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2017 Airline Surfboard Boardbag Fee Guide For Surfers

“I’m preparing to get bent over by luggage fees but no way I’m surfing on strange boards.”
~ Steven W from Soda Springs on his way to Mexico.

*Last updated September 2017

Paying surfboard baggage fees sucks!

Welcome to the 2017 Airline Surfboard Boardbag Fee Guide For Surfers.

Every year we contact all the airlines and find out how much they are going to charge us for taking along our sleds to far-away destinations. I got sick of getting burned by the airlines and wanted to do something about it so we created this list of baggage fees and we ask for your help to keep it up-to-date (together we are stringer).

We do this as a service to you, the traveling surfer. 

This is what we always look for in an airline. Great work KLM.

Surfboards Fly Free KLM

indexSurfer Friendly Bro Airline

Most of the following airlines include a surfboard as part of your regular bag allowance and let that sled fly for FREE. These are our preferred ‘surfer friendly bro airline’ airlines and we recommend that you travel with them. You might have to pay a little more to book your ticket but it’s better than paying an extra $400-$600 to take your quiver both ways.

  • Alaska (NEW ’17 free in place of check-in)
  • KLM
  • Virgin (Europe)
  • Interjet (Mexico)
  • Qantas (Australia)
  • South Africa (duh)
  • Air New Zealand
  • Singapore

There are a few airlines that charge a nominal fee for your boardbag, I don’t mind paying that . . . free is better but nominal is almost as good. I have been flying Alaska to Cabo (see our surf travel guide to Cabo) for the last few years and they charge between $50-$75 for a stuffed to the rim boardbag. Thank you Alaska Airlines for keeping it real.

You Kinda Suck Airline

The following is the list of ‘you kinda suck’ airlines and charge over $100 each way, which in this day of age doesn’t seem that bad but still kinda sucks cause all those golf dudes usually give their club on for free.

  • American
  • Continental
  • Hawaii Air
  • Avianca (TACA) – (Taca opened my bags in 2015 and counted the boards, cost $145 one way)
  • United

Kook Airline

The following is the list of ‘ kook’ airlines and charge over $150 each way—nobody likes a kook in the water and especially one that is taking money from your pocket.

  • Delta
  • Iberia
  • Japan Air
  • Lufthansa
  • US Air (reader Jim says they unzipped and counted his board and charged him $150 each).
  • Northwest

Daddy Warbucks Money

The following is the  list for surfers that have ‘daddy warbucks money’. Unfortunately I’ve been caught by both Swiss Air and Thai Air personally. On Thai Air I had three boards in my bag coming back from Bali ($150 x 3) and they charged me some ridiculous tax on top of the $450. Can you imagine? I will NEVER fly Thai Air again and I hope that this list will prevent you from getting caught with your pants down.

  • Alitalia $260
  • Emirates $300
  • Swiss Air $250
  • Thai Air $150 Per Board (yes, they open the bag and count)
  • United $200
  • All Nippon $300

bend-overBend You Over Airline

We have a new category called the bend you over airline. If you are a surfer traveling with your boards on this plane, you had better have lots of cash, a rich mama or a jar of KY with you.

  • Qatar Airways ($1750)

airline surfboard fee guide


We’d be stoked if you added a Wave Tribe travel gear to your trip—we make awesome travel boardbags with the most padding in the industry made from hemp (no you can’t smoke the bags). Go out there and see the world and surf some epic waves.


~Derek, Wave Tribe Founder & Your Boardbag Bitch


P.S. Sign this rad petition for Surfers Against Discriminatory Airline Surfboard Fees.

2017 Airline Surfboard Boardbag Fee Guide For Surfers

Airline: Aer Lingus

Surfboard Fee: €30 or €40


  • US 1(516)-622-4222
  • Ireland + 353 0818-365000
  • UK +44 0871-718-5000
  • France +33 08-2123-0267

Specifications: For flights between Ireland and North America surfboard is part of the free allowance, normal excess baggage rates apply if the passenger carries excess to the free allowance.

There is no charge for Surf Boards for passengers traveling in Business class.

Specifications & Fees

  • €30 ($40) payable online prior to departure
  • €40 ($55) payable at the airport on the day of departure.
  • This fee is charged each-way on outbound and return journeys.

*Please contact Reservations Department in order to book your bags in advance.

[box type=”info” size=”large” style=”rounded”]Please note that Surf Boards must not exceed 9’0 ft (277 cm) in length and must be packed in cushioning material such as bubble wrapping so as to protect them against damage. On regional flights, surfboards must not exceed 6’7 ft (205 cm).[/box]



Airline: Aeroflot

Surfboard Fee: Free – $150.


  • US 1(868)-879-7647 (free for US)
  • Russia +7 (495) 223-55-55
  • UK +44 080-0026-0033 (free for UK).

Specifications & Fees

  • $100 (€50) for 50lbs – 70lbs (23 kg – 32 kg)
  • $150 (€100) for 70lbs – 99lbs (32 kg – 45 kg)
  • $100 (€100) for 5’5ft – 6’6ft (158 cm to 203 cm)
  • $150 or €150 more than 6’6ft (203 cm)
  • $50 or €50 Extra Piece (Second piece)
  • $150 or €150 Third and any additional piece
[box type=”info” size=”large” style=”rounded”]Exception: Surfboards up to 5’5 ft (168cm) will be considered as one regular baggage piece for any service class, provided that the total weight of the items does not exceed 50 lbs (23kg).[/box]




Airline: Aerolineas Argentinas

Surfboard Fee: Undetermined.

Telephone: U.S. 1(800)-333-0276 / 1(800)-688-0008. Email
Europe (Germany tel.) +49 69-2999-2678. Email

Specifications & Fees

  • Surfing gear is not part of the free allowance.
  • One checked surfboard will be charged.

Notes: Please contact airline for more info.



Airline: Aero Mexico

Surfboard Fee: $40 or $50


  • US & Canada 1(800)-237-6639
  • Mexico +52 51-33-40-00
  • UK +44 0-800-977-5533.
  • France +33 0800-916-754.

Specifications & Fees

$40 if purchased by phone reservation. $50 if purchased at airport.
*Fee is applied per board bag, up to three surfboards per bag.

[box type=”info” size=”large” style=”rounded”]Maximum length 9’0 ft[/box]

Notes: We recommend that you call Aero Mexico to confirm surfboard fees, and make sure to get the name of the person you’re speaking to. Why? Some of our bros have been charged $65 by airline staff at airport check-in, and after they mention phone conversation and employee’s name, they change it to $50 (original fee). They’ll often try to trick you!



Airline: AirAsia

Surfboard Fee: Vary from the airport you fly.

Telephone: Malaysia +60 085-9999.

Specifications & Fees

“Must be packed in a recognized surfboard bag weighing not more than 44lbs (on its own). Anything in excess of 44lbs will attract Excess Baggage Fee at the prevailing rate of the airport.

[box type=”info” size=”large” style=”rounded”]Must not exceed 9ft.[/box]

Notes: none at this time.



Airline: Air Berlin

Surfboard Fee: €50 to €120 (depending on short/medium/long-haul)


  • US 1(800)-266-5588
  • Germany +49 030-3434-3434
  • France +33 0826-96-73 78
  • UK +44 0-871-5000-737

Specifications & Fees

Surfboard must be packed in soft case or similar.

Notes: Since the space available in the cargo hold is limited, we recommend that you register your baggage well in advance. Surfboards and other sports equipment must be registered 48 hours before departure.



Airline: Air Canada

Surfboard Fee: $50


Specifications & Fees

The handling charge is $50 (plus tax), it applies per surfboard to one-way flights and for each way of travel on round-trip and multi-segment flight. Max length 6’6 ft (203 cm).

Notes: *Two handling fees apply for two (2) surfboards packed in the same container. Air Canada is not liable if and to the extent that any damage results from the inherent defect, quality or vice of the baggage.



Airline: Air China

Surfboard Fee: 1.5% of your fare. Typical fight to China is around $1000, so you’d be paying over $150.

Telephone: US & Canada 1(800)-882-8122.

Specifications & Fees

Maximum weight allowed is 50 pounds beyond which the normal flight charge for extra baggage is applicable—if you ride a board smaller than 5′ then it goes free. Everything else is calculated based on your ticket price of 1.5% surcharge.


  • 08/15- Wave Tribe FB friend Mary reports: “China Air LAX to Bali $150 per board and they open the bag and feel the rails. 4’10 grom board- same price”



Airline: Air Europa

Surfboard Fee: €150


  • US 1(800)-238-7672
  • Spain +34 902-401-501

Specifications & Fees

SURFING EQUIPMENT (windsurf, surf board and kit surf )Surf equipment may consist of a surf board, mast, sail or a surf board or kite or parachute, a bar and a board. Surfing equipment is not included in the baggage allowance. For each equipment checked-in a charge of €150 will be applied per one way.

Notes: none at this time.



Airline: Air France

Surfboard Fee: $55 to $150


  • US 1(800)-992-3932
  • France +33 (0)9 69-39-0215
  • UK +44 0871-66-33-777

Specifications & Fees

[box type=”alert” size=”large” style=”rounded”]Cannot exceed 50 lbs.[/box]

If the length of your surfboard is between 107 and 300 cm (42″ and 9’8 ft), 23 kg (50 lb) maximum per board, you must purchase an additional baggage allowance at the airport, determined according to your trip:

  • €55 ($75) on flights departing from a country outside the Europe,zone 1.
  • €55 ($55) on flights departing from a country outside the Europe, zone 2.
  • €100 ($150) on flights departing from a country within the Europe, zone 3.
  • €100 ($100) on flights departing from a country within the Europe, zone 4.
  • Check out zones.
[box type=”info” size=”large” style=”rounded”]Notes: Surfboards and  long-boards can be transported in the hold with prior authorization by phone from our sales department.[/box]



Airline: Air India

Surfboard Fee: $200

Telephone: US & Canada 1(800)-223-7776.

Specifications & Fees

The will be charged 50% of the excess baggage charge. Such kit can be pooled in the Free Baggage Allowance but only 1 per passenger. Excess weight due to additional kit shall be charged as an extra piece.

[box type=”alert” size=”large” style=”rounded”]More than 23 kgs up to 32 kgs (51-70 lbs) – USD 100.00 per piece. 3rd and each additional piece upto 50 lbs – USD 200.00 between India and US.[/box]

Notes: Golfing Kit/Surf Boarding equipment – The will be charged 50% of the excess baggage charge. Such kit can be pooled in the Free Baggage Allowance but only 1 per passenger. Excess weight due to additional kit shall be charged as an extra piece.



Air New Zealand Surfboard Bag FeeAirline: Air New Zealand

Surfboard Fee: Free (but only if you meet their requirements)


  • US 1(800)-262-1234
  • Baggage Services 1(866)-767-2247
  • New Zealand +64 0800-737-000.
  • UK +44 0800-028-4149
  • France +33 0800-90-77-12.

Specifications & Fees

Free as part of your baggage limit but if its exceeds that the charge is $150 (first bag) or $200 (second bag) for flights originating from USA. Two surfboards can be taken in a single bag.

Notes: Please note there is a maximum weight restriction of 32kg (70lbs) per item and 2 meters (6’5 ft) long.

Please contact airline prior to trip for more information.

[box type=”alert” size=”large” style=”rounded”]Wave Tribe bro Grant comments: “Air New Zealand charged me $200 on a flight from Auckland to Toronto, Canada. I was not happy as Air New Zealand never used to charge. I complained but they say this is something new. Board bag was a standard 2m or 6’6 length.[/box]



Airline: Air Pacific (Fiji Airlines)

Surfboard Fee: $50 to $100


Specifications & Fees

  • $50, flights to all destinations (except US/Canada, to and from Australia).
  • $100, flights to US/Canada, to and  from Australia

Notes: These charges apply to surfboards exceeding 158cm (5’1 ft) but not exceeding 277cm (9’0 ft) in total dimension, at a maximum weight of 23kg (50lbs).



Air Tahiti Nui Board Bags Free to TahitiAirline: Air Tahiti Nui

Surfboard Fee: Free


  • US 1 (877)-824-4846
  • UK  44 (0) 870-0660-2050
  • France +33 08-2502-4202.

Specifications & Fees

[box type=”alert” size=”large” style=”rounded”]Must be under 50 lbs and 98 inches.[/box]

One board bag allowed free of charge. If it does not exceed 50 lbs (23kg) maximum weight and 8’2 ft (250cm) maximum length.

Notes: In all cases the second piece and/or adding another item of sporting equipment, are subject to published Excess Baggage Charges (Extra Piece/Oversize and/or over weight as applicable)



Airline:  AirTran Airways

Surfboard Fee: $50

Telephone: US 1(800)-247-8726 or 1(866)-247-2428.

Specifications & Fees

Surfboards will be accepted for a fee of $50 per item each way when packed in a case designed to prevent damage to surfboards and only upon completion of a Limited Release Tag.

Notes: none.



Airline: Air Transat

Surfboard Fee: CA $100 per flight segment

Telephone: 1(866)-255-4871

Specifications & Fees

Dimensions: Maximum 3.65 m (12 feet) long, Weight:Maximum 32 kg (70 lb.)

Notes: none.



Airline: Alaska Airlines

Surfboard Fee: $40-$75


  • US/Canada 1(800)-252-7522
  • UK +44 800-2527-5200
  • France +33 800-2527-5200.

Specifications & Fees

[box type=”alert” size=”large” style=”rounded”]One item (two boards per case) may be included as a checked bag[/box]

I have always had a great experience flying with Alaska, several times stuffing 3-4 boards in one bag and they never hassled me. One of the most friendly surfer airlines I have flown.

We are allowed to fly with two surfboards inside one board bag, 118″ in length (9’8 ft) and pay oversize baggage fee of $75. The 115″ linear measurement, as stated at website, applies for other sporting equipment, not for surfboards. Please mention this to Alaska Air staff at the airport.

[box type=”info” size=”large” style=”rounded”]Notes: Alaska Airlines will accept surfboards as checked baggage provided each piece is properly packed in a soft or hard sided case designed specifically for it.[/box]

*Update 8/17: WT FB bro Vinnie P. says “Prices recently dropped on Alaska, check website. Big savings.”



Airline: Alitalia

Surfboard Fee: $75 to $260 (depending on destination)


  • US 1(800)-223-5730
  • Italy +39 06-65640
  • France +33 (0) 1-44-94-44 05.

Specifications & Fees

Surfboard must be 6’5 to 9’8 ft (200-300 cm) and less than 50 lbs (32 kg).

Notes: Depending on the size of the aircraft, surf and windsurf boards may not be accepted on board. Because of the variety of sizes of this type of surfboards, please contact Alitalia before booking/checking in. Please note that for the check-in and shipping of a surfboard you must:

  • Declare this item when you book your flight and, should you take a connecting flight on another carrier, get approval from this carrier; otherwise it will only be accepted on the Alitalia flight.
  • Check in for your flight at least an hour before departure.
  • Make sure the surfboard is properly packaged in containers or wrapped to protect it during loading and unloading.



Airline: All Nippon Airways

Surfboard Fee: $150 or $300

Telephone: US & Canada 1(800)-235-9262.

Specifications & Fees

Within 50 pounds the price is $150 or $300 depending on the size:

  • between 50-70 pounds-additional $30;
  • between 70-110 pounds-additional $150;
  • over 110 pounds, $300.

Notes: Limit length permitted: 9.5 ft



Airline: American Airlines

Surfboard Fee: $150


  • US 1(800)-433-7300
  • UK +44 (0)844-499-7300
  • France +33 0826-460-950.

Specifications & Fees

[box type=”alert” size=”large” style=”rounded”] No bags greater than 126 inches allowed. For travel to, through or from Brazil the boards must be under 108 inches and your first board is $42.50—additional surfboards are $85.[/box]

Surfboard fee, $150 regardless of the number of checked bags. Lightweight surfboards packaged in a single bag that weighs less than 70 lbs. will be accepted as a single surfboard for charging purposes. Maximum weight and size: 70 lbs and 10’5 ft. Acceptance conditional on aircraft size and load factors.

Notes: For travel through, to and from Brazil, surfboard charge for first board checked is $37.50; any additional surfboards are charged $75..

*Update 9/2015- Wave Tribe’s FB friend Cindy said “American Airlines charged my husband $200 one way for his surfboard and it was a Harbour Pope bisect (a board that comes in two pieces). It was within the size limits of a regular bag and just because it was a “surfboard” they charged him. We won’t make that mistake again. Not surfer friendly!”

*Update 11/2015- Wave Tribe FB bro Eddie said “American Airlines actually charges you $150 each way for a board bag under 70 lbs. Pretty lame.”



Airline: American Eagle

Surfboard Fee: $150

Telephone: 1-800-535-5225

Specifications & Fees

$150 regardless of the number of checked bags.Lightweight surfboards packaged in a single bag that weighs less than 70 lbs. will be accepted as a single surfboard for charging purposes.

Through and from Brazil: Surfboard charge for first board checked is $37.50; any additional surfboards are charged $75.00.

Notes: Maximum weight and size: 70lbs and 10.5 ft long.



Airline:  Asiana Airlines

Surfboard Fee: Complicated

Telephone: US 1(800)-227-4262.

Specifications & Fees

Depends on the route you are traveling and the departure city. No cost if this is within the limits of the free baggage policy. Bag should not exceed 6’6 ft and 70 lbs.

Notes: Talk about complicated policy.

  • Americas Routes
    • 1. Tickets issued from July 1, 2012
      • When the total weight of baggage including the equipment does not exceed the free baggage allowance, no extra charges are applied.
      • When the free baggage allowance is exceeded, the excess baggage charge per piece is applied.
      • No fee will be charged for baggage that exceeds the size limit.
      • But baggage that exceeds the weight limit of 23 kg will be charged an excess weight fee.
    • 2. Tickets issued before July 1, 2012
      • Transportation is free of charge when the baggage including golf equipment does not exceed the free baggage allowance.
      • When the free baggage allowance is exceeded, 33% of the applicable excess baggage charge is applied.
  • Non-Americas Routes
    1. 1. If you plan to board before March 1, 2015
      • When the total weight of baggage including the equipment does not exceed the free baggage allowance, no extra charges are applied.
      • When the free baggage allowance is exceeded, the lower amount between the excess baggage charge for 3kg and the regular excess baggage charge for the weight exceeding the free baggage allowance is applied.
    2. 2. If you plan to board after March 1, 2015
      • you will have no extra baggage transportation fee to pay when the total weight of your baggage, including ski equipment, does not exceed the free baggage allowance.
      • When the free baggage allowance is exceeded, you will be charged either the excess baggage charge calculated according to the following Extra Charge System, or the regular excess baggage charge applied to the weight exceeding the free baggage allowance, whichever is lower.
      • Extra Charge System
        • For ski equipment weighing 12kg or less, the regular excess baggage charge for 3kg over is applied.
        • For ski equipment over 12kg, the weight up to 12kg is calculated as 3kg over, and the weight over 12kg is added to the 3kg to calculate the total excess baggage charge.



Airline: Atlantic Southeast – ExpressJet

Surfboard Fee: Undetermined.


  • US 1(404)-856-1000
  • Please try Customer Relations (404)-856-1433

Specifications & Fees

Information not available on the website and no one taking the call.

Notes: You can follow their partners’ baggage policies. Delta, United, and American Airlines.



Airline: Austrian Airlines

Surfboard Fee: $70 to $150

Telephone: US 1(800)-843-0002. Austria +43 (0)5 1766 1000.

Specifications & Fees

  • Up t0 2 meters in length (6.5 ft).
  • Flights within Europe and 3rd countries: €50 or $70 (USD/CAD)
  • Intercontinental flights: €100 or $150 (USD/CAD)

Notes: try the beer.



Airline: Avianca (TACA)

Surfboard Fee: $100-$150

Telephone: 1 (800)-284-2622

Specifications & Fees

  • They can allow only three boards and it will cost $100 (Cost may vary depending on the destinations)
  • The maximum height they can allow is 12 feet and should be under 70 pounds”
[box type=”alert” size=”large” style=”rounded”]Notes: From Wave Tribe bro, “Dinged and damaged surfboards. No acknowledgement whatsoever from airline. Please make sure to pack and protect surfboards thoroughly.”[/box]



Airline: Bahamas Air

Surfboard Fee: $65

Telephone: US 1 (800)-222-4262. Bahamas 1(242)-702-4140.

Specifications & Fees

Treated as a checked bag, the first bag is free. One board per bag. For international flights:

  • if it’s over 50 lbs and under 70, or if it’s over 6.2
  • it’s $75.If it’s over 70 lbs but under 100
  • it’s $125. If it’s over 62″ and 70 lbs, it’s $150.
  • For domestic flights & Turks and Caicos, if it’s over 62″ but under 44 lbs, it’s $65.
[box type=”info” size=”large” style=”rounded”] Can’t exceed 100 lbs.[/box]

Notes: enjoy the warm water.



Airline: Blue Panorama Airlines

Surfboard Fee: € 100

Telephone: Calling outside of Italy +39 06-98-95-66-77. Italy 06-98-95-66-66.

Specifications & Fees

100 Euros per flight for each surf equipment and snowboard on international flights of the Carrier’s towards Africa, the East, the Caribbean and the Americas, plus, in general, for all intercontinental flights.

Notes: enjoy the pizza.



Airline: British Airways

Surfboard Fee: Free to $60*


  • US 1(800)-247-9297
  • UK +44 0844-493-0787
  • France +33 (0) 825-825-400.

Specifications & Fees

B.A. will accept surfboards as checked baggage providing they do not exceed the maximum weight restrictions for checked baggage and are packed in a recognized bag or case to safeguard against damage.

  • The bag containing the board can be up to a maximum size of 6’2 ft (190cm).
  • Bags weighing more than 51 lb (23 kg) may incur a heavy bag charge ($60).
[box type=”info” size=”large” style=”rounded”]Notes: Our Wave Tribe bro Maurice comments: The worst is, BA won’t allow longboards.[/box]



Airline: Cathay Pacific

Surfboard Fee: Undetermined*


  • US 1(800)-233-2742
  • Hong Kong +852 2747-1888
  • UK +44 0-20-8834-8888.

Specifications & Fees

Free of charge unless it exceeds weight and length, then fees are applied per kilogram.

Notes: Surfboards are subject to the applicable standard excess baggage charges if in excess of your standard free baggage allowance. Acceptance of any bag over 70 lbs (32kg) or over 6’0 ft (203cm) is subject to prior approval and notification upon booking/reservation.

[box type=”info” size=”large” style=”rounded”]Please contact airline prior to purchasing ticket, for more information.[/box]



*9/2015- Wave Tribe Bro Heb said “Hi, Just got back from Australia flying with Cathay Pacific. Looked into getting a 9ft board back to the UK as extra baggage. They wanted 60 US Dollars per kilo! Say conservatively the total weight would be 10kg that’s 600 US dollars on top of the price of the board. Needless to say it didn’t happen.
Great site.”


Airline: China Eastern Airlines or Shanghai Airlines

Surfboard Fee: Undetermined.



  • U.S.  Los Angeles 1(310)-744-8999, 1-626-583-1500. New York 1(212)-685-8685.
  • Paris +33 144860300
  • London +44 207 935 2676
  • China, Shanghai 95530 021-95530

Specifications & Fees

Notes: Please contact airline for more info.



Airline: China Southern

Surfboard Fee: Undetermined.

Telephone: U.S. 1(888)-338-8988, direct call 1(323)-653-8088

Specifications & Fees

NA. Please contact airline.



Airline: Condor

Surfboard Fee: $65 to $98


  • US 1(866)-960-7915
  • Rest of the world & Germany +49 (0) 6171-6988920.
  • Email:

Specifications & Fees

  • $65 one-way-short/medium haul flights.
  • $98 one-way/long haul flights.

Notes: Up to 66 lbs (30 kg). Max. dimensions: 13 ft (400cm) length x 27″ (70 cm) width x 21″ (55 cm) height*.

  • Comprising 1 surfboard (+ 1 mast + 1 sail or 1 board + 1 kite.)
  • Dimension details must be indicated to establish whether and how the item can be carried.
  • Charge does not apply to bodyboards/boogie boards.



Airline: COPA

Surfboard Fee: $50 to $75

Telephone: US 1(800)-359-2672. Panama +507 304-2672.

Specifications & Fees

  • Surfboards or surfboard bags measuring more than 9’5 ft (292 cm) in length will not be accepted as checked baggage on Copa Airlines flights.
  • Bags containing surfboards weighing more than 70 lb (32 kg) will not be accepted as checked bags.
  • $75 per trip, per bag (two boards per board bag allowed).
  • ($50 to and from Costa Rica and Brazil)

Notes: Copa Airlines will transport a maximum of two surfboards, packed in the same bag, per passenger. Any additional boards must be checked as cargo. Please contact airline for more information, prior to purchasing ticket to reserve space for luggage.



Airline: Corsairfly

Surfboard Fee: Undetermined.


  • U.S. 1(800)-677-0720
  • France +33 1 7039-2210.

Specifications & Fees

NA. Please contact airline.




Airline: Delta Airlines

Surfboard Fee: $100 to $150.


  • US 1(404)-209-3434
  • UK +44 871-221-1222
  • Brazil +55 0800-761-7070
  • Spain +34 902-810-872.

Specifications & Fees

$150 (€105) traveling to all regions (excluding Brazil). $100 traveling to/from Brazil.

Delta Connection carrier surfboard acceptance and charges may vary. Please contact airline for more information.

  • Surfboards are allowed up to two boards per bag.
  • Bags over 70 lbs. will be charged the excess weight fee ($125 – $200).
  • Between Honolulu and Maui, there is a $20 fee.
  • Surfboards over 9’5 ft are not allowed.

Notes: Please be advised, between Honolulu and Maui, there is a $20 fee.

*12/21 Update: Wave Tribe bro Robert says “It looks like Delta Airlines changed their size restriction from a max length of 9’5″ to linear dimensions: Linear dimension (length + width + height) cannot exceed 115 inches (292 cm). We recently has a customer that was refused when she tried to check in a 9’2 board on Delta from Honolulu to France. This was possible before for $150. Now you can only take shortboards, even a small longboard or SUP will be too big for this linear dimension measurement.”




Airline: Easyjet

Surfboard Fee: $20-$50

Telephone: UK +44 0843-104-5000.France +33 0820-420-315. Rest of the world +44 843 104 5454.

Specifications & Fees

Easyjet people say “Buying weight allowance for sporting goods gives you a 12kg extra weight allowance. You must be traveling with sports equipment (as listed in the booking process), although the exact weight distribution between items doesn’t matter. For example: One passenger traveling buys a bag and an additional sporting allowance. This gives an allowance of 2 items (which must include 1 sporting item), at a total weight of 5o lbs (32kg). However, if the sporting item is 40 lbs (18kg) and the bag is 30 lbs (14kg) then that’s fine with us!

Two passengers are traveling with one hold bag and two pieces of sports equipment. This gives an allowance of 3 items (which must include 2 sporting items), at a total weight of 97 lbs (44kg). The exact distribution of weight between baggage items doesn’t matter, subject to the maximum weights detailed above for health and safety reasons.”

Notes: You can usually add a surfboard to your ticket fir a reasonable price.



Airline: El Al

Surfboard Fee: $70

Telephone: U.S. 1(800)-223-6700.

Specifications & Fees

Surfboards can be flown as part of your baggage allowance.

  • Up t0 33 lbs, 4.6ft: $70.
  • Between 35-70 lbs, 4.6 to 6.6ft: ($70 Europe. $210 rest of the world.)
  • Between 71-110 lbs, 6.6 to 9ft: $210.

Notes: where you going?



Airline: Egyptair

Surfboard Fee: Surfboards not allowed. They need to go as cargo.

Telephone: US 1(212)-581-5600. UK +44 0844-822-1110. France +33 1-4494-8500.

Specifications & Fees

If you are carrying special sporting items EGYPTAIR applies special excess baggage rates to these items.

The following special baggage will be checked as cargo and should not be packed in sporting travel cases:

Bike-Tandem, Bulk baggage, Hang Gliders ,Kayaks, Surfboard 🙁

Notes: check out the temples,



Airline: Emirates

Surfboard Fee: Emirates the policy in 2015. It is now a maximum of 300cm on the L + W + H
If you are more than that , your board bag will have to go directly on fret.

Telephone: US 1(800)-777-3999. UK +44 844-800-2777. France +33 (0)1-5732-4999.

Specifications & Fees

Emirates will accept surfboards, as checked baggage and part of your standard baggage allowance, provided they are less than 10’0 ft (300cm) in length.
For surfboards, the following precautions must be taken:
– Fins should always be removed, or, if they cannot be removed, should be firmly packed with polystyrene foam.
– Both nose and tail should have bubble-wrap or neoprene foam attached for protection.
– The rails (sides of the board) should have cardboard down the sides to absorb shock.
– The board should be packed in a properly padded surf-bag.

*Wave Tribe bro Joao comments: I already traveled a few times with Emirates and also on Singapore, and they are fully free and recommendable. About the Board sizes, never had any problem with Singapore or Emirates.

*08/15 Wave Tribe bro Yen reports that on his trip from Europe to Indo “emirates up to 30Kg surfboards free.”



Etihad Airways Board Bags Free to TahitiAirline: Etihad Airways

Surfboard Fee: Free

Telephone: US 1(877)- 690-0767. UK +44 845-6081225

Specifications & Fees

Eithad Airways state that a surfboard would be free of charge as long as:

  • The surfboard is no longer than 3 meters (9’8 ft)
  • Weight of total baggage does not exceed 30 kg (66 pounds)

Notes: Please contact airline before flight.



Airline: EVA Air

Surfboard Fee: Undetermined.

Telephone: US & Canada 1(800)-695-1188. UK +44 20-7380-8300. France +33 1-4143-9111. Taiwan +886 3-3510022.

Specifications & Fees

The baggage allowance depends on airport and destination. Two allowance systems are in use. Different regulations and charges apply to special baggage, e.g. golf clubs, surfboards, windsurfing equipment etc. Please contact EVA AIR reservations 24 hours prior to your departure.

[box type=”info” style=”rounded” border=”full”]Notes: Please be very cautious when traveling with your surfboard with Eva Air. They might give you confusing information and charge you more than the established fees. On the phone they will give you an amount to pay, and on airport another one on top of that.[/box]



Airline: ExpressJet

Surfboard Fee: $150 (Approx.)

Telephone: US 1(404)-856-1000. Customer Relations 1(404)-856-1433.

Specifications & Fees

Express jet operates on behalf of continental airlines and United Airlines, so the baggage rules applies by Continental and United. Surfboards are allowed but for certain costs.

Notes: none.



Airline: Finnair

Surfboard Fee: $0 to $200

Telephone: US 1(800)-950-5000. Finland & Europe +358 600-140-140.

Specifications & Fees

Surfboards with a maximum length of 190 cm (6’2 ft) and maximum weight of 23 kg (50 lbs) are considered standard baggage.

  • If the baggage allowance does not exceed, no extra charge applies.
  • If a surfboard exceeds the maximum measurements 190 cm x 75 cm x 65 cm (6’2ft x 29″ x 25″), a charge of €150 or $200 USD/CAD is collected at the airport.
  • For carrying windsurfing boards, canoes and kayaks, an extra charge of €150 or $200 USD/CAD is always collected at the airport.

Notes: surfing in Finland?



Airline: First Choice Airways

Surfboard Fee: £35 to £60

Telephone: UK +44 0871-200-7799 or +44 0871-231-4691

Specifications & Fees

For Surfboards/Windsurfers/Kitesurfers/Paragliders/Canoes.

  • Short haul – £35 return
  • Mid haul – £45 return
  • Long haul – £60 return

Notes: none.



Airline: Frontier Airlines

Surfboard Fee: $20-$75

Telephone: US & Canada 1(800)-432-1359.

Specifications & Fees

$20 up to 11 feet and 50 lbs overweight charges $75. Cannot exceed 99lbs. Some checked items, such as surfboards will be charged a fixed handling fee because of size, fragility, or other handling requirements while others may be checked in lieu of one of your checked bags. If you plan to travel with a surfboard, please contact Frontier Airlines directly to confirm packing regulations and fees. The following limits for length apply based on aircraft type:

  • Airbus 319/320: 15 ft
  • Airbus 318: 11 ft
  • Embraer 190: 8 ft
  • Limited liability, unless packaged in a hard-sided case.



Airline: Garuda Indonesia

Free within the limits of free baggage policy.

Telephone: US 1(800)-342-7832. Call Center at +62 80-4180-7807 (Within Indonesia region only) or +62 21-2351-9999.

Specifications & Fees

All Sporting Equipments, including but not limited to Golfing, Surfboard, Bicycle and Skiing equipments maybe included into applicable passengers Free Baggage Allowance/FBA according to their actual fare paid. Important to notify the airline 24 hours before your take off.

[box type=”info” style=”rounded” border=”full”]Notes: Maximum weight permitted 33lbs (15 kilo).[/box]



Airline: GOL

Surfboard Fee: Undetermined.

Telephone: US & Canada 1(855)-862-9190. Other countries +598 2403-8007 (24 hrs, Uruguay tel.)

Specifications & Fees

Surfboards, bodyboards, skateboards, skis, bowling balls and other equipment must be transported inside cases designed for their transportation or in their original packaging. Balls must be deflated. If equipment is not appropriately packaged according to the stipulations listed above, airline employees are authorized to refuse to transport the items.

[box type=”info” size=”large” style=”rounded”]Note: Baggage whose linear measurements exceed 158 cm (5.2 ft) or weigh more than 32 kg (70 lbs.) per item will not be accepted, not even as excess baggage. [/box]



Airline: Gulf Air

Surfboard Fee: NA


  • US & Canada 1(888)-359-4853
  • Bahrain +973 1737-3737
  • UK +44 08-44-493-1717
  • France +33 4952-4141

Specifications & Fees

Gulf Air is delighted to accept surfboards as long as each piece does not exceed 32 kg and are within the dimensions set for extraordinary baggage 190 cm (6’2 ft) x 75 cm (20”) x 65 cm (25”). We would not be able to accept larger dimensions as checked baggage. Gulf Air would be happy to carry them as cargo in these circumstances.

Notes: Please contact airline for more info.



Airline: Hainan Airlines

Surfboard Fee: Each charging standard unit is $110.


Specifications & Fees

Surf boards Hainan Airlines allows surfing gear to be transported as checked baggage. The total size (length+ width +height) of each piece of surfing set should be less than 277 cm (9 ft). Hainan Airlines does not allow surfing gear to be included in the free baggage allowance. Only one set of surfing equipment for each passenger can be applied to special charging policies, namely being charged a fee of 50% of a standard charging unit. [Annotation: Each charging standard unit is 110 UD dollars. If RMB is used for payment, the exchange rate on the date the overweight check is completed shall be applied.] Other surfing gear shall be charged according to ordinary charging standards of over limit baggage.

[box type=”info” size=”large” style=”rounded”]Notes: Some checked items, such as surfboards and bicycles will be charged a fixed handling fee because of size, fragility, or other handling requirements while others may be checked in lieu of one of your checked bags.[/box]



Airline: Hawaiian Air

Surfboard Fee: $35 to $150.


  • US 1(800)-367-5320
  • UK +44 0-4208-133-0718
  • Australia +61 1800-188-371

Specifications & Fees

Surfboards will not be included in determining the free baggage allowance and will be subject to the following charges each:

  • Domestic flights, to neighbor island $35;
  • Between North America and Hawaii $100;
  • Between Continental USA $100.

International flights:

  • $150, between Hawaii/North America and Japan, Korea, Taiwan or China;
  • $150, between Hawaii/North America and Australia;
  • $150, for any other international travel.

Exception: For travel between USA and Australia or New Zealand, boards will be included in the free baggage allowance when travel is non-stop, direct and/or connecting Service. Boards in excess of the free baggage allowance and/or when en route stopover exceeding 24 hours occurs, will always be subject to the applicable baggage charges.
Maximum weight for Surfboards is 23 kgs. or 50 lbs. Maximum length 9’5 ft.

Notes: Fin must be removed or well padded.  Entire board must be protected by a suitable container. Limit of two boards per container. Charge will be assessed per container.

[box type=”info” size=”large” style=”rounded”]Wave Tribe bro David comments: Just FYI… Hawaiian allows one free board bag on flights between the USA and Australia/New Zealand. Though if you are flying on one of these flights it’s helpful to screenshot this page from their website as many agents do not know this:[/box]



Airline: Iberia

Surfboard Fee: €150


  • US 1(800)-772-4642
  • Spain +34 902-400-500
  • UK +44 0-870-609-0500
  • France +33 0-825-800-965

Specifications & Fees

Surfboards will always be treated as excess baggage with a fixed charge of €150 per leg, payable exclusively at the airport. When the trip originates in America, Nigeria or Israel, the charge will be $150.

  • For flights coming in and out of Brazil, Surf equipment is not included under the baggage allowance and involves a charge of $60
  • Additional equipment will be charged $120/per unit.
  • Surfboard should not exceed 2.5m in length.

Notes: Its carriage will be subject to availability of space on the flight. Surfboards should be properly positioned and packed, fastened to prevent breakage or cause problems or injury during boarding and carriage.



Airline: Indian Airlines

Surfboard Fee: Undetermined.


  • US & Canada 1(800)-180-1407
  • USA toll free 1(800)-223-7776
  • UK +44 207-760-3290.


Specifications & Fees

Notes: go to Sri Lanka bro, good waves there.



Interjet Airlines Free Board bag Fee

Airline: Interjet

Surfboard Fee: Free


Specifications & Fees

Max weight is 52 lbs for domestic flights and 110 lbs per passenger for international flights. Max size permitted, 8’9 ft. Any excess baggage will have a fee of $50.00 pesos (approx $5) plus tax for each additional pound.

Notes: add a corona.



Airline:  Iran Air

Surfboard Fee: Undetermined.

Telephone: London +44 020 8741 8000. Iran +98 (21)4662-4255.

Specifications & Fees

Notes: no surf in Iran bro.




Airline: Japan Airlines

Surfboard Fee:  $50 to $150


  • US & Canada 1(800)-525-3663 or 1(310)-643-1596.
  • Japan +81 0570-025-121
  • UK +44 0844-8-569-700
  • France +33 0810-747-700.

Specifications & Fees

Charges for each carry bag will be assessed according to the route.

Japan, Asia, India, Oceania Hawaii, North/Central/South America, Europe, Middle East, Africa:

  • Per carry bag:- 15,000yen ($150)

Between Japan and Asia, Guam, Oceania:

  • Per carry bag 10,000yen ($100)

Japan Domestic flights:

  • Per carry bag 5,000yen ($50)
[box type=”info” size=”large” style=”rounded”]Notes: Surfboards:Maximum of 2 surfboards per each carry bag. If your surfboard exceeds 47″ or 120cm (30″ or 100cm if the aircraft is 737) in length (Crazy!).  Please consult with our airline or your travel agency in advance.[/box]



Airline: Jet Airways

Surfboard Fee: $50 if its exceeds the weight of the free check-in baggage.

Telephone: 1(877)-835-9538

Specifications & Fees

The maximum size of a surfboard allowed is 5’2 ft, 50 lbs.

Notes: none.



Airline: Jet Blue

Surfboard Fee: $50


  • US 1(800)-538-2583
  • All other countries 1(801)-449-2525.

Specifications & Fees

Surfboards are accepted on domestic flights for a fee of $50 per board each way and will count as one of your checked bags. International flights, customers will be charged a fee of $50 per board each way and will count as part of the checked baggage allowance.

  • Surfboards are accepted to all destinations EXCEPT to/from Bermuda, Santo Domingo and Santiago.
  • Surfboards ARE accepted on flights to/from Puerto Plata, and Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.

Notes: One surfboard per case. Items weighing more than one hundred pounds (100 lbs) will not be accepted as checked baggage. We recommend that surfboards travel in a hard-sided (rather than soft-sided) case to prevent damage.

[box type=”alert” size=”large” style=”rounded”]Wave Tribe bro Jake comments: They literally charged me TO THE PENNY when returning to NY from Puerto Rico. Said they wouldn’t put my bag on the plane. They charged per board and luckily only saw 2, I had 3.[/box]



Airline:  JetStar

Surfboard Fee: Free*


  • US 1(866)-397-8170
  • Australia & other countries +61 (613)-9645-5999.

Specifications & Fees

Weight and size must not exceed 50 lbs (32 kg) and 6’2 ft (domestic flights & short-haul international) and 9’0 ft (international long-haul); or else excess baggage will be applied.

Notes: Please contact airline for more details. Checked baggage fees are usually applied anyways and might vary.



Airline: KLM

Surfboard Fee: $55 to $150 (depending on destination)


  • US & Canada 1(866)-434-0320 or 1(800)-618-0104
  • UK +44 (0) 871-231-0000.
    France +33 (0)9-6936-8605
  • Germany +49 01806-254-750.

Specifications & Fees

You can bring a surfboard of max. 42″ (107cm)  instead of a suitcase or instead of an extra suitcase bought in advance. Larger surf equipment can only be taken at a special fee. Fees for surfboards between 42″ to 9’8 ft ( 107 and 300 cm) in length, max. 50 lbs (23 kg):

  • Within the Netherlands, $55.
  • Within Europe. Within Europe and North Africa, Israel, and other parts of Middle East, $55.
  • Within Europe and United States/Canada, rest of Middle East, India, $100. (When departing from United States, $150)
  • The rest of the world, $100.

Notes: Please contact KLM telephone reservations prior to trip. You always need to reserve for any type of surf equipment.

[box type=”alert” size=”large” style=”rounded”]Wave Tribe bro comments: “KLM high prices and for not taking any responsibility in case the boards get damaged. The damage may occur, once the equipment is inspected and not left the way it was packed.[/box]

*9/2015~ Wave Tribe bro SurfKaravaan reports~ “Surfboards free of charge.” Check their dedicated website:!/destinations

*11/2015~ Wave Tribe bro Roy reports~ “KLM does not charge anymore , you can bring your surfboard instead of a suitcase, or as an extra bag…”



South African Airlines Free Board bag Fee

Airline: Korean Air

Surfboard Fee: Free*

Telephone: US 1(800)-438-5000. UK +44 0-800-413-00.

Specifications & Fees

Maximum weight & length allowed, 70lb (32kg) and 9’0 ft (277cm). Take precautions when packing surfboards. Fins should be detached and thereafter boards safely enclosed in suitable bags. Surfboard will be charged per bag (or container). Korean Air assumes no liability for damage to sports equipment that is not contained in a hard-sided case designed for shipping with protective internal material.

[box type=”info” size=”large” style=”rounded”]Notes: Up to $200  if free baggage allowance is exceeded, and depending on destination.[/box]



South African Airlines Free Board bag Fee

Airline: LAN Chile

Surfboard Fee: Free*


  • US 1(866)-435-9526
  • Chile +56 600-526-2000
  • France +33 082-123-1554.
  • UK +44 845-098-0140.

Specifications & Fees

Surfboards may be considered part of the free checked baggage allowance provided that it does not exceed the permitted allowance (according to the route and flight cabin). Maximum length & weight permitted for surfboards 9’8 ft (300 cm) and 50 lbs (23 kg). If exceeded, you must pay the excess baggage fee. *($30 to $90, depending on destination flights)

Notes: beautiful flight attendants.



Airline: Lufthansa

Surfboard Fee: $70 to $150


  • US 1(800)-645-3880.
  • Germany +49 69-86-799-799
  • UK +44 871-945-9747
  • France +33 892-231-690

Specifications & Fees

Must be less than 70 lbs (32 kg) and/or 6’5″ (2 meters).

  • Within Europe: $70 (€50).
  • Europe to intercontinental: $150 (€100).
  • If it’s over 6’7″ (2 m), the fees are doubled. You need to register sports baggage 24 hours before the flight.

Notes: safest airline with good service.



Airline: Malaysian

Surfboard Fee: Varies


  • US 1(800)-552-9264
  • UK +44 (0) 20-7341-2022
  • France +33 0892-35-0810.

Specifications & Fees

One surfboard to a maximum length of 8’1 ft (2.5 meters) . Items over 8’1 ft in length shall not be accepted as checked baggage.
Weight system:

  • Maximum weight of 33 lbs (15kg) will be carried free of charge.
  • If over the FBA + 33 lbs, normal excess baggage applies.
  • Piece system: 100% or single charge of the applicable excess baggage rate regardless of the dimension and size. Additional surfboards at the applicable excess baggage charge.

Additional surfboard restrictions and exceptions:

  •  If not presented in a protective case, the item will only be accepted upon completion of a Limited Release tag.

Notes: hot chicks.

*10/15 Update: Wave Tribe friend Izzy said: “You could add Malaysian to the bro list I flew a couple of times with them to Bali and it was free to bring boards. They damaged one of my boards once though but they paid for the damage without complaining.”



Airline: Mesa Airlines

Surfboard Fee: $35

Telephone: 1(602)-685-4000

Specifications & Fees

Surfboards and paddle boards with lengths 6 feet and less on a limited basis. Every effort will be made to accommodate these items. A fee of $35 ($30 for tickets purchased on or prior to Oct. 31, 2013) will be charged for transportation of these items.

Notes: que honda?



Airline: Mexicana

Surfboard Fee: $75

Telephone: US 1(888)-882-9994, 1(877)-801-2010.

Specifications & Fees

One-way per bag, Max 8’3 ft.

Notes: Please call Mexicana Airlines, for more information.



Airline: Monarch Airlines

Surfboard Fee: £35 / €44 per item, per sector.

Telephone: Calling from inside & outside the UK +44 8719-40-50-40.
Contact form:

Specifications & Fees

These fees can only be booked at the airport.

Notes: butterfly.



Airline: MyTravel Airways or Thomas Cook

Surfboard Fee: £40 to £60


Telephone: Denmark +45 3247-7200. US 1(800)-432-1359

Specifications & Fees

Surfboards are charged at £40 short haul/short haul plus and £60 long haul for the return trip.

Notes: high roller.



Airline: Northwest (Delta)

Surfboard Fee: $100 to $150.

Telephone: US 1(404)-209-3434. UK +44 871-221-1222. Brazil +55 0800-761-7070. Spain +34 902-810-872.

Specifications & Fees

$150 (€105) traveling to all regions (excluding Brazil). $100 traveling to/from Brazil.

  •  Delta Connection carrier surfboard acceptance and charges may vary. Please contact airline for more information.
  • If the surfboard is not in a protective case, you must fill out a liability form before the surfboard will be accepted. (Click on link below)
  • Surfboards are allowed up to two boards per bag.
  • Bags over 70 lbs. will be charged the excess weight fee ($125 – $200).
  • Between Honolulu and Maui, there is a $20 fee.
  • Surfboards over 9’5 ft are not allowed.

Notes: Please be advised, between Honolulu and Maui, there is a $20 fee.



Oman Air Free Board bag Fee

Airline: Oman Air

Surfboard Fee: Free

Telephone: US 1(201)-205-2115.

Specifications & Fees

Sporting Equipments as listed below may be accepted for carriage as checked in baggage and as part of passenger’s standard baggage allowance. If the free baggage allowance (FBA) is exceeded, normal excess baggage charges apply.Specifications & Fees

  • Wind Surf Boards
  • Surf Boards
  • Kite Surfing Equipment
  • Body Boards
  • Pole Vault
  • Kayaks

Following need to be taken into account. Items are less than 300 cm (10 feet) in length, any sails are detachable and collapsible and the equipment is appropriately packed in a hard shell packing case, if not limited release tag will be required.

Notes: Items up to 400 cm (13 feet) in length may be accepted in exceptional cases, provided detailed information is forwarded to us.

*Update 10/15: Wave Tribe Bro Scott said “Oman changed their policy on surfboards. No Longer Free Must Pay a lot.”



Airline: Pakistan Int. Airlines

Surfboard Fee: Undetermined.

Telephone: 24 hr contact number +92 111-786-786.

Specifications & Fees

Notes: why?



Airline: Philippine Airlines

Surfboard Fee: $150.00


  • USA and Canada 1(800)-435-9725
  • Australia 1-300-888-725.

Specifications & Fees

$150 within a size of 9ft, if it exceeds that, the cost would be $300. Surfboards are not included in the free baggage allowance, and thus shall be considered as automatic excess baggage.

Notes: Exception: For travel between Australia and Philippines, surfboards shall only be accepted if enclosed in a surfboard bag that must not exceed 70lbs in weight and 9ft in length. Board can be included in the free baggage allowance. The number of surfboards can be more than one, but must not exceed 70lbs. When the combined weight of the board exceeds the free baggage allowance, normal excess baggage rates shall apply.

[box type=”alert” size=”large” style=”rounded”]Our Wave Tribe bro Tim, comments: Flew with Philippine Airlines from Bali to Shanghai via Manila. They charged me 33USD/Kilo. He had 13kgs! Their surfboard policy only stands for some destination, make sure you don’t get screwed like he did.[/box]



Oman Air Free Board bag Fee

Airline: Qantas

Surfboard Fee: Free*


  • US 1(800)-227-4500
  • Australia +61 13 13 13
  • UK +44 208-600-4300.
  • France +33 01-5732-9283

Specifications & Fees

To carry a surfboard as baggage, fins must be removed where possible and placed in an enclosed compartment or taped to the board. Qantas Check-in will attach a Fragile tag to the bag and you must complete and sign the limited release portion of the baggage tag. Australian and International routes:

  • Surfboard accepted enclosed in a board bag, should not exceed 70 lb (32kg) in weight and 9’0 ft (277cm) in length.
  • Any additional bags will each be assessed at the Airport Excess Baggage rates.
  • You can pre-purchase Additional Baggage Allowance at lower rates than Airport Excess Baggage rates.
[box type=”info” size=”large” style=”rounded”]Notes: $150, if free baggage allowance is exceeded, and depending on destination.[/box]



Qatar Airline Boardbag FeesAirline: Qatar Airways – Up to $1750 WTF


  • US 1(877)-777-2827 or 1(954)-745-0380
  • UK +44 (0)33-3320-2454
  • France +33 1-70-95-05-80.

The board needs to be less than 9’8 ft (3 meters) and 50 lbs (23kg). If this is exceeded, a fee will be applied and boy it is a doozy.

Specifications & Fees

[box type=”alert” size=”large” style=”rounded”]Surfboard Fee: On Qatar Airlines right now it is not free , and it will cost 1250$ for a board bag up to 300cm if you travel to Denpasar from Europe so please change what it write on your site and check on the Qatar site[/box]


*7/17 Update: WT FB bro Rob said: “I flew Qatar the last two years and they did not charge for boards.”

*2/16 Update: Wave Tribe bro Jaime said: “I flew Qatar from IAD to KUL in Nov. 2015. They said the policy changed in 2015 and wanted to charge me $133 USD after measuring my board bag which was 8 foot and had two boards in it, one 7’4″ and one 7’6″.”wav-tribe-airline-boardbag-fee-guide

Airline: Royal Air Maroc

Surfboard Fee: 80 euros

Telephone: US 1(800)-344-67 26

Specifications & Fees

Surfboard allowed, 80 euros each way for a minimum weight of 66lbs (30 kgs), 6’6 ft (2 meters).

Notes: royal with chese.



Airline: Ryanair

Surfboard Fee: €50 to €60 (depending on advanced purchase or at airport)

Telephone: UK +44 0-871-246-0000. France +33 0892-562-150. Rest of the world+44 871-246-0002.

Specifications & Fees

Surfboards, among other sporting equipment, are inherently unsuitable for carriage by airlines operating fast turnarounds such as Ryanair. However, these items may be carried in the hold of the aircraft in addition to your personal checked baggage allowance up to a limit of 44 lbs (20 kg) per item upon payment of a discounted online fee of £50/€50 per item, per one way flight.

If the item is purchased at the airport or through a Ryanair call centre a higher fee of £60/€60 per item/per one way flight will apply).  Any sporting and musical item weighing over the 44 lbs (20 kg) allowance will be charged for the excess at the applicable excess baggage rate per kilo.

[box type=”info” size=”large” style=”rounded”]Notes: *Useful surfers’ tips who have flown with Ryanair:[/box]



Airline: S7 Airlines

Surfboard Fee: Undetermined.

Telephone: Russia +7 (495) 777-9999.

Specifications & Fees

Notes: Please contact airline*



Airline: Saudi Arabian Airlines

Surfboard Fee: $150-$300*

Telephone: US & Canada 1(800)-472-8342, 1(571)-722-1800.

Specifications & Fees

Saudi Arabian Airlines accept Sporting equipment and musical instruments as checked baggage if it is properly packed or inserted in special bags and its weight shall be counted as a part of free checked baggage allowance, in case the weight is more than the free baggage allowance excess baggage charge shall be collected as Saudi policy. Most likely surfboards will fly as excess baggage. Please read dimensions and weight allowed.

Notes:  The standard dimensions for all bags from/to USA and Canada should not exceed 5’10 ft or 70 lbs. The standard dimensions for all bags to other destinations, except USA and Canada, should not exceed 6’7 ft or 70 lbs



Airline: SAS International

Surfboard Fee: Domestic:€120/$175 ($160), Europe & Scandinavia: €180/$260 ($240), Between Europe and Asia/USA: €250/$325 (***$345)


  • U.S. Customer contact 1(800)-221-2350
  • International 1-201-896-3600

Specifications & Fees

Surfboards are only be accepted on certain aircraft types and specific dimensions apply per aircraft type. Please contact your travel agent for details. The board must be checked in no later than 2 hours before departure and you must notify SAS in advance. If the board exceeds the limits for the specific aircraft type, it must be sent as cargo.

[box type=”info” size=”large” style=”rounded”]Notes: Surfboards/kiteboards The maximum length allowed is 6.5 ft[/box]



Airline: Shenzhen Airlines

Surfboard Fee: Undetermined.

Telephone: 400-88-95080

Specifications & Fees

Notes: Please email airline for more info.



Singapore Airlines Free Board bag Fee

Airline: Singapore

Surfboard Fee: Free*


  • US 1(800)-742-3333
  • UK +44 020-8961-6993
  • France +33 0-821-230-380.
  • Singapore +65 6223-8888.


Specifications & Fees

As part of your two bag limit. After two boards it’s $109 each way going from US to Singapore (other destinations may vary).

Excess baggage charges will apply if your sporting equipment and your other check-in baggage exceed the free baggage allowance.

Notes: For travel to/from US/Brazil, most sporting equipment is treated as one piece of baggage. Canoes (per unit) are treated as two pieces of baggage.

[box type=”alert” size=”large” style=”rounded”]Our Wave Tribe bro Joao comments: I already traveled a few times with Singapore, and they are fully free and recommendable. About board sizes, never had any problem with Singapore.[/box]



Airline: SkyWest Airlines

Surfboard Fee: $20


  • US or Canada 1(800)-335-2247
  • Other Locations +1 (281)-821-3256.

Specifications & Fees

Transportation of surf boards, bicycles, golf clubs, skis, snow boards, archery equipment, and fishing equipment is charged at a flat rate of $20 per item. No more than two surfboards may be included in any one pack. Each pack must not weigh more than 70lbs (32kg).

Please note: Carriage of surfboards is subject to space availability. – Confirmed on calling.

Notes: none.



South African Airlines Free Board bag FeeAirline: South African Airlines

Surfboard Fee: Free


  • US 1(800)-722-9675
  • South Africa +27 86-135-9722
  • Rest of the world +27 11-978-5313.
  • UK +44 0844-375-9680
  • France +33 0825-800969.

Specifications & Fees

South African Airlines will allow a surfboard as an additional piece, not exceeding 50 lbs (23 kg) and 6’5 ft (200 cm), free of charge per passenger.

[box type=”info” size=”large” style=”rounded”]Notes: A surfboard bigger than 6’5 ft (200 cm), to be accepted strictly as cargo.[/box]



Airline: Southwest

Surfboard Fee: $75

Telephone: US & rest of the world 1(800)-435-9792.

Specifications & Fees

Surfboards will be accepted as Checked Baggage for a $75 each way charge.

Notes: Overweight items from 51 to 100 pounds and oversized items in excess of 5’1 ft  but not more than 6’6 ft (e.g.; surfboards) will be accepted for an overweight and oversize baggage fee of $75 per item.



Airline: Spanair

Surfboard Fee: $50

Telephone:  U.S. 1(888)-545-5757. Spain +34 97-191-6036 and +34 90-213-1435.

Specifications & Fees

Surfboard allowed (if ticket purchased in the airport or the call center)

Notes: Please contact airline for more info.



Airline: Spirit Airlines

Surfboard Fee: $100

Telephone: US/Canada 1(801)-401-2200.

Specifications & Fees

Maximum two surfboards in one bag, $100 each way.

You can bring your surfboard as checked baggage on your next trip for an extra charge ($100 each way). Please make sure to remove or protect your surfboard keels and/or kedges to prevent damage to it and other checked baggage.  To save you more, you can put up to 2 similar items in a case together for the same price.  Don’t worry – overweight and oversize fees do not apply to surf equipment.  To add surf equipment to your reservation, please contact one of our reservation centers or visit a Customer Service Agent at the airport.

*A limited liability release will need to be signed when traveling with surf equipment.



South African Airlines Free Board bag Fee

Airline: SriLankan Airlines

Surfboard Fee: Free*

Telephone: US 1(732)- 205-0017. UK +44 0330-808-0800. France +33 9751-81999

Specifications & Fees

You can bring one surfboard for free, allowed as checked baggage. Any excess weight (exceeding 50 lbs) will be assessed at the normal excess baggage rate. Please contact airline.




Airline: Swiss

Surfboard Fee: $70 to $150 (€50 to €100)

Telephone: US 1(877)-359-7947. UK +44 845-601-0956. France +33 (0)892-232-501.

Specifications & Fees

One surfboard (up to 6’5 ft) goes under category  ‘normal baggage’:

For flights within EU: $70 (€50)
For intercontinental flights: $150 (€100)

*Swiss does not accept sports equipment of more than 70lbs (32kgs).

Notes: For smooth execution please check-in your sports equipment no later than 1 hour before counter closing. In Switzerland and Germany you can also take advantage checking in the night before your flight.

*Swiss Air might charge more at airport. Please print page with fees to show airline staff, and make sure they don’t charge more than necessary.



Airline: TAM Linhas Aereas

Surfboard Fee: Free to $75

Telephone:  US 1(888)- 235-9826. UK +44 (0)20-8741-2005. France +33 (0)1535-3800. Rest of the world 786-972-3060.

Specifications & Fees

Surfboard with a maximum length of 8’9 ft (274 cm) and 50 lbs (32 kg); can be included in Passenger’s Luggage allowance. The number of boards shall not exceed 3 (notwithstanding the number of cases).
When applied, an excess-luggage fee of US$75.00 will be charged, and the correct packing of these items will be the total responsibility of the passenger.




Airline: TAP Portugal

Surfboard Fee: €35 to €90

Telephone: US 1(800)-221-7370. UK +44 (0) 845-601-0932. Portugal +351 707-205-700. France +33 0820-319-320.

0820 319 320
+44 (0) 845 601 0932
+44 (0) 845 601 0932

Specifications & Fees

Fee per one way trip:
– Domestic flights, €35.
– Europe, Morocco & Algeria flights, €50.
– Intercontinental flights (to Sal, Praia, Sao Vicente, Dakar, Bamako, Accra, Bissau and Sao Tome) €75
– Other intercontinental flights, €90.

Notes: Maximum weight advised per set 70 lbs (32kg).
Surfboards must always be carried in a suitable bag and packed appropriately. Passengers must always fill in the respective Transport Declaration form. In the absence of this document, inadequately packed equipment will not be accepted at check-in and may consequently be refused transportation.
TAP Portugal does not accept liability for possible damage to inadequately packed boards during travel and recommends that an insurance policy be taken out.


*Update 1/2016~ Wave Tribe bro Matt said: The info for TAP Portugal needs an update: Boards (up to 200 cm):
Domestics, Europe, Morocco and Algeria: EUR 50; Intercontinental Flights: EUR 100



Airline: Thai

Surfboard Fee: $60 to $119

Telephone: US 1(800)-426-5204. UK 0844-561-0911. France +33 1-5568-8070.

Specifications & Fees

Surfboards will not be included in the free baggage allowance.
One board not exceeding 9’0  ft (277 cm) at 50% of excess baggage charge: $60
Any surfboards exceeding 9’0 ft (277 cm) will be charged the full excess baggage fee: $119
A second surfboard shall be charged at the full excess baggage rate: $119

Notes: Please Contact Thai directly for more specific information. *Thai might charge more at airport. Please print page with fees to show airline staff, and make sure they don’t charge more than necessary.



Airline: Thomas Cook (UK)

Surfboard Fee:  £40 short haul/short haul plus, £60 long haul

Telephone: US 1(800)-432-1359. Denmark +45 3247 7200. UK +44 0871-895-0038.

Specifications & Fees

Surfboards are charged at £40 short haul/short haul plus and £60 long haul for the return trip.




Airline: Thomsonfly

Surfboard Fee: “For Surfboards Short haul – £35 return. Mid haul – £45 return. Long haul – £60 return ”

Telephone: UK +44 0844-871-1603

Specifications & Fees

You can take sports equipment on your flight with us, providing you contact us two months before on 0871 231 4787 (calls cost 10p per minute plus network extras) and pre-book the carriage of these items. Space in our aircraft is limited, so if you do not pre-book carriage




Airline:  THY Turkish Airlines

Surfboard Fee: Undetermined.

Telephone: US 1(800)-875-8875. France +33 825-800-902.

Specifications & Fees

For sports equipment that are in excess of the 70lbs (32 kg) weight limit, a fee will be charged. Please contact airline.

Notes: Please contact airline for more info.



South African Airlines Free Board bag Fee

Airline: Transaero

Surfboard Fee: Free*

Telephone: US 1(877)-747-1191. Russia +7 (495) 788 8080

Specifications & Fees

*70 pounds of weight allowed but if exceeded $50 is charged.
Surfing equipment weighing up to 44 lbs, with dimensions of  6.2 ft x 2.4 ft x 2.1, for one passenger in addition to the free baggage allowance:

  • Surfboard
  • Fixations
  • Wet suit
  • Pair of boots
  • Other accessories.




Airline: Transavia Airlines

Surfboard Fee: 40 euros per flight.

Telephone: UK +44 0906-6800065. France +33 0892-058888. Rest of the world +35 2-270-027-28.

Specifications & Fees

Confirm before 72 hours.

*Our buddy Bill shared this info with us:
It’s €40 per board per single journey.
The most annoying part I recon is the sentence: “if the surfboard/waveboard, etc. is packed in a bag, you are now allowed to add clothes and/or any other items to this.”
The word “now” was confusing for me because at the hang glider it says: ” if your hang-glider is packed in a bag, you may not add clothes and/or any other items to this.”
So I called them and they told me that its a mistake on the website, it must be “not” instead of “now”. Imagine standing there with your boardbag stuffed…

Meaning that you need to pay €80 just to bring your board, but what if you are a windsurfer (add boom+mast is a seperate €40 each way) or kitesurfer? You need to bring it separate and the prices for check in luggage is excluded from the ticket price:
KG price
15 kg € 15
20 kg € 20
25 kg € 25
30 kg € 35
40 kg € 45
50 kg € 75



Airline: TUIfly

Surfboard Fee: $40*

Telephone: Germany +49 0180-6000-120.

Specifications & Fees

Surfboards up to a maximum weight of 66 lbs (30 kilo), can be carried for an administration fee (per item, per flight segment) of USD $40 / €25 / £20, on international flights.

*Our Wave Tribe bro Stift comments: One Kitepack, also above 140 cm (55″) will be charged with 65 Euro. I can´t post a source, because you need to have a flightnumber to get the price. From 01/05/2014 you get only one piece of luggage with 15 kg (33 lbs)  for free.



Airline: United

Surfboard Fee: $100 to $200.

Telephone: US & Canada 1(800)-864-8331. UK +44 0845-607-6760. France +33 01-71-23-03-3.

Specifications & Fees

United Airlines will accept one surfboard or one surfboard bag containing up to four boards per customer as checked baggage, weighing 50 pounds or less for a service charge fee of $100 (each way) for travel between the U.S., Canada, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and $200 (each way) for all other travel.
This service charge is in addition to any excess and overweight baggage charges that may apply.

Notes: Boards and board bags combined weighing more than 99.9 pounds (45.3 kg) will not be accepted as checked baggage.
The fin must be removed or well-padded. The entire board must be encased in a suitable container to avoid scratching. United is not liable for damages. Excess valuation cannot be purchased for a surfboard.



Airline: USAir

Surfboard Fee: $200

Telephone: US & rest of the world 1(800)-428-4322. Travel agent help desk 1(800)-231-3131.

Specifications & Fees

“Surfboards will be accepted as checked baggage for a charge of $200 per direction. One item of surfing equipment consists of 1 surfboard.
When packaging a surfboard, keels and/or kedges must be removed or crated in such a manner so as to prevent damage to other baggage.
Surfboards will be accepted on US Airways Express flights. However, their acceptance may be restricted by length on some aircraft. A US Airways Reservation agent can provide additional information.”




Airline: Varig Airlines or ‘Old’ Varig (‘New Varig’: GOL airlines)

Surfboard Fee:  $42.50/$85

Telephone: 1(800)-468 2744

Specifications & Fees

Under 109″, $42.50 per board each way, Over 109″, $85 per board each way.




South African Airlines Free Board bag Fee

Airline: Virgin Atlantic

Surfboard Fee: Free

Telephone: US & Canada 1(800)-862-8621. UK headquarters +44 0844-209-7777.

Specifications & Fees

Free, limit one per customer. Must not exceed 9’0 ft (277 cm) and must not exceed 50 lbs (23 kg) in weight.




Airline: Virgin Blue

Surfboard Fee: $40 – $60. *Free as part of checked baggage. Check dimensions and weight allowance below.

Telephone: US 1(855)- 253-8021. UK +44 0800-051-1281. Rest of the world +61 7-3295-2296.

Specifications & Fees

Sporting equipment can be accepted as checked baggage. The maximum dimensions for sporting equipment are as follows.
Weight: 70 lbs
Height: 38 inches
Length: 9 ft
Width: 32 inches

Each piece of sporting equipment will count towards your piece allowance, with each item classified as one piece.

*Our Wave Tribe bro Tom comments: I know Virgin America charges $75 and so does SouthWest.

*Update 11/2015- Wave Tribe FB bro John says: “Virgin Australia is free”



Airline: WestJet

Surfboard Fee: $20 to $50

Telephone: 1(888)-937-8538.

Specifications & Fees

Lightweight surfboards packaged in a single bag that weighs less than 70 lbs will be accepted as a single surfboard for charging purposes.
Surfboards and windsurfers will be accepted in checked baggage when under 9.8 feet (3 metres) long.
All boards must have the fin removed, be padded, and packed properly to prevent damage to the board, sail and other baggage.

Notes: $20 dollars is it counts as second item. $50 dollars, as third item.



Airline: Xiamen Airlines

Surfboard Fee: Undetermined.

Telephone: China +86 592-2226666

Specifications & Fees

Notes: Please email airline for more information.



Airline: XL Airways UK

Surfboard Fee: Undetermined.

U.S. 1(877)-496-9889.
France +33 (0)9 69 32 09 12.
Rest of the world +33 3 22 19 25 04.


Specifications & Fees

Notes: surfboards, need pre-approval from Prepa Voyage department mandatory (






Surfing in Colombia

Colombia Surf Destination

Colombia has some amazing surfing beaches on both its Northern Caribbean Coast and its Western Pacific Coast. Surfing in Columbia is gaining popularity as this beautiful country opens it’s heart to the rest of the word.

Some of them are easier to get to than others but any surfing enthusiast would be happy to know that there is opportunity for all types of experience levels and preferences.

Surfing In Columbia

Surfing in Colombia

The surfing beaches on the Caribbean coast are much easier to get to, are more tourist oriented, and tend to be a bit calmer. The Caribbean beaches are the best if you are a beginner, are learning how to surf, or are experienced and just want to get out and catch a few waves.

Surfing beaches along the Caribbean are usually closer to city centers and there is road access, walking access, and more amenities and accommodations.

The Pacific Coast

The Pacific Coast, while much harder to get to, has some of the best surfing in South America. The beaches around Nuqui are the best in Colombia and are an adventure lovers dream.

Unfortunately, the travel is a bit difficult and accommodations are scarce among most of the popular surfing beaches. If you are a foreigner, it is important to have a guide or travel with someone who knows the area.

Most of the surfing beaches can only be accessed by boat or plane and that you are really trekking off the beaten path in many situations.

The good news is that you will be rewarded for all your hard work. Untouched paradise awaits you along with roaring waves and phenomenal scenery.

Hotels in the Pacific Coast are limited so plan on camping or sleeping in a tent. Make sure to be friendly to the locals as they are not used to seeing a lot of tourists.

Surfing In Columbia – Best Time

The best time for surfing in Colombia is December through March and July through September.

Keep in mind that in Colombia the waves come from the South West between April and December and then, in January and February, from the North East. Waves are higher between April and December normally.

Columbia Surf Spots

Surfing In Columbia

Surfing in Colombia

Surfing In Columbia – Caribbean Cost

The surfing beaches of the Northern Caribbean coast are easy to reach and are more centrally located than the surfing beaches of the Pacific Coast. Most major beach towns have surfing beaches, some of which are easier to find than others.

Although the waves are not as strong as the waves on the Western Pacific Coast, there are beaches for all levels of surfers.


Predomar is a very popular surfing beach so it can get a little crowded. Try and go during the week. There are some fun bars along the beach and there are a bunch of locals. Consistent waves for all levels.

Barranquilla – Accessible by Car.

Cartagena Jetty

Warm Caribbean waters makes this a great beach for a laid back surfing vacation.  Great for beginners, the break at Cartagena is located on the west end of Cartagena Beach.

El Muelle

This powerful beach for experienced surfers and is a great place to practice and learn new tricks. When you get to Puerto Colombia, ask for El Muelle and everyone will know what you are talking about. Puerto Colombia is just outside of Barranquilla.


Suitable for all surfers ranging from beginner to experienced. From Santa Marta take a bus from “El Mercado.”

El Bolsillo

A powerful wave for experienced surfers, accessible by car.

Punta Sur

This empty beach is great for all surfing levels. It’s easy to reach by car or foot and you will have hours of consistent waves and definitely run into some interesting and curious locals.  Go to San Andres, Punta Sur is on the south point of Island.

Punta Roca

This easy-to-find beach has very strong waves and winds. Here you will find some of the most powerful winds on the Caribbean side without the crowds. Be careful of the current and sharp rocks. Leave for Barranquilla.


Located in Tayrona National Park, by the Mendihuaca Hotel. Great waves for the Caribbean. Keep in mind that Tayrona National Park can be expensive.


Located 30 minutes from Cartagena, 4×4 recommended. Nice wave.

Surfing In Columbia Pacific Cost

The center of it all on the Pacific side is a sleepy little town called Nuqui. This has become a common base in the area for surfers as conditions have improved and new beaches have been discovered.

From Nuqui, you can find the right guide or tour to take you to your destination. There are various hotels in Nuquí, from eco-lodges to hotels—the people are friendly.

The best way to get to Nuquí is by boat from Buenaventura or by plane from Medellin.

Pico de Loro

For experts only and accessible by boat. If you are surfing here, you not only know what you’re doing but have some inside information.

Most locals don’t even know how to get here. This is one of the best surfing beaches in Colombia but  is dangerously rocky and only for the seasoned expert.

We recommend finding a local guide at one of the hotels since you will probably not be able to find it yourself. The beach is a short ride from Nuqui and is uncrowded.

The place is surrounded  by Jungle so don’t be surprised with all the birds, foliage, and animals you might see.  Take a plane from Medellin to Nuqui and make arrangements through  the hotel or a local business to take you to Pico de Loro.

Juan Tornillo

Juan Tornillo is another isolated but fantastic spot for the experienced surfers. Like Pico de Loro, it is just a short boat road south of Nuqui. Talk to a  local guide or hotel concierge for information on how to reach this great surfing beach.

El Valle

El Valle is also only accessible by boat. To get here, arrive in Nuqui and then have a local bring you to this small town.

There is cheap accommodation and tourist friendly people here. The waves here are pretty intense so we recommend traveling with a guide. El Valle is known for its frequent, consistent surf, uncrowded beaches, and it’s beautiful landscapes.

Terco & Termales

A short boat ride from Nuqui, these beaches are more of a beginner friendly. Swells can reach up to 8 feet. Great place for lessons.


You can only get here by boat or plane. Waves are some of the best in the world. There are no hotels here at the time of writing this guide. Locals are friendly but travel with friends since this part of the country can be shady at times. Take a boat from Buenaventura. Then walk to the beach.

Getting To Columbia

Colombia’s biggest international airport is Bogatá’s Aeropuerto Internacional El Dorado . Direct services from Europe to Bogotá are offered by Iberia (Madrid and Barcelona), Air France/KLM (Paris), Avianca (Barcelona and Paris) and Lufthansa (Frankfurt). Avianca also operates flights from Madrid to Cali and Medellín.

In North America, Air Canada  connects Toronto to Bogotá, Lan and American Airlines connect Bogotá with Miami, while Delta links Bogotá with New York, Chicago and Atlanta, and Jet Blue flies to Bogotá from Orlando and Fort Lauderdale.

It’s also possible to fly from Miami directly to Santa Marta, Cartagena and Medellín.

In South and Central America, Lan links Bogotá with Lima, Santiago and Quito; Copa offers regular flights from the capital to Panama City, and Tam links the capital to São Paulo.

Avianca also flies to Buenos Aires, Caracas, Guayaquil, Lima, Mexico City, Panama City, Quito, Rio de Janeiro, Santiago (Chile) and São Paulo.

Overland To Columbia From Ecuador & Venezuela

Frequent bus services cross Colombia’s borders into neighboring Venezuela and Ecuador, though there can be security issues with both borders, so check in  advance. Ormeño buses cover  several international routes to and from Bogotá, including Quito, Caracas and Lima.

There are three main overland border crossings with Venezuela, the most popular being Cúcuta–San Antonio/San Cristóbal.

The Maicao–Maracaibo crossing at Paraguachón is useful if you are traveling directly to or from Colombia’s Caribbean coast. Expreso Brasilia operates a coastal bus service between Cartagena, via Barranquilla and Santa Marta, which passes through Maicao in the remote Guajira Peninsula to Maracaibo (1 daily at 7am; 20hr; COP$220,000).

The Panamerican Highway runs south into Ecuador, with the Ipiales–Tulcán crossing being the most popular and straightforward, though slow.

There is no overland crossing between Colombia and Panama due to the presence of drug traffickers, paramilitaries and smugglers, and the threat of kidnapping  in the Darién Gap.

By Boat To & From Brazil, Peru, & Panama

From the Amazon region it’s  possible to cross to or from Colombia into Manaus, Brazil, and Iquitos, Peru, by taking a riverboat.

From Cartagena, adventurous travelers with plenty of time on their hands can take a sailboat to Puerto Lindo or Colón in Panama via the remote tropical islands of the San Blas archipelago.

Trips take four to five days and cost around COP$750,000 per person. Rough seas can make traveling between November and February dangerous.

Surf Camps in Columbia

Costeño Beach

Surfing In Columbia

Surfing in Colombia

Costeño Beach is an old coconut farm turned ecolodge and surf camp. Situated in the ocean front, along the beautiful Caribbean coastline of Colombia. It is just an hour drive from the colonial town of Santa Marta and 5 km from the world famous Tayrona National Park.

Costeño Beach is the only Surf Camp and Eco-lodge operating on the Caribbean coast of Colombia. The Ecolodge offers 5 beautiful rooms built from the finest local wood by skilled artisan builders.

All rooms have private bathrooms, ocean views, comfortable beds, and solar powered electricity. Beach huts and hammocks are available.

At this camp they offer accommodation, delicious meals served by the on-site restaurant, beverages and snacks, surfboard rental (18 to choose from), and surf class if needed. They also offer nature walks to waterfalls, rivers, and nearby Tayrona National Park.

El Cantil Ecolodge

El Cantil has been catalogued by Lonely Planet Colombia tourist guide as the number one ecolodge in Colombia, and has also been featured in National Geographic Traveler’s favourite hotels in South America.

The surf lodge at El Cantil’s is the best place to learn to surf. You will have all the freedom you need to learn on an empty beach with easy waves to start with.

You can be sure there won’t be crowds of surfers on the waves and you will learn the basic skills you need on boards specifically designed for teaching beginners.

Surf lessons are carried out by local instructors, there to correct your every move so you don’t waste any time and can quickly start to ride the waves.
They have all types of boards for rent, which you can rent out to surf on your own or as part of our surfing courses.



Surfing Northern Baja Mexico 2017

“It is better to travel well than to arrive.” ~ Buddha

Baja Mexico K38

Jesus Protects You As You Surf K-38 in Baja—On Big Swells, You’ll Be Glad He Is There.

This surf guide is updates every few months with new and exciting information on surfing northern Baja, Mexico. Our latest update was made after our last trip south: August 2017:

A few new additions this winter to our new surf guide for all you venturing surfers tending toward a Baja experience. I am writing this at the border crossing while we wait to show our gringo faces to our borders patrol brethren.

Looking to bring you the latest and greatest surf experience possible, I’ve got some great new updates and additions to our new edition.

El Janqui restaurant for authentic tacos and quesadillas in Rosarito and for the best breakfast in town got to the Banana Republic for insane pancakes and traditional Mexican breakfast options. See more below.

The rain this winter has turned the dust bowl that we all know and love into a wonderland of rolling green hills and fantastic views. The river at K38 broke in early February and the sandbars are setting up nicely. Construction continues on the hillsides of Northern Baja and new houses litter the footsteps of the stature above K38.

Baja Introduction

I have been a big fan of surfing northern Baja all my life. I started going to Baja when I was 5 years old. In fact, my great grandmother’s sister immigrated from Norway and moved with 5 kids to the mountains of Baja.

Great Grandmother Aagot

Great Grandmother Aagot Early Meling

My uncle Ron, the family expert on such matters, says that they exported marble from Baja to the USA. Soren Meling (1855-1917) was my great grandfather.

In case you have been in those mountains above San Telmo on the way to the Observatorio Astronomico Nacionale, their place was called Meling Ranch. Baja is in my blood and has been for a few generations. That pic up top was taken early days Meling Ranch and is a shot of my Great Grandmother.

When I started surfing, I stopped going to the ranch. I keep going to Baja though, likely for the same reason my ancestors went there, to try and find some solace in my life—always imagining that once I crossed the border something magical would take place.

And it usually did—and still does.

Driving around the backroads of Baja feels like the Wild West. As you cross the border from the USA into Mexico you are transported into a new reality. A different reality. It’s poorer, dirtier and less developed that most parts of America. Nonetheless, there is a charm that transcends everything logical.

Here is the deal, Northern Baja gets all those step angled swells that just race right by us in Ventura—but down in Baja this creates an entirely different kind of magic. Look at this chart of a 305 degree swell, Baja is getting lit up like a Christmas tree.

Surfing Northern Baja

Baja Basics

Be safe. Be smart. Don’t take drugs or guns across the border. Always remember, you are guilty until proven innocent in Mexico.

Before Crossing The Mexican Mexican Border

You’ll need to get yourself a passport if you want to go surfing northern Baja, that’s the law these days and don’t think you’ll be able to say you forgot it because the borders are not like Disneyland.

Immigration & Customs take crossing the border seriously and they don’t give a rat’s ass about your long winded tequila-breath story of how your wife lost your passport when you guys took that all-you-can-eat cruise to Jamaica.

However, if you did actually lose your passport report it officially and if you have a driver’s license then you’ll be able to pass back home without too much problem.

USA Passport Requirement For Baja Mexico

You’ll need a few weeks to get all the information needed for your new passport and you’ll also have to wait for the Feds to process your application. Processing time is 4-5 weeks or you can pay extra to have it done in 2-3 weeks.

Got extra cash that you love to throw away? You can get it done in a few days with an expedited agency. Here are the step-by-step instructions below:

1. Fill Out Form DS-11: Application For A U.S. Passport
2. Submit Completed Form DS-11 In Person
3. Submit Evidence of U.S. Citizenship
4. Present Identification
5. Submit a Photocopy of the Identification Document(s) Presented
6. Pay the Applicable Fee
7. Provide One Passport Photo

Here are the complete directions for passports-are-us:

If you have kids under 16 and want to take them along, you’ll need the original, or a certified copy, of their birth certificate. A photocopy of the original won’t work unless it’s certified.

You can get one of those at the County Clerk’s office—the county your little rebel rousers were born in bro. Or do what I did and just leave them down in Mex to watch the trailer and surfboards between surf trips.

Car Insurance Required Before Surfing Northern Baja

  You MUST get Mexico car insurance. If you get in an accident in Mexico without insurance you will likely go to jail. It will cost you $40 for the weekend or about $300 for the year if you make multiple trips.

And no, your USA car insurance will not cover your ass in Baja. I like getting mine online before I go while sipping a beer in front of my computer Homer Simpson style.

Here is the one I alway use, it’s called Mexico Insurance Online.

If you forget to purchase it before you go, then you need to grab it on the way to Baja. Exit the 805/5 at San Ysidro. There are a ton of drive-though insurance companies that will issue you insurance anytime of the day or night.

Crossing The Mexican Border

surfing northern baja

Crossing Mexico Border

The border crossing has become more ‘advanced’ over the past few years than it ever was before, if you get the red light or the wave-over you need to go to Mexican secondary.

My theory is that the Mexican border officers want to give to US Citizens a dose of their own medicine by doing random searches and giving us Gringos the classic ‘secondary’ experience.

Don’t get me wrong, we probably deserve it, but it sucks to be bent over—both coming and going.

We got secondary on our last two trips (June and September 2016). They wave you over to a search area where you have to exit your car and stand about 100 yards away as they examine and x-ray the entire vehicle. It could take up to an hour.

Back in the day with my father we used to bring guns in under the hood, as we were avid hunters and liked to bring our own shotguns to the Ranch. When I got older I traded the guns for surfboards and on occasion. A decade ago we used to bring herb across with us—I am telling you now, those days are long gone.

  Need some inspiration about surfing this region—and you like to read—see this epic novel Tijuana Straits by Kem Nunn.

I don’t care who wrote your prescription for that Triple Purple Humboldt Gold, leave that shit at home or you might end up in a Mexican jail. Just in case you didn’t follow directions and you are now reading your phone while sitting in a Mexican jail here is a list of Baja lawyers called ‘abogados‘ in Spanish. Call one.

I’ve been in the Rosarito jail, and you don’t even want to get anywhere near a Mexican prison. Here is the main difference between Mexico and the US, in Mexico you are guilty until proven innocent—not the other way around. Here is an article about Mexico’s Federal Civil Code if you are bored and are feeling brave or lucky.

If you learn nothing else from this article but this one thing, it could change your life, leave the pot at home—drink tequila for the weekend.

Mexican Secondary Inspection

If you get Mexican secondary, be kind, patient and gracious. If you have nothing to hide then you’ll be out of there after they search your vehicle.

As a side note, they don’t normally search your person or make you walk through the x-ray machine. I am just saying, in case you forgot to trash that joint before crossing, throw it in your pocket and hope the drug dogs aren’t kicking it by the x-ray machine.

 See this link for prohibited items if you are confused.

If you don’t get stopped by Mexican border guards, keep driving and stay to your right and head for the Tijuana beaches off-ramp. Stay all the way to the right.

You’ll hug the border fence and traverse through downtown TJ and climb a large hill before dropping into the Tijuana Beaches. Keep driving the toll road.

It’s about $2 per toll and there are three between the border and Ensenada. You can pay with dollars and at every toll there is a bathroom—usually a little past the toll booths.

Surfing Northern Baja—Where To Surf?

Ok, let’s take a moment and check the actual swell in the area, this is real time surf check for surfing northern Baja:

I am not going to cover all the surf breaks in northern Baja, but I am going to talk about the ones that I like best after spending a few decades surfing this region. I usually stay away from surfing Tijuana beaches, unless you want Hep C or feel like taking on the sewage contaminated runoff around this region that flows from the Tijuana river.

I’d highly recommend staying away from these breaks. San Diego Coastkeepers measures the water quality and posts updates on these beaches, they even have a free swim guide which is a great resource for clear water surfing.

If there is very little swell, you got two options. Your first small swell option is going to be one of the waves you come across right along the main road called Baja Malibu.

Baja Malibu Surfing

Baja Malibu Surfing Northern Baja

Baja Malibu

You will come across this huge arch, and right between that arch you are likely to see some excellent waves at Baja Malibu just five miles south of the border.

This wave is a thick barrel and breaks along scattered beach break and catches swell from any direction.

This is one of the best waves in Northern Baja and a great option if everything else is flat. This wave is a surfboard-breaker.

Take the Baja Malibu exit and park in the lot next to the sign of the same name.

Baja Malibu Rentals

If you want to stay in this area there is a 3 bedroom with ocean views for $100 a night. See the dog friendly listing here. You can also try the resort to the south if you want something a bit more luxury, but I never see anyone go into the place.

Rosarito Beach – A Party Thing

If you are into the party thing, or just want to be part of the crowd, and be in a dirty beach metropolis, then Rosarito is for you. Get the full experience, ride the bull at Papas & Beer and drink bad tequila to your heart’s content with the tourists at any of the numerous bars or restaurants scattered along downtown.

Rosarito is mainly beach break, but it has a few other options if you want to hunt for them. The best surf seems to be near the pier, with the south side being better most years.

Most people stay at the Rosarito Beach Hotel in one of the 500 rooms, you can’t miss it—it’s the behemoth red and white building downtown in the middle of all the action. Here are ten other options for hotels in Rosarito if you decide that this is the experience you want.

Rosarito Hotel Options

Name:  Rosarito Beach Hotel

Name:  La Paloma

  • Telephone: +52 661 612 0280
  • Location Address: Carretera Libre Tijuana-Ensenada Km. 28.2, La Paloma, 22710 Rosarito, BC, Mexico
  • Website:

Name:  Las Rocas Hotel

  • Telephone: +52 661 614 9850
  • Location Address: Carretera Libre Tijuana-Ensenada Km. 38.5, Puente El Morro, 22710 Rosarito, BC, Mexico
  • Website:  

Name:  Festival Plaza

Name:  Puerto Nuevo Baja Hotel & Villas

  • Telephone: +52 661 614 1488
  • Location Address: Carretera Libre Tijuana-Ensenada Km. 44.5, Fracc. Puerto Nuevo, 22712 Puerto Nuevo, B.C., Mexico
  • Website:
  • Email Ad:

Name:  Rosarito Beach Hotel

  • Telephone: +52 661 614 9850
  • Location Address: Carretera Libre Tijuana-Ensenada Km. 38.5, Puente El Morro, 22710 Rosarito, BC, Mexico
  • Website:  

Name:  Hotel Pueblito Inn

  • Telephone: +52 664 634 3100
  • Location Address: José María Velazco 1409, Zona Urbana Río Tijuana, Zona Urbana Rio Tijuana, 22320 Tijuana, BC, Mexico
  • Website:
  • Email Ad:

Name:  Las Rocas Resort & Spa

  • Telephone: +52 661 614 9850
  • Location Address: Carretera Libre Tijuana-Ensenada Km. 38.5, Puente El Morro, 22710 Rosarito, BC, Mexico
  • Website:  

Name:  Castillos del Mar

  • Telephone: +52 661 612 1088
  • Location Address: Carretera Tijuana-Ensenada Km. 29.5, Castillos del Mar, 22711 Rosarito, B.C., Mexico
  • Website:   
  • Email Ad:

Name:  Hotel Hacienda Don Luis

  • Telephone: +52 661 612 1166
  • Location Address: Blvd. Benito Juarez 272, Predios Urbanos, 22710 Rosarito, BC, Mexico

Rosarito Food

You might want to grab some food after surfing around K38 and this might be when you go into Rosarito. There are a few surf shops, plenty of bar and some good food options.

Realize that if you take the free road from K38 to Rosarito you’ll have to pass a military inspection station. They might mess with you and if you dropped any roaches in your can and they find them you are in for a long day. I’d recommend hoping on the toll road and getting off in downtown Rosarito to by-pass the inspection post.

My two new favorite places to eat are Banana Republic and El Janqui Tacos.

Head to Tacos El Janqui restaurant for authentic tacos and quesadillas in Rosarito. The place is a little difficult to find as it’s off the main road at Mar del Norte #115 12, Zona Centro, 22700 Rosarito. There is no sign out front, but just look for the long line of people waiting for their grub in an open court style restaurant and that’s the place.

Tacos Janque

Tacos Janque

 For the best breakfast in town, go to the Banana Republic for insane pancakes and traditional Mexican breakfast options. This place is worth the drive south after your surf. Located at Blvd Benito Juarez 31, Zona Centro—right on the corner of the mall outside Rosarito Hotel.

There is paid secure parking at the Rosarito Hotel right next to the restaurant for eight dollars. If you go into the hotel cafe and buy a coffee they will validate your parking for free. There, I saved you $6, you can donate it to saving the ocean of buy me a beer when you roll through Ojai.

If you aren’t going to stay in Rosarito, but you want to chase chicks and drink all night, then I would highly recommend that you either sleep on the beach or stuff your pockets with cash for the bride you will have to pay when that cop pulls you over.

The Rosarito police are notorious for throwing shit-faced Gringos in jail and extorting money from them—you are better off pulling out your wife’s credit card and grabbing a sleazy hotel at 2am and dealing with the wrath of questioning that you will have to endure once you get home—mounting your car for that 10 minute ride back to your Baja castle down the road is a bad Gringo idea and could land you in jail.

  Click here for the Rosarito surf report.

South of Rosarito

The coast between Rosarito and La Fonda is my favorite part of this entire area. Points, reefs, and beach breaks abound—lots of beautiful coastline with waves in many no name locations on the right swell.


This is an ok wave in front of the RV park—too close to Rosarito in my book.

Popotla Baja

Popotla Fish Market


When a big northwest swings into the bay, this place can be really fun. It’s kind of hit and miss, but I have surfed it really good with nobody out several times.

You will have to figure out where to park and don’t leave any valuables in the car. You might be able to leave your car at a private trailer park on the south end of the cove, or at the north end of the Fox studio lot.

Grab some fresh fish on your way out, the locals will be stoked and so will you. We found this recent report on just where to go once you visit the local fish market:

“Start off with raw shellfish, ceviches, and cocktails, and for this you only need one stand: Los Compadres de Sinaloa. Walk past the boats, fish mongers, shellfish stands, and junk food vendors where you’ll find an attractive coctelera huddled behind a wall of the typical seafood hot sauces ready to serve you. El Compadre takes care of all the shucking and cracking of live shellfish to be served au natural, or he hands it off to Erika who’ll take care of any preparations.”

  Click here for the Popotla surf report.

Popotla Hotels

People seem to enjoy staying in the Popotla the area. Cathy, a recent visitor to the area said, “The beach is cleaned everyday, one of the cleanest I ever seen. It’s also very long, so you can walk about one hour one way.”

We found a few places to stay here and we liked this three bedroom, two bath 1200 square foot beachside home. The rentals run from $70 to $150 per night in the Popotla gated and guarded community.

  U.S. driver’s licenses are valid in Mexico and make sure you have yours with you and that it isn’t expired. Mexican law requires that the vehicles be driven by their owners or that the owner be inside the vehicle. So if you borrowed your bros car or decided to take your roommate’s car while he was in Portland at that granola eating contest, then the vehicle could be seized by Mexican customs and will not be returned until Star Wars 14 comes out.

The next few spots are some of my all time favorites—once you make a few trips and actually get these breaks firing you will wonder why you have been surfing all those OC breaks all those years when just a few hours away these breaks were going off and uncrowded.

Surfing Califia

Baja Magic


Calafia is one of those mysto breaks that rarely works well but if there is any south in the water there will be some waves.

It works best on a large south—it’s a rocky right point that can throw on the takeoff and then gets a bit softer on the inside.

On the right tide and swell, even the inside can stand up and offer some fun turns and slashes.

Park and eat at the Calafia restaurant or pay the parking lot dudes some cash to watch your vehicle (always pay someone).

This wave gets spiky at low tide so watch yourself, if there is enough swell and water moving around you could pull it off.

Calafia Hotels & Rentals

Like most places in Baja these days they are putting up condos along the cliffs around Calafia—which is good if you want to stay here, you can find some options here. People tend not to like the Hotel Calafia, so you might want to stay away from it unless you are feeling adventurous.

This one on airbnb has an ocean view and is in the newer complex called Playas de Rosarito and goes for $140 a night.

  Got an extra 150k in the kitty, you might want to grab your own Baja villa—check out Baja Real Estate Group and then invite me for the holidays.

Calafia Food Paradise Cove Tiki Bar & Grill

Looks like there is some decent grub at Paradise Cove Tiki Bar at K36 owned by Beau. The reviews look good with a 4.5 star rating on Trip Advisor. I am going to check it out next week while I am searching for waves and a decent beer after I get out of the water.

Little of Hawaii in Baja, with live music and hot showers for surfers.

K-38 A Mexican Jewel

This might be my favorite waves in North America—I know that is a big statement, especially since I live 20 minutes from Rincon, but I got to tell you, when this wave is working it has a life of its own.

People talk about this wave being the most crowded wave around but on my last few trips to Baja we surfed it solo. The break faces due south but it will pick up anything—west, northwest, west northwest, you get the picture. I have surfed it on every swell direction imaginable and it has a hundred different faces.

K-38 likes a mid-to-low-tide and breaks over a cobble stone riverbed, with bigger rocks near the takeoff zone. The right is epic, but there are lefts to be had also. If you do go left, watch out for a few shallow sections on the inside.

There are a few main peaks and when it’s big it pushes our further and further. At 10-12 foot there is a lot of water moving around, so pay attention.

Speaking of paying attention, wear some booties if you bring them. It’s a sea urchin party out there and you are invited—they tend to congregate near the rivermouth mainly, but you might find a few staggerers anywhere.

Just south of the main break are a few more waves at K-38.5 in front of the exclusive Club Marena. I’ve caught some fun lefts between the two rock outcroppings at a higher tide when K-38 was either starting to shut down or was just too crowded for my taste. There is a fun little right just around the corner that breaks into a large open bay—bigger boards are better as it’s a soft sweeping shoulder.

K-38 Getting There

You can’t get to K-38 from the toll road, best thing to do is drive past it on the toll road (that way you can get a good look at it) and then make your exit another mile south at Puerto Nuevo. Drive back north along the free road and make a left after the break at the top of the hill just on the north side of the bridge.

Go down the dirt road to the first driveway and pull in to Robert’s and check the surf. If you end up staying there to surf  you’ll need to pay $5 to whoever is in the lot. Your car is safe here—you can also use the showers after you surf or go to the bathroom on the property.

K-38 Hotels & Rentals

K 38 Baja Hotel

View From Roberts K-38

Many new surf shacks have been built over the last decade, you got some great options right on the cliffs overlooking the main break.

If you want to stay on the main break, you can stay at the OG surf motel at Robert’s K-38. They only take walk-up reservations or by email:

People seem to really like it and you can’t get any closer to the main peak. There are some other places to stay scattered along the cliffs and also in the large white tower to the south (Club Marena)—depends on your budget.

I did some research on the casas overlooking K-38 and this is what I found, a little pricy but you are right on the main break and can watch it in your PJs while having breakfast.

Ocean Front K-38 for $250 with 5 bedrooms, 11 beds, ocean views, 6 hammocks and—get this— a private skate mini ramp on the beach property along with psychedelic painted walls and accommodates 15.

Club Marena 2 bedroom with views of ocean and all the amenities of your home back i Orange County. $190 per night with a two night minimum. 

K-38 with Hot Tub sits right on the beach (not on the cliff), accommodates 8 people and has 2 bedrooms. Looks sweet and has tons of 5 star reviews from Ron who lives (guess where?) the OC. Here is what Bree said, I am hoping she visits next time I go down.

K 38 Baja Rentals

 A few more options can be found here on wavecation.

K-38 Places to Eat

Guys go crazy over Taco Surf just up the hill on the main road north of K-38. Someone on surfline also suggested Ana Mar for breakfast, but I have never seen it open.

Besides K-38 being my favorite surf spot in Mexico it is coupled with my favorite brick oven Pizza restaurant just down the road— Ollie’s Pizza, run by an ex-pat, named after the owner’s full size poodle Ollie (thanks for the update Beau). This place is absolutely awesome fine dining in Baja—who would have thought?

Any hungry surfers around?

The staff at Ollie’s Pizza is super cool and the wine list is excellent—they are only open Wednesday through Sunday from 4pm until 10pm. From the outside it looks like a hole, but once you walk through those doors you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

I always plan my trips so I have multiple opportunities to eat here and so should you. Ollie’s Pizza is located just north of the Las Gaviotas complex: Carretera Libre Rosarito Ensenada Km 40.5, 22740 Rosarito, Baja California, Mexico. Phone:+52 661 613 2046

Las Gaviotas – Salsipuedes

After leaving the K-38 area, going south, the next good wave is located in a gated gringo community called Las Gaviotas. This has been a favorite Baja refuge of mine for the last few years. It’s an easy trip from the border and there are a plentitude of rentals available from beachfront 2 bedrooms to mammoth 8 bedrooms homes for those that want to bring all their friends.

Las Gaviotas Surf Baja Mexico

Las Gaviotas

Prices are reasonable, maybe a tad high for Mexico, but staying at Gaviotas is well worth the money.

Not only do you have a private wave, but there is also a pool and jacuzzi for that post session soak—grab a beer and melt your Gringo worries away.

The waves is super fun on the right swell. Gaviotas is a reef/point break with both rights and lefts. The weekends tend to be much more crowded than weekdays and a during the winter you can often get it with just a few surfers out.

There are a handful of awesome waves just outside the iron gates, so don’t fret if all you OC bros show up, just hop in the car and drive to the next break.

You can’t miss this place, it’s one of the largest gated communities in northern Baja. Just down the road from K-38—look for the sign. To book a rental there are a few options, the official site is (way old school) but I have rented homes off it over a dozen times without any issues. There are a few listed on airbnb here but they tend to be a bit more expensive.

   Las Gaviotas Facebook Page

Food Options Near Las Gaviotas

A few years ago a new restaurant opened in the area called Splash, if you are staying anywhere around K-38 it’s worth a visit.

The view is spectacular and it’s an awesome place to take your gal. I thought the food was mediocre and given the choice I’d just do another meal at Ollie’s Pizza.

Splash is Located at KM 52 on the Free Road between Rosarito and Ensenada. Heading south from K-38, they are just past the sand dunes, and just after Halfway House heading north.

The Halfway House is a good option for breakfast or a beer and a game of billiards (if they still got the table). They usually have a drum kit set-up and some instruments in case you want to have a quick relive-my-youth moment (which is mostly the reason we go to Mex anyway, right?).

Surfing Between Las Gaviotas & La Fonda

Rauls Baja California

D Surfing Rauls Baja California 12-2015

Just south of Gaviotas is a fun break called Raul’s—also one of my favorites. It is better on a bigger swell, but can be a good option if you want to escape the crowds of the better know places. It does best on a big south at medium to high tide.

Raul’s breaks over a shallow sloping flat rock reef and sits (for now) in front of a vacant lot. There is a church at the top of the road—that’s how you know where it is, just turn at the church and drive to the end of the road.

It’s a slower wave and better for a bigger board or Mini Simmons style, but tends to be uncrowded and super fun.

There is an off-ramp from the toll road here called Puerto Nuevo and is the best way to get off the toll road for either K-38 or Gaviotas—there is a military checkpoint just south of k-38 on the free road so you get to bypass all that drama.

Puerto Nuevo South

There are waves every few kilometers until you get to K-55. The wave at Puerto Nuevo is supposed to get good—though I have never surfed it. There is a right-breaking reef at the north end of the beach. If you like lobster, make sure to grab a meal here before you leave.

There are waves at K-44, Cantamar, the Dunes, Hotel Cafe America and the Halfway House. On the right day, with the right swell, all of these breaks can go off, but they are a little fickle—but hell, it’s Baja, so get out there and explore.

K-55 or Campo Lopez

Camp Lopex K 55

K 55 Beach & Point

Campo Lopez consists of about one hundred homes on rutty dirt roads that cascade toward the ocean from the Mexican highway going south to Ensenada.

You could drive right by it and not really notice it—unless you are surfer, because the camp sits on one of the best waves in Baja.

Lots of the homes are typical of classic Baja beach construction: trailers to which rooms have been attached by carpenters of widely varying talents.

Nothing about Campo Lopez is splashy. It is Baja funky—a world apart from the fancy tourist towers that spring up every year along the Baja coast.

I have had some insane days out at K-55 over the years, it seems to pick up any swell and is a righteous wave with sick barrels. There are a few reefs to chose from and a sandy beach at the north end of the beach. This place will hold on the biggest of swells. The bad news is that this is a private beach community.

 K-55 surf report on surfline.

However, in our new world of rent-anything-to-anyone, you can get into this little piece of paradise. This airbnb link has accommodation listings along this entire coast and the official Campo Lopez Facebook page is here.

I could find only one listing at K-55 for a rental called K55 Beach House at $250 a night. That’s a lot to pay for a night in Mex but it could be worth it if the swell is macking.

La Fonda or K-58

Surfing Northern Baja La Fonda

La Fonda Main Break

This will be our last break for this article, I don’t think I have taken a surf trip to Baja without surfing this wave at least once on the trip.

La Fonda is a magical place that pulls in any swell—last year we went to Baja in June and the forecast said that La Fonda was going to be flat. We pulled up to head high barrels and some of the best surf I had had in a long time.

Flat huh—you just never know at La Fonda. However, the opposite can happen too—this place can get huge and will make you cry for you pappy if you get slammed onto a sandbar by an outside set. Combo swells bring the best shape, if there is too much north in the swell it can get walled and too much south at it won’t hit the sandbars right.

You can get to La Fonda via the toll road or free road, if you are on the toll road exit at Alisitos—the next exit is several miles down the road, so don’t miss this one. You can pull in to the Alisitos camping area and check the surf, they are charging $10 to pull in there these days but it’s worth it to know you car is safe on the bluff and you can take an outdoor shower after your session in the Baja luxury ducha.

If you are into camping, you can just stay here for the night. There is a small convenience store with cold beer and fresh tortillas at the entrance to the campground. As a more upscale alternative, you can walk up to La Fonda Hotel or La Mission for a meal—both just a short walk.

 Careful at low tide—we had to take my bro to the emergency room in Rosarito las year—read my article in The ledInertia titled Worst Case Scenario in Rosarito.

Famous La Fonda Hotel

The views overlooking the surf are fabulous and the food is ok. The banana pancakes make for an awesome meal after a long surf session in the cold water. You can also stay at the hotel, but it’s got a funky energy these days.

It seems that the previous owner was thrown out for violations of some kind and there is now a wall between the restaurant and the hotel. They used to be all one location.

There is a new restaurant on the south end of the property and the original owner, Joe Dmytri, manages the hotel. we had breakfast there in 2017 and the food was shit. I won’t go back to this place to eat. For a beer to watch the sunset is all I would recommend these days.

Here is the original story in Spanish. There was some kind of bruhaha a few years back that resulted in the division of the original restaurant and the the hotel. I wouldn’t stay there again, not unless you want to bedbugs with your pillow.


Poco Cielo is next door to La Fonda, seems like the views also compare and the food looks similar. Rooms are reasonably priced at $80-$130, all styled with different themes.

I am not a fan of any of the hotels in this area, but if you need to crash for the night then take a pick and roll the dice.

Salsipuedes K-87

There used to be a spectacular break south of La Fonda called Salsipuedes—perhaps the best surfing in northern Baja. Well, it’s still there, accessible by boat. Salsipuedes is a legendary right point that wraps around into a beautiful bay—it’s a heavy wave and only works on a big swell, so enter with caution.

Salsipuedes was bought and was being developed by Grupo Lagza, Surfrider’s San Diego Chapter shot down an attempt by company representatives for a “surfer friendly” endorsement of the Salsipuedes project—among their promises was the claim that surf access would not be restricted.

In December 2013 the highway collapsed above the Salsipuedes development, plunging a cement truck some 100 feet toward the ocean. The driver got out and was unhurt.

The campground and access to  Salsipuedes is closed—if you have a boat, you can get this famed wave all to yourself.

Your next stop is the wave at San Miguel, about 20 minutes south toward the Ensenada portion of Baja. We are going to do another article on surfing around Ensenada and south—but to end this one we want to throw in some information about visiting the wine country.

Valle De Guadalupe – A Visit To The Wine Country in Baja

Surfing Northern Baja Wine

Wave Tribe Enjoying Some Wine LA Ceta

Last year while chilling with some friends at Las Gaviotas we decided to make a trek to the wine area of Baja called Valle De Guadalupe.

I know many of you (especially Californians like me) are thinking to themselves, ‘Mexican wine, yea right.’

But hold on to your inner sommelier because you are about to get your socks knocked off.

Getting there is easy, just after the last toll at San Miguel you’ll see a sign that says Valle De Guadalupe. Ver right towards the hills and in about 20 minutes you’ll come across some non Baja-esque vineyards and rolling green hills—and the wine is exquisite.

Finca Altozano is all the rage and has an excellent selection of local wines and fabulous Mexican dinning. Call for a reservation early in the week, otherwise you won’t get seated. Here is a link their Facebook page.

Monte Xanic, one of the Valle’s oldest wineries is also worth a visit. The winery is located atop a hill and looks over a lake with clear water. By the water, you can enjoy wine tastings and relax.

Hotels in Valle De Guadalupe

La Villa del Valle is a modern Tuscan-style B&B with several rooms, a nicely appointed public sitting space and delicious Mexican breakfasts.

Encuentro Guadalupe Antiresort is an eco-hotel with 20 smartly designed, box-like rooms scattered across a hillside in the middle of the valley. Hotel Boutique, with 20 rooms, gardens and vineyard views, is a new entry to the valley’s burgeoning lodging scene, as is El Cielo, which seeks luxury status.

Valle De Guadalupe is a great place to visit and has much to offer but can get really hot, so plan accordingly and visit during the cooler hours of the day or in the Spring or Fall months.

Surfing Northern Baja More Resources

Valle De Guadalupe Wine Map


Departing Mexico

I just got back from an epic 7 day trip and I thought I would give an update on departing Baja. Follow the toll road back toward the border. After the last toll road, about one mile south, is a nice spot to stop and take a bathroom break before you get to the border crossing. It will take you from 2-3 hours to get through the USA-Mexico border crossing, so you should plan accordingly.

Don’t Forgot To Get Gas?

Remember, you need enough gas to sit in line for a few hours, and if it’s hot, you’ll want to run the air-conditioning while cueing to get back stateside.

The most convenient gas station before the border is up the hill toward downtown TJ just before you hook right toward the border crossing. You can fill up there and then double back and continue to the international traverse.

Fooled By the Sign to San Diego.

I finally got this down after doing it wrong a hand-full of times—it sucks if you do this wrong because you have to go through a TJ maze of traffic and craziness to get back to the border line—add another 30 minutes to hour and a ton of extra stress.

You will turn right at some point before going up the ramp to get to the main border area—the signs are very deceiving—but listen up, don’t follow the first lane (the one far right) follow the middle lane that goes up the ramp in a more slopped fashion.

The far right lane will take you PAST the border and into TJ.

Driving Back To USA From Mexcio

If you take the first lane you will have to follow it to downtown and make your way back to the border crossing like a rat in a maze. Sometimes they block off the streets nearest the crossing, so you might need to maneuver a few roundabouts before making your way back. Worst case scenario (and I have done this) pay a taxi driver $5 and follow him back to the border.

Four Apps for the Modern Day Surfer


image credit:

There’s no better teacher in surfing than experience. However, it doesn’t hurt to ask for a little help from the experts especially if you’re just starting out.

Smartphones are extremely popular today due to the majority of handsets being able to carry out many different jobs. They can easily connect to the web and download apps for people who need guidance on certain areas, read the weather forecast, or instructions on doing a particular activity.

Gaming Realms, host to a variety of software for online gaming consumption, asserts that about 50% of mobile use is outside of gaming, which means the other half of it is used for doing things like research. If you want to do your own research on how to surf properly or hone your skills further, here are three apps that you may want to give a go.


iSurfer is a good starting app for anyone. It has everything a person needs to know about surfing from safety to executing the most complex techniques. It has a program that tracks user performance so people will know how far they are in their surfing education, so to speak. iSurfer makes the transition from a complete beginner to wave veteran smoothly and effectively.

ASP to Go

APS to Go is a sports program that helps surfers get improve. It has high-definition videos of surfing tutorials and competitions uploaded by the Association of Surfing Professionals that users can review. If you want to know what professional surfers are doing, or where you can watch the next major competition, this is an app for you.


The weather condition controls surfing activities so you’ll always want to stay up to date with the weather. Surfline is a weather app specifically made for surfers that provides forecasts up to a week in advance for popular surfing spots across the globe. It also allows users to live stream said surfing spots to see if there are a lot of people already there, if the waves are low, or if it’s convenient to surf in a particular area.


Viewing the Ocean as Never Before!

The WaveClock App is your barometer for the ocean. It functions like a weather station for the waves and tides. It shows you critical ocean information at your favorite spots along the coast at a glance. The WaveClock queries real-time oceanographic databases to find this information through the smartphone app. Then displayed instantly on a natural analog display. The WaveClock hardware and app gives you an accurate view of what’s happening out there right now!wave clock

The WaveClock displays:

  • Wave heights and period
  • Tide heights and trend
  • Constant updates for your favorite locations throughout the USA
  • Intuitive analog interface

The WaveClock App for iPhone, iPad, and Android Devices is available for free download on the Google Play and iTunes stores.


The top half of the left circle shows the wave height for your station in feet.  The bottom half shows the wave period.  The right dial shows the tide and whether the tide is rising or falling.

The App connects to the NOAA network for your favorite tides stations or wave buoys. You can manually select from a list provided, press the “Find Nearest” button to filter for the stations nearest you, or hit the “Map” at the bottom of the screen to select your location from the map view.  You then have real-time data right at your finger tips!  The App downloads to our hardware several times an hour giving you the very latest data too.

The WaveClock technology began in Pleasure Point, Santa Cruz as a side project on the inventor’s (Dr. Craig Jones) dining room table. The inspiration came from Craig’s expertise designing and building oceanographic instrumentation to study ocean environmental problems. Craig’s philosophy has always been simplicity. “With the incredible advances in modern day technology and data displays, we have forgotten that the basic analog display of information not only gives us a more attractive
intuitive one as well”.

The WaveClock components are assembled in Pleasure Point, Santa Cruz.

Follow them on Twitter and Facebook

Surfing Santiago Chile

Surfing Santiago

Santiago Chile

Chilean poet Pablo Neruda once wrote that “love is so short, forgetting is so long”.

Planning a vacation to Santiago, Chile—Neruda’s birth place is—is a must see. Though you can’t surf in Santiago itself (except for at the wave pool), as it is about 2 hours from the coast by car, you can prepare for some excellent waves near the capital and enjoy this fabulous city before launching into the Chilean coastal towns.

It is nothing short of an adventure in Pacific Coast Paradise. There are endless surfing opportunities—with 300 days of waves per year—and plenty of other things to do as well. In this article we’ll just talk about a visit to the capital. Though Santiago itself sits in a valley not far from the sea, it will likely be your jumping off point for any trip into Chile.

Surfing Santiago Chile

Map of Chile (click map for detail)

About Santiago Chile

Santiago is the most populated city in the country of Chile and was  founded in 1541, which lent it neoclassical architecture since its inception.

Because of its more recent economic growth, it is also juxtaposed with a more modern metropolis design, giving it a neat sense of time travel while walking through it.

Mountains of the Andes chain can be seen from most points in the city and tend to trap the smog from the rapid pace of growth and development.

The city is situated in central Chile, at an elevation of 1,706 feet, which gives it a temperate Mediterranean climate, with low humidity and mild winters.

The reliable waves and plethora of attractions, have secured Santiago as an enviable destination for surfers and travelers alike.

gondola mountains santiagoWhat To Do Santiago Chile

Santiago is filled with many different parks, museums, monuments and markets, all beautifully designed and centrally located, making it easy to explore. Spicy Chile Tours offers free walking tours of Santiago, with a mix of historical information and the best anecdotes and recommendations for enjoying the city,

Be sure to check out the beautifully manicured Cerro Santa Lucia Hill, which is centrally located, making it a great starting point for your exploration and a great start to any walking tour of the city.

Across from the hill is the famous Santa Lucia Craft Market, filled with traditional artisanal crafts that are perfect for souvenirs and a great place to see what people are making with their hands. There are several dozen stores offering various styles of clothing and hand crafted souvenirs—most of which probably are typical of Chile.

Also, not to be missed in Santiago, is the food. Santiago is known for its seafood, which can be found in many of its trendy restaurants. Aqui esta Coco has been popular among the locals and tourists, alike, for its innovative atmosphere and incredible dishes.

If you are looking for a way to relax and rejuvenate yourself, you canSurfing Santiago  take advantage of Yoga Luka which offers a subscription of sorts to local yoga studios for just $2 a session. This gives you unbeatable prices for a variety of styles.

As for accommodations, Santiago is one of the more expensive cities in South America, so you can easily find nice hotels and boutiques to stay in during your visit.

One of the favorites is the Lastarria Boutique Hotel, which has a great location and a very chic yet homey feel; separating it from the more traditional hotels.

Like what you see and want to stay and study? Check out this summer internship program or enroll in a Spanish language program and improve your  language chops.

Getting To Santiago Chile

It is easiest to get to Santiago via airplane. If you are flying from the U.S., be prepared to pay the $100 USD tourist tax at the airport.

From there you can catch a cab, or a shuttle to your hotel.

If you’re heading straight to the Central Coast, then renting a small car is your best option, with prices from 100-150 US$ for a week.

If you are staying inside Santiago, then you can easily rely on the safe and clean Metro, as it is well-connected throughout the very large city. Metro Santiago has a metro system with five lines and 94 stations, with many holding rotating art exhibitions.

Trains run between roughly 6.00AM and 11.00PM, with each station posting the exact hours for the first and last trains. Buses run parallel to subway lines after hours. (Grab a free PDF of the Metro Map here)


Where to Stay in Santiago Chile

Hotel Aruma

Hotel Aruma is located in Arica very close to the Surfing Santiago pedestrian walkway that goes to the wharf, shopping district, laundry and walking distance to many different restaurants and services.

They have 16 not super large but clean and comfy rooms to choose from. The Hotel has a modern minimalist design with a jacuzzi to chill in on the roof terrace. They offer a yummy breakfast made with local organic ingredients and tea, drinks and snacks during the day.

Hotel Aruma has good wi-fi and safe parking in a secure lot across the street. The service here is by far the best they will go above and beyond to make you happy and do it with a smile.

With only a $20 difference between this place and other average places nearby, I would definitely stay at the Hotel Aruma.

Hotel Loreto

Hotel Loreto is located a stone’s throw away from Barrio Bellavista, Surfing Santiago Santiago’s most heterogeneous and cosmopolitan area and is very close to the capital’s city center.

They offer all the usual stuff like wi-fi, satellite tv, heat and a safe deposit box. The biggest plus for this hotel is the amazing customer service they offer. The staff and owners will make your stay as enjoyable as possible and if you’re lucky might even give you some coupons for free drinks at a bar/restaurant near by.

The rooms are very clean and some have great views. The only complaint I’ve seen is that the larger room didn’t seem to have enough furniture and no closet to hang their belongings.

Also be sure to ask for a room with a private bath if that matters to you (does to me) otherwise there are small bathrooms across the hall. Be sure to stop by the courtyard which has an orange and pomegranate tree. Level 2 balconies have roof covers in case of rain and if it does rain they even offer loaner umbrellas for when you want to take a walk to near by Central Market or the Pacific Galleries.

ChilHotelSurfing Santiago

Just looking for somewhere to chill? Well look no further than the ChilHotel cause that’s pretty much all you’re gonna get there.

It’s affordable, safe and quiet. With less than a 3 minute walk to the metro, strong wi-fi, a hot shower and a simple breakfast it’s a perfect place to sleep in between outings.

Where To Eat Santiago Chile


Do not visit Santiago Chile without having a “Completo Del Domino” Domino is an awesome little place to go grab some cheap eats, a cold beer and people watch while you rub elbows with the locals.

They have a limited menu but still something for everyone. The Completo Del Domino is the most recommended by far, it’s a hot dog made “Italian Chilean style” with tons of mayonnaise, avocado and tomato.

Sounds gross huh? Well apparently it’s not gross it’s brilliant and before you know it you’ll be pouring mayo on all your buddies hot dogs at your next BBQ.

Bahia Pilolcura

Bahia Pilolcura is a little deceiving to the eye. When you first arrive Surfing Santiago all you’ll see is a fish market until you find the trap door that leads you down a rickety set of wooden stairs to the basement “dining room”, don’t freak out though you’re not in the middle of a horror movie you’re about to have some really good food.

They only serve seafood but being as it’s located right under a fish market you can imagine how fresh it is.

Try the outstanding ceviche or the grilled swordfish or just ask the waiter what’s fresh and recommended that day.

The service is eh, honestly after your food arrives the waiter will probably forget you’re even there but that’s OK just go back upstairs and pay when you’re done.

This is a cultural experience that you should not miss out on. Super cheap but cash only.

Maracuya ChileSurfing Santiago

Want to take your lady out for a nice romantic evening after all the hole in the wall joints you’ve hit up so far on your trip? Then Maracuya is the just the place.

Located just outside of the Port of Arica, Maracuya serves lovely elegant traditional Chile dishes with a beautiful view of the ocean. Locals say it’s the best restaurant around. The place isn’t cheap but offers real value for the money. Time to splurge!

More Things To Do Santiago Chile

Sky Costanera surfing santiago




Sky Costanera is the tallest building in South America! Inside it’s a multi level high-end mall with movie theaters and restaurants but the main attraction is the top 2 viewing levels.

Many people recommend going the day after it rains right before sunset. The views are incredible. You really don’t realize how big Santiago is until you see it from that far up. There’s no where to eat or anything on the viewing levels yet but that’s OK it’s totally worth it.

Some reviewers stated they wished they had some open air access at the viewing level since they have to take their pics through glass but I can understand how that would be a safety concern. There’s never really too many crowds but it does cost more on weekends and holidays. Look for the signage above every window to help you pick out landmarks!

Fantasilandia Santiago Chile

Fantasilandia is an amusement park located in Santiago. Great for Surfing Santiago
children of all ages and adults too.

At under $15 per person (as of 9/2015) it’s a great value! It’s no Disneyland/Six Flags by any means but there’s plenty of rides and attractions to keep you busy all day.

The bathrooms are clean and easy to find and don’t forget to bring a change of clothes cause you will get wet on a few of the rides. Some reviewers recommend taking a cab or the metro to get there probably cause the parking sucks.

Around Halloween it’s pretty rad, they stay open late and everyone is dressed up in crazy costumes!

Surfing Santiago Chile 

Now for the surfing and what brings people from far and wide. Fall is a great time of the year to plan a surf trip, as the water has had all year to warm up and school is back in session, so the beach is less crowded.

It is also the time before the more temperamental winter has begun. The close proximity of Santiago to some of the world’s best surfing has inspired many surf schools in the area to open up.

If you’re looking for lessons check out Magic Chile International Surf School as the top loved surf school by tourists from all over the world.

Wave House Santiago Chile

Waves suck today? Well then head on over to Wave House to get Surfing Santiago your fix. Located in the Los Condes neighborhood in Santiago they have everything from Simulators, wave pools and climbing walls.

The instructors are great and the staff is always available to answer any questions you might have. There’s no hot water in the dressing room and the wet suits are a bit worn out so if you have your own bring it.

But if you’re looking for some waves right in the middle of the city, this is the place to go.

Thank You Santiago

Whether you are looking for a relaxing vacation, or one filled with action, Santiago certainly can be the place for you. Central Chile has a temperate climate, making it accessible throughout the year.

Enjoy the weather, the surf, the seafood, and the endless activities Santiago, Chile has to offer.



Shark Deterrent and Detection Technology Demystified: What Works, What Doesn’t and Why

Sharks & Surfers

Open wide!” said Roy Scheider.

Technology is meeting sport again with the advent of various technologies to repel sharks in the hopes of reducing shark encounters and shark attacks.

A relatively new class of patented shark-repelling products (arriving on the scene in 2014, but whose R&D dates back to 2005) is garnering attention as humane and environmentally friendly. The technologies encompass a wide range of acoustic (sonar), electric, magnetic and physical barrier systems.

But do shark deterrent actually work?

What evidence is there for their efficacy- on shark encounters vs. actual shark attacks? How affordable and accessible is the technology? And do the gadgets have the negative consequence of disrupting shoreline ecosystems and harming sharks?

Our research was exhaustive, took us around the globe, and we’re proud to share it with you here!


Shark Stopper

One company, SharkStopper offers “Peace of Mind” in “Open Waters” and is actively seeking investors via Kickstarter, in order to launch two products: (1) a Personal Shark Repellent (PSR) and (2) a commercial-use Watercraft Shark Repellant.

The first is marketed to “minimize potential shark attacks against swimmers, surfers, snorkelers and just about anyone enjoying open water activities.”

SharkStopper’s PSR shark deterrent is meant to be used in shoreline waters up to 12 feet-deep.

The company says its patented technology “[…] has a dual positive effect of increasing the efficiency of the fishing industry and preserving sharks [sic] lives […] utilized as an acoustic barrier around specific coastal areas where sharks are known to encroach in swimming areas […] and will also help protect sharks from getting tangled in nets and improve the image of sharks in general.”

resp1Speaking of ‘shark PR,’ the shark advocacy group, Shark Allies, says poachers kill 100 million sharks yearly- for their fins or for sport.

There is also the practice of “culling,” defined as the selection and/or segregation of an animal for slaughter, often for the purpose of reinforcing or removing characteristics of the group.

SharkStopper’s founder, Brian Wynne, has allegedly tested the battery-charged, cell phone-light device in conjunction with shark experts- in the Bahamas, Mexican and Hawaiian waters, and in the Seattle aquarium.

Wynne tested various frequencies on various species of sharks before settling on a design that he claims is effective in deterring Bull, Tiger, Galapagos, Caribbean Reef, Lemon, Sand, Nurse, Thresher, Black Tip, Hammerhead and Great White species.

(Note: SharkStopper did not respond to our request for comment on if, or how, the effectiveness of their PSR differs among species.)

SharkStopper’s rechargeable, battery-powered device is worn around a watergoer’s ankle, like a prisoner’s ankle bracelet and emits an acoustic signal whenever it is submerged in water. According to reports, SharkStopper plans to sell its PSR for around $300.

Another company, Shark Shield (of Joondalup, Australia, and with an office in St. Petersburg, Florida), offers similar shark deterrent technology in three patented products:

(the units range in price from $599-$699 and are meant for use in varying depths of water)-  surfing/SUP, scuba diving/spearfishing and scientific/military/technical uses, respectively.

(Note: SharkStopper, also, did not respond to our request for comment on if the difference in the units lies in their signal strength.)

SharkShield technology is sold by 25 authorized retailers in the continental U.S., along with mounts, carrying cases, or a 3-Year Extended Warranty for $129.

Shark Shield makes the claim, “With Shark Shield, it’s safe to be wild,” with its units that are capable of, “Managing human and shark interactions with proven Shark Shield [sic] tech supports the conservation of sharks by removing the need for culling.” It describes the mechanism of action this way:

“Predatory sharks have small gel filled sacs knows as ‘Ampullae of Lorenzini’ on their snouts. They use these short range sensors when feeding or searching for food at close range. The Shark POD creates a three-dimensional electrical wave form which creates a very unpleasant sensation impacting the shark’s ‘Ampullae of Lorenzini’.

“When the shark comes into proximity of the electrical wave form (around 3-4 meters in diameter) it experiences non-damaging but uncontrollable muscular spasms causing it to flee the area.”1

Think of the “zing” felt when you lick the contacts of a 9-volt battery: There’s no physiologic damage, but the sensation is not pleasant.

Shark Shield says its testing dates back to 2002. The company has tested shark deterrent in South African waters and cites testimonials and research papers addressing the effectiveness of “electroreception” in sharks. One of these studies claims Shark Shield works in a very particular frequency, and at a shark’s “extremely sensitive” but short “30-60cm range.”1

In other words, the electric impulses emitted by the device don’t attract- only repel- and at close intervals. At least in theory.

We found other companies, like SURFSAFE, SHARKBANZ (which employs patented magnetic technology), and Glycon Technologies (which employs a patented shark-repellent wet suit).

Just what any avid waterman or waterwoman wanted for Christmas! Dude!

One can argue that such low-strength signals differ dramatically from the very harmful sonar that has been shown to significantly- and morbidly- affect large marine mammals like whales and seals.

The U.S. government was sued in Hawaii Federal Court in 2013 (Conservation Council for Hawaii et al. v. U.S. Dept. of Commerce and the NMFS, 2013) for approving the Navy’s testing of its low-, mid- and high-frequency sonar, along with some explosives, in the Hawaii-Southern California Training and Testing Study Area (HSTT). The plaintiffs claimed the five-year project could have deleterious effects on “at least eight protected species of marine mammals” in that acoustic environment:

“Scientists have documented mass strandings; mortal injuries, including lesions and hemorrhaging in vital organs; and behavior changes in numerous marine mammal species following naval sonar training exercises around the world,” the complaint stated.

“Underwater explosive detonations send shock waves and sound energy through the water that can kill or injure marine mammals.”2

But can acoustic or magnetic shark deterrent technology also disrupt the natural habits of sharks?

Various research teams and product developers have tested, and are still testing, the use of sonar to detect sharks in waters, but may not be considering the impact on sharks’ very sensitive hearing.

When investigating mass strandings of whales, likely the result of the use of navy sonar in open waters,

“Necropsies of the animals found gas bubbles in their tissues. This is indicative of decompression sickness, what divers call the bends, and [which] typically results from surfacing too rapidly from depth. It is believed that the whales may have dived and surfaced rapidly to escape the discomfort of the sonar on their sensitive hearing.

“ […] The nearly 100% incidence of [meningitis from Carnobacterium maltaromaticum in 18 juvenile salmon sharks stranded along the northern California and Oregon coasts between 2002 and 2007)] could have also caused ‘disorientation and confusion, which might lead the sharks to strand inadvertently.”3

Dr. A. J. Godknect, President of the Shark Foundation and Shark Info editorial staff wrote:

“Studies on LFAS (low frequency active sonar) [have] only included its effects on whales, ignoring sharks or other ocean inhabitants. Yet scientific investigation on the effects of high sound levels on bony fish and sharks allow the conclusion that LFAS also seriously disturbs or even injures these animals. The subjection of various fish to sound levels of 14- to 150 dB over several hours have led to a loss of their hearing over many weeks.”4

Godnknect says it only takes a sound 40 db higher than background noise to scare off silky sharks, lemon sharks and oceanic white-tip sharks.

Dr. Arthur Myberg of the University of Miami, an expert on fish and shark acoustic studies, told Godknect in 2012, “Noise intensities 30 to 100 times higher than those which only scare off animals will most likely cause injuries.” Myberg says the critical value for sharks is around 180 dB, which is enough to damage their sensitive inner ear.4

Godknect emphasizes that sharks have “excellent” hearing and can detect low frequency oscillations of injured fish at 100 Hz. LFA systems (low frequency arrays, which have active transmitters and passive receivers) transmit sound waves in the 100 to 500 Hz range.

According to the Navy, such waves have an actual output of 215 dB (235 dB in theory) and lie exactly in the range where, 1) sound distributes the farthest distance, 2) sharks hear the best, and 3) the greatest damage to sharks’ inner ear organs is caused.4

The sonar-emitting product Clever Buoy is getting the most attention, currently, and claims to be 100% passive when, in reality, must use both an active transmitter and passive receiver to locate sharks.

surtassWe found the Clever Buoy concept to be very similar to the Marines’ and NATO’s SURTASS (Surveillance Towed Array Sensor System), which worked at an output of more than 215 dB (140 dB is the equivalent of a gunshot and can be heard up to 380 km away underwater!) At more than 100 dB, the equivalent of a chain saw, earplugs are recommended. 4

As with the SURTASS, Clever Buoy uses a seafloor-anchored, sonar-emitting box attached to a buoy that contains the processor (receiver). The idea is that one or more of these could dot a shoreline and send a satellite signal or image to a lifeguard. Unfortunately, much more testing is required.

Yet another, Gemini Imaging Sonar, system was tested in Australia in the 1) Ocean Park Aquarium and in waters 2) off the Gold Coast, Queensland and 3) Eastern Gulf of Shark Bay.

“The Gemini 720i 300M (Tritech, UK) system operates at 720 kHz, with 120-degree horizontal and 20-degree vertical beamwidths, and an elevation of –[minus]10 degrees.” It was only tested in waters 7m- and 15m- deep, due to “logistical and time constraints.” The system recognized live and deceased sharks, but it “does not record the raw signal, but as [sic] a series of individual images, which can be reviewed as moving images,” making the instant removal of “backscatter” impossible and impractical. Backscatter also increases with the depth of detection, limiting target detection to mid-water range.5

It appears that Clever Buoy is not associated with the Gemini team (their website claiming that Clever Buoy was the brainchild of Shark Attack Mitigation Systems).

Contrary to regurgitated reports, Clever Buoy has not obtained a patent (not all that difficult to do), but the team has allegedly gotten commitments from Google and Optus (of Australia) to fund, power and translate the sonar images with the latter’s software and solar power source, respectively. (Clever Buoy ambitiously aims to make the current battery-powered system, not only solar-powered but, wave-powered.)

MarketingMag of Australia reports that “Clever Buoy was created to improve the perception of the Optus network”- “Australia’s second largest telco.” “The client brief was to change the conversation from the perceived size of the Optus network to what it can do to improve people’s lives.”

Turns out, there’s plenty of business and politics in sharks and shark deterrent technology! But let’s get back to the all-important science for a minute.

Hauwa T. Abdulkarim, a Nigerian electronics researcher, reminds us that, “The sources of noise underwater include ambient noise in the sea due to sea-state; [sic] shipping noise and wind blowing on the surface is also a significant cause of noise.” (Mitson, R.B. and Knudsen H.P., Causes and effects of underwater noise on fish abundance estimation. Aquatic Living Resources, 2003).

Abdulkarim says of these sonar systems, “The reflected signal is usually buried in noise thereby making the signal unclear with no visible pattern.” However, Abdulkarim was able to design a “matched filter,” in order to “make the given noisy signal have a visible pattern” of pulses to determine the number and distance of sharks.6

The Gemini sonar system was not tested with “movement filters,” due to the fact that their sonar head was not stationary. Testers admitted in their report, ‘[…] the resulting images [obtained by use of movement filters] often lose resolution in the moving target and the process is non-trivial if either the system is moving (even minor movements relating to wave patterns or surge) or there is significant noise e.g. cavitation from waves, vessels or animal movement.”5

So, in essence, despite the rapid efforts to deploy such sonar systems, the results are far from consistent, fully tested, and the levels of sonar emitted cannot be deemed harmless to sharks.

The Gemini team noted fairly that some of their “targets,” “[…] presumably dived to the seafloor and into the ‘blind zone,’ beneath the acoustic beam, at ranges less than 19m.5 The fact that the images returned are so “noisy” and so affected by the target’s range, position, depth and strength certainly suggest more research is needed. The positive is that lower, safer frequencies at shallow depths may still show promise for shoreline swimmers, but the prospect that anyone would rush such technology to market, and possibly change signal strengths emitted- on a whim and without governance- brings up real ethical issues.

Clever Buoy only detects “large” sharks- 6.6 feet or more in length, and within a range of 197 feet (“Shallower water may reduce the range.”) – has been tested in the Sydney Aquarium, the Abrolhos Islands (Western Australia), and is still in the R&D phase.

No one can deny there’s been an increase in the reporting of shoreline shark encounters and shark attacks in the U.S. and worldwide. But some shark experts emphasize it are humans, who are encroaching on shark territory, not the other way around.

We wanted to know if that was true.

home-photo-01We spoke with shark steward, Stefanie Brendl. Stefanie is President and Executive Director of Shark Allies, used to work with Hawaii Shark Encounters tours, and has spent many years around sharks in the water. Although she’s had some experience with various shark deterrents, she says there’s so much more that we should consider, when it comes to sharks.

“My personal experience has been with [shark] deterrents that used either electricity or magnets in some shape or form. And the result was that they worked at times, during certain conditions, on certain species.

“For example, both methods seemed to keep sharks further away on a very mellow day, when there was little stimulation in the water. But when there was a lot of current, splashing and noise or food- and when there were lots of sharks competing with each other- they [sharks] were braver and more excited, and that seemed to override any small electric pulse or magnetic energy they may have been feeling. When there was one, slow moving, mellow-but-careful shark, any small current or movement would discourage them from taking bait. I have seen tiger sharks back away from a free mealwhen a diver with a big camera housing moved too close. I believe it all depends on how interested they are.

“I have no personal experience with chemical and dye deterrents, but the military has used them for years as part of their survival suits and life boats and they seem to work, until they disperse in the water.

“That’s really the problem with anything but sound – electricity, at a small dose won’t reach very far and neither does the magnetic metal. In my opinion, it [electricity or magnetism] will have effect once the shark is up close and still moving slowly but not at a distance, or when the shark is moving too fast to even notice.

“I have no experience with sound deterrents but know sharks react very quickly to the right kind of sound that can attract them, and there are other sounds that will spook them. I believe its depends on the species and what dangers they have to worry about, and whether they have gotten used to a sound. Sharks that never see divers are spooked by the noise of scuba equipment. Once they get used to it, they pay no attention to the divers. The sound of prey gets sharks going like nothing else, i.e. a struggling, vibrating fish. In the Pacific Islands, fishermen sometimes take a empty plastic bottle and crunch it underwater to mimic the sound of reef fish eating, and sharks respond to it. I have not seen them use any sound to keep sharks away.

“I am sure sharks would get scared of the sound of something that regularly hunts them, but I don’t think many sharks in the tropics have to worry much about Orcas. Bigger sharks prey on smaller sharks, and they do not make much sound. I also think the sound has to be combined with some other sign- like other animals fleeing, or a bigger shape appearing in the water to make it more effective.

“I think the only sure, 100% deterrent is dry land. Life in the ocean is complex and conditions change so quickly. There is not one tool that works in all situations.”

Two additional companies, SharkSafe and Shark Alley, have patented yet another unique product- physical barriers- which Brendl believes show a lot of promise! Unlike controversial nets that catch turtles, dolphins and sharks that “have nothing to do with shark attacks,” looser, suspended, plastic barriers act like ‘car wash’ fringe, in the open ocean.

“Fish can actually go through it,” says Brendl, “if they force their way through it. It makes the animals not want to go through it but, if they end up stuck in it, they can go through it.”

The SharkSafe barrier is designed to deter sharks using a combination of permanent magnets and an artificial “forest” of plastic pipes that look like underwater kelp sea bamboo. The R&D, spearheaded by Craig O’Connell of the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, uses “[…] barium-ferrite permanent magnets and barriers made of long rows of PVC pipes anchored to the sea floor. The pipes have special joints that allow them to move in the currents and waves.” 7

The idea required the collaboration of marine researchers and divers and was “based on observations that seals often flee into thickets of kelp to avoid being eaten by sharks.”7

Proof positive that innovation is often rooted in simplicity.

SharkSafe was allegedly tested for a year in the Kwa Zulu-Natal (a.k.a. “shark alley” of Cape Town) , as well as in Australian waters where 460 sharks, birds and other marine life die yearly in more lethal, physical shark deterrent systems.

The results? Despite using chum lure, SharkSafe says zero of 60 sharks swam through the plastic barriers in trials, and with no “by catch” (i.e. no unintended catch).

Not so fast, say S. Africans, who know the waters there.

Shark Alley – a S. African blog perpetuated by moniker “Megalobom”- had this to say about SharkSafe:

“Sharks are capable of ignoring man-made bullshit no matter how much funding went into it.” […] “What would be better,” is, “Put a line of [these] steel poles outside of a Wal-Mart before a Black Friday sale. The humans are drawn to the area for a reason, but my barrier lies between them and their goal. […] SharkSafe has not tried a similar study where sharks are motivated to cross though a barrier that they can’t simply swim around,” but their patents were issued anyway.

Shark Alley says SharkSafe’s trials were not scientific, and that politics were at play. They say that the best, most reliable way to forecast a shark presence is this:

“1. Go to the shore and stick your finger in the water and then stick this finger in your mouth, [sic] if it tastes salty then there are sharks there.

“2. If you’re not prepared to meet one, stay on the beach.”

If our research has proven anything, it’s that innovation in shark deterrent and detection technology is rivaled only by practical and conservationist skeptics and, based on our research, rightly so!

Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology

Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology

We end this article with the opinion of Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology, Shark Research Group’s Dr. Kim Holland. Holland and his team research the behavior, physiology and ecology of sharks and other fish.

“I and my students have quite a bit of experience and have done research looking at what sharks can detect, both magnetically and electrically. The short answer is they are extremely sensitive to electric fields and magnetic fields, and they’ve got very good hearing, as well. Most of the devices tend to dissuade sharks by using electric current, and that’s been tried by a number of companies over the years.

We actually got some money by an oil company whose gear was being damaged by shark bites, and they wanted to know if there was some way of deterring sharks, so we did quite a lot of work trying to find some sort of electrical signature that would be aversive to sharks and turn them away, which is exactly what these other companies have tried to do with various products. And the short answer to your question is that there is no known device- either commercially available or scientifically being tested- that works to deter sharks when they are motivated to attack. It’s not there.

“We’ve casually tested a couple of the commercially-available products over the years and have had sharks swim right through it. The problem is- in order to deter a shark, reliably- you need to have a current that is not just aversive but ispainful. If we were listening to someone scrape their fingers on a chalkboard, that’s aversive, and it might be enough to get us to stop what we were doing; If they gave us an electric shock in a chair, that’s something that would be painful.

So, it’s a difference between being aversive and being painful, and most of the devices that have come up over the years- because you can’t have a huge amount of electricity being used (either because you need a very large power source, or because you would shock the person wearing the system)- you need to come up with something that’s aversive, not painful, and nobody has been able to find that for sharks. So, really, the short answer to all of these questions is- and probably one of the reasons these companies are not returning your inquiries- is because none of them have really shown that they work.”

Regarding the issuance of patents on the technology out there on shark deterrent technology, Holland said this:

“There’s no doubt, that under certain circumstances, occasionally you can activate one of those systems, and a particular shark you’re looking at- whether it’s in captivity, in the open ocean, or at a tourist site- every once in a while, you can see sharks change their behavior, in response to that system being activated. But the problem is it’s not on a reliable-enough basis, and it’s not happening when the shark is motivated- in either attack mode or feeding mode. That’s the difference. You cannot have a device that is strong enough to be painful to a shark, without having a small ‘power plant’ on your back to give it enough ‘juice.’ And even if you had that, when you’d activate it, you could kill the wearer.”

In response to SharkAlly Brendl’s assessment- that if a shark’s in attack mode, nothing’s going to stop it- Holland said, “I would concur with that.”

“There’s another parallel,” said Holland. “Electric fences used with dogs… I’ve had a dog that when he really reallywanted to get out of the yard, he would put his ears back and go through it! In other words, you can see, sometimes- if you did a test with the right animal, in the right mood, with the right setup- there’s no doubt that you can see some of these devices change the animal’s behavior. The problem is that it’s not reliable, and it’s especially not reliable, if the shark’s already made up it’s mind it’s going to bite someone. I’m not disputing the fact that there are occasions when these manufacturers can see changes in the shark, but I would not want to bet the farm on it.”

When asked about the promise of the physical, dangling, plastic barriers, Holland had this to say:

“To be quite candid, I think physical barriers, like the one you just described, are the only really good way of protecting, for sure. Say you wanted to take your kid to the beach, and let them play in the shore break and go swimming, 50 yards out to sea… the best way to make people secure from sharks is to put some sort of physical barrier out, and I think that’s perfectly acceptable. I don’t see any problem with that, at all. And those dangling plastic barriers, the ‘car wash’ analogy is a good one, and I can see where that would work. Most of the sharks that would make the effort to burrow underneath that are the kind that wouldn’t bite people anyway (like white-tipped and such).”

“So, the only real failsafe is to not go in the water. The second is to come up with some sort of physical structure. Because sound or electrical stimuli, or yellow-and-black stripes on your wetsuit, or any of the other cockamamie ideas- none of them have been shown to work reliably in deterring shark behavior.”

When asked if there is an ideal distance from shore, or ideal depth for placement of a physical barrier, or if there is an ethical issue with such, Holland said this:

“No. That all comes down to economics. How much material can you afford? Who’s going to maintain/service it? Is it going to be paid for by a hotel or the county? I don’t [see an ethical problem]. We’re not talking about a lot of territory; we’d only be talking- at the max- an area the size of a football field. It’s not as if you’re disturbing animals in their entire range. I can easily see a hotel on Maui getting the right permits- it being a task, given the permitting in Hawaii- but I can see why it would be attractive to hotels over there. Say 300 yards of the beach, and 50 yards offshore, and that’s almost certain to keep any ‘bad guys’ out. Of course, that won’t do anything for surfers or snorkelers far offshore, but that would probably be okay for the majority of people that just want to go for a swim and play in the shore break, and [would] work for snorkelers within the first 25 or 30 yards from shore.”

We asked Holland the most basic question of oceangoers afraid of sharks: What would you recommend for anyone who actually encounters a shark?

“The most recent shark attacks [on Oahu] are a classic example of the number one safety rule. The number one safety rule is do not go in the water by yourself! That’s because, if you do get attacked, there’s somebody out there to call for help, to help you go to shore, or to help put a tourniquet around you. Don’t go in the water by yourself and, if you are by yourself, find a place where there are other people in the water.”


1 Electroreception in vertebrates and invertebrates. S.P. Collins et al., 2010.

2 Last Ditch Effort To Save Whales From Navy. Courthouse News Service, December 2013.

3 Meningoencephalitis associated with Carnobacterium maltaromaticaum-like bacteria in stranded juvenile salmon sharks (Lamna ditropsis). PA Schaffer et al. Veterinary Pathology, April 2012.

4 Remote detection sonar threatens the oceans. Dr. Alexander J. Godknect. Shark Foundation and Shark Info, December 2002.

5 Detection of Sharks with the Gemini Imaging Sonar. Miles J. G. Parsons, et al. Centre for Marine Science and Technology, Curtin University, Perth, Australia. Acoustics Australia, Vol. 42, No. 3, December 2014.

6 Detecting the Position and Number of Sharks in the Sea using SONAR Technique. Hauwa T. Abdulkarim, Department of Electrical/Electronic Technology, School of Technical Education, Minna, Nigeria. World Congress on Engineering, July 2015.

7 Plastic kelp to keep sharks at bay. Tony Carnie. SciTech, July 15, 2014.


Article by Purna Nemani of Aloha Tech Writers (collaborator, Stefanie Brendl of Shark Allies). All rights reserved. Full and proper citation is required. Video and Photos added by Wave Tribe.

Surfing Sinaloa Mexico

Surfing Sinaloa Mexico

Surfing Sinaloa Mexico

Surfing Sinaloa Mexico

Surfing Sinaloa Mexico

Located in mainland Mexico at the entrance to the Sea of Cortez, the area is a magnet for south and southwest swells. Ranging from hollow A-frame beach breaks to incredible world class point breaks, surfers of all ability levels will get a thrill of a lifetime—or at lest Mexico-time.

The point breaks offer truly remarkable waves that can wrap for more than 500 yards. This wave can be both a hollow and thumpy—offering some barrel time and fast shoulders to race into the inside.

Most of the areas are all sand bottom and water temperatures hover around 75-85 degrees from May through November, hence no wetsuits are required.

In April, a vest or spring-suit may be desirable. Typically there is always an off-shore flow in the morning that lasts until early afternoon.

Surfing in Sinaloa is a damn good experience!

Surfing Sinaloa Mexico Surf Spots

Surfing Patoles – World Class Left Point Break



Type: point break

Reliability: fairly consistent

Best: Swell SW | Wind ENE

Average Sea Temperature : 25.9 °C

Best Season to surf:  The important thing to remember is not to try during the rainy season—surf season is from March to Oct.

Patoles in Sinaloa is an exposed point break that has quite consistent surf. Summer offers the best conditions for surfing. Works best in offshore winds from the east northeast.

Groundswells more frequent than windswells and the best swell direction is from the southwest. Good surf at all stages of the tide and it’s rarely crowded here. Submerged rocks are a hazard though. Patoles can be reached by any rental car from Mazatlan in less than two hours.

Marmols – World class left point break

Type: point

Reliability: very consistent

Best: Swell SW | Wind ENE

Average Sea Temperature: 26.0 °C

Marmols Left Point in Sinaloa is an exposed point break that is usually a safe bet and works all around the year. Works best in offshore winds from the east northeast. Most of the surf here comes from groundswells and the best swell direction is from the southwest. Even when there are waves, it’s not likely to be crowded. Watch out for rocks.

Marmols Surf Quality and Wind Quality by season:

Dimas River Mouth – Left/right A frame


Type: beach

Reliability: fairly consistent

Best: Swell SW | Wind ENE

Average Sea Temperature: 26.1 °C

Dimas Rivermouth in Sinaloa is an exposed beach break that has quite reliable surf and can work at any time of the year. Ideal winds are from the east northeast.

Dimas tends to receive distant groundswells and the best swell direction is from the southwest. Waves at the beach are both lefts and rights. Even when there are waves, it’s not likely to be crowded. Rocks are a hazard.

Rucos – Beach Break


Type: beach

Reliability: consistent

Best: Swell SW | Wind E

Average Sea Temperature: 26.0 °C

Rucos in Sinaloa is an exposed beach break that has consistent surf. Summer offers the optimum conditions for surfing. Ideal winds are from the east. Rucos receives distant groundswells and the best swell direction is from the southwest.

Waves at the beach are both lefts and rights. Good surf at all stages of the tide. Rarely crowded here. Beware of rocks, locals and sharks.

Rucos Surf Quality by Season:

Celestino – Point Break

Type: point

Reliability: consistent

Best: Swell SW | Wind NE

Average Sea Temperature: 25.0 °C


Celestino in Sinaloa is an exposed point break that has consistent surf. Summer offers the best conditions for surfing. Offshore winds blow from the northeast. Ideal swell direction is from the southwest. When it’s working here, it can get crowded. Dangerous rips are a hazard.

El 29 A Dimas – Beach Break

Type: beach

Reliability: very consistent

Best: Swell SW | Wind ENE

Average Sea Temperature: 26.3 °C

El 29 A Dimas in Sinaloa is an exposed beach break that has very consistent surf. Summer offers the optimum conditions for surfing. The best wind direction is from the east northeast. Tends to receive distant groundswells and the optimum swell angle is from the southwest. The beach breaks offer lefts and rights. Rarely crowded here. Watch out for rocks.

Surf Camps

Sinaloa Surf Adventures


Sinaloa Surf Adventures (SSA) is the longest running surf camp in Northern Mexico having been in business for 11 years. Recently, the camp was awarded the Mexico State Tourism award for top recreational business in Mexico.

Set in the small, tranquil fishing village of Las Barres, SSA provides a place to get away from the stress of everyday life while experiencing world class surf. This overlooked region in Mexico has been referred to as “the land that time forgot” and the “promised land”.

For decades surfers have flown right over the area for more well-known and overcrowded surf breaks. Arguably, the area around this part of Mexico has the most world-class breaks per mile on this side of the globe.

SSA is also very unique in that it surfs areas that are completely isolated and non-accessible. Image paddling out at your local break and it’s just you and your buddies, that’s what every day is like at SSA. There is simply no other place like SSA in the world.

SSA offers, best in class service, beach front accommodations, air conditioned rooms, great food, tons of memories and of course…world class, un-crowded surfing.

Barras de Piaxtla Surf Camp

Barras de Piaxtla Surf Camp is located 1 hour and 15 minutessurfing sinaloa north of Mazatlán in the small fishing village of Las Barras De Piaxtla.

If you would like to spend your day learning how to surf on pristine secluded beaches, enjoying a cold drink in a hammock 10 feet from the ocean, sea kayaking, feasting on lobster, or warming your bones next to a beach bonfire, then Barras de Piaxtla Surf Camp is the place for you.

The waves are usually small to medium in height and perfect for surf lessons. There are no crowds and plenty of space to make learning how to surf easy! The surf camp will provide all your surfing equipment. All you have to do is show up!!

Getting There

Culiacán International Airport  is an international airport located at Culiacán, Sinaloa, Mexico. It handles the national and international air traffic of the city of Culiacán. It is easy and cheap to get to with flights from Los Angeles roughly 2 ½ hours with an average cost of $325.00.

Where to Stay

The Palms Resort of Mazatlán

The Palms Resort of Mazatlán is located on the beautiful beachesThe Palms of Mazatlan of Mazatlán, in front of the three islands in the Golden Zone.

This hotel really seems to go all out for it’s guests. They will book excursions, fishing trips and the restaurant will even cook your caught fish for you! If you sleep in late the cleaning service will still clean your room and they have an amazing coffee bar with fresh squeezed orange juice every morning if you decide not to sleep in.

The bar will bring your margaritas to your room for you if you want to enjoy the sunset in privacy. The only issues I’ve seen are that the beds are a little hard and they could use a couple more servers around the pool. But for the views, cleanliness and service the price seems to be worth every penny.

Quality Inn Mazatlán

The Quality Inn Mazatlán is perfect for if you’re on a budget and just Surfing in Sinaloaneed a nice place to crash after a long day of surfing.

They offer all the same amenities that all Quality Inns offer (free breakfast, wifi, pool and tv), there’s only 3 channels in English but it’s not like you’re in Mazatlán to watch TV anyway.

It’s about a 5 minute walk to the beach and many local clubs and restaurants are within walking distance just stay away from a place called “Panama” apparently they have terrible service. No mini fridges but all in all seems like a great place to stay for the value.

Where to Eat

Pancho’s Surfing Sinaloa

Pancho’s is located in Mazatlán in the “Golden Zone” right on the beach. Check them out for breakfast, lunch or dinner if you’re in the mood for some really good Mexican Seafood. Have an awesome Margarita with some Shrimp Kabobs, sit back and enjoy the beautiful view.


Surf’s Up Café

Surf’s Up Café  is located in Mazatlán right next to thesurfing sinaloa El Sol La Vida Beach Resort. When you walk in you can really tell that the owner Leanne loves what she does. Everything is homemade from the exquisite soups, caramel apples, burgers, hand cut papayas and Cubano sandwiches.

There’s tables right in the sand and live music is starting again in November. It sounds to me that the 2 kilometer drive off gravel road is worth the rubber.


Social Cafe and Cocktail Lounge Surfing Sinaloa

The Social Cafe Lounge located in the heart of the Golden Zone
seems to be the place to be if you want “soft live music in the background, a large grownup drink in front of you and a beautiful friend to your right” ~Reviewer FrankyFigs2015.

The prices are amazing, they offer free wifi and parking and there’s live music on Thursday nights at 6:30, but get there early cause it fills up quick. The Social serves everything from Martinis, Cocktails, Mojitos, Vinos, Cervezas and more.

On they’re food menu they serve Salads, Pizzas, Sliders, Bagels, Paninis, Delicious Desserts and other great items. I can’t wait to try their “Cookies and Cream blended coffee drink with a little adult fun in it” 😉 Cash only.


Things To Do

Huana Coa Canopy Adventure

The Huana Coa Canopy Adventure is off the hook! They offer three different options for your adventure. Combo #1 is Canopy + ATV, Combo #2 is Canopy + Horseback Riding and Combo #3 is Horseback riding + ATV. It’s kind of a long ride to get there but it’s definitely worth it and they even pick you up in a WWII vehicle.

They have an awesome staff including “Yara, Liz, Filipe, Danny and Jesus” who love their jobs and are fun to be around. Safety is their first priority, they have two lines just in case and you can zip upside down. When you’re done zip lining you have lunch and ride your ATV or horse to have a guided tour (with samples) of where they make their tequila!

There’s no pressure to buy any but you’ll probably want to since it’s better and cheaper then buying it back at your hotel. Don’t forget to bring your sunglasses and GoPro! Check out this Video about Huana Coa.

Surfing Sinaloa



Playa Grande Costa Rica Surfing

The Basics of Playa Grande Costa Rica Surfing

Playa Grande Costa Rica Surfing

Playa Grande Costa Rica Main Break

If you’re not familiar with Costa Rica, then you most likely will not have heard of the little beach town named Playa Grande.  A place which I called home for 6 months was none other than the remote beach area of Playa Grande, a place that simply cannot be matched.

You’ll receive all the benefits of the Costa Rican, Pura Vida lifestyle, but without the overpopulation of tourists.  Playa Grande is unique in the sense that it is located so incredibly close to nearby tourist trap Playa Tamarindo, yet seems to fly under the radar when it comes to crowdedness.

[box type=”info” size=”large” style=”rounded”]I surfed this beach every single day for 6 months and the biggest lineup I saw was during Christmas, though there were still only about 15 people in the water. [/box]

The reason Playa Grande avoids all the tourists is because it’s pretty hard to reach if you don’t know what you’re doing.  Separated from Tamarindo by a crocodile infested estuary, many tourists and locals choose to stay and surf in Tamarindo, while the true surfers head over to Playa Grande.

Playa Grande is made up of two different areas.

The main stretch of Playa Grande and the hidden reserve of the Palm Beach Estates.  They both have incredibly great waves, though I tend to prefer to hang around the Palm Beach break known as Casitas.

If you want a relaxing spot to surf for your next vacation, or simply want to avoid the nasty lineups of Tamarindo, then I highly recommend you check out this spot.  I could wake up and surf Playa Grande 356 days a year and you’d never hear me complain about anything.

If you want to know what Pura Vida actually feels like, then head on down to Playa Grande and see what you’ve been missing.

The Town Playa Grande

Playa Grande Costa Rica Surfing

Best Tacos in Playa Grande

Playa Grande is without a doubt the only place in Costa Rica that has its town set up in such a strange fashion.  Though it’s only located 1 km from Tamarindo, it’s a 30 minute drive, because there’s no bridge connecting the two towns.

This allows Grande to remain more remote and ultimately brings in significant less surfers.  If you’re coming from Tamarindo, you’ll have to detour through Huacas, then continue through Matapalo, and eventually you’ll land in the main stretch of Playa Grande.

Like any surf town, Grande has surf shops, restaurants, a convenience store, a tiny school, and a ton of hostels and hotels.

The beauty of Grande is the fact that it’s located in a National Forest, so there are no buildings over 2 stories.  This is insane considering how many hotels have tried to be developed in the area.  Due to Costa Rica’s strict laws against building on National Forest, the hotels have turned from the five-star resorts you see in Mexico to the surf vibe hostels of Bali, Indonesia.

Your bed will be soft, the windows will be open, and monkeys will dance outside your cabina doorway and the Ticos are just downright welcoming.

While living in Playa Grande, I met a variety of different people, all of whom were incredibly helpful and friendly.  To put things in perspective, I had my surfboard stolen in Tamarindo and my neighbor went out of his way to track it down.  I figured I’d never see it again, but after 2 days, Oscar showed up on my doorstep with my surfboard and a fresh bar of wax.

[box type=”info” size=”large” style=”rounded”]That’s how small of a community Guanacaste is.  You lose something, someone helps you find it.[/box]

As far as accommodation, it won’t be hard to find a place to rest your head, the only difficulty will be finding a place that isn’t expensive.  Due to its remoteness and tranquility, the majority of the hotels and hostels try to charge a lot of money.

This can easily be avoided if you find the right place, or rent a house with a bunch of your mates.  I rented a pool house in Palm Beach for 400$/month, but it could sleep 2-3 people.

Otherwise you can fit 10-12 surfers in one of the beach homes, or you can stay at one of the hostels.  Depending on your budget and length of stay, a rental home could be your best option.  Then, you’ll be able to cook all your own food, do what you want, and not have to worry about quiet hour of a hostel.

If you want incredible cuisine, then Playa Grande isn’t the best place to find it.  Although there’s a few really good Sodas (Tico restaurant), the best ones are over in Tamarindo.

Playa Grande Sea Turtle

Playa Grande Sea Turtle

The best place to get a meal in Grande is either at Bar Seven or Kiki’s on the main strip.  One thing to remember is that if you stay in Palm Beach you will need a car!  Palm Beach is located a 20 minute drive from the mains trip of Grande, so walking from place to place takes a long time.

One good part about Palm Beach is that you can take a 1$, 2 minute boat ride across the estuary and eat in Tamarindo whenever you want.  The only problem about the boat is that it only operates between 6/7 am and 530 pm.  This presents a problem, because you can’t party in Tamarindo and expect the boat guys to be working.  You either have to pay a taxi (20-40$), find a place to crash in Tamarindo, or swim the estuary.

[box type=”alert” size=”large” style=”rounded”]Do not swim the estuary, you will get eaten by the crocodiles.[/box]

Playa Grande has a ton to offer any type of surfer and there’s a ton of wildlife surrounding the entire town.  After reading this guide, you should be comfortable enough with the town of Grande that you can find a place to stay, eat, and surf without having to deal with Gringo prices.

Playa Grande Costa Rica Surfing

Playa Grande Costa Rica

Playa Grande Costa Rica Surfing

If you only have a short time in Costa Rica, then a place like Playa Grande is a great way to have guaranteed incredible surfing, while also being able to check out a few other close spots.

Due to its close proximity to Tamarindo, Avellanas, Langosta, Marbella, Nosara, and Witch’s Rock—Playa Grande serves as an ideal spot for surfers who want to get a heavy dosage of Costa Rican surfing.

If you have a car, it makes it much easier to hit 4 or 5 surf spots in a week, but if renting isn’t on your budget, Playa Grande is a great spot with constant waves every day. playa-grande-costa-rica-surfer

One thing about Playa Grande that sticks out the most is the consistency of the waves.  I lived there for 6 months and only could remember a few days that were really choppy.  Though a 20 foot swell won’t work at Playa Grande, anything between 6-12 is going to be epic.  The paddle out is extremely easy, the waves hold well, and there’s never anyone surfing Playa Grande.

Playa Grande is a beach-breaking wave, offering rights and lefts to surfers of all shapes and sizes.  There are two main breaks in Playa Grande, Casitas being the one located right next to the river mouth and main grande being located right next to main town.

Casitas is located right next to a huge rock formation, so there will definitely be a few rocks below you, but during high tide you’ll be far enough above water to not have to worry.  The daredevils that are looking for a hollow low tide wave are welcome to rip Grande, but as a Playa Grande veteran, I’d go high tide coming in 9 times out of 10.

Depending on the time of day you surf Playa Grande will determine what type of board you should use, or at least from my experience.  Though a dedicated short boarder, I found that surfing sunrise in Playa Grande was much more enjoyable with a longboard.

I’m not sure whether it was the waves, the crowd, or the fact I was just tired at 5 a.m., but early mornings in Playa Grande was always better with a 10 footer.

Rusty Joker

Rusty Joker

But, there’s no use in wasting your time on a long boy if the waves came out to play.  For this reason, I’d recommend a short board for most afternoon sessions.  I ride anything as short as a 5’ 4”, and anything as long as a 6’6”, though it doesn’t really matter because it’s all personal preference.

My go-to in Playa Grande was my 6’2” Rusty Joker, but it’s really up to you >

Depending on your style of play, Playa Grande can be a phenomenal place to spend your surf trip.  The waves won’t be the barrels of Tahiti, nor the length of Pavones, but they’ll be better than Tamarindo 10 times out of 10.

You’ll get to rip a few of those cutbacks you’ve been dreaming about and on top of it, you won’t be wearing that 3/2 Cali wetsuit because you’ll be in Costa Rica baby!

Okay, let’s do that surf check . . .


Where to Stay in Playa Grande Costa Rica

Like I mentioned before, renting a house with your buddies is probably the most affordable and luxurious option, but obviously there are a few additional options.

RipJack Inn Playa Grande

Yoga, surf, fish, enough said.  The RipJack offers a ton of different styles of rooms.  From singles to family suites, you’ll most likely find something that satisfies your need here for sure.

The beds are comfortable, the staff is super cool, and you’ll be located about 100 feet from the main Grande beach break.  You can’t really beat that, but rooms will be priced much higher than a hostel.

Standard rooms are 80$/night, Suites are about 200$, and private bungalows are around 150$.

Hotel Las Tortugas Playa Grande

This boutique style hotel is located right on Playa Grande National Park beach, allowing guests to enjoy the National Park and the untouched beach during their Tico vacation.

Also, the sea turtle population in this area is out of control, especially between Oct-Dec.  There will be a ton of tours every single day, so if the waves decide to take a dump, at least you’ll be able to see some cool wildlife.

Playa Grande Surf Camp

This is the best option for backpackers and surfers, because rooms are cheap and you get the luxury of staying in the Palm Beach Estates.  This means that there will be 24/7 security, complimentary golf cart rides, and a whole lot of rich people on vacation.  In addition, you’ll be a 10 minute walk from Casitas surf break and have the convenience of everything that Palm Beach has to offer.

Playa Grande Surf Camp-

Playa Grande Surf Camp

Hotel Bula Bula Playa Grande

Hotel Bula Bula Playa Grande

Hotel Bula Bula Playa Grande

This is the best place to stay if you’re vacationing with your family, because it’s quite luxurious and is located just steps from the best break of the area.

Located in the Palm Beach Estates, you’ll receive 24 hour security in the gated community and have the comfort of a five star resort.

The pools always cold, the food is delicious, and the staff is helpful and friendly.  Also, if there are a few non-surfers in your party, the hotel offers several tours for them to enjoy.


To Sum it Up

Simply states, there ain’t no place like Playa Grande.  You have constant waves, a quaint surf town, safety, and one of the emptiest lineups in the entire country.

Though it’s a little hard to reach, Grande offers a tranquility that simply cannot be found anywhere else in the country.  You won’t have to deal with hundreds of people crowding up your lineup, neither will you have to worry about walking on an unsafe beach late at night.

Everything in Playa Grande is very much Pura Vida, so feel free to kick off the sandals, rub some wax on the board and surf some of the slow breaking wavs of Playa Grande, Costa Rica.


Playa Grande Costa Rica Map Surfing

Playa Grande Costa Rica Map

Playa Grande Costa Rica Map

Playa Grande Costa Rica Map


Surfing in Oaxaca

oaxaca wave

oaxaca wave

About Oaxaca

The state of Oaxaca (pronounced: wah-HA-ka) in Southern Mexico is home to what could be considered the most-famous beachbreak in the world: Zicatela Beach, aka Puerto Escondido.

But few realize that the potentially fatal monster of a wave is flanked on both sides by incredible surf spots, many of which are well-kept secrets guarded by the kinds of people you don’t want to piss off.

Some local knowledge is key to really enjoying the region, as many of the best waves are sand-bottom right points located miles from the highway down little more than bike trails.

Puerto Escondido has some pretty intense crowds, complete with their own homegrown locals who rival the guys on O’ahu’s North Shore, so mind your Ps and Qs in the water, and be humble. As the swell increases in size, the men are separated from the boys, so if you’re the former you might find it manageable.

The points to the east used to be empty, but recent publicity and stories of perfection on the scale of the Superbank have caused an influx of visitors. Get it before it has Kirra’s crowd.

Thievery is probably your biggest concern, as Mexico is infamous for rip-offs and corrupt police. It’s also a very hot, muggy place, so heat exhaustion is possible, but if you’re gonna paddle out into 20-foot Puerto Escondido, losing your wallet or getting prickly heat are the least of your worries.

The Seasons: Surfing in Oaxaca

The prime surf season, summer is also the rainy, muggy season, beginning in June and lasting until October. Water temps are in the 80s; air temps in the 80s and 90s. Most surfers visit Mexico in summer.

This is when the booming south swells begin to taper off, but there is still plenty of action, especially at the beachbreaks. Temperatures cool a bit, the rain eases, the tourists go home … but the surf is still there.

The “coldest” time of year, with air and water temps hovering in the 70s. It’s pretty dry, too, and south swells are nonexistent, so the Mexican surfer instead must focus on spots that catch northwest and west swells. Not a bad time of year, but not the best.

We reckon that spring is the best time to visit Mexico because it’s still dry, temps are warming up but not too much, the tourist masses have yet to arrive, and you get those early-season south swells creeping up the coast.

Surf Spots


 wave tribe oaxaca better map

When to Go

Oaxaca has consistent, year round surf, but many consider summer (April-Oct) as the prime surf season. Quality swells are generated from lows off New Zealand and these provide regular 3-10ft (1-3m) SW swells.

Add the heavy action of the tropical storms or “Chubascos”, generated off mainland Mexico, which churn up swells of 6-15ft (2-5m) between June-Oct. Many of these hurricane swells are just too unruly and closeouts are common.

Double overhead days are far from rare and during the height of the swell you will often see waves getting to triple overhead. Some of the time the combination of wind and swell is far from ideal. Between Nov and Feb, there will be lots of glassy or N wind days, but less of the strong swells. When the summer swells are pumping, there’s more chance of onshore, due W winds, blowing from 39% of the time in April to 17% in July. Afternoon seabreezes are an almost daily occurrence.

The summer rainy season brings winds from all directions, but mainly a mild W-NW or a better E-SE. Tidal range is minimal and has little effect on most spots.

dominant swell NW S SW S SW S W S W NW
swell size (ft) 3 4-5 5-6 7-8 6-7 3-4
consistency (%) 70 85 90 90 90 70
dominant wind W NE W NW SW NW W NW W NW W NE
average force F3 F3 F3 F3 F3 F3
consistency (%) 64 57 56 34 39 61
water temp (C) 27 27 28 28 28 27
wetsuit boardshorts boardshorts boardshorts boardshorts boardshorts boardshorts

Let’s check the surf now . . .

Oaxaca Soul Surf:

Surf Lessons in Oaxaca, Mexico

Oasis Surf Academy

Oasis Surf Academy is rated the “Best Surf School in Puerto Escondido”wave tribe oasis surf team They have a very warm, familiar and relaxed atmosphere.

You can just get lessons or you can stay in one of their apartments and enjoy some tacos at Juan’s Fish tacos right out front. Oasis has great quality surf equipment and Roger (one of the instructors) is even a shaper so if you damage your board he can repair it for you or just give you a new one to use.

All of the instructors, Roger, Roger Jr., Sebastian, Enrique, Julio and Tito are fun, speak good English, bond great with kids, patient with beginners and those that don’t speak Spanish. They even offer Spanish lessons! Impresionante!

Surf Camps in Oaxaca, Mexico

Las Palmeras Surf Camp

Las Palmeras Surf Camp  is located in the town of Salina Cruz, Oaxaca, approximately 2Wave tribe Las Palmeras surf camp.5 hours south of Huatulco, Oaxaca, where your plane will land. Hautulco is located in the central (coastal) part of Oaxaca, approximately 4 hours south of Puerto Escondido and about a 1.5 hour flight from Mexico City.

The house features air conditioning in the bedrooms, hot water, high speed Internet with WiFi, cable television and all of the comforts of a modern home. They offer surf sessions, 3 meals a day and alcohol (extra $).

Punta Chivo Surf Camp

Punta Chivo Surf Camp located in Salina Cruz offers everything from airport pickup and dropoff, access to secret spots via hummer, they avoid crowds as much as possible and even have drone photography to get some rad shots of you riding those waves.

Where to stay in Oaxaca, Mexico

Hotel Santa Fe

Hotel Santa Fe  is located in Puerto Escondido right on the beach. They havewave tribe hotel santa fe a very friendly staff and a restaurant with yummy food including vegetarian cuisine but you are also in easy walking distance to all of the restaurants in Zicoleta.

The rooms have AC’s and are old school Mexican style. Hotel Santa Fe has 2 pools and  beautiful grounds to explore! Check out their Facebook page.

Hotelito Swiss Oasis

Hotelito Swiss Oasis is also located in Puerto Escondido about a blockwave tribe hotelito swiss oasis oaxaca from the main drag and beach. If you get a downstairs room you get your own hammock, upstairs you get your own balcony.

Rooms come with a fridge stocked with beer for a small fee like 15 pesos or something and the hotel is known for awesome customer service and is very clean! What more could you ask for?

The only thing that might be an issue is finding the place, I guess some cab drivers don’t know exactly where it is? So just make sure you have the correct address and you’re ready to go!


One Salina Cruz

One Salina Cruz is of course located in Salina Cruz, Mexico. Nothing wave tribe one salina cruz hoteltoo fancy just a descent place to stay and within walking distance to Walmart, where you should apparently stop at on the way to grab some bottled water since that seems to be a rare commodity at this hotel.

Reviews include: “Average, but one of the best is Salina Cruz” and “Excellent Value”

Where to eat in Oaxaca

La Olita

La Olita is located in Puerto Escondido. Their fish and shrimp tacos/wave tribe la olita puerto escondidoburritos are awesome made with fresh ingredients Baja style. They have yummy guac, gold beer and mojitos. The establishment is small and unassuming with a “hip ambiance”.

The owner is a super cool local surfer that goes out of his way to make your experience enjoyable. The only issues I see is that the hours of operation are a little scattered. So make sure you give them a call or check out trip advisor to make sure they’re open before you head their way!

 Cayuco Mezcal y Cocina

Cayuco Mezcal y Cocina is located in the sand at the west end of Zicatela beach in Puerto Escondido. Enjoy the relaxed ambiance while you watchwave tribe cayuco mezcal y cocina the beautiful sunset and eat their amazing ceviche! (Seriously people say it’s the best they’ve ever had).

Some of the other favorites are their Mahi-mahi, seared tuna and cold tomato soup with mussels. The location is ideal if you have little ones with you or you just want to stick your toes in the sand while you eat since the tables are at grade on the beach.

They have live music on Thursdays but that’s their busiest day so expect delays receiving your food or drinks since they only have one server as of February 2015. Hopefully they’ve hired one more person since then so you can get that ceviche más rápido!

 La Ola

La Ola located right on the beach in San Augustinillo looks like a great Surfing Oaxacaplace to just relax have a couple of shrimp tacos, some tuna tartar and some fresh squeezed tangerine juice or a clamato while you watch the waves. If you’re lucky you might run into the crazy lady with “the lord’s chips” they sound delicious.

Things to do in Oaxaca

Laguna de Manialtepec

Laguna de Manialtepec is a natural habitat made by a sand reef which separates the lagoon from the sea. The best time to go is right before sunset, at dark the water turns phosphorescent just like in the movie “The Life of Pi”. You can rent a canoe of your own or take a guided tour (if you’re staying at the Hotel Santa Fe they will hook you up with an awesome tour guide) Don’t forget your bug spray!

wave tribe laguna de manialtepec




Jaco Costa Rica

Travel & Surfing Jaco Costa Rica

Surfing Jaco Costa Rica

Surfing Jaco Costa Rica

The Basics About Jaco Costa Rica

There’s a lot to be said about Jacó, some of it is rad, but some of it is quite grungy, even for a surf bum.

For years, this beach town has been getting mixed reviews from all sorts of surfers, travelers, and vacationers, so we’re here to set the record straight.

Having visited Jacó dozens of times, I know the best places to stat, eat, and party, without feeling unsafe or unclean.  The overall structure of Jacó is incredible.  There’s basically one ‘busy’ street in Jacó, which is full of surf shops, taco joints, souvenir emporiums, and a whole lot of places to get drunk.

[box type=”info” size=”large” style=”rounded”]There’s definitely a technique to visiting Jacó, because if you decide to just wing it solo and stay at the cheapest hostel and eat the cheapest meals, you’ll have a terrible time. [/box]

There will be a ton of people trying to convince you to stay here and eat there, but if you follow the advice on this page, I guarantee you’ll have the trip of a lifetime.

The Town Jaco Costa Rica

Jaco Costa Rica

Jaco Costa Rica

Similar to the majority of Costa Rican surf towns, Jacó caters to surfers, partiers, vacationers, and a ton Gringos.  Though Tamarindo gets the name Tama-Gringo, Jacó brings in the masses of Gringos and fat Americans.

I say this with all honesty, if you want to avoid chubby, pale, gnarly looking vacationers, then I would seek a surf trip elsewhere.  This is not to say that there aren’t beautiful surf babes in Jacó, because there’s a ton!

As you enter town from the north, you’ll drive past a Best Western (great place to stay if you want a quiet place), then past Tico Loco Tacos, and then you’ll eventually cross the bridge to enter the heart of Jacó, Costa Rica.

With the famous slogan “Get Wacco in Jacó”, you can imagine why so many surf bums and party animals choose to call this place home.  There aren’t too many places in Costa Rica that are really built up, and Jacó isn’t extremely built up either, but compared to somewhere like Dominical or Avellanas—this places is crazy incorporated.

You won’t find skyscrapers and all inclusive resorts, but you’ll discover that Playa Jacó and Key West Florida look incredibly familiar—feels like Spring Break most of the year.

Jacó is without a doubt the most convenient surf town in Costa Rica, because you’ll be able to get just about everything you’d ever need in this town.  Whether you’re looking for a specific set of surf fins, a name brand type of whiskey, or simply want some constant waves, Jacó is definitely a great place to do any of the three.

When my friends visit from the states, I don’t personally take them to Jacó (especially my parents), but if you are on a strict budget and can’t make it to the rarities of Pavones or Avellanas, then I’d definitely recommend a place like Jacó.

If you and your boys (or girls) are planning a surf trip, but want to have a bunch of late nights, then choosing a place like Jacó can be very smart.

Your day will begin with awaking to the noise of Ticos selling lottery tickets in the streets and noisy Americans strolling through the streets—some of them likely never went to sleep. Your hostel will offer a free breakfast, otherwise you can find several eateries off the main drag that provide American or Tico style breakfast for about 5$.

Map Of Jaco Costa Rica

Map Of Jaco Costa Rica

[box type=”info” size=”large” style=”rounded”]If you choose to cook your own meals, you’ll end up paying about 3-4$ for each meal.  Eggs, chicken, bread, and milk are all ridiculously cheap, so keep that in mind. [/box]

As far as places to eat, drink, and party, Jacó has some of the best of Costa Rica.  Though it doesn’t mirror the quality of some of the tourist heavy spots like Manuel Antonio or Tamarindo, it definitely has some great spots.

My favorite place to munch down at would have to be the Taco Bar of Jaco.  This place has fresh fish, chicken, and beef tacos at a pretty affordable price.  You’ll end up spending about 14$ on three tacos, so if you’re on a backpacking budget this place is not ideal.  But, if you can spend the cash and enjoy a nice taco, then you’d be insane not to make a stop here.

Arigato Sushi

Arigato Sushi

If you like sushi and want to treat yourself, then there’s a place called Arigato Sushi on the main strip where you can feast on some of the best sushi in Costa Rica for under 20$.  As I recall they don’t open their doors until 6 or 7 pm, due to the fact they only cook with the fish that’s caught that day.  Yes, it’s that fresh.  The chefs here are world class and if you order the Jacó roll, you won’t be disappointed.

If you want to party, it won’t be difficult.  There’s dozens of pub crawls, bars, and drug dealers everywhere, so if that’s what you’re looking for, you chose the right beach town.

I have a friend named Billy from NYC who opened a bar called Moonshine on the main strip, where you’ll find 2$ cocktails and a ton of great people to party with.  Otherwise, you can go dancing at Pub Orange, drink a few beers with local surfers at Swell Bar, but you best bet is to get to sleep early and catch the sunrise surf.  Because once 10 a.m. hits, the water will be packed.

Surfing In Jaco Costa Rica

Located in the Golfo de Nicoya area of Costa Rica, Jacó has a fair amount of exposed breaks and doesn’t bring in too many surfers.  Normally there will be reliable offshore winds from the northeast, but like any beach, it can be terrible on bad days.  The best swell is going to be fro the south, southwest, which will bring in beach breaking waves in both directions.

Whether you like rights or lefts, both will be thundering if you get to Jacó on a good day.  Though some of the locals prefer to surf low-tide because the waves are a bit more hallow, I really only surf it during high tide.  I’ve found that as the tide comes in, the waves break a little cleaner and because the beach is so huge, it’s never too crowded.  Though I say it’s not crowded, the best point (further south), is by far the best.  The waves on this end of the beach are much larger and don’t wash out as easily.Surfing Jaco Costa Rica

One of the best parts about Jacó is the fact that it’s so versatile for every skill level.  I’ve been to a ton of beaches around the world and I’ve never seen as many surf camps than in Jacó Beach.

Not only are there about 30 surf shops (all offering lessons) in the town, but there’s an additional 10-12 beach front surf schools.

[box type=”info” size=”large” style=”rounded”]These are great for beginners that have never surfed before, while intermediate surfers should stay away from these classes.[/box]
Surfing Jaco Costa Rica

Surfing Jaco Costa Rica

The instructors will do just about anything to convince you to take a lesson, but don’t listen! They’ll tell you that there’s sharks in the water, a terrible jellyfish population, or sting ray breeding season, but they are probably lying.

I’ve surfed Jacó dozens of times and I’ve never seen, heard, or even slightly thought about a shark.  Sting rays are a different story.  I’ve been stung 5 times in my life, once was at Jacó, but it’s all part of the sport.

Because there’s a ton of advanced surfers who visit Costa Rica, I have to mention Playa Hermosa de Jacó.  This is where you’re going to want to surf.  The wave works very well when it reaches overhead heights and has a ton of power.  Hermosa is only about a 5-10 minute drive from Jacó, so it’s easy to get to. Hermosa is a great spot to visit if a big swell comes in, especially if you’ve got the balls to try a tow-in day.  My advice, check the surf report and bring the gun.

Let check the surf now . . .

Where to Stay Jaco Costa Rica

The Buddha House Hostel:  This is one of the best options for surfers and backpackers that don’t have a bunch of money to spend on accommodations.  I normally either stay here, or with friends.

Buddha House Boutique Hostel

Buddha House Boutique Hostel

The Buddha House is clean, safe, and comfortable.  Three things that you won’t find everywhere in Jacó.  A room will cost you 12$/night for the shared dorms, 25$/night for the private air conditioned rooms, and 35$/night for the master bedroom.

They have a beautiful Argentinian receptionist named Camilla, basically the reason I sleep there.  You’ll feel at home at the Buddha House, so get cozy and enjoy your vacation.

Clarita’s:  Easily the most lively place to stay in Jacó.  This place is home to the Miss Jacó competition each year, so you imagine what type of things ensure.

Room 2 Board Jaco Costa Rica

Room 2 Board Jaco Costa Rica

Wet T-shirt contests, beer pong, and a ton of other games.  I don’t specifically stay here, because I like to sleep at night, but I always catch a few post surf brews here.

Clarita’s is notorious for housing hundreds of drunk people, especially during high season.  Though it can get quite ratchet some nights, it is actually a decent hotel.  Rooms are anywhere from 40-100$/night.

Room 2 Board:  This is a huge hostel complex, where a ton of backpackers stay.  Rooms are 10-15/night, rooms lock, and it’s pretty clean.  This is the largest hostel, so you’ll be able to meet people from around the world.

They host pub crawls, surf camp, and Spanish lessons, so it’s a pretty organized facility.

To Sum it Up Jaco Costa Rica

Jacó is a great vacation spot in Costa Rica, but it is most definitely not for everyone.  If you’re young, like to party, and are comfortable with your surf skills, then you may feel right at home here.

There’s a ton of great eateries, a decent amount of waves, and one of the rowdiest nightlifes in all of Central America.  Things to keep in mind!

Jaco is not as safe as the majority of other surf towns, so keep your belongings close!  Don’t bring out too much cash, don’t get too drunk, and don’t walk on the beach at night.  The locals in Jacó are by far the worst, so if you slam a bottle of Flor de Caña and smoke a bag of grass, don’t expect to make it home with any dignity.

If you avoid the beach, stay with your group, and know a little Spanish, you won’t have to worry about anything.  Just don’t follow a local into a dark ally, use your head!  Though it isn’t the most extravagant place to surf, Jacó is a great beach, full of a lot of great surfers, so rip some waves and drink some rum!

Maps Jaco Costa Rica

jaco costa rica map


jaco costa rica map


surfing jaco costa rica map

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