Surf travel features

Surf travel tips

"Below are some basic things that you should take into consideration when you are going to go and surf in some other country / region.(In fact use them at your local surf spot as well) It's basic surf etiquette"

 

 

Respect the locals

It doesn't matter how good or how bad they are, they're still guys who regularly surf the spot, know the place inside out, and are used to surfing it with just their mates. Imagine how you'd feel if a bunch of arrogant twonks came down your street acting like they owned it, making a mess of the place and generally being arses. Would you get pissed off with them? Of course you would

Don't travel in large groups
Turning up a break with eight of your mates provides an instant crowd and puts everyone one the defensive straightaway. If you are in a large group, go surfing in shifts.

Do unto others as you would have done to yourself
Never drop in. Never snake the peak. Never paddle out and try and take every wave that comes through. Pretty obvious really, but it's amazing how many people forget.

A friendly smile and a 'Hello' goes a long way
Think about it - everyone goes surfing to have a good time. When there's a friendly vibe everyone gets more waves.

If traveling abroad, learn a bit of the language
You don't have to have a degree in it, but if you make the effort you could make a new friend.

Give a hoot!
If you're a good surfer you're probably going to get your fill of waves anyway, so why not give a few nice ones and some encouragement to others? Last year I saw a novice Dutch surfer doddering around at a reef in the Canaries on a big 8-footer. A set came through but it didn't look like he was going to go, so I shouted a few words of encouragement. He turned, dropped in and flew 200 yards down a perfect wall. It turned out to be the best wave of his life. He didn't speak much English but he didn't have to because he couldn't stop smiling for the next six hours

If you're a beginner, don't go at it like a mad dog
Take the time to sit and watch and you'll pick up some tips. Sooner or later someone will get a good wave and if they know you saw it, they'll stop to chat. Throw in a compliment and you could have a friend for life...plus a few tips and guided tour to more waves!

Always carry plenty of wax
Most surfers go on the scrounge for wax before they paddle out. If you've got loads in your bag, you're everybody's friend!

When it's your turn to go, go!
When the biggest wave of your life rears up in front of you, and you're in the perfect position, gird thy loins, put your head down and charge the mother.

Don't get in the way
It's your responsibility to stay out of the riding area. If you can, paddle out well wide of the peak. If you find yourself stuck inside with a surfer hurtling towards you, try to anticipate their next move and paddle in the opposite direction. If all else fails, paddle towards the whitewater and let the surfer have a clear path to continue his ride.

Leave no trash on the beach!
You came to the beach to enjoy it, and surf some good waves. Having lunch at the beach? Then don't leave your trash on the beach, take it with you. Not your trash that is left behind on the beach? Pick it up, little effort, nice result, good karma.

Creatures to watch out for:

Blue ringed octopus
Found in both the Indian and Pacific oceans, this is a nasty little creature with too many legs and more toxins than one of Stavro's kebabs. If bitten you'll feel an intense burning sensation which is followed by vomiting, loss of muscle control, respiratory failure and probable death. Much the same effect as eating the kebab really. There is no specific antidote for the venom. Chance of survival: not too good, really.

Leopard
It's dusk and you've had a few beers to celebrate a day of epic tubes at G-Land. You toddle off into the jungle to find a tree to piss behind. Bad move. A leopard grabs you and with one savage raking motion of a claw, disembowels you. As you watch your intestines spill onto the white sand, it sinks its fangs through your jugular. Your carcass is then dragged off and left to putrify in the sun for a few days before it's finished off by scavengers. Chance of survival: you've got to be joking.

Bluebottle jellyfish
Pretty common along the east coast of Australia, these unpleasant floating bubbles are armed with tentacles that can grow up to 10 meters long. Get caught up in them and you'll feel like you've been flayed with a car radio aerial and covered in Deep Heat. Multiple stings can result in paralysis and even death, as the poison acts on the central nervous system. Chance of survival: reasonable.

Great white shark
The perfect oceanic killing machine. No sense of humor whatsoever. Great Whites commonly occur in the seas off southern Australia, South Africa, northern California, the Azores and have even been spotted in the Med! They attack from below faster than a ferret up a drainpipe, stun you with the first impact, then causes massive injuries with their rows of razor sharp teeth. If the impact or haemorrhaging doesn't kill you, the shock probably will. Chance of survival: dream on.

Urchins
Spiny little buggers that infest most reefs from the Canaries to New Zealand. Seemingly put on earth for no other reason than to annoy surfers. Urchin spines can grow up to 10 inches long and are designed to penetrate any boot or wetsuit before snapping off, and then causing constant pain and probable infection. Possibly worse are the injuries subsequently inflicted by surfers attempting to remove the spines from various parts of the anatomy utilizing cheap liquor and a Swiss Army knife. Chance of survival: no worries.

Stonefish
Found in tropical lagoons throughout the Indian and Pacific oceans, the stonefish's spines carry a poison which attacks the central nervous and respiratory systems. After standing on the horrid little creature you'll remain fully conscious and able to watch your mates freaking out as paralysis sets in. One by one your limbs, heart and lungs will cease to function, while you experience a pain that's been described as akin to 'having your entire nervous system ripped out and replaced with high voltage wires'. You will die within 15 minutes. Chance of survival: zero.

Crocodile
Found in South Africa, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Papua New Guinea and Australia, these cuddly dinosaurs kill more people each year than sharks ever do. One minute you're surfing a nice rivermouth, the next you're clamped in a croc's jaws, rolled around underwater, and tossed in the air until you're unconscious. You'll then be stored under a log until you're rotten enough to be consumed in large chunks. Chance of survival: not good, unless you surname is Dundee.

Malarial mosquito
Common throughout large areas of South America, Asia and Africa, these irritating little buggers carry various strains of malarial parasite which are becoming increasingly drug resistant. Symptoms include fever, shivering and headaches that feel like the worst flu ever. If untreated, the parasite overwhelms your body and you die. Even when treated, symptoms can re-occur at any time. Chance of survival: reasonable.

Sea snake
If you're surfing a tropical rivermouth in Central America, Indonesia or the Pacific region during the sea snake mating season, watch out. Get bitten by one of these stripy sods and you'll spend the next couple of hours in incredible agony, and then you'll probably die. After muscle spasms, facial paralysis and convulsions, respiratory failure will usually occur, finally putting you out of your misery. There is an antidote - but unless you catch the offending snake (hint: wear gloves) the doctors won't know how to treat you; so you'll probably end up spending your final minutes watching incompetent third world quacks stabbing you with AIDS-ridden needles before you die anyway. Chance of survival: 50 / 50.

Fire coral
Nice to look at, but not something you want to stand on. Feels like having a Cuban cigar stubbed out in an open wound. If not cleaned properly the cuts turn gangrenous. Loss of surf time guaranteed, loss of limbs possible. Chance of survival: good.


More surf travel features:
Surfing Dominican Republic | Surfing Peru | Surfing Lanzarote | Surfing Nicaragua | Surfing Morrocco | Surfing Fiji | Surfing France | Surfing Spain