Why You Should Never Bring Your Surfboard on a Flight Again
The "Airbnb for surfboards" will save you baggage fees and keep your board ding-free.
The mere thought of getting on a plane to surf a few perfect waves in my favorite destinations around the globe makes the hair on my arms stand up and tingle with excitement. Getting to run into new waters (preferably of the warm variety) and paddle out to different breaks brings on a sense of glory surfers the world over know well. The one thing that can knock us all down a peg? Having to lug our boards to the airport, only to hope and pray during the entirety of the flight that they make it to our destinations ding-free. But hang on my hang-10 friends, because there may be a better way.
"It's a personal thing, ingrained in every surfer who likes to chase waves: You land at your destination, unzip your board bag only to find your favorite boards destroyed," Joe Wilson, a lifelong surfer and globetrotter, explains. "Not to mention what you paid in baggage fees. Then it's a scramble to find duct tape, Sun Cure (ding repair), or any other quick fix in sight."
Rather than sit back and watch this happen to his boards, his friends' boards, and strangers just trying to hit the waves on their travels, Wilson co-founded The Quiver, a peer-to-peer surfboard rental company that allows people to rent boards from shops and locals in countries all over the world.
"Quiver is a community for surfers, made by surfers, connecting people with surfboards to people without," he says. "It's about having total freedom, traveling with less, and tapping into the value of the things around us. We love fostering that connection, where people can geek out about boards, share experiences, and meet other surfers."
Think of it like Airbnb or VRBO for surfboards. Users can log on and view boards in their destination. They can reach out, ask questions, or just book on the spot. Then, when they arrive, they head to their surfboard's home (be it a shop or someone's actual house), pick it up, and just drop it off at the agreed-upon time.
"The Quiver started as an experiment and quickly grew into a community of surfers in more than 20 countries sharing boards, travel insights, and more. We became known as the 'Airbnb for Surfboards' but now we're full-on working with local shapers, surf shops, and manufacturers too," Wilson says.
It's a service I got to try first-hand on a recent trip to Costa Rica. After landing at the Liberia Airport, I drove to the coast to visit Frijoles Locos, a surf shop near Playa Grande, a beach beloved by both tourists and locals.
Upon entering the store to pick up my board it became clear this was no mere transaction. Instead, it was a warm welcome, filled with hot tips on where I should go to find the best swell that day, and even more advice on where to eat, shop, and explore. Before departing I was given a handful of numbers to call just in case I needed help, a lesson, or anything in between. I left with my longboard in hand — freshly waxed, I might add — knowing I was in good hands.
And sure, Costa Rica is neat, but truly, you can get your hands on a board in some rather surprising destinations.
"One of the coolest places that stands out is surfing under the northern lights in Iceland. That's like nature's version of Woodstock," Wilson says. "We get a lot of interesting trip requests for boards in places like Alaska, Africa, Indonesia, Italy, Ireland, and Japan. And some totally off-the-grid missions. We're really dialed in places like Australia, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Mexico, and Portugal too"
To snag a board for yourself, all you need to do is sign up (for free) on thequiver.com. Then, search boards near you or look up boards in your intended destination. Wilson notes, "You can also message our team at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can help you find boards anywhere in the world. Just let us know where and when, and we'll take care of the rest."
And, if you're a board owner looking to make a few bucks, you can list your board for rentals too.
"If you'd like to list your boards on Quiver, it's super easy and you can add a new listing on the site in a few minutes," Wilson explains. "Just enter info about the board, a few photos, you choose the rental rate, and then it's instantly added to the community."
As for those who may not be surfers just yet, Wilson recommends giving both his platform and the sport a try on your next trip. "Try something new," he says. "Experiment with different shapes and feels. Feel the breeze and enjoy the ride. And leave the planet better than you found it."