Surf Widow Survival Guide


Urban Dictionary Definition of Surf Widow  “A girlfriend/wife who spends endless hours on the beach watching her boyfriend/husband surf. His idea of “going to the beach,” implies time together in the sun, and before she knows it, she’s sitting on the beach by herself. Many Surf Widows are located in Southern California, Hawaii, and Florida”.

Photo by Alex Bertha on Unsplash

Surf Widow life is filled with the beach, endless sunshine, sea spray and suntan lotion. It can also be incredibly lonely to spend hours solo on the sand or whole holidays hanging alone. Here’s 10 tips to put the zing back in your zang.

  1. Don’t try to change them

We all know that trick. Wait till the ring is on the finger or the bun is in the oven and gradually attempt to wear them down, like raindrops on a rock. Nope, you’re not going to succeed, so bring your A game with your own tricks, it’s the way to live happily ever after.


  1. Choose an unbelievable destination

Reverse psychology to some is sheer survival to others, so when a surf trip is on the table be part of the decision making. Isolated, boring, hot campsites are instantly ruled out. There are excellent surf destinations to choose from, just narrow down your must-haves but forget scrimping on your trip – you can eat baked beans on toast until Christmas but you ‘get what you pay for’ with holiday destinations. Surf destinations in Bali, Fiji, Maldives, Indonesia and Oahu and Kauai are excellent places to start your research. Surf widow Annabel likes Kadooma in the Maldives for the “white sands and the activities on offer”. Widow Bri considers, “nice water and sand, non-surf activities and great food” as destination factors, recommending the Komune in Bali as well as Batu Karang Nusa Lombongan. Surf Widow Carey recommends Hanalei Bay and St Regis, both in Kauai, “you can run and swim and visit waterfalls”.  For Surf Widow Belinda, the destination “must have a swimmable beach, environment to work out in and a flushing toilet”.  


  1. Variety is the Spice

Cast your eye around any school classroom and observe females as smart individuals needing cerebral stimulation, so choose a surf destination that has plenty to do. These days, surf destinations have pools, tennis courts, kayaking, cultural excursions, day spas and everything in between. Find the combination of activities to suit you. If you love snorkeling, Fiji trumps Bali for clean water and good snorkeling. For Surf Widow Bri, she likes that staying at Karamus Resort, Bali enables her to “hire a driver cheaply and visit the zoo, water park and Seminyak shopping as daytrips”.   


If your life is stressful and you’re happy relaxing on a banana lounge, that’s a big consideration that opens up lots of options. Bali is an excellent choice as a pool-based vacation, and a beautiful villa might be for you. This option is also good for groups so the girls can hang together, great for well-priced childminding and delicious meal preparation if cooking and cleaning is not on the vacation radar. There are great options out there so get googling.

Are you a foodie? If so, consider a resort or destination with excellent food choices. Bri recommends Nusa Lembongan as a great surf destination for organic, locally sourced food. While Fijian surf destinations do not have foodies raving, they do boast short flight distances from Australia, which might make up for the ‘hot-chips-athon’.   


  1. Like minded Pals

Being highly connected creatures, females enjoy cerebral pursuits among the species. Translation: let’s face it, we love a chat. For me, one of the BEST parts of a surf trip are the other girls I meet. We talk books, life, love, it’s brilliant to have a few laughs and make a friend for life. Back home, it’s easy to rush and just not have time to make new buddies. Tavarua Resort, Fiji is brilliant for this, being small and communal (for meals) it gets social very quickly and Surf Widows leave the island firm friends.    


Villas serve Surf Widows well for teaming up together for the good times. Bri cautions you have to be “very good friends” to make a Villa work because “you really are in close proximity the whole trip with nowhere to retreat”. As consolation, Villa staff provide relief from cooking with staff on hand and a private place entertaining each other round a pool while Surfers are off all day is great for relaxation.


Image credit: Surf Gear Limited

  1. Climate and weather check

Don’t get caught out with a rainy week with big swell for the surfers or in a mosquito-infested jungle minus the mozzie spray. Gin Gin Resort, Mentawais is an up-and-coming resort (minus a mozzie problem) is in close proximity to world class waves. Shop in Singapore on the way home, it’s owned by Australian families, it’s a good pick for Widows if your Surfer is frothing for Mentawai action. Samoa, Oahu and Maui can be tricky with weather, so watch when you go. Pack your running shoes and be ready to run in rain and you’ll be happy either way.  Remember the United Kingdom rule to weather: Gorgeous greenery comes with a price and that price is precipitation.


Bali swelters in heat, but popularity with Balinese destinations demonstrate many Surf Widows with kids in tow don’t seem to mind. The key is a resort with a beautiful pool so you can dip in and out all day. Surf Widow Anne loves the Komune’s health retreat-style pool to combat Balinese heat and appreciates the poolside service.

Photo by Matthew Kane on Unsplash
  1. Medical help on the Way!

With pre-existing illnesses or just worrying about belly bugs it helps to choose a surf location with good medical facilities. Tavarua Resort is reassuringly stocked with a fully equipped infirmary and on-duty medical staff. An easily accessible helicopter off the island (and other islands in the Fiji) eases the mind, especially with little kids. Keep in mind the more remote a surf destination is, the longer seeking medical help takes. Resort Latitude Zero, Sumatra and other more remotely based surf destinations provide highly qualified staff to deal with medical emergencies, hospital help is 20 minutes away. If you have asthma, peanut allergies or pre-existing conditions,  it might be more reassuring to base yourselves in a less remote destination, so a quick flight home is easy. Take a fully stocked medical kit to any resort, regardless.  Be sure to include hydrolytes, to combat gastro that can strike anywhere, plenty of band aids, bandages and spare antibiotics. Leave it for the locals on departure and the whole village will be grateful long after your trip. Check you have medical  insurance wherever you vacation, don’t be a statistic.


7 Reading material

Choose your plan of attack, light poolside fluffy reading or life-long tome you haven’t got around to starting. Me, I like a little of both, so a Dickens and a Picoult can scratch my back both ways. Books and trashy magazines are good to trade between the Widows and to have a little ‘chat’ about the book. It’s like a book club with a side of Pina Colada, just perfect. The kindle serves as a lightweight solution to reading multiple novels in the one trip, just remember to load them on before you go or it’s a week of enforced meditation for you if your resort or hotel doesn’t have a television.


If you’re a shopper and need reading supplies or want to shop for bargains or resort fashion, plan ahead. Fijian destinations sadly lack great shopping, Bali hits the shopping spot, Oahu and Kauai can be pricey but  decent for resort wear or shopping trips to Waikiki outlets, if you have access to a rental car.

  1. Look the Part

Save your daggy old tee shirts for home, and embrace resort wear for your holiday of a lifetime. It’s now or never to sample the amazing resort wear that’s out there –  sandals, sparkles and bikinis appropriate for lying around the pool. You can’t really swan around the shops in your sparkly kaftan or cleavage plunging black one piece back home, so whoop it up while you can. Don’t forget, it’s your active holiday too so bring your activewear for all the action. The best overall women’s brand to cover all bases is Roxy. The Surf Widow, active, social and outgoing fits Roxy to a tee. They make fun and colourful yoga pants for running the beach, yoga, tennis or walking. The quality is great and colours hold long beyond the holiday (thank you Roxy sports bra in the heat). Roxy wetsuits combine functionality with funk, so you can get out there on a big old foamie surfboard, look the part and stay warm.


  1. Cocktail O’Clock

It’s your holiday too, so enjoy the cocktail hour. Destinations in Bali give you access to very cool beachside bars and restaurants where expert mixologists pour you the finest high quality cocktails this side of the equator. Tavarua Resort cocktail hour is more about getting together with your surfer (if he’s back from the surf) or other Widows and creating great memories. Nusa Lembongan is becoming a mecca for foodies into their organic, fresh produce with meals to rival the best in western capital cities. If you don’t drink, sample amazing array of mocktails, no-one will notice, and who cares if they do.  


If mocktails and cocktails are a great highlight of your vacation and you’ve eaten baked beans on toast to get there, watch out for drink prices in US dollars, so Asian destinations may be a better bet. Surf Widow Annabel recommends Batu Karang (Nusa Lembongan) for, “Amazing cocktails”. Belinda advises Playa Negra in Costa Rica does a mean margarita, which they’ll put it a plastic glass so you can take on the beach and watch the sunset.

  1. If you can’t beat them…

The 2nd BEST thing about a surf holiday as a Surf Widow, beyond the friendships is the opportunity to fine tune your own surfing on your own board. So what if it’s the biggest, yellowest, surf board in the ocean at any one point of time. You’re HAVING A GO, and having an absolute blast. Many resorts provide surfboards for guests to use. If having a surf yourself piques your interest, choose a destination where accessible surf is right out the front, not 2 hours away in a boat (unless you like sea sickness). 


Turn any surf trip on its head and make it YOUR trip, have your own fun with your new buddies while your surfer is ‘in the green room’ for 5 hours because we only live for 5 minutes and we’ve only got 2 minutes left.


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