Surf retreats are a huge deal in the surfing world. Besides being an opportunity to have fun, surf retreats help you to perfect your skill as a surfer. For instance, besides learning from a network of other surfers, you also get to practice and become better at the sport.
A surf retreat also includes other activities, like spa treatments and a host of cultural experiences. This helps you make new friends and relax while doing something you love. Similarly, surf retreats are a way for newbies to be introduced to the sport. Learning from experienced surfers as a beginner can be vital in sharpening your skill.
For an even better experience, you need to have some surfing essentials with you. Regardless of whether you’re a beginner or an experienced one, the list of essentials is the same. These items include:
Swimwear is vital when going out in the water, and more so for a surf retreat. When choosing your swimwear, you want to choose something that’s comfortable, like the ones found at https://bydeeaus.com/. A non-slip design that flatters and supports your body is also a viable option.
Surfing is a physical sport, that’s why choosing swimwear that doesn’t restrict movement is significant. You also want to look and feel great when you’re participating in the sport, which is where the aspect of comfort comes in.
There are numerous types of swimwear to choose from, including wetsuits, board shorts, spring suits, bikinis, monokinis, rash guards, and so on. But, a vital point to consider is the water temperature, as it’ll help you decide the right level of thickness you should opt for.
2. Sun Protection
Most surf retreats are organized in tropical locations. As such, you need to plan how you’ll protect your skin from the unforgiving sun. One sure way of cushioning yourself from the ultraviolet rays is by using sunscreen. Don’t just assume that you’re safe because you’re in a long-sleeved bathing suit, as your face is still exposed to the sun.
When selecting a sunscreen, make sure it’s SPF 50 and above. Also, remember to apply it every morning and reapply it throughout the day, regardless of how the weather looks. More importantly, choose a waterproof sunscreen to reduce the rate at which you need to reapply.
Another sun protection item you want to add to your packing list is a pair of sunglasses. A cheap pair is okay, especially if there’s a chance that you’ll lose it at the retreat. A polarized pair of sunglasses is also good for your eyes to minimize the sun’s glare.
In addition, a surf hat is a good investment for a surf retreat. It not only safeguards you from the oceanic environment, but also from the sun. Such types of hats are designed to stay put on your head even in the face of tidal surges. This offers your head and neck much-needed protection from the sun.
A surfboard is one of the key essentials for a surf retreat because you can’t participate in the sport without one. Nonetheless, it’d help if you’re keen when selecting a surfboard because picking the wrong one can make surfing less exciting.
One factor you need to consider is the length. For beginners, the recommended length is between 8 and 9 inches. Meanwhile, experienced surfers should bring the board(s) they’re most comfortable using.
Another surfboard feature to consider is the top. The top of the surfboard could be hard, foam, or soft. The recommended surfboard tops for beginners are foam or soft because they minimize your chances of being injured in case you fall. Nonetheless, soft-topped surfboards are recommended for regular surfing and are also more long-lasting.
Hard-topped surfboards are also a good choice for regular surfers, provided you wax them often. Nevertheless, if you’re a beginner, you may not know how to use wax. Also, you may possibly be injured if you fall off a hard-topped surfboard. That’s why soft-topped boards are the recommended option.
This surf retreat essential doubles as a travel accessory. If you prefer silence when traveling, earplugs are the perfect accessory for you. They’ll also come in handy if you happen to stay next to noisy neighbors during the retreat.
In addition, earplugs keep water off your ears; thus, protecting you from hearing loss. Over time, surfing in water with low temperatures without earplugs puts your hearing in danger.
For instance, cold-water surfing can result in the formation of small bones in your ear channel. This can lead to an ear infection or, worse, hearing loss. Consequently, you’d have to undergo surgery to be cured, which can be quite costly. That’s why it’s fitting to invest in a pair of earplugs.
A towel is a vital item for a surfing retreat, considering that you’ll be in contact with water a lot. If you want something that’ll dry faster, a microfiber towel is the recommended option. This is because it allows for faster absorption due to its lightweight nature. In addition, it only takes up little space in your travel bag, which leaves you with enough room for other essentials.
Nevertheless, beach towels are also a viable option if you don’t mind how bulky they are. You need at least two, so you can alternate between them. Carrying more than one beach towel reduces the need for laundry. It also allows you to use one as the other dries.
You may not consider a pair of booties in water fashionable, but they have some important benefits. For starters, they enable you to surf in cold water with ease. This helps you to enjoy yourself despite cold temperatures.
Additionally, sharp reefs and sea urchins can cause injuries that may restrict you from being in the water for a while. For instance, a sharp reef may leave you with a nasty cut that takes a while to heal. Spending your time at a surf retreat nursing a cut as opposed to enjoying the sport is a mood killer.
On the other hand, sea urchins can also cause injuries that may ruin your experience at the retreat. For instance, a sea urchin bite can be dangerous to the point of being fatal. Furthermore, sea urchins are particularly dangerous in that they may trigger mild or possibly fatal allergic reactions. Therefore, a history of allergic reactions resulting from stings or bites is sufficient reason to stay on guard.
Booties can keep you safe from all these complications and make your surf retreat experience memorable.
7. Surf Leash
A surf leash is a vital tool that every surfer needs to keep themselves safe while in the water. Whether you’re carrying one surfboard or multiple ones, you need to have an extra leash for backup.
When selecting surf leashes, make sure you thoroughly examine them to reduce the chances of them snapping while you’re surfing. You may opt for an old leash because recycling is cost-effective, but examine them too for any signs of snapping. This is because old leashes tend to be weak, and using them in such a condition puts you at risk.
Additionally, ensure your leashes have different lengths and levels of thickness that are compatible with the length of your surfboard. This increases your safety by enabling you to move with ease even after falling off the board. It’s advisable to use thin leashes for small surfs and thicker ones after swell increases.
It’d be best if you packed surf leashes with swivels. The essence of a swivel is to prevent the leash from tangling around your leg. This is because the swivel reduces strain on the leash by allowing the twisting and spinning of the cuff only.
8. First Aid Kit
Going to a surf retreat means leaving the comfort of your home or the place you’re familiar with. Additionally, some unforeseen surfing injuries, like sea urchin bites and sharp reef cuts, may require urgent care. As such, preparing in advance for these possibilities is necessary. The best essential to improve your preparedness is a first aid kit.
Some of the most important things you want to include in your first aid kit are painkillers and seasickness pills. Ensure you also bring an antiseptic to use on cuts and wounds. Also, bringing insect repellents is a must, considering how abundant insects, such as mosquitoes, are at the beach. Other items you should include in the first aid kit include bandages, eye and ear drops, water-resistant plasters, and medicines for treating indigestion, dehydration, and diarrhea.
Besides a first aid kit, you need a travel insurance plan that facilitates emergency transportation and medical treatment. This travel insurance minimizes the out-of-pocket costs you’d cover if you, unfortunately, fell ill during the surf retreat. Consequently, this allows you to enjoy your time at the surf retreat free of medical emergency worries.
9. Surf Travel Bag
If you’re traveling a long distance to get to the location of the surf retreat, you’ll need a surf travel bag. Enjoying the retreat requires your surfboard(s) to be in good condition. Keeping it from being damaged will require you to invest in a quality bag especially made for it.
10. Multifunctional Travel Bag
A multifunctional travel bag is a surfer’s best friend. You can choose between a backpack, a tote, or a duffle bag, provided they’re made of quality materials and can serve multiple purposes. Also, make sure that it’s easy to carry, water-resistant, and lightweight.
A multifunctional travel bag should have separate stash pockets for wet and dry surfing gear. Additionally, it should have extra pockets where you can keep electronics, like your laptop, camera, phone, flash drives, etc.
While obtaining a multifunctional travel bag may be a bit costly, it’s more cost-effective than buying separate carriers.
11. Surf Wax
Surf wax is especially essential for hard-topped surfboards. Waxing your surfboard reduces your risk of falling off while surfing. This is because the wax enhances your stability and balance by adding an extra layer to support your feet.
It’s advisable to bring more than one type of wax. This is because the temperature of the water determines what wax you should use on your board. For instance, if you’ll be surfing in high-temperature waters, you won’t need to top the basecoat with anything else. On the contrary, if you’re surfing in cold water, a softer wax finish will come in handy.
12. Passport And Visa
Traveling with your passport is both a travel requirement and a safety measure, especially if you’re going to an unfamiliar place. As you pack your passport, ensure you have copies of it just in case you misplace or lose the original document. Having copies also makes replacing a passport easier. It’s also best to have a scanned copy in your phone or email. This further enhances your safety in case you end up misplacing both the original passport and the copies.
Similarly, you need to update yourself about the visa requirements of the place you’re visiting. Remember that you need your visa approved before you can travel, so you should avoid applying for one last minute. Don’t forget to carry copies of your visa and a scanned version of it as well.
13. Cash Or Credit/Debit Cards
Surf retreats aren’t all about surfing. On the contrary, you can access other services, like spa treatments, while experiencing new cultures. You also need to get accommodation, because most retreats are at least a few days long, and to pay for food. Won’t running out of money while at a surfing retreat be awful?
That’s why you need to prepare your finances. At the very least, have your credit or debit card, along with some hard cash. The great thing with credit and debit cards is that they’re used universally. This means you can use them anywhere across the country or even on a global scale.
On the other hand, having hard cash, especially in the local currency of the place you’re visiting, is vital. This is because it minimizes the hassle of converting your money to the local currency.
Surf retreats are a fun learning opportunity for beginner and experienced surfers. They’re also a relaxing getaway for every attendee. But, having key essentials, like swimwear, sun protection, surfboards, earplugs, and towels, makes for an even better experience. Whether you’re only starting out or have been a surfer for a while, planning for a surf retreat is crucial. Adding these essentials to your checklist will keep you organized and help you plan for the trip efficiently.
About the Author
Marylee is a professional surfer with over 26 years of experience. Her interest in surfing started when she was six years old. She is also a professional surfer trainer who teaches women how to surf, and also educates them on its health benefits. During her free time, Marylee shares tips and tricks with other surfers through her writing to enhance their experience in the water.