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 www.surgingwaters.com,
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
us an email.