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Despite the oft-used proverb, a family really doesn’t have to be a ball and chain keeping you from the waves! Combining a surf trip with a family holiday is an art, but when you get the hang of it, it can lead to some of the best trips you’ll ever make!

When you hear that patter of little feet for the first time you know life will never be the same again – but that’s no excuse to give up your hard-earned surf trips! Many surf destinations are actually ideal for family holidays: you just need to find a place where everyone has something fun to do – whether that’s surfing, building sand castles, or sipping cocktails on the beach while reading the latest Jilly Cooper novel.

Matt Clark from LUEX Travel gives us the run-down on how to stop wasting precious holiday time in swell-less hellholes when you could be surfing your brains out while the entire family has a ball!

The Key Factors of the Perfect Family Surf Trip

There are some key factors you need to consider for a successful family trip, and you need a destination that combines as many of them as possible. These factors fit into three main categories: Your/the Surfer’s needs, Mum’s/the Non-surfer’s needs, and the kids needs.

Family Surf

Skate away © LUEX Travel

Surfing Parent’s Needs:

the rest of the family won’t be too happy if you spend the whole time chasing wave

On the face of it, your needs are pretty straightforward: good surf. It’s not quite that simple though, as the rest of the family won’t be too happy if you spend the whole time chasing waves and are never around. You have to make surfing as time-efficient as possible: find a destination with consistent, quality swell so you can plan your sessions ahead (rather than spontaneously dropping everything when the waves start working), and ideally one with several nearby spots with different exposures to choose from, preferably including some wind-protected and tide-independent spots. Stay as close to the break as you can, as the less time you spend travelling, the more you get in the water per session; preferably you want to actually be able to see the waves from your accommodation, so you don’t waste additional time checking conditions. The cherry on the top is warm, tropical water: not only is surfing just in board shorts simply more fun, but changing in/out of wetsuits again cuts into your actual surfing time.

Non-Surfing Parent’s Needs:

Obviously these will depend a lot on what your non-surfing parent likes to do, but we can generalise a bit: romantic resorts with good restaurants, spa facilities, yoga classes, swimming pools and pretty beaches are usually a hit. For the more adventurous, look for a destination with plenty of sporty activities, like horse riding, snorkeling, scuba diving, etc. If you can combine all these things with a nice resort or hotel that’s a pleasure to spend time in, in close proximity to the break and children’s’ facilities, you’re onto a winner. Some form of crèche or childcare can be useful too.

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  • chris

    “These factors fit into three main categories: Your/the Surfer’s needs, Mum’s/the Non-surfer’s needs, and the kids needs.” –
    — SERIOUSLY!? —
    Why is “Mum” and “Non-Surfer’s” assumed to be one and the same?? That’s terrible and stereotypical. I’m surprised someone at Drift or any other editor on the planet didn’t catch this. (I’ll go as far to say that any surf writer shouldn’t even write it–but “he” did) Woman surf and enjoy surf vacations too!! Why not simply write “surfer’s needs” and “non-surfers needs” to keep the focus of the article on family!

  • Matt

    Hey Chris, sorry for the slow reply!

    I’m Matt btw – I wrote the article.

    I do get – and agree with – your point, and I deliberated for quite a long time over how to write that part. In the end I decided to keep it that way. The simple fact is that in the vast majority of families that book trips, it IS the Dad who is the surfer, occasionally both parents surf, but almost never is the Mum the exclusive surfer. Rightly or wrongly (and actually unfortunately) that’s a simple fact at this point in time, and skirting around it just felt like a cop out.

    It was in no way intended to be negative towards women or perpetuate the status quo – women and Mum’s who surf are rad and it would be awesome to see more! I had hoped that the forward slash would read more like ‘and/or’ rather than suggest that the non-surfer is always the Mum, but apologies if it doesn’t come across like that.