Boat Charters or Land Camps: What’s a Better For Surf Trip?

GrindTV break it down for us. Here are the pros and cons of boat life versus surf camp living. Honestly, either way you go, it couldn’t be that bad.

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Boat Charter: This category’s where you truly get your bang for your buck on a boat. In a place like, say, the Mentawai or Telos Islands in Indonesia, waves can be quite inaccessible by land and/or far apart from each other by motorbike when on said-island.

Enter: The Boat. The captain pulls you right up to the channel of HTs, or Cloudbreak or Maccaronis, and you jump off said-boat or get whipped in the drop-off dingy to your wave of your choice, how many ever waves you please in a day. Pretty ideal.

Land Camp: Of course at a land camp, you can sit on a wave and stay there until the perfect swell hits (or for as many swells as you want), but it’s a bit limiting.

You’ve got the wave out front … and better hope there’s backups in the area that you can walk/motorbike/boat to from the camp. As far as quantity of waves go, a boat charter beats the camp any day.


Boat Charter: Depends on the boat — and duration of stay — but most surf charter boat trips run on 10 night or 14 night cycles and are all-inclusive (minus airfare), running roughly $1,500-$3,000-plus for the whole package (Beers could cost more.)

If you’re paying any less than $1,500 for a 10-night trip to, say, the Mentawais, there’s probably cause to be suspicious of the ship.

Land Camp: Also depends on the camp/location. For instance, you could be staying at a simple homestay in front of a firing wave and be paying $15 a night for a room, and $10 a day for meals. Or you could be at an all-inclusive Salina Cruz Mexican surf camp and be paying $1,000 a week (or at G-Land at a surf camp paying $500 a week for everything).

There’s a wide variety of land camps, but let’s just say you’ll be paying half the price as a charter boat.

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Boat Charter: For better or worse, you are definitely stuck on the boat. Unless of course you get seriously injured or ill — they’ll find you a way to a hospital.

But as far as breaking away to the closest island for a night off the ship, that’s not really in the cards.

Land Camp: The world is yours. Wanna borrow a canoe and paddle around the point and explore? Go for it. Want to leave camp for a day or two and check out the pointbreak that works on a certain wind? Hop on a moto or rent a car to manifest that destiny.

Yes, the cool thing about staying on land is you’re on land and not at your captain’s mercy. Freedom of mobility wins out on land when you’re behind the wheel.


Boat Charter: Depends on the boat, but most of them these days are made to pamper a fella. As in fairly comfortable quarters, gourmet food (whenever you want), fishing/diving gear, cold beers; the works.

Land Camp: It also depends on the place. Some, like Nihiwatu on Sumba are five-star resort-style digs complete with personnel assigned to your comfort. Not kidding.

While some, like a little camp I know of on Papua New Guinea, hopefully have the outhouse working. Usually, you pay for what you get, but a lot of surf camps on land can resemble summer camp for adult males. Ping pong table included.


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