This article was produced in partnership with GoRV!
Look, there are two types of surfers in the world right now: ones who would potentially risk exposure to a deadly virus in exchange for rock-bottom flights to their dream destination, and the rest of us. Assuming you’re in that latter group, you’re going to need to get creative if you want to take a surf trip in the foreseeable future. Fortunately, there’s a mode of transportation that was invented long, long ago that’s perfect for facilitating surf exploration when the restrictions include “no airplanes!” and “stay away from people!”: the Recreational Vehicle.
RVs allow you to explore the stretches of coastline you’ve been meaning to surf, while carrying your bedroom, kitchen, gear shed and bathroom along with you. Doing so keeps you safer, it keeps the locals in the zones you’re visiting safer and it ensures you never have to poop in a bush. Everyone wins — particularly the bush.
The best thing about RVs is that you can rent them pretty much anywhere, including Class Bs, which are the cool adventure vans you keep seeing on Instagram. And just because you’re renting a rig doesn’t mean you can’t make some simple, removable customizations that will make traveling with surfboards and wetsuits easier and less stinky. For some tips and tricks on how to pimp your rented ride, we asked Dana Point surfer and experienced surf explorer Dave Boehne. He’s been working on tweaking his own adventure surf rig for years, and these are his 6 favorite ways to set yourself up before hitting the road.
Take as many boards as you can fit onto the floor of your vehicle with this DIY board rack made from PVC pipe.
PVC pipe, .5” or .75” diameter
PVC T-connectors and elbow connectors
Measure your space and decide how many boards you want to be able to store. Buy either .5” or .75” diameter PVC pipe, and make sure to get pieces long enough that you can cut to customize your space. Use a PVC cutter to cut the pieces, and cover each piece of piping with insulation foam to protect your boards.
Connect the pieces by coating the ends in PVC pipe cement (glue) and sliding them into PVC connectors (elbow shape for the corners, tee shape for the interior pieces). Create a rectangular base with the elbow connectors and use tee connectors to create “rows” of piping for each board.
Use bungee cords to secure the rack to the vehicle floor and to secure the boards.
PVC pipe, .75” diameter
PVC tee and elbow connectors
Vinyl tubing hose, 1” diameter
Battery-powered air mattress pump
Create a wetsuit drying rack with PVC pipe. Make sure the base of the rack is wider than your plastic bin, so that the rack can drip into the bin. Use PVC pipe cutters, glue and connectors to create the rack.
Next, build a PVC pipe system that your air will blow through. Create a square base (measure it to be able to fit inside your bin), with PVC sticking up from each corner and add a fifth PVC piece to connect your air hose from your pump.
Get a battery-powered air mattress pump and connect vinyl tubing between the pump and the fifth PVC pole (attach to PVC with a hose clamp). Hang your wetsuit over the standing rack, put each arm and leg hole over one of the four remaining PVC pipes and turn on the air mattress pump. Air will flow through your suit and dry it while you drive.
FOOT WASHING STATION
A private, hot, post-surf shower is one of the best things about RV surf travel, but if you’re not careful you’ll drag half the beach in with you. These sprayers ensure your feet are free and clear of sand before you head inside.
Sprayer with pump
Get a 2-gallon sprayer with a pump from the hardware store or garden center and fill with water.
An easy hack that will keep sunscreen easy to find and access during a long day at the beach.
Heavy-duty magnets with adhesive
No assembly required on this essential item for keeping the stench to a minimum after multiple days on the road with your neoprene.
Rugged plastic bin
Get an extra-strength bin from Home Depot (so you can stack other things on top of it, and so that it can withstand some movement in the van). Secure to the floor and/or wall of your vehicle with bungee cords, or, if you’re able to stick adhesive to your floor, with heavy-duty velcro.
Get fired up for the next morning’s session by screening some classics at your very own outdoor movie theatre.
King-sized white bed sheet
Order a portable projector from Amazon for as little as $70 (or if you want one with more bells and whistles, invest a little more), and make sure you either have a table or tripod with you to prop it on. Hang a king-size white sheet against the wall of your vehicle using heavy-duty disk magnets. Set up some camp chairs, and enjoy.