Whether going for the odd afternoon, or taking a week away, getting into surfing is a great way to chill out, be fit and have fun with friends, all at the same time. Here is a check list of things to remember if you are on your first surf trip.
If you are a beginner surfer you will want plenty of mellow beach breaks. Not shallow reef breaks with barrelling monster tubes. Check the average temperature of the water for the season you are in so that you know what kind of wetsuit you need, if at all. As a beginner, you will probably want to use a reasonably lengthy board. Something at or over nine feet long will suffice.
Check out whether to bring your own board and other equipment, or if renting is a better option. Call the local surf shop at the destination you are going to. If you are flying somewhere, check on restrictions for oversize baggage. You will find many airlines that are surfer friendly.
Even if you are not going somewhere hot and sunny, think about sun protection. A rash guard is always a good idea. A high performance sun cream is a must. Remember to re-apply if you are in the water all day and cover spots which catch sun rays bouncing off the water, such as under the nose and ears.
If you need travel insurance, see that it covers surfing under the terms and conditions.
Get a neat fitting swimsuit, bearing in mind the kind of action that it will be seeing. You do not want to worry about having a wardrobe malfunction such as a strap slipping off. Also, avoid anything hard or abrasive, such as sequins or buttons. Board shorts are also a good option.
Find out if there will be lifeguards on hand at the beach that you are visiting. You can also look online to see what kind of swell and wind conditions are forecast. Light offshore winds, with a long period duration, something over ten seconds, are usually the best.
At the beach, check the tide and ask if there are any rips or undercurrents to be aware of. Make sure you know how high the tide is going to be, so that you are not left isolated in a patch of sea, with no easy place to land. Read any notices and see that you understand what the different lifeguard flags mean.
Try to pick an uncrowded spot, where you will not be in any danger of being run over by other surfers and you do not have to wait in turn for your next wave.
It is always better to go with a group and to have people there with more experience and a little local knowledge. It will also be cheaper to go with Groupon deals for renting apartments or getting expert tuition from a surf school. Most importantly, sharing your experience with your friends is much more fun, so enjoy!