What Are The World’s Top Surfers’ Travel Tips?

Pro surfers Joel Parkinson, Matt Wilkinson and more impart their words of wisdom...


6) Packing

In travel as in life, less is more, reckons Ian Walsh who last year alone made 65 individual flights.

“An iPod and a Kindle has music and books covered and an iPhone will do for camera and video,” he says. “That just leaves boards and wetsuits, the rest, well the rest is easy.”

“I use the two rule. Two jeans, two shorts, two shirts, two pair of pants. Then its one waterproof jacket, one pair of shoes, one first aid kit.”

Walsh’s tips are all about keeping your gear down to the bare minimum. Keep it light, keep it simple and make excess baggage a thing for the heavyweight losers of the world.

7) Blogs

Look, a word of advice here. No one really, really, gives a fuck about the tagine you ate in Morocco, or the bus ride from hell you are currently experiencing in Mexico.

“No one really, really, gives a fuck about the tagine you ate in Morocco.”

Why spend an hour a day uploading your words and images, when you could be downloading some real time life experiences?

Live your travel for yourself, live for now. This is your own personal experience, and unless you are Kelly Slater, no one, with the exception of your mum, really cares.

Of course, Instagram shots of the perfect waves you scored that morning are an absolute given.

8) Flights

Photo: SteveCullumVideos

“I always try for an upgrade, every time, ‘cause you just never know,” says big wave rider Mark Mathews, who circumnavigates the world for a living.

“Sleeping tablets work on long hauls, booze never works at all. Podcasts are also the go and make flights go so much quicker.”

“I always go the window seat, so I get up when I want to and not when some other joker needs to go to the toilet.”

“Oh and leave the armrest as neutral territory, but if someone tries to take control, go in hard and early and own that thing,” says Mark.

9) Customs Officials

“I got to the customs officer at Los Angeles Airport and could hear Parko and Fanning sniggering,” says Dean “Dingo” Morrison, a pro surfer from Australia.

“I gave the dude my passport and could see him first shocked and then really angry. It turns out whilst I was asleep on the plane, those two clowns had cut out a picture of a vagina from a porn mag and glued it over my passport photo.

“I had an extra three hours sorting out the mess and was lucky not to get deported. My advice is to treat Customs Officials with respect as they hold the power and not have friends who are dickheads.”

10) Language

Wherever you go try to make a half decent attempt to learn the language.

It gives you a sense of satisfaction as you actually learn something, but also has the benefit of engaging with the locals and the land with which they are sharing with you.

‘Wherever I go I learn the term for ‘one more please’. That way I can always get another beer,’ says Joel Parkinson. Photo: @aldrin002

A goodbye, a hello, or a nice to meet you can even be enough to get you out of a scrape, or into a new friendship.

“My language skills are pretty poor,” admits former World Champion Joel Parkinson. “But in each place I visit I always the learn the term for ‘one more please’. That way at least I can always get another beer.”


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