O/T : United Airlines / Oahu

This is going to be a little off topic, but I thought this would be a good place to ask as nearly all of the people seem to give sensible replies.

First off, thanks to Swaylocks and everyone for a great website. I’ve learnt loads reading everyones posts and have just finished my first board, which I’m going to post in the resources section as soon as get some pics.

Now onto the off topic bit: I’m from the UK and I’m off to L.A and Oahu for my honeymoon in a few weeks flying with United Airlines. Does anyone know their policy or charges for carrying boards? I’ve had conflicting info from United Airlines ranging from “they go free”, to “you have to book them in and pay $80 per board, per leg”. So does anyone know which its likely to be?

If I have to pay to carry boards it probably makes more sense to buy boards once I get to Hawaii and the boards I’d take from the UK may not be suited to the waves (despite what local shapers here may say), I’m planning on renting something in L.A if I get the chance to surf Malibu or Rincon.

As I’ll be on my honeymoon, surfing may not be quite as high a priority as normal, but what are the crowds like late October, early November and which are the best spots on the North Shore for a quiet/non-agro surf? (Please e-mail me if you don’t want to post it). Obviously if the surf’s good and the crowds not too bad then one or two waves at Pipe would be the icing on the cake of my surfing career.

Unless you can charm the check-in people, or go curbside, it’s the $80 each leg for ONE board.

Plenty of surfshops in Oahu, but what to get?.

That time of year can be small, medium, or really big NorthShore, with S shore breaking either small or medium (barely).

Surf breaks depending on swell size and direction. Who’s to predict in advance?

Without knowing your size and skill level, it’s hard to advise on size.

For me, at 155lbs., for sure, on Oct/Nov, Oahu, I’d get 7’5" x 18.5 rounded pin.

i live on oahu and go back and forth to san fran. alot and have been doing it for years. i don’t want to freak you out but my worst experience ever with surfboards has been on United. They ran over my boarbag with a truck and destroyed the boards like i have never seen boards destroyed bofore. The bitch luggage mannager told me flat out “United airlines is sick of surfboards and dosn’t want them on their airlines” they said i signed the wavier so i got nothing… having said that, pack the crap out of them and wish for the best. as far as the $$$ part of it goes you are at there mercy. at worst expect to pay per board, be nice and if they say something like $80 flat out don’t argue if you have a few boards. biring a credit card and again hope for the best.

the surfboard thing is getting touchy on the airplanes so my new attitude is “Ship em DHL” they are fast, cheap. and insured. they don’t really promote it but they have a fourth day rate…

as far a North Shore advice goes i can’t strees enought leave nothing in your car. first swell of the season last week and my buddies pos car got broken into, and it wasn’t even a rental.

as far as surf goes just drive around your empty car and have a look there is so much more to the ns then pipe…


Vibe’s good that time of the year, pros haven’t shown up yet. The very end of October they start setting up the grand stands at Sunset Beach and it’s all down hill from there. Van’s triple crown and what not. Waves are usually 2-4 ft or 4-7 ft faces, but the way this Winter is shaping up you’ll probably see some 6-8ft days or 10-15ft faces. Those will get your attention scratching to make it over the top.

If you get the right winds surf out northwest by Mokuleia State Beach plenty of good, shallow, reef breaks. Army Beach a little further down breaks just like Pipeline when it’s on. You can also catch the standard North Shore spots Jocko’s Rocky Right’s, Gas Chambers, Kamies, Sunset mid week with no problem. Hell there’s more surf spots in 7 miles than any other place on the earth. Just be a mello, kind, considerate, respectful, non wave hog and you’ll have a blast.

My advise is unless you got a fast board that made for those waves, you should pick one up there. Haleiwa got a few shops where you can rent a decent board for about 30$ per day. The waves are a lot different there than here Southern California, I’m betting there a hell of a lot different than England.

Great place, Great people…Key word, Respect.


Thanks for the replies. I think JJP has made my mind up to get some boards out there. I was considering getting/taking a 6’6"-6’8" x 18.5" board for what we would call good waves in the UK (for hollow waves head high to double over head) and possibly a gunnier board in the 7’2" to 7’6" range if it gets a bit bigger, but I think I’d sit and watch if it was much more than 3 times overhead.

I’m 5’11", 13 stone (I think that’s about 155lb). I’ve been surfing for about 15 years and have travelled to W Oz, Indo, Fiji, Canaries, France, Spain, and Ireland. There are good quality waves in the UK if you know where and when.

if you choose to do an outer island Kauai we have a direct flight and I have an extensive used board selection and boards to use look me up if you are here or message me and I have a friend w/a beach cottage that I can give you the web site

Ambrose! Thats what i’m talking about! You have the Aloha. Anytime your in San Diego your welcome to raid my board stash too.


Swaylock’s loaner board program, let it begin! Don’t pay the damn airlines!! I too have boards I can loan out. Share the Stonk, as Bonta would say!

dont get me wrong I do accept donations for board use…as in advertent damage can become a factor…sans drive time my time i dont colect a fee for a quick go out …then sundays if ya got the suv rental we do a dawner to worlds end for the empty majique…ambrose…every man has a price and the car smells like girls?? what can ya say

Here’s the deal - and I just flew UA this summer from LA to Honolulu. Under 9’ for one board bag (up to two boards), it’s $80 each way. Anything over 9’ for one board bag (up to two boards) and it’s $160 each way.

sounds reasonable to me, Ambrose!

Used boards are reasonable to buy there and usually there’s a pretty good selection since people try to unload in the spring before leaving. The DHL idea is also very good. Shleping boards through airports to then get fleesed by the airlines sucks.

Thanks for all the info and thanks for the offer Ambrose. If I was solely on a surf trip then I’d definitely take you up on your offer and if you’re ever in Cornwall and need to borrow a board or someone to surf with, drop me an email. We’re hoping to do a few of the tourist things and the closest we may get to Kauii is on a helicopter trip if it’s not too expensive.

I sort of wish I’d booked with BA now as their baggage allowance for flights to the US is 2 bags in the hold. So boards are free as long they’re under about 7ft.