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Posts Tagged ‘Chris Lisanti travels to Oxnard late at night in search of midget hookers.’

This will be the second to last UCB of the winter quarter, the final one being this week’s.  The double points blog is still up for grabs since I have yet to see a topic worth while.  That means there are still potentially three points up for grabs making it anyone’s game against the untouchable Kooky Kyle.   Nick the Kook wins this week with a topic he posted about a month or so ago asking what I thought to be the most important items to pack for a surf trip.  This is a question I have been asked by many people on different occasions and that being the case decided it is about time to put it here for all to benefit from.

The most important thing to do before even considering what to bring is doing a bit of research on the place you intend to visit.  Im not just talking internet and surf guides for information. Those are great.  Before I go anywhere I always like to get in touch with someone who has been to the destination before.  There is no advice better then first hand.  In todays global surf world where traversing the world in search of the best waves has become as easy as scratching your ass one does not have to look to far to find someone who has been to a place you want to go.

The facts on a potential surf trip are crucial to packing the correct gear.  Basically its a tool box, like I said a while back in the blog about building the perfect quiver (click here for that gem of knowledge), you put the right tools in to get the job done.  Questions you should ask are

  1. What is the weather/water temp
  2. What is the average surf height for the season I am traveling
  3. How big will I surf it, how hard do I want to charge?
  4. Are surf shops readily available?
  5. What type of accommodations will I be staying in?
  6. What is the airline’s surfboard travel policy?
  7. Does the country Im traveling to tax surfboards?
  8. Is there reef and if so how sharp?
  9. What health issues should I be prepared for?
  10. Is medical help easily found?
  11. How long am I going to be traveling?

These questions are super important to take into consideration.    Depending on the weather that will determine what type and range of clothing to bring.  If you are going to a tropical climate then your looking at a few pairs of baggies and t-shirts.  If your going to Ireland you will probably want to pack your warm clothes.  The same goes with wet suits.   In may opinion if your are going someplace that requires a suit bring two.  Having a dry wettie is invaluable when your contemplating a second or third session and conditions are less then desirable.

Remember you are traveling to surf and that means surfing as much as possible.   It always blows my mind when people go on surf trips and barely put in one session a day.  When I go on a surf trip thats all I do is surf.  As a  matter of fact I think the only time Im not surfing is for meals and traveling from one surf spot to the next.

Questions 2 through 7 are key for determining how many what types of boards you should bring.  Back when I was traveling all the time in most cases you could get away with a coffin filled with 5-6 boards for no more then $100 bucks each way  and that was considered getting raped.  These days if you can get one way with two boards for under $200 your thanking your lucky stars.  That is why picking the right boards is really important.

Thanks to great advances in surf forecasting you can get a rather accurate five day surf report, and a semi accurate 8-10 day report for just about every location in the world.  If your only going to a place for seven days and the forecast is not calling for anything bigger then six foot I would leave the guns at home and maybe bring a fish.  I spent more energy lugging big boards all over the place only to have them in the corner of my hotel room collecting dust.  I had a 6’6 Merrick step up that I think went on about four different trips with me and I only rode the thing once and that was because I broke all my other boards.

These days if I know the place I am going has plenty of surf shops and no shortage of  boards I only bring two or three boards the most.  If I am going to place like California or Australia where there are more surfboards then people I would consider not bringing any boards at all and just buying what I need used there.  With the exuberant board fees right now it costs about the same anyway, but with out the hassle of lugging around a bulky heavy board bag.  Its fun to ride boards shaped for the place your visiting and get a new take on surfboard design.  If your not a charger dont bother bringing a gun, most places in the world have spots that are always fun no matter how big the buoys are reading.

Once again if surf shops are readily available like Oz or Cali I dont bring extra gear.  Why schlep it around when you can just buy a spare leash or bar of wax?  Accommodations are something you must really think about when packing.  If you are going to stay in dormitory/hostel style lodging (the most affordable for the budget surf traveler, which the majority of us are) I would pack as light as possible.  These types of places usually cram as many beds into one room as possible leaving little room for bags.  The ability to lock up valuables is usually rare as well thus you usually have to always take your belongings with you every time you go out for the day.

That being said I am totally a fan of hostel traveling.  There is no better way to meet and experience people from all different cultures then to live in a multi person dorm for a few days or weeks.  I know when I was cruising around New Zealand I met tons of interesting people at the hostels I was passing through.  Its usually a fun time and for the solo traveler (the only way to go if you ask me) nothing makes socializing easier.  If you show up with an open mind there is no telling what might happen.  If your are crashing on couches for friends I would pack light as well.  No one likes when there house guest’s shit is all over their living room.

Medical supplies are always an important concern.  My rule of thumb has always been if there is something I need to have I bring it with me, especially prescription medication.  I dont care where you go if you forget prescription meds that you need to take it is going to be a head ache at best getting more.  I usually pack a small first aid kit with different size band aids, tweezers, scissors, gauze, medical tape, clear packing tape, crazy glue (put it in wounds to close them up), bedodine, neosporene, and lots of Ibuprofen.  If you are traveling third world it is a good idea to get your hands on some generic strong anti biotics like zythromax just in case you start feeling sick.  In these places some type of anti-diarrhetic is probably a good idea as well.  In countries with high risk of malaria, malaria tablets are a must.

The amount of time you plan on traveling must come into play at some point.  If I am traveling for less then two weeks I bring about four sets of clothes.  When I am traveling for months then I take into account the span of seasons and pack double the amount than I would for a short trip.  Finally if you are going to be surfing over shallow, sharp reef packing a set of reef booties may be a smart idea.  It sucks to have to sit out any time of a surf trip courtesy of reef gashes.  In places where surf gear is scarce things like wax, surf stickers, t-shirts, etc.  can be used as currency.  On a trip to Costa Rica a friend of mine traded two Volcom t’s for a kings ransom of free meals from this one restaurant cause the owner loved Volcom clothing and could not buy it there.

I hope some of this information will be useful.  I felt like a bit of a hippocrate writing this blog since the last surf trip I have been on was like two years ago.  These days the only traveling I do is to New Jersey to see my folks and have all sorts of terrible mishaps happen to me.  As Chicken said in “…lost Across America” “I only get to go on the cheap trips like to the liquor store” , a mantra that seems to hold true for me these days.  When I go up to Jalama or Malibu for the day its sort of a mini surf trip.  Dont cry for me though folks I surf amazing waves all the time and stay wet nearly everyday right here in my beloved Santa Barbara.  Maybe Im on a permanent surf trip of sorts?  One more thing dont forget a jumbo roll of duct tape.  The shit has so many versatile uses is crazy.

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions....

I bet she would fit in your suit case.

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