I Bought Surf Travel Insurance, Came Home and Broke My Board
I was taking an extended trip, leaving the beginning of 2021 to deliver a boat from California to Panama. It had been more than a decade since I purchased surf travel insurance for spots like Samoa and the Mentawais. I originally bought the insurance more for the fact that I was going to be in remote locations and in case of a real emergency I would have my transfer back to the U.S. and medical covered, but it also felt good that my surfboard might be insured as well. Fortunately for me, I never placed a claim with the surf travel insurance providers. However, as a result, I weened myself off the ‘extra’ expense in passed years. With this recent trip having a higher probability of calamity, I wanted to make sure I had some level of coverage. Most of our remoteness would be in open ocean, but we were also coming ashore in areas that didn’t have much infrastructure in terms of medial resources. On the other side, some of those locations provided some fun, uncrowded surf. Over a quick six weeks, we surfed outside Magdalena Bay, Baja Sur, Cabo, Southern Mainland Mexico, Northern Nicaragua, Witch’s Rock, Costa Rica, the Osa Peninsula, remote islands on the Pacific coast of Panama and Bocas del Toro in the Caribbean. All three of my surfboards survived the waves and one bashing storm on the top of the boat that threw our bags around.
I gave away my 6’3” step-up WRV to deserving Costa Rican kid and headed back to California on the plane with two boards. Always a bit concerned of whether they would make it back unscathed from the airline baggage handlers. I packed the surfboards for the flight well, mostly utilizing clothes and wetsuits for padding. The boards made it back with not even a scratch. Thanks United!
After surfing in 85 degree water for over a month, I wasn’t excited to slip into a 4/3, but the waves were good and I wanted to catch up with some friends and share a few waves and some stories from my trip. We met up at the Northside of the pier in Huntington Beach. The conditions were great and the surf was super fun; sunny, no wind and about 6 feet on the faces. After about an hour of surfing, I pulled into a right-hand close-out. I was tossed from my board and when I came up I had a large crease running the entire width of my board. After further examination I could see that the stringer had pressure snapped and knew the board would never be the same. The reality is that, while I could surf the board a bit more before it completely buckles or pay to have it fixed, but then be surfing on a structurally weakened board, I would soon be buying a new surfboard. Since my trip of surfing remote and high-risk locations was over and without having everyday “surfboard insurance” I would be paying for another new board out of pocket.
Because I spend the majority of my year surfing within 20 miles of my home, it doesn’t make sense for me to carry surfing travel insurance all the time. What makes more sense is to purchase a surfboard protection plan and overlay that with travel insurance in the case that I feel it’s necessary to have the extra coverage for lost, stolen, and medical while on a surfing holiday. A surfboard protection plan is relatively cheap considering the high likelihood of damaging your surfboard and needing to replace it with a new one AND it protects you from everyday use at your local surf spots. That means, your surfboard is protected for the majority of the year when you are surfing it most and not for the small time spent while traveling. Your board is protected regardless of whether you snap it coming down hard off the lip, you rip the fin boxes out on shallow reef or another surfer drops in on you and smashes your rail.