"A boardbag is probably the main piece of luggage I take when I travel," says tour surfer and all-round good bloke Ryan Callinan. "Now I'm back on the road nine months of the year, I spend so much time dragging them through airports and wrapping them around hire cars. To know that my boards going to be in the same condition as when I packed them is crucial."
The humble boardbag. Not exactly a product surfers salivate at the mouth when pulling the pin on a purchase, it's not a new shortboard but it is arguably one of the most important purchases a surfer can make. Now that the world has world opened back up, and the price of a new surfboard is hovering around $1000 the boardbag is your protective barrier and a crucial element on getting boards to those waves you've dreamt about.
"To know that my boards are going to be in the same condition as when I packed them is crucial"
To test the theory, Ocean & Earth grabbed R-Cal while the world tour was in Portugal, hit the road for a few days chasing waves, and tested the Ocean & Earth Double Coffin Board Bag.
What's it Good For?
"Coffin" sounds slightly morbid, but don't let that put you off - it's just the generic name for a heavy-duty, vaguely coffin-shaped surfboard bag, designed to hold multiple surfboards and withstand the rough and tumble of air travel. This version by O&E is relatively slender in coffin terms, but "Double" is still definitely an undersell: we fit three shortboards inside it comfortably.
"I'd use this bag for most of my strike missions," says Callinan. "So, for a drive down the coast for a few days, or a flight to Indonesia or Fiji to chase a swell. For this test, we scoured the coast with a 4WD for a few days, and the bag was thrown on the roof, or in the back of the Landcruiser. I'd grab three shortboards each morning, just so I had all bases covered for a day chasing waves."
The same bag is also available as a Triple Coffin (yep, fits 4 boards!) and a Quad Coffin (which fits up to 5 - you get the picture).
This coffin weighs in at around 4.5 kilograms, with a width of 23 inches and a depth of 7 inches. It also comes with a patented, removable hanging hook (ideal for storage purposes), a 20mm shoulder strap that can be removed and placed in a stash pocket, and an internal wax and fin bag.
"Most days I take three boards, ranging from 6'1" to 6'3" and the bag will fit two wetsuits, a towel, plus my fins, sunscreen, and wax - I'll generally have room to spare," said Callinan. "It always feels lightweight but trustworthy."
"Lightweight but trustworthy" - in other words, exactly what you want from a board bag. Light enough not to eat into your luggage allowance (or knacker your shoulders before your surf trip's even begun), yet still strong enough to keep your all-important quiver safe from harm.
The Collin has three layers of protection. There is a top layer of armour weave polyester, a second layer of 10mm shock-absorbing foam, and a third inside layer of UV-resistant tarpee lining. It also has extra protection in high-impact areas, called XP technology, which adds 25mm of padding to the nose, rails and tail. Ocean & Earth claims that is the thickest on the market. It also features double thick gusset padding in the form of 20mm shock-absorbing foam and a skid plate, which is reinforced fabric to protect the tails and rails of your boards.
"We covered some rough terrain, and the bag was thrown around for a few days on the roof racks and in the back of the 4WD, which was full of camera gear and crap," said Callinan. "I had new boards too, and all remained unscathed, well out of the water at least. We put that bag through its paces."
"I always look to the zippers on my boardbags. If they are fiddly or tricky, then using them becomes a pain in the arse," said Callinan. "Also in my experience, it is the zips where most of the issues in terms of faults come from."
The travel coffin features heavy-duty zippers, with large, lockable zipper heads. Not only does that make them easier to use but provides extra security for your boards and accessories.
"There's also loads of pockets for all your bits and bobs, which means they aren't missiling around the bag," said Callinan. "And the external load compression strap system means you can flatten the bag down as much as you need. Every little bit of space saved is huge, be it in the car or when blurring at the airport check-in," laughed Callinan.
"Ive been with Ocean & Earth for a while now and every time I get something new, the product is insane." Concludes Callinan. "Its a family owned and operated business run by surfers for surfers. You can tell this board bag has been designed and tested for a purpose. It is lightweight, easy to use and tough as fook. Its a nice piece of kit that is going to stay with you for a long time and won't let you down.
Words by Ben Mondy.
All photos by Daniel Espirito Santo