flatties will cause obvious problems.
When tightening the clip straps around your boards in the bag be careful to tighten them gradually alternating between the two. Pulling the tail end super tight and then moving to the nose strap and yanking that one tight could break your boards even before you’ve left home. Easy does it. If you don’t have straps then try to wrap your boards so as they are a single unit and don’t move about individually inside the bag.
Make sure you put a clear luggage tag on the outside of your bag with your name, address, phone number, and probably most important, your email. Don’t be tempted to put a padlock on your board bag, oversized baggage is often checked by security and if the bag isn’t easy for them to open then they will find another way to open it, probably by cutting it or breaking the zip.
Probably the most important tip of all is to check your boards AS SOON as you get them back at baggage claim at the other end. Most likely you will be in a hurry to get out of the airport, but if you then get to your destination to find your boards were damaged in transit and you didn’t alert the airline, your insurance won’t pay out. Bummer.
If your using a taxi where the boards need to go on the roof, don’t leave the taxi man to it, check the straps with him and be responsible for your own things. Use the loops/handles on the outside of most board bags to put the straps through. Stu said this is his most valuable tip as he once lost a board at night in Gran Canaria that was on the roof when they set off on the drive, and was nowhere to be seen when he arrived. Whoops. If your putting boards in the back of a pick up then still strap them down to stop them banging around.
Safe travels all, you can blame Stu if something goes wrong, ha.