Traveling With Surfboards (Complete Guide) 

Whether it’s your first-ever surf trip or you’re torn on whether to take boards on your next venture, it’s always a worry and hassle traveling with surfboards. But don’t stress, here’s everything you need to know about taking your sticks on a plane, from who to fly with and how to pack. But first, is taking surfboards worth it? 

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Is Travelling with Surfboards Worth it? 

When deciding if taking surfboards on your trip is worth it, you have to consider several criteria. 

Your surfboard 

Does your board affect your surfing? Do you have a new custom board, specifically designed for you and that’s allowing you to take that next step in your surfing progression? Or, are you riding a battered-up second-hander you found on the Facebook marketplace? For me, it’s only worth it if not having your board(s) is going to hinder your surfing enjoyment. If it’s not, then you probably don’t need to take them. 

Surfboard availability 

Another thing to consider is if your destination has boards to hire/buy. I’ve found many places around the world are better or worse than others in terms of availability and variety. If you’re heading to remote Indonesia or the depths of Africa, surf shops are hard to come by. Whereas, in places like Bali, the Gold Coast, or California, you’ve got more boards than you could ever hope to ride! 

Is it a Dedicated Surf Trip?

Do you plan on just heading to the coast for a short time, and are you going to head inland to do some Hiking or check out cities–will traveling with surfboards make this annoying? I don’t travel far from the sea, but when I do, it’s super annoying having to carry a 20kg/6ft long board bag around with you. I did this in Peru to visit Machu Picchu, and yes it was frickin annoying! 

Bells Beach - Australia || Worth Flying Log Haul For...

How to Choose a Surfboard Bag?

The next most important thing is getting a great board bag! I’ve used a few different ones over the years, but right now I’m using this Ocean & Earth one, which is pretty good, and lasted me 5 years of rigorous surf travel. But whatever you choose, here are some key criteria to consider. 

Size (Bigger than Your Board) 

You need a board bag a few inches or even half a foot larger than your actual boards. This allows you to pack other things in there, such as coats and jackets for extra padding around the nose and tail. 


The best board bags always have decent padding, and this is important! If you skimp out and buy a cheap crappy board bag, it’s just not gonna give you the same level of protection as a decent one. I’m all for saving money, but this is an area of surf travel where a few hundred dollars can go a long way.


I like to have a few different compartments to keep wax, zinc, fin keys, bits and bobs, etc… It’s all pretty helpful as you don’t want these things flying around loose in your bag. Check out this post for more information on the best surfboard bags for surf travel. 

People queuing in the airport check-in area

How to Pack a Surfboard Bag?

How Much Does Traveling with Surfboards Cost?

This will largely depend on your airline. Some of the best airlines include Emirates, Etihad, Qatar, Qantas, and KLM. Whereas ones to avoid include; Hawaiian Airlines, China Airways, Japan Airlines, and Fiji Airways. For more information on the best airlines to travel with, check out my surfboard baggage fees guide.

Final Words

Traveling with surfboards is always going to be annoying. But if you’ve got a board or multiple, that are going to allow you to surf better, progress, and enjoy your trip more, it’s always better to have them than not! However, if you’re going on a trip, where surfing might be a secondary reason, taking boards probably isn’t worth it! Any questions please comment below. For more information, check out my YouTube Channel. 

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