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Bodhi Safa

7 ways to add value to your next surf charter

For thousands of surfers around the world, the annual boat trip with your mates is the pinnacle of surf adventure and exploration. For many, this trip can be a dream come true. Everything from the excitement of paying for your spot, the banter with mates in the build-up, getting on the boat for the first time and waxing up your boards in preparation for the first dawn session is something that takes a lot of planning. It is therefore extremely important to get it right! 

The experts at World Surfaris have put together their top 7 ways to add value to a surf charter to make sure you do get it right! 

1. BOOK EARLY

Yes, you hear it every day. Watching TV while you sip your coffee and munch down on your toast before work, the morning radio commute and on your social media.  

“Book early” 

“Book now and save” 

“Take advantage of our early bird specials” 

If you look beyond these slogans, you can actually find amazing deals. Surf Charters are no different and every season operators around the Indian Ocean are taking 15, sometimes 20% off their surf charters if you book early. According to World Surfaris, the average surf charter in Indonesia costs around $3,750 (Australian Dollars) excluding flights. By booking on a 15% off early bird special, you are saving the equivalent of a brand-new surfboard or covering the cost of rent/mortgage while you are away! 

Not only do you save on price. You also lock in preferred dates of travel and have ample time to request leave with your employer OR make arrangements with your staff if you run your own business. 

2. TAKE THE RIGHT BOARDS

When it comes to surfboards…everyone’s an expert. Do your research and by research, we don’t mean putting on your favourite surf film of Kelly Slater getting stand up barrels in the Mentawais on a 5’6”. Speak to local shapers in your area about what boards they recommend. Very quickly, shapers get a good idea about your ability level and just by looking at your height and weight, they will be able to determine what length, width and volume you should have in a board.

Many websites these days offer this information with their surfer height to weight calculators. Click here to find out yours. 

Quantity is also important. World Surfaris recommend a minimum of 3 boards for your trip. An all-rounder, a step up and a board you want to experiment with (5 fin, asymmetrical, fish etc).

3. BUY A DECENT BOARD BAG

If you don’t already have a good board bag, do yourself a favor and buy one that will protect your boards in transit. They are after all your most valuable asset for your trip. Heck, you could use that money you saved by booking early to do just that! 

Surf hardware these days is built to last. Travel bags are durable, light weight and usually come with a 12 month warranty in case zips or ties break. Board bags will serve you well for a long time and will likely be with you on many surf trips to come. Creatures of Leisure offer a great travel bag - click here to see.

4. BRING SPARE LEGGIES, FINS, WAX, SOLAR RES, FIN KEYS etc.

It’s likely that where you are going, the waves will have a lot more power than your local break back home. This increases the chances of snapping a leg rope and swimming over the sharp reef to retrieve it sucks! To avoid this, make sure you have new leg ropes as well as back-ups. It's also beneficial to have back up fins in case you lose one. 

If you damage a board in transit because you didn’t listen to point 3, then take solar res for quick repairs on dings. 

Bring TROPICAL WAX! You are going to the tropics…bring the right wax, no one wants to hear you complaining about how slippery your boards are. 

5. LIMIT YOUR EXPECTATIONS

Possibly the worst thing you can do on any surf trip is expect perfect 4-6ft barrels every day with no one out. Don’t get the wrong idea…this is certainly a possibility and it happens more often than you think but what if you happen to get skunked? This also happens and the greatest way to feel a little less let down is to expect less. 

You can do all the research in the world and book your trip for the best, most consistent weeks of the year but mother nature controls our sport and if she’s not co-operating, there is no point complaining about it. Deal with what you have and enjoy being away from the hustle and bustle of your busy working lives with your closest mates in paradise. Things could be a lot worse!

6. BRING YOUR OWN FISHING GEAR

If you are into your fishing, it can be a great way to kill some time on the flat days during a surf trip. As point 5 suggests, shit happens and sometimes mother nature doesn’t co-operate. If this happens to you, get your hands on a fishing rod or a spear gun and make the most of the crystal clear waters the tropics is known for. 

The marine life is these parts of the world is insane and you can easily hook the biggest fish of your life! 

It is advisable to bring your own gear, as not all fishing rods on the boats are in the best condition. If you think about it, these rods are used almost every day by guests who have been on the boat before you. Therefore, they do receive a bit of wear and tear, lures go missing, lines break, reels seize up with the saltwater and so on. If you are a keen fisherman, bring your own stuff.

7. TRUST YOUR SKIPPER/SURF GUIDE

We cannot stress this enough. There is a reason why we put this last…so you remember it the most!  

By simply listening to your surf guide or skipper, we guarantee you will get the best waves on any given day during your trip. These guys are usually seasoned veterans with many of them having spent half their lives surfing, fishing and navigating their way through the islands. The good guides can pick up a local weather pattern before it even happens - they don’t need to look at a fancy online surf forecast, they can feel it in the air temperature, they see a cloud heading towards you or they notice the tide shifting and causing funky things to happen in the waves. How do they know this? Simple…time…more time on these particular tools than you.

So, listen to them, you won’t regret it! 

Looking to nail down your own Surf Charter? Check out the below regions and get on your way.

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