When surfers travel, it is de rigueur these days to load your coffin full of boards and take just a small backpack with everything else you need as hand luggage. And it’s not like you need much more than your board shorts, one long-pant, some fresh tees and a toothbrush, right?
Who are you kidding. What about fins, a hoodie, rash cream, surf wax, deodorant, spare leash, headphones, ding repair, first aid kit, suncream, moustache wax… And what about all the stuff you pick up on surf trips? You need space for all those Bintang wifebeaters, the coral keepsakes, curios like those penis-shaped bottle openers and mother of pearl ashtrays (for your mother), packs of clove cigarettes and the mud-like coffee you want to take home?
The Apex Boa makes travelling easier.
Thankfully, how you carry these necessities is made far easier by the new Billabong Apex Boa Pack. This we imagine is the new gold standard in surf packs. It is actually ridiculous how much problem solving functionality they have managed to cram into this bag without a) making it too heavy, and b) still allowing you 60 litres of space for all your kak. Better yet, the Apex Boa will help you pack all your stuff functionally, so you can still access your passport / laptop / headphones, etc. without having to unpack everything on the airport floor. The designers who worked on the Apex Boa should get to work on some other problems, like affordable yet sustainable housing, fixing global warming and eliminating plastics from the ocean. Their genius is wasted in retail product design, it could be argued.
But I digress, so let’s talk about this bag. It’s broken into two distinct sections, the top and the bottom. Bottom is a fully sealable wet bag for stashing your wetsuit, boardies, booties, etc. anything soaked in salty water should go there. There’s a handy drip valve that allows the water to run out, while you meander down the streets, post-surf, in search of sustenance and excitement.
The bottom also detaches from the top, creating a smaller double-compartmented day-pack, for mini-adventures, still with dry bag below. This is far more useful than you’d think.
The top half, or the business end of the bag has everything you could ever imagine needing. There’s a padded laptop sleeve at the back and plenty of space for all your clothes and gear in the main compartment, with a duffel like sleeve for extra crammage. Possibly the best feature is that the main bag section has a square front zip, that gives you full access to all your stuff, without having to unload from the top. You will appreciate this greatly, when stuffed between two mamas on a crowded bus and in need of your a) breath mints, b) immodium, c) headphones.
Some of the Apex Boa Surf Pack’s main features are:
A) Boa® Brand Closure System / B) The Vault
C) Stowaway Rain Cover / D) Detachable Wetsuit Storage System
E) Quality Construction / F) Sunglasses / Audio Pocket
G) Laptop Sleeve / H) Wetsuit Storage System
Apart from that there are loads of useful little pouches for your money, passport, phone, keys, small wet things, computer cables and chargers and anything else you might want to stash. There’s even a hidden, side-entry passport and money pocket. And then there are the luxury extras, like the waterproof cover that flips out from the back and covers the whole pack, keeping your valuables dry in one of those sudden tropical downpours. At the top, there’s a small pouch that contains a changing mat, so you needn’t get your wetsuit and stuff all sandy and mucky, before chucking them in the wet bag.
Then the straps have this nifty “twist to tighten” mechanism, which can sometimes look like you’re tweaking your own nipples, but so what, we’re on holiday! Point being, the whole thing is really comfortable to carry, regardless of how much crap you’re shlepping. The one thing about those nifty ‘twist to tighten’ knobs that bothered us a little, admittedly, was when you chuck the bag into the overhead compartment or cram it under the seat in front of you, those little latches can pop open, causing the straps to loosen as the mechanism is released, so we’d often be seen twisting our nipples as we hopped off the plane – which isn’t the best look when you’re approaching passport control. With practice, this could probably be avoided.
THE VERDICT: The Billabong Apex Boa Surf Pack retails for a cool R2999.95, which is kinda pricey for luggage. But this is literally the Rolls Royce of surf backpacks and having travelled with one, we’re converted. The Apex Boa takes some of the hack out of travelling. And even if you’re not going on a trip right now, you can spend a lot of time just exploring the features of this bag and imagining how you’re going to put them to use on your next surf trip… thereby hastening your next little bit of wanderlust! Money well spent.
We have one of these epic Apex Boa Surf Packs (valued at R2999,95) to give away to one lucky reader who signs up for a Zag subscription before 1 November. So, if you’d like to be in with a chance of scoring yourself a truly great backpack for your travels and adventures, subscribe here and send your details (including subscriber number and proof of payment) to email@example.com to get in the running.
ABOUT THE ZAG REVIEW:
The Zag Review is an independent editorial feature on surfing hard goods, ranging the full spectrum from boards and wetsuits to tide watches and travel bags. None of the reviews are paid for by advertisers or part of an advertising deal, and we retain the right to give honest, critical feedback that is in the interest of our readers. The product is reviewed by Zag staff and everyday surfers who rip, not pros who are paid to endorse the goods. We test the gear for a minimum period of two weeks (and a month for boards) to give you comprehensive feedback for the surfing layman. We know that surfboards are not a “one size fits all solution” and different surfers prefer different aspects on a board according to how they surf, even if they are the same weight and height. In the case of surfboard reviews, we’ve made sure to seek feedback from at least three different surfers to get well-rounded input.
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