Should you bring your own surfboard on vacation?

August 11, 2017

Are you going on a big surf trip soon and you can’t decide whether to take your surf board or rent one when you get there? We’ve weighed up all the options and explored the pros and cons of each one so you can get back to the important questions like “how many pairs of boardshorts should I take?”


Everything’s pretty much sorted, but you can’t decide what to do about a surf board. You’re terrified about taking your board with you – you’ve heard what those baggage handlers do to surfboards.


Then there’s airline charges, anything from $50 to $300 each way. You could buy a whole new surfboard for that price! Renting a board when you get there might be better...


But you’re not sure what sort of boards you’ll be able to get in the remote town you’re going to, what if they’ve only got crappy foam boards, or tiny short boards? What if you get there and you surf terribly because you can’t find a decent board?


There's tons of things to consider, therefore we’ve listed the pros and cons of taking your board with you vs renting one when you get there.


Option 1: Take your board



  • You’ll be comfortable on the board

  • You won’t have to search to find a board when you get there

  • You can get straight in the water


  • It might be expensive to get it there

  • It might get damaged

  • You have to carry it around with you. With a backpack and rucksack, having a board bag as well can be a nightmare on buses, even worse in taxis and walking round town trying to find somewhere to stay

Airlines are notorious for destroying surf boards. We’ve all heard the horror stories but is it really as bad as that? Some people travel with their boards and never have any problems, some people take their board once and never again after they baggage handlers dropped it/stood on it/snapped off the nose/used it as a battering ram…


A coffin case is another option as the hard sides take the brunt of any damage, but they’re not cheap, and not 100% guaranteed to keep your board safe anyway.


If you baby your board, or it’s brand new, maybe it’s best not to take it. But remember there’s also just as much chance that you’ll ding your board yourself when you’re there, or even when you’re at home, whether that’s getting it on and off of cars and buses, riding it over rocks you didn’t know were there, letting it blow down the beach, leaving it outside, etc...


Option 2: Rent a board when you’re there


Sometimes for the cost of taking your board, you could actually rent a board the whole time for the same amount or less, and you don’t have to risk damaging your board



  • You don’t have to pay to take your board or worry about damage

  • You don’t have to carry your board around with you all the time

  • You can easily change the board whenever you like, so as your fitness improves or the waves change, you can get the right board for the conditions

  • You only pay for the days you actually surf – great if you’re going to be spending a lot of time travelling or doing other activities.


  • You have to find a surf shop that has a board you want when you get there

  • You might not be able to get the board you want

  • If you’re going for longer it could work out quite expensive

  • If you’re travelling around a lot, you have to find a rental shop with a decent board in every new place

Finding a good board to rent may be difficult, if not impossible, without actually being at your destination and seeing what the situation is. Thankfully, there's an upcoming service called Lendr which allows you to locate a wide variety of rental items, including surfboards, and compare them based on price, location, and more & then book your rental in advance. That way, you can see what you're getting, and lock it down beforehand so you don't need to stress.


What’s your experience of travelling with your surfboard? Tell us in the comments below…

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