How to Pack Your Surfboard for Air Travel

Surfing is one of the most exhilarating sports out there, and there are surf spots all around the world that are just begging to be surfed. However, if you want to catch waves in far-off lands, you’ll need to take your surfboard with you. Packing a surfboard for air travel can seem daunting, but don’t worry – we’re here to help. In this post, we’ll give you everything you need to know to get your board to your next surf

How to Pack Your Surfboard for Air Travel

If you’re a surfer and you’re planning a surf trip, then you’re going to need to take your surfboard with you. However, packing a surfboard for air travel can be tricky, and if you don’t do it correctly, it can end up damaged or even lost. First of all, you should invest in a good quality surfboard bag that is specifically designed for air travel. These bags are padded and have reinforced edges, which will protect your board from any bumps and bruises along the way. Next, make sure to remove the fins from your board and pack them separately in a secure case. Then, wrap your board in bubble wrap or foam padding and secure it with duct tape. Finally, label your bag clearly and make sure to check with your airline beforehand to find out about any extra fees or restrictions. By following these steps, you can ensure that your surfboard arrives at your destination


Surfers are a unique breed of traveler. They’re always on the lookout for the next great wave, and for many, that means boarding a plane with their beloved surfboards in tow. But let’s face it – packing a surfboard for air travel can be stressful. You don’t want your precious board to get damaged, lost, or in some cases, even stolen. So, how can you ensure your board arrives safe and sound? Follow our tips for packing your surfboard for air travel, and you’ll be hitting the waves in no time.

Step 1: Invest in a quality surfboard bag

The first and most critical step when packing your surfboard for air travel is investing in a high-quality surfboard bag. Not all surfboard bags are created equal, so look for one specifically designed for air travel. The bags are made with extra padding and reinforced edges, which will protect your board from any bumps and bruises it might encounter along the way. If you’re on a tight budget, consider looking for used surfboards for sale to save some money on your travel gear.

Step 2: Remove the fins and pack them separately

Removing your fins is an essential step in protecting your board while in transit. Fins are delicate and can easily break or damage your board during transport. To remove the fins, use a fin key to unscrew them from their sockets. Set the fins aside, and pack them separately in a separate case. Make sure the case is sturdy and tightly closed to avoid any damage to the fins.

Step 3: Pad your board

Now, it’s time to pad your board. Pad the nose and tail of your surfboard using bubble wrap, foam, or towels. Next, use packing tape to secure the padding material in place. You can also consider adding additional layers of protection to minimize the risk of damage to your board. Stack the padding material to increase the cushioning effect of the bag.

Step 4: Secure your board in the bag

After padding your board, place it inside the surfboard bag. Once inside, you must secure it with a layer of duct tape. The tape will ensure that the padding stays in place and prevents the board from shifting around the bag in transit. Make sure to tape up any exposed areas like the rails and tail to prevent scratches and other damage to your board.

Step 5: Label the bag correctly

Labeling your surfboard bag correctly is crucial. You want your luggage to arrive at your destination, and not to get lost somewhere along the way. Make sure to write your name, address, and contact information on the bag tag. It’s also helpful to attach a label with your destination airport address, just in case.

Step 6: Check with your airline

Before you book your flight, check with your airline’s baggage policies. Every airline has different rules when it comes to the number, size, and weight of bags allowed. Some airlines also have specific policies when it comes to packing and transporting surfboards. They may require you to remove the fins, drain any water, or use a particular type of bag. Make sure to confirm any extra fees, restrictions, and packing requirements before traveling with your surfboard.


Packing your surfboard for air travel doesn’t have to be a hassle. With a little bit of planning and attention to detail, you can ensure that your board arrives safe and sound at your destination. From investing in a quality surfboard bag to labeling it correctly, each step is critical in protecting your board while in transit. So, get out there and explore the world’s best surf destinations, confident in the knowledge that your board will arrive ready for some epic waves.

Additional Tips for Safe Surfboard Travel

Here are a few more tips to keep in mind when packing your surfboard for air travel:

Plan for extra time and be patient

When traveling with a surfboard, plan to arrive at the airport early to allow enough time to check in your board. Airlines may also transport your board on additional flights, so be patient and expect a bit of a wait to retrieve it.

Protect your board from extreme temperatures

Surfboards are made from a variety of materials that can easily warp, crack, or delaminate from lengthy exposure to extreme temperatures. Be sure to monitor the temperature in the cargo area of the plane and avoid leaving your board out in the sun for extended periods.

Remove wax before traveling

To avoid any unexpected mess or issues, try to remove the wax from your board before traveling. The wax can melt or leave residue all over your bag, making it difficult to clean up.

Consider purchasing travel insurance

In the unlikely event that your surfboard is damaged or lost during travel, it’s a great idea to have travel insurance. Most insurance policies will cover any baggage losses, including your surfboard, during air travel.


Now that you know how to pack your surfboard for air travel, you can travel with ease to your next surfing destination. Remember that protecting your board is crucial, but following a few simple guidelines makes the process a lot less stressful. Once you arrive at your destination with your board ready to go, it’s time to grab your wetsuit and hit the waves. Enjoy the journey and have fun experiencing the world’s top surf spots!


Here are some of the most common questions related to packing your surfboard for air travel:

1. How much does it cost to travel with a surfboard?

The cost of traveling with a surfboard varies from airline to airline. Some airlines charge a flat fee, while others charge based on size or weight. Research your airline’s policies and fees ahead of time to avoid any unexpected expenses.

2. Can I pack anything else in my surfboard bag?

Absolutely! Most surfboard bags are spacious enough to hold other items. Just make sure that you don’t exceed the airline’s weight or size restrictions for both your board and any additional items you pack.

3. Do I need to drain water from my board before traveling?

Yes, it’s advisable to drain any water from your board before traveling. Standing water in your bag could damage your board and can add more weight to the bag, leading to additional fees.

4. How do you measure a surfboard bag?

To measure a surfboard bag, lay the bag flat on the ground and measure the length from the tip of the nose to the tail, then measure the width at the widest point, and finally measure the thickness of the bag. Some airline restrictions require your bag to be no longer than 6’6″ or 7’0″ long. Consult with your airline’s rules and regulations to confirm their policies.

5. Can I check in my surfboard at the gate?

Unfortunately, no. Surfboards must be checked in at the counter before security, along with the rest of your checked luggage.

6. Do some airlines have restrictions on the type of surfboard bag I can use?

Yes, most airlines have a specific kind of surfboard bag that they require. Make sure to consult your airline to find out about any specific requirements they may have.

7. Can I pack multiple surfboards in one bag?

Yes, you can pack multiple surfboards in one bag. However, keep in mind that most airlines charge based on weight, so make sure you don’t exceed the airline’s total weight limit for checked luggage. Separating the boards with towels can add extra protection.

8. Can I carry my surfboard as a carry-on?

No, surfboards are not allowed as carry-on items. They must be checked in as part of your luggage at the counter.

9. Can I ship my surfboard instead of traveling with it?

Yes, you can ship your surfboard instead of traveling with it. Shipping offers a more secure and predictable option to transport your board. Just make sure to use a reputable shipping company and secure insurance for added protection.

10. Do I need to declare my surfboard?

You don’t have to declare your surfboard, but make sure to inform airline personnel that your checked baggage contains a surfboard when you check in at the counter.

11. Can I lock my surfboard bag?