The Rookie’s Guide to Planning a Surf Trip
First of all, if you’ve been overseas on a surf trip before, there’s probably not too much information contained in here you don’t already know!
The following general advice is intended for those new to surf travel.
The steps involved for planning any surf trip – no matter how many times you’ve been – never change. Here they are.
Step 1: Determine your priorities
If, like the rest of us first-world schmucks, you’ve only got a handful of holiday weeks up your sleeve every year, you want to make your surf vacation count. So you really want to figure out what you want to get out of it. Do you want to do nothing but surf your brains out for ten days? Or are you taking your family and want to fit a daily surf around activities with them? Do you want luxury, or are you happy with rustic? Do you want to escape the human race all together or are you happy to surf with a bit of company?
Establishing your priorities at the outset will make choosing your location and provider a lot easier.
Step 2: Where and when?
OK. How far are you willing to travel? If a destination on the other side of the planet looks appealing, are you willing to have transit gobble up a few days either end of your holidays? And while some people thrive on this aspect of the journey, others find it too stressful. Regardless, it always helps to travel with people who’ve done it before.
With your budgets and boundaries set, you’re now at liberty to spin the proverbial globe (i.e. trawl the internet) and dream of destinations.
A point to note is that surf is a seasonal thing: a surf zone that’s delightful in December might be not so crash hot in June – which brings us to a VERY interesting conundrum! If one of your priorities (see step 1) is avoiding crowds in the lineup, then an ‘off season’ or ‘shoulder season’ trip might deliver fun waves with less people around… We’ll just plant that thought and let it torture you as it has countless other surfers.
Step 3: Accommodations
For many surfers over the years, the quality of accommodation has been almost incidental to the surf. But now, with the surf travel game lifting across the board, well, why wouldn’t you want to enjoy your digs? Here’s a few quick details that Pegasus guests have said make their stays all the more enjoyable.
Quality Sleep – Comfy beds with linen washed and changed regularly, daily housekeeping, and sleeping quarters positioned away from things that generate noise through the night, like generators or a certain group of Australians repeat visitors (you know who you are).
Quality Food – You’ll be amazed at your appetite if you’re scoring two long sessions a day. Most surf camps and resorts offer pretty good tucker, but a good indicator of how seriously a surf resort takes their provisioning is if there’s any consultation with guests prior to arrival regarding dietary needs or preferences.
Quality Transfers – A third consideration that's often overlooked is the transportation services on offer. From airport transfers, to the boats taking you to the various breaks every day. Ease of mobility is a HUGE factor in what makes a surf trip as good as it can be. See what past guests have to say about this in their reviews.
Step 4: Booking Your Trip
At this point you have your priorities set, you’ve researched the best surf spots and best times of the year to go, and you’ve got a budget.
If your travel dates are flexible, you may want to focus on your search for flights first. Be sure to check with your travel agent so you know the dates when accommodations are available, then try to find the cheapest flights among those dates. Depending on the season, you may have more options to choose from.
There are plenty of resorts, hotels, fales and more to drop your bags at while you hit the surf, however some will offer a better experience than others. Be sure to do your research on the place you’d like to stay – read reviews from past travellers, check out their social media, and give them a call to get an idea for the type of service you’ll receive.
Step 5: Enjoy the Anticipation!
It’s an important part of the whole experience! Swim laps to get your paddling fitness up; count the days down; trawl You Tube clips; annoy your friends on Social Media by reminding them of your impending journey; picture yourself there in a month, then a week, then – before you know it, you’re ensuring tray tables are in the upright position and seatbelts are fastened securely – the clouds release you and you’re descending on a land covered in palm trees, and the late afternoon sun has a smoky hue over the water. Not long now.