by Don Jurries
Odds are that most dedicated surfers have slept in their board bags at one point on their travels. BoardSwag, an invention of two Australians, Jonah Beard and James Watkins, came about after one such experience. Caught wanting to extend a successful day on the water by catching the first waves the next day, but with no camping gear on-hand, they resorted to zipping themselves into their bags. That night led to the idea of the BoardSwag, which combines a three quiver board bag with an easy to inflate tent, making sleeping at the beach far more convenient and comfortable.
Both the bag and the swag are finally ready for production after two years of building prototypes and testing up and down the coasts of Australia and on the beaches around Europe. The quality and thought that has gone into the development of the BoardSwag is impressive. “We took our time testing and designing the bag and think it’s a very serious travel bag in its own right, irrespective of the swag. We didn’t want the bag to be a half-hearted effort just for the sake of creating a platform for the combination with the swag” as noted by the BoardSwag team during an interview in Berlin, Germany, where James is now based.
The technical details confirm their comments. The design of the BoardSwag ranks high in quality compared to a number of conventional board bags on the market. The bag is around 7ft long, with the board compartment expanding to about 1 ft deep, plenty of room for 3 surfboards and all the rest of your gear, such as towels, wetsuits, kites, foils, and clothes. The exterior of the bag is made of a combination of a heavy duty 600D Polyester and rip-stop nylon. Both materials are marine grade and designed to withstand fading and deteriorating in the elements.
To protect you boards, the top and bottom of the bag are fitted with 10mm dual density foam padding. The side walls go a step further, with 15mm padding all around to keep the boards’ rails safe, as well as the same extra padding at the nose and tail where damage is most likely to occur in transit. When you add in towels and wetsuits, your boards should be plenty secure. Additionally, the whole under side is protected by the swag compartment, which with its extra padding, deflated struts and canopy “offers much, much more protection to the underside of the quiver than any other bag could dream of doing!”
The tent itself is just as well designed. With inflatable struts instead of tent poles, the swag only adds about 1.5 kg in extra weight to the bag. It’s also roomy. When pumped up the swag is the same length as the bag at 7ft and sits around 4ft wide by 4ft tall. According to Jonah, “in terms of speed, I can go from a completely zipped up bag to pumping up the swag, unzipping and getting inside in comfortably under a minute, packing up takes about the same amount of time, if not slightly quicker.” There’s a removable 30 mm inflatable sleeping mat, as well, for added comfort.
The BoardSwag team will begin a Kickstarter campaign in April and are developing a stand-alone swag for the nights when your travels take you to places where your boards don’t get to go along.
To keep up to date on news from the BoardSwag team and prepare for the upcoming product launch, you can sign up on their website.