When traveling to Central America you will without a doubt encounter a multitude of different lineups, each with their own quirks that make them tick. The variety of waves can leave you astonished, ranging from reef breaks, long sand bottom points, heavy beach breaks, waves that break off a jetty, and even the occasional slab. What this calls for is versatility in your board selection. With most airline carriers the maximum amount of boards you can take in your board bag is three, and as limited as that sounds, you actually can get a fairly diverse quiver with that amount.
We will start with a punchy or lined up wave that offers a more high performance option for your surfing. If you are surfing a point, your best option will be to go with a board that has a tad more foam than the usual – only because after you surf a long point wave you are going to have to paddle all that way back out to the top of the line up. Generally when surfing a point, the tail of your surfboard is going to be more pulled in like a thumb tail (look at your thumb for comparison), or a sort of pin type of tail. If you look at the best point break riders of all time – like Tom Curren at Jeffreys Bay, when he was riding his Black Beauty, the tail on that board was very much pulled in to allow for those clean and long drawn out lines we all know and love so much. A little more rocker than normal can’t hurt either – this will allow for your board to fit perfectly into the curvature of the pocket and really allow you to go vertical on those punchy sections. For a heavy beach break you can sort of have the same set up as your point board, a less drastically pulled in tail will suffice, along with a quad set up for your fins to really let you get deep in the barrel and drive past that foamball. The quad option is by far the faster set up when choosing between a thruster and a quad.
Now on to the slower waves: there is no shortage of slow rollers and slopey waves around here. On these waves a little more foam is not a bad option either; if the wave is pretty slow or mushy, a good idea is to go with less rocker to allow for maximum speed over the slow sections that do not have much power behind them. A fun board – a fish or even an egg board – would be a fun addition to your quiver for these types of slower waves. Just a suggestion: it might be good to stay away from longboards, just because these are one, hard to travel with; and two, expensive to travel with. Most airlines will charge extra or even not allow longer boards than what they have set in their rules.
Long story short, if I decide to travel to an area with a mixed bag of slow and punchy waves and a three board limit, my packing list would go as follows: one fun board that you can take to the slower or mushy waves, and two high performance boards that will assist you in the punchier or point break type of waves. I suggest two of those boards because you will have a far greater chance of breaking those boards if you head to a dumpy beach break or something along those lines. Be sure to check out our blog on packing your boards after you have finalized your list for your quiver.