The perfect trip has been planned. There are great waves for your skill level, tropical waters, high quality food, and amazing accommodations (You must have used yeeew.com to book!). Perhaps the perfect person to share this exotic vacation with isn’t your not-an-alcoholic party animal friend that rips. Maybe, just maybe, this is the trip to introduce your significant other to the amazing world of surf travel. This could be a partner that also surfs or not, but either way there could/will be a myriad of obstacles that arise. Does it sound like I am writing from experience? My SO might be reading this so I must not confirm or deny. That being said there are plenty of tips/conversations to be had regarding what this kind of trip might look like. Will this sound like a self help/advice article? That’s why you clicked on the title. Read on intrepid lovebird.
This is especially important for those with partners that do not surf. Would it be epic to post up on a spit of sand with a perfect reef in the middle of the Pacific with nothing but what you could boat in for a week? Yes. Would your non-surfing partner most likely murder you partway through? Also yes. We surfers tend to be selfish folk when it comes to our passion, but in this case and all of the other sections of this article we must remember to take into account others.
Pick your destination with what kind of activities/amenities your partner would also be happy with doing. Make sure think about the times you’ll be in the water and they will be on land (if they don’t also surf). This might mean compromising on wave quality (insert shocked surfer gasp), although hopefully not.
Communication communication communication. Many will say this is the foundation for any functional relationship. This might be true, but I can say it is definitely the foundation for a good surf trip, especially if your partner does not surf/has not been on a surf trip before. Many if not all non-surfers do not understand how at any point in time the ocean is in view we are checking for a wave. Or how if the wind turns unexpectedly we will want more than anything to cancel that romantic dinner to have an uncrowded session at that epic point. This can be confusing at best for our partners who might be asking themselves, “Why is he getting his wetsuit on? Is the dress code at the restaurant tight rubber only?” (Or as I like to call it, neoprene formal). Make sure at whoever is thinking about going on the trip with you has a clear understanding of how often you want to surf and what level of priority you are going to make surfing while you are there. This is different for everyone and might involve compromise if you are set on bringing your partner with you.
This will help avoid conflict/resentment from the partner that does not surf and the partner that does. Common disagreements might sound like “I flew all the way to Central America with you and all you want to do is surf!” or “I came down here to surf epic waves and you want me to miss this whole swell to see a monkey in the rain forest!” Does this sound personal? No comment. Discussions and expectation setting on both sides before the trip will help ease this kind of argument.
This is very similar to the destination section and has the most to do with being a little empathetic and understanding. If you are planning a Budget Friendly Surf Trip this could actually allow an upgrade to your digs as you might be splitting costs. Communicate with your partner, figure out what you both want out of the accommodation, and compromise if necessary. This might mean that the shack walking distance to the surf break is not the place you will stay. This is for the best. A warmer bed and a private room might be a welcome change for you, even if it costs a little more than a shared room at a cockroach infested hostel.
Are you sensing a theme in this article so far? Hopefully yes, if not reread up to this point. Ready to continue? Good. This section will continue the theme of compromise and communication. Balance is important in surfing and life, hopefully you’ll be good both. At the end of the day this is a surf trip but you have the opportunity to spend quality time at an amazing destination.
Make sure to make time. Plan activities/dinners/etc… that both of you will enjoy. Are you working remote like a huge amount of travelers since the pandemic? First of all ensure that you have the amenities necessary to do that and then ensure that there is time apart from working in the same room as one another to spend time together. This section can boil down to: Don’t ignore your partner because the waves are epic and remember to make some memories together.
Navigating Surf/Surf Lessons
Does your partner surf? Perhaps the rest of the article hasn’t applied as much to you, but this section definitely will. If your partner surf and you are at the same level, fantastic. Make sure to pick your destination well with breaks at your skill level. If you are on different playing fields you might need to dig a little deeper for a destination so your adult learner partner isn’t hitting dry reef at the slab you’ve been scoping for years. Try and find locations with a mix of surf breaks for all levels so you’ll both be happy.
If your partner does not surf you might be tempted to introduce them to the wonderful world of water recreation. I cannot recommend against this strongly enough unless you have a lot of experience as a surf coach/instructor. If there is a 5% chance that this lesson could go poorly you should not do it. Hire a professional and let them take the heat when your partner has a bad time. Speaking as a surf coach, there are so many variables that can go wrong outside of your control that it is almost never worth the risk of pissing off your partner. If they have a good time great, maybe your partner will understand the bug that has bit you a little bit more. If they have a bad time it is in no way your fault.
This article might sound like a “Don’t make the mistakes I made” vibe. But isn’t all writing at least somewhat autobiographical? Anyways, following this tips should help create a successful surf trip with your significant other. Enjoy the waves and enjoy each other! Yeeew!