Packing your surfboards for a trip by airline

Packing your surfboards for surf trip is very important for airline flight. You go on a surf trip and the airline damages your favorite surfboard(s). Packing your surfboard(s) can make the difference between being ready for the first day’s surf trip or having to see the local ding repair specialist. Most surfers don’t understand that the airline baggage monkeys, who get paid a low wage, don’t care about your boards. I’ve heard stories about one traveler had his longboard being stood on so they could load the cargo hold on the plane.

Packing the board correctly for a surf trip is not as hard as it seems. I’ve packed many surfboards that went on a plane to some surf trip location, and packed for boards to be shipped after purchase at the local surf shops where I used to work.

First you can go to the local surf shop where they have gotten boards shipped in from China or Thailand. They will most like have bubble-pack, and a plastic bag that the board in the store came in.

Go and pick up packing tape. You can find it at a pack and ship store, Walmart, or just about any store that product.

Putting your surfboard into the plastic bag will help keep the tape glue off the bottom of your surfboard. Nothing makes your board go faster than tape glue. (Ha Ha). When you get the bag on your board you may need to cut off some excess bag so it will fit when you go to put into your board travel bag (a real important item for all flights). Leave yourself about 3-4 inches on both ends to ensure that you can fold it onto itself and have some extra nose and tail padding.

Tape it with the packing tape.(packing tape will pull off easily from the plastic when you want to unpack you board. Make some strips before getting started to help this go quickly and easily. Once the ends are taped, then wrap the nose, middle and rear sections of the board so the bag is tightly bound to the board.

Next take the foam noddles that you can get from Walmart (make sure the hole diameter is the large one). Take a razor knife or have someone who has those skills and cut only one side straight down the side leaving the other side intact. Take strips of tape and tape the noodles onto your rails from nose to tail (leaving a little more at the nose and tail where you can overlap some). Now take the bubble pack and wrap the board (make sure that the ends meet in the center of the bottom at the stringer (easier to tape). Fold the excess bubble pack on the nose and tail, but make sure that it’s not a big glob (you won’t get your board into the board bag) streamline for best usage.

With your board wrapped in this manner you are ready to put it into the board travel bag. Remember that you can add towels on both sides of your board to help pad it from damage as you head on your surf trip. When you get to your surf destination remember to systematically unpack your board. Don’t rip apart like it’s Christmas or your birthday. You’ll need to repack it just like before you left on your surf trip. Don’t forget to bring your tape with you. Once you’ve done this a few times it will get easier. This should help when the loaders and unloaders get hold of your new or favorite stick. Happy travels.

If you do get damage from an airline, you can call me for expert surfboard repairs at 321-956-3268 here in central Florida or you can email me at

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