With over 20 years of professional surfing experience and nearly 30 years of surf travel under his belt, Pro-Lite team rider Timmy Reyes has logged his fair share of airline miles. After spending several years on the World Championship Tour, Timmy shifted his focus towards surfing remote and unpopulated waves. This wanderlust has provided him the opportunity to earn a paycheck by documenting his travels. He has since surfed world class contending waves from Iceland to Tasmania, Canada to Cabo and most points in between.
Being first and foremost a surfboard travel bag company, a question we at Pro-Lite get asked most frequently other than "What is the best bag for my boards?" is, "How should I pack my boards in the bag for my trip.?" While there are varying opinions on the matter internally, we decided to ask Timmy, a seasoned traveler, "What are your top 5 tips when packing for a surf trip?" What follows are some of the overlooked aspects of packing for a trip as well as some techniques that will hopefully keep your quiver protected on your next flight.
Timmy's Tip #1: Don't over pack your bag.
"If a bag is heavier, it is more likely to get mishandled, dropped and have harder impacts when being loaded and unloaded from the plane. Lighter is always better! If your going to use anything to give added protection I would say use bubble wrap because it's light, but I just throw some boardshorts on the nose and tail and maybe a wetsuit at most.
Timmy's Tip #2: Travel with less boards.
"I almost never carry more than 3-4 boards on a trip. I feel like a lot of people travel with too many boards. Try to use surf forecasting to your advantage when deciding which boards to take. While every destination is different, I like to carry a fish or groveler, a shortboard and maybe a step up or two depending on the forcast. I would think most people can get away with 3, the rest just end up along for the ride and become a hassle."
Timmy's Tip #3: Use board socks in your travel bag.
"I use the old school surfboard socks in all my travel bags. They keep the boards separated so no waxy mess gets on the bottom of them. They also work great as a towel so you don't have to pack a ton of extra stuff. It serves a purpose both while traveling and going to the beach."
Timmy's Tip #3: Use the fin storage pockets in your boardbag.
"One of the best features on my Pro-Lite travel bags is the fin storage pockets. Loose fins have destroyed so many of my surfboards while in transition from the airport to car etc. They will fly around and cram themselves into random places in the bag, then when something gets stacked on top of them, they can crack, stab or ding your board. It happens more than you would think!"
Timmy's Tip # 5: Less is more.
I like to carry as little as possible when I travel. You have to remember why you're on a surf trip, it should be to get away and score some uncrowded waves. If you get skunked, it is easy to dive into your computer, iphone, or Netflix which defeats the purpose of why you got away in the first place. Boredom leads to adventure. All of the stuff you normally turn to when your bored will be there when you get home, without those distractions i'm more motivated to get out there and explore. When you travel light it gives you the means to be more mobile, to get out there and find new spots and just be content with your surroundings. I like most of my gear to fit in my backpack and surfboard bag without adding a lot of weight.
After years of getting hassled by the airlines with seemingly increasing baggage fees and paying on a per board basis, Timmy helped us come up with a surfboard travel bag that allows you to take three boards, but only show two when checked. The Smuggler Series was born and has been his go to bag since. A video explaining how the bag works can be viewed on the product page in the link above.