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Travelling with a surfer: the good, the bad & the ugly

What do you do when you have a little time on your hands? Travel the world! That’s what industry pro Jess Flint is doing & she’s inviting you to join her this week as she learns what it's like travelling with a surfer.

What do you do when you have a little time on your hands? Travel the world! That’s what industry pro Jess Flint is doing & she’s inviting you to join her this week as she learns what it’s like travelling with a surfer.

Surfing conjures up images of bronzed babes, secluded surf shacks and many of the most beautiful beaches in the world.

But before you catch the wave of no return and fall in love with a surfer, let me share the good, the bad and the ugly, learned over six years of travelling around the world with a surf obsessed boyfriend:



Jess Flint Travel with a Surfer


We’ve all seen ‘Blue Crush’ right? So when you’re told that the locals might get annoyed at you taking photos of the BF surfing (but you’re asked to anyway), your mind goes straight to slashed tires and black eyes. You can bet I had a really relaxing and FUN time taking photos at California’s famous ‘Trestles’, all the while waiting for the local ‘surf gang’ to stroll over and beat me up… needless to say I was fine. Damn you and your unrealistic portrayals of surfing ‘Blue Crush’!


An Ode to Public Bathrooms

I think it’s to dedicate an ‘Ode to Public Bathrooms’. I promise to never again take public beach facilities, with their wet and sandy toilets, for granted. Sitting in the hot sun at Chile’s Arica for hours, while the BF surfed, without a toilet to be found (or a tree or rock for that matter), is another precious moment I’ll put in the ‘travel experiences better forgotten’ memory bank.



Jess Flint Travel with a Surfer 3

Slave to the Shot

“Relaxing at beautiful beaches all over the world I’ll get to work on my tan, read the latest bestseller and just relax”, I hear you say. But who is going to take the photos? I seemed to have picked up a new job without even applying; professional (albeit unpaid) surf photographer/videographer. And you bet I learnt my ISO from my aperture quick fast, because missing ‘the shot’ is just not acceptable in this new professional (and once again, unpaid) world of surf photography.



Before you even have to worry about any of the above you actually have to get to the beach and let me tell you, that is not always easy with a 6-ft surfboard bag. Whether arguing with taxi drivers in South America to pick us up or waiting for oversize luggage to arrive, travelling with surfboards is expensive and awkward. And before you ask, surfers DO NOT hire boards.



Jess Flint Travel with a Surfer 2

The Ride of Your Life

Now before my boyfriend reads this and dumps me for a new surfboard, the good things about travelling with a surfer far outweigh the bad (and the ugly!). Not only can I talk barrels, point breaks and swell direction with the best of them (while not being able to even stand up on a surfboard), I have visited some amazing, out-of-the-way places that I would never have seen otherwise. From discovering small surfy towns such as Pacasmayo along the Peruvian coastline, watching the sun set on the stunning beaches of Puerto Rico, to freezing my fingers off while taking photos on the rugged and icy beaches of Iceland, surf spots often take you off the beaten track to towns where you can experience the everyday life of locals.

While sometimes life BS (Before Surf) seems like a fond memory of light baggage and smooth transits, I wouldn’t trade the experiences I have had and the people I have met for all the easy travel in the world. So my advice, take the wave of no return and you may just be in for the ride of your life.


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Have you travelled with a surfer? What did you love/hate about it?