What is the best way to pack windsurfing gear when traveling by airplane?

By windsurfing gear let's say:

  • 1 board
  • 2 masts
  • 3 sails
  • 2 fines
  • 1 extension
  • 1 wishbone
  • 1 harness
  • 1 pair of boots
  • 1 wet-suit

For example, is it better to put everything in one bag or in two bags (board-bag and quiver bag)?

  • 1
    Are you traveling somewhere you cannot rent (or buy, then resell) equipment? The last time I worked this out, it was most cost effective to rent up to about a month stay. For longer stays, it was more cost effective to buy and then sell the equipment. I also found that the gear stocked at the destination was better suited to the wind and water conditions than my own. Long ago I traveled with a full quiver, it was miserable.
    – alx9r
    Commented Aug 28, 2013 at 18:34
  • Yes that probably to take into account. Also it's probably depend of the destination and the airline available. American Airline charge $150 for boardbag and quiverbag. For example Maui Windsurf Company charge $369 for 7 days + $69 of "useless" insurance. I said useless because it's not cover you if you sail at Ho'okipa. So I guess you can end up paying the location + the broken gear.
    – ucsky
    Commented Aug 28, 2013 at 19:59
  • If I am honest about the wear-and-tear I subject my equipment to sailing anywhere on the North Shore, I'd say $369/week is a bargain. I don't ever remember Maui Windsurf Co. charging for average wear-and-tear I caused -- only outright broken parts (I broke a mast once and destroyed it and the sail).
    – alx9r
    Commented Aug 28, 2013 at 22:05
  • Why do you think it's an affair if you can bring your gear for $150? The problem that I have with there insurance is that breaking a mast should be covered by the constructor warranty: so why paid for an additional insurance? For example if the mast that you rent break because the previous renter let it all the week into the sun. Consequently you destroy the sail how it generally happen when you break a mast. I find it not fair because in the end it is not your responsibility.
    – ucsky
    Commented Aug 29, 2013 at 3:10
  • The airline's fee isn't the problem -- the problem is that almost nothing in the entire route is designed to handle items that bulky. What this means is that every step where you have your gear -- airport shuttle, taxi, rental car, escalators, baggage carts, baggage carousel, baggage check -- will be complicated, slow, or both. You can easily end up in a bind. For example, there may be no vans available for rent on the day you arrive, and loading items on the roof is often prohibited by rental agencies.
    – alx9r
    Commented Sep 2, 2013 at 17:41

1 Answer 1


The pros at PWA (Professional Windsurfers Association) have collected together a bunch of tips on this very topic.

Without quoting the whole thing, it's worth noting some of the highlights:

Anne-Marie: “Pack more bags, but lighter ones... don't put everything in one bag and make it mega-heavy...they don't like that these days.

You can pack it in 1 or 2 bags, but be prepared to divide it up in 3 bags.

If they are really strict about the weight, for example, you can always put some sails, a boom and a mast in a single board bag you have around one of your boards.

Which stems from the fact that some airlines are going to be extra strict about weight, individual bag sizes (sometimes due to union issues about the weight that staff have to lift) and bulk.

In all honesty, once you've chosen an airline it's worth calling them up and asking them for suggestions. They'll have dealt with bags of all shapes and sizes, and may ask that you split it up, or pack with protection, or tell you to divide into 2 or 3 bags and pay for extra baggage.

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