Pack one for your next surf trip, there’s a good chance it could be the only board you’ll need when the surf bumps up. The Traveler is basically a step-up shortboard that covers a wide range of conditions, from chest-high beachbreaks to eight-foot hollow reefs. It is such a solid and versatile surfboard.
The Traveler is designed to handle bigger waves than a shortboard, but is loose enough to shred small waves all day long. I recommend going with Futures Fin Boxes or FCS with the Traveler because of the convenience while on the move in between cars and airplanes. It’s also nice to be able to plug in smaller fins, which loosen the board up if you find yourself riding the board in little waves, and plug in big, wider-tipped fins for stability when the surf is solid.
It’s great when one board can cover a wide variety of surf sizes and conditions. There are a good number of surfers who travel with only one or two boards (usually a shortboard and maybe a step-up). The Traveler is an ideal complement to the shortboard as the step-up.
The Traveler gets into waves easily, since it has more volume than a shortboard, still has rocker and rails that are maneuverable enough to go on rail, and holds its rail in steep, hollow waves.
The Traveler is generally three to six inches longer than your standard shortboard, and works best with a round pintail. They work great with either a tri-fin or quad-fin configuration, shaped out of a PU (polyurethane) blank, but EPS (epoxy polystyrene) works too.
A great board to have wherever you want to sit and take off outside of the bubble or ledge in order to glide in early and set up for the barrel. The Traveler allows for more high-performance surfing in juicy surf, unlike a mini-gun that a lot of other surfers will be riding the same session.
The Traveler is the bomb and it goes with me on every surf trip.
A similar high-quality alternative to the Rusty Traveler from another builder would be the Al Merrick K Step-Up.
Photos: John Maher surfing a 6’6″ Rusty Traveler in Fiji and Chile. Scott Winer Photography.