11 ways to prepare for your next surf trip

25th Jul 2018

If you are about to head off on your annual surf trip its important to remember an increased wave count equals increased physical activity which can take its toll on your body. Are you prepared?

The countdown has started and you are now 2 months from jumping on that plane and heading to paradise in the hope of finding world class waves. Exciting times lay ahead with repetitive days of surfing, eating and sleeping to come. Your surf time will undoubtedly increase over the foreseeable future and with the added fatigue, it’s important to understand just how much stress your body is about to endure. Even a small amount of preparation will help it to cope that much better.

The average surfer these days gets in the water at their local break once or twice a week, depending on their working hours and morning/evening commute. It’s likely that the destination you are heading for experiences far more consistent and powerful waves than you are used to surfing. And there’s also a good chance the waves are reef breaks, which can add to the risk. For these reasons, it is important to consider a preparation strategy to get you in shape physically and mentally for your surf trip.

After more than 20 years travelling the world for surf, World Surfaris have come up with 11 ways to help prepare for your next surf adventure

1) Surf More

It doesn’t matter how many hours you spend in the gym, swimming in a pool or running laps around the block, there is no substitute for actually surfing. If you surf once a week, try and ramp it up to two days or three – if you can fit it in between family, work and life in general.

2) Hit the gym

Concentrate your gym workouts on your core. Targeting your back, abs, legs, shoulders and arms. They are about to take an absolute beating on your trip. Getting them prepared will serve you well and will enable you to catch more waves and your sessions to last longer. Be careful not to over do it. Start small and work your way up gradually increasing your intensity and stamina.

3) Do some laps in the local pool

If there’s no waves, get the goggles and the bathers on and swim some laps. Grab a boogie board, no flippers. Put the boogie board under your chest and paddle lengths of the pool – no kicking with the legs. Mix in some freestyle swimming with underwater swimming and improving your breath holding tolerance.

4) Do a breath holding course

Being able to hold your breath longer will certainly help you with long hold downs in bigger surf. It also gives you a lot more confidence knowing the limitations of your body and just how smart the human brain is, if you get held down for all of 10 seconds! See http://thepressureproject.com.au/ for more information.

5) Yoga & Stretching Exercises

It’s important to always stretch ‘’after’’ any physical exercise. Yoga is amazing for strengthening your core and making you more flexible which is perfect for surfing.

6) Watch your diet

We aren’t saying you can’t enjoy a cheeseburger or a pizza from time to time but if you want to increase energy, build muscle and lose fat (weight), we recommend a balanced diet and cut down on the booze.

7) Get the right equipment

Generally this comes down to quantity in your quiver that will be suitable for a range of conditions. The average surf traveller takes 3 boards and it normally looks something like this:

    1. Your comfort board – the one you always ride and the one you feel like you can surf like Kelly on.
    2. Step up – A bit more foam, a bit longer and maybe with a pin tail for the big stuff.
    3. The choice of a board to experiment on e.g. asymmetrical, twin fin, mal etc OR a semi gun for the bigger stuff, we are talking 10ft+ (the 3rd board choice comes down to what the surf forecast says)

Equipment isn’t just limited to boards however. Leg ropes, wax, fins and sunscreen are all pivotal to your surf adventure being a major success. A good set of fins can make a huge difference to how a board performs.

8) Understand where exactly you are going

Chances are you are heading somewhere remote and tropical. Most of these places won’t have high speed wireless or even phone coverage. Don’t expect there to be readily available ATM’s or a chemist that you can run into and grab some supplies, especially if you are on a boat in Sumatra. Bring your own first aid kit.

9) Leave emergency contact details with family

Although most surf holidays are in remote locations, many of the operators represented by the guys at World Surfaris will have emergency contact details with someone on the boat or at the resort. They will give you this information in a travel pack they expect you to read. We suggest passing this information onto your wife, husband, boyfriend, mum, dad, sister, brother etc to make sure they can contact you in the event of an emergency.

10) Change currency

Avoid being ‘that guy’ who can’t fix his bill up at the end of the trip because you didn’t bring enough cash in the currency required. If you don’t know what currency to get out, google is a very useful tool. There are not many ATM’s (if any) in places like Sumatra, The Maldives or PNG to name a few. And if there is an ATM, there’s no guarantee it will have cash in it. Get cash before you go.


Insurance covers the two most important things on a surf trip. You & your surfboards! Yes! Surfboards are covered…Many tour operators will not let you travel without it. Insurance is important especially in a high risk, high impact sport like surfing. Make sure you read the fine print and fully understand what is and is not covered. We recommend not taking out travel insurance through your credit card as it normally only offers basic cover. 

Companies like Suresave offer basic and comprehensive cover options, they have 24/7 world assistance and their underwriters are large corporations with plenty of resources to get you looked after and home safely if your injuries are severe. Insurance is not something to be a cheapskate about.

So there you have it. Soon you will be in paradise surrounded by world class waves, crystal clear water and skin piercing sunshine…If these 11 tips don’t help you, nothing will. 

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