Once upon an ideal time a surfer could hitch his board under his arm, jump on a plane and jet off to wherever he chose, relatively hassle free. In the last few years all that has changed and travelling surfers have been hit hard. Baggage limits became stricter as airlines responded to the soaring cost of aviation fuel and the days of 'super-friendly' airlines for surfers are gone.
Travelling surfers need to do their research to avoid either high excess baggage fees or arriving at the airport to find their airline no longer accepts surf boards at all.
The number one piece of advice is to check directly with your airline before you go. Don't rely on a third party booking agent to give you the correct information – from personal experience I can tell you that this can be a costly mistake. Be aware that airlines change their policies on a regular basis so be prepared to check for up to date information periodically.