Your surfboard is the most important part of your surfing equipment and you have got to make sure that your board gets to your destination in one piece and un-dinged. Try not to finish your surf trip before it has already started! This will only apply when taking your board long distance - no need to pack up like this for the 10 min drive down to your local spot.
You will need:
First off you need to take care of your fins. These are probably the most likely part of the board to get damaged in transit if they are non removable.
If you have removable fins then remove them. (Yep - no surprises here!). Wrap them in a towel and they can be packed in your boardbag along with your board.
Do Not Forget To Pack Your Fin Key! You will hate yourself to the end of your days if you arrive at an isolated spot, it's epic and you cannot fix your fins back on. Your mates will not be able to stop laughing etc. Anyway, back to the point. Do Not Forget To Pack Your Fin Key!
For non removable fins you have to make sure that they are well protected. The easiest way is to buy a commercial Fin Protector. A Fin Box is a protective cover which fits over the top of your fins and keeps them safe. Commercial Fin Protectors are pretty cheap and well worth getting
Commercial Fin Protection
If you do not want to spend the money on one then just make your own. If you have some polystyrene blocks around (you might have just bought a new tv?) then use them to fashion your own. If not go to an electrical store / warehouse and ask for a freebie.
If you have a decent surfboard bag then you don't need to go mad with the packing. We suggest getting a 10mm thick boardbag as a minimum for traveling and a board sock for a little extra protection. To be extra safe pay the extra money and get a hard surfboard case.
Hard Surfboard Travel Case
You can go mad and bubble wrap your entire board if you like but there is probably no need. There are some areas of your board that are prone to damage while traveling which should be protected. The diagram below shows the areas that need most attention. The nose and tail need full protection. The rails should have some protection. The deck and bottom of the board can be protected for peace of mind.
Once you have protected the fins and applied the bubble wrap to the areas you want to protected then you can slip the board into the boardbag. For extra security when packing use some of your clothing as extra padding. If you are taking a wetsuit then use it to protect the tail of your board once it is in the boardbag.
It's a good idea not to have anything hard in the boardbag that could be crushed against the board while in transit. This means removing your leash before packing.
That's about it really. Just make sure that you don't go too mad with the packing or you'll be paying extra for your excess luggage weight. One last thing - make sure your boardbag has TOP LOAD / FRAGILE on it if it does not already. Make it clear with a marker pen or acrylic paint. Don't be afraid to go to town on this one.
PerfectWave.com have a great guide on how to pack your board for travelling. Take a look and make sure you have got everything covered. Don't forget that if you need some additional info feel free to post a question on the Surfing Travel Information forum.