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16 October 2014

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Surf Charters
Joe Williams (Perth, WA)

Aussie charger Joe Williams (pictured above) has surfed in Ireland a few times and features regularly in our gallery. He also part owns, one example of a good surf charter. Here, he offers some general advice for those of you thinking about taking the big financial plunge of a long-haul surf charter.

Mark P.


For most surfers - except the fortunate few with lots of money or sponsorship - a surf boat charter is a once in a lifetime experience, which means if you are thinking about heading to an exotic surf destination it's worthwhile researching where you want to go and what kind of surf charter you want in order to make it the most memorable surfing experience of your life.


Here are some of the main issues to think about before booking your trip:



What type of waves are you hoping to surf? Is my ability good enough to tackle those waves? Most surf destinations have a large variety of waves that suit most levels of surfers so research the breaks and work out what waves you would love to surf. If you are surfing at a break that you think is out of your league then don't push yourself. Ask your guide or the locals what the breaks are like and what you should be aware of.


Type of boat

This is usually dictated by your budget which can vary from sleeping on deck with a local fisherman eating rice and fish to being on board a 5 star yacht with 3 course meals and jetski's for tenders. If you can afford a professionally run surf charter boat look into recommendations from other people who may have been on the charter and ask the company running the charter what qualifications the crew & surf guide have on board. This is critical if you want to be at the right breaks in the right conditions. It's also good to know what accommodation the boat provides, because sleeping in quarters with 6-10 other surfers after 10 days at sea can be testing even if they are your best mates. Larger boats usually cater for separate sleeping quarters and give you space when you need it.


Be prepared

Make sure you have everything you need so that you are prepared as best you can be. Most professional surf charters provide the most necessary supplies. However, things like suncream, wax, rash-vests (wetsuits), booties, leashes, and of course surfboards need to be brought by you. It is always a good idea bringing 2 boards just in case of snappage and/or damage. Even though most surf charter destinations are in the tropics, and the water temperature never gets below 28 degrees, it is a good idea to pack a spring suit for a bit of protection from the reef when surfing breaks that are extremely shallow. Lots of surfers get cut on tropical reefs, and healing is much slower in the thick humidity of places like the Mentawai Islands. When travelling to tropical or developing world countries it is also advised to visit your GP prior to departing to find out if you need any vaccinations or medication for your trip.


Travel insurance

Just like any type of travelling overseas, travel Insurance is a necessity, not only in case of missing flights, damaged or lost luggage, but for your own safety. Make sure your policy covers you for all medical needs and includes surfing and water activities.


Enjoy it

Always try and remember to take a step back and look at where you are, and who you are. A surf trip can fly by and before you know it, you will be leaving to head home. Remember to respect the locals and the environment - when you are travelling overseas as a surfer, you are an ambassador for your country.


Anything to add? If you would like to contribute and share your experiences send us an email.


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