I can remember when my ideal surf accommodation was a van. Man do I miss those days. Well, since not everyone is as psyched for extended stays in (or under - on one particularly rainy night) a Ford Econoline, the last decade has given surfers the option of some darn fine outposts on which to shack up while waiting for shacks. Apparently, somewhere along the line surfers got married and their wives required better digs. And for single dudes, it's getting harder and harder to convince a chick to come back to your van/tent/lean-to.
I long for the good ol' days.
I've been reading a bit about SurfShelter.com lately, yet another change to the surfing experience bought about by the internet. Surf Shelter is a network website that hooks up traveling surfers with surf-specific house rentals all over the globe.
We can't spend every night in a hostel. But I'm not really one for resort hotels either. I did some poking around at Surf Shelter and found interesting places to lay your head in between waves on your next sojourn. The site has recently reached 150 available properties.
A lot of these houses are pretty cool too funky places that echo the local character, designed with view or access to the break in mind. No pastel Miami condos listed. Some of the spots are hotels, which I feel kind of defeats the purpose of this site. There also seem to be a bunch of surf camps for those who want to take the guesswork out of adventure. You can even search your favorite surf spots and see what's listed locally of 2,034 global reef, point and beach breaks.
The site is young and needs some work, but there is some potential. Wouldn't you rather give your money to some devotee to a particular break who has built a custom cottage than a worldwide corporate hotel company? And they have to loose the bad reggae that plays on the homepage.
Most of the properties also seem to be owned by surfers and built with the surfer in mind. Some of the places are truly amazing little nooks like this bungalow in Guadeloupe or outposts in West Oz. Surf Shelter is also a member of Surfrider and 1% For the Planet . They are also working on rating each property for its green qualities, which is cool if you want to know that the AC in your third world jungle surf shack rental isn't fueled by burning plastic you get the idea.
Plus most houses have a ton of photos, so you can tempt your wife or girlfriend to stay close to a reeling reef, the next time she suggests you take a romantic cruise.
I still miss that van.