Be careful how you book your trip after this year’s Halloween.
Surfers are by nature adventurers, always wanting to know if there might be a wave around the next headland. We like to experiment, we want to know how that surfboard design will feel under our feet, or if that island gets the swell? We are tolerant of risk, paddling out, not knowing what lurks beneath. Surfers just put it out there and have a dig, it’s one of the great things we at The Perfect Wave love about helping YOU – our travellers.
Of course, all this adventure, experimentation and risk can bring spectacular results – with life-changing waves and sometimes epic fails! Because The Perfect Wave is constantly booking and managing the travels of thousands of surfers, we hear all the stories: both the good and the bad.
Too often surfers call us for help too late – after they made their own arrangements direct with the boat or some online travel site and it has gone horribly, awfully wrong!
Here is a few stories to remind us that surf travel is not as easy as it looks.
1. Not everything on the internet is real.
Early this season, we had a call from some surfers who wanted travel insurance for a boat charter. We asked where are they going – and one of the lads booked direct with a boat on a Mentawai charter. Apparently, it was super luxury and cheaper than the boats The Perfect Wave recommends – sounded too good to be true, hmmmm! Anyway, a couple of months later we get a call asking for travel insurance claim forms – so we asked why? Turns out the super luxury boat was dodgy and it had never been to the Mentawai. It was in the Mediterranean and couldn’t be bothered sailing all the way to Indonesia for a bunch of surfers. Even worse, the dodgy boat operator kept full payment! The groups swore next time they will always book with The Perfect Wave because it a global agency with local offices in Australia, NZ and Europe with a reputation and protection under Australian/NZ/EU law.
2. Just because you can book it doesn’t mean you should.
We had a few urgent calls this season from some distressed surfers. The worst was a guy who was frantically trying to get on to his boat – but it had already sailed! One of his mates booked a charter direct with the boat so he joined thinking it was all easy. Then he booked his own cheap airfare and everything was sweet – until it wasn’t! The discount airline charged a gazillion dollars for surfboards with no other option. Old mate paid up at the airport. He realised if he had booked with The Perfect Wave it would have been cheaper, with a good schedule on a decent airline, the kind that serves you drinks and smiles when you check in a triple board bag. To turn insult to injury, he landed in Padang and wandered out looking for someone with a little sign on it with his name on it. Alas, there was none to be found! After frantically checking a bunch of old emails he found a number of the boat and then a working phone – but when he finally got through. he was not prepared for the response: “The boat left early this morning – where were you?”
3. Online reviews are not the same a real-time feedback.
Normally we don’t book properties we don’t know – but we get a few requests. The good thing is that by booking through a reputable travel agency, there is support if it doesn’t work out. For example, an early Saturday morning call: the villa was nothing like the pictures, it was a disaster – get us out of here! The villa was surrounded by a massive 24-hour construction site. The Perfect Wave is a professional agency and we back our reservations. When the property was not what it promised, The Perfect Wave made new arrangements and a refund on the villa – the holiday was saved! In the meantime, the online travel agencies continued the scam, taking and keeping surfers money with pictures of uninterrupted views to the beach, despite the industrial scale devastation.
Real, professional travel agents listen to their clients and can make holiday dreams happen. The Perfect Wave team are surfers, travellers, and serious, detail-obsessed travel agents to the stars. We listen, ask questions, look for the needs that are stated, and then needs unstated. They have the globe at their fingertips – but will only recommend the trips that fit the brief. Sometimes there are hard truths like: “Sorry, but I don’t think $1,000 is going to get you a luxury property in school holidays including flights for a family of 5.”
The thing our team love is when we can say: Yes, I think this place ticks all the boxes: world class waves, great flight schedule, your non-surfing partner will love it… and the swell will be pumping!
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