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How to Plan Your Dream Surf Trip

How to Plan Your Dream Surf Trip

Editor's note: Austin once sailed from Dana Point to Teahupoo with his brother in search of waves if you want to read about that epic journey, read Voyage of the Rhino in issue 32.5 of the Surfer's Journal

Do you find yourself sitting at your desk, daydreaming of perfect surf? Is it the crystal-clear water, lavender coral, and tropical fish below as you stand up and search for the tube that excites you? Or are you more of an offshore, darker turquoise wave that goes on for a mile, kind of surfer? Does the lure of cold or warm water bring out the adventurer in you? 

Depending on if I have been sitting at my desk for too long, either of these options gives me butterflies. Sometimes the call for thick rubber and remote camping is what I need. Other occasions, I beg for the easier and more sought after, warm water surf. 

So here I am dreaming. Where do I go?

The first question I ask myself: Where is swell coming from? The last thing I want to do, is go on a dream surf trip without any surf. West and North West swells are becoming predominant if I want to stay in the Northern Hemisphere. My budget and time are limited so I will stay here. 

Next question: Do I want to wear a wetsuit and what type of wave am I looking for? 

I don’t want to wear a wetsuit and I am looking for a beautiful long point break to ride a twin fin and mid length. Something about endless trim on either of these crafts gives me great joy. Since I am on a budget, I want to stay at a campground or inexpensive hotel with good restaurants nearby. I typically plan surf trips 14 days in advance since that is how long surf forecasts are good for. If you don’t have that kind of luxury, plan your trip around “swell seasons”. For example, in the Northern Hemisphere, South Swells typically happen April – October and North Swells in November – March. Know the type of swells and tide the break likes that you want to be surfing. Depending on what climate and wave type you want to visit, remember swell direction as another key determining factor.

After a quick 14 day forecast check in the Northern Hemisphere on Surfline, I decide Cerritos in Baja California is a perfect fit! The wave is a right hand point, inexpensive and I can still be in board shorts. 

Last Question: What do I pack?

I’m a minimalist at heart. It brings me great pleasure knowing I can go on a four-day trip with everything in a board bag and backpack. Yet I don’t sacrifice the essentials. 

And last but not least... You cannot forget the tacos and Margarita and/or Tecate after a long day in the sun! There is no greater reward in sharing great memories with your friends. Because that is what will last for a lifetime. 

What's Next?