The beautiful thing about surfing is this: once you’ve put up with the crumbly British wave for a few years, anywhere else in the world is both doable and a million times better by comparison. It’s also a heck of a lot warmer. The first time you go in just in boardies, with the sun just edging up over some tropical horizon and endless, predictable frames hitting the same spot on the reef, over and over again, you will feel like you have just landed in heaven. Surf travel and surf holidays, for us Brits, are some of the greatest times you’ll ever experience.
Because you’re a British surfer, and you have been diving into all sorts of cold through all the different seasons of the year (OK, so summer’s not too bad but then where are the waves, when the sun comes out in the UK?), the whole idea of surfing in tropical waters, unencumbered by all that neoprene, is like some kind of holy quest. You know these warm waters are out there, these perfect waves, but you’ve never seen them… And then you go on your first surf trip and the surf travel bug hits you for good. All of a sudden you’re surfing ideal waves three times a day, just surfing, eating, sleeping and doing it all over again. And everything starts falling into place – all those days of eating freezing cold 5ft mush, all those howling offshore days when you can’t see your takeoff, all those howling onshore days when 18 tons of water seems constantly on a mission to outrace you and crush you like a bug. Surf holidays make you realise what you were doing through all the frustrating days and the cold days and the windy days. You were getting ready to tuck into that first glassy smooth barrel and come shooting out the end of it yelling your head off like a two year old.
There’s a trick to surf travel. You’ll get used to it pretty quickly anyway, but here it is: don’t take any clothes with you. Don’t take a bag with you. All you really need are a couple of pairs of boardies, a board, some ding repair and as many bars of wax as you can fit into your board bag. For the most part, your Surf holidaydestinations are going to introduce you to a new kind of hot, where Western clothes simply do not apply. Buy what you need from the market when you get your bearings: you’re going to spend pretty much all day in the sea anyway…. Oh – and bring a ton of sun protection with you. When you get into surf travel one of the first things you start to learn is that the sun really can mess you up – and that buying sun protection in the places you’re going to costs more than your flight.
Travelling to surf is probably, actually, no, definitely, the best and most rewarding reason for travel on this or any other planet. So if you’ve only ever experienced the numbing effects of the North Atlantic and half a ton of neoprene: it’s time to get ready for something a little more like paradise. See you out there.