This is an important aspect of surfing, and one that often gets overlooked. Most new surfers don’t realize that 90% of surfboard dings happen while you’re transporting your board to and from the beach. Surfboards are designed to withstand slamming 20-foot Hawaiian sets; however the slightest knock of your car door can result in a serious ding that exposes the inner foam to serious water damage. So, your transportation methods are very important.
The absolute best way to transport your surf equipment is by van. Now, I’m not talking about a soccer mom’s minivan, but something that is built for rugged use, like a work van. This allows room for even the biggest of boards to be stashed inside, unharmed from bouncing on roof racks or shifting in truck beds. But, I know that most people reading this article do not own a van, or don’t want to own a van. So, lets’s talk about cars and trucks.
First, in order to properly transport your boards to the beach, you should invest in a soft rack surfboard carry system. They make these as roof racks for cars or SUV’s, as well as for truck beds. The main companies that manufacture the soft-top rack systems are:
- Ocean Earth
- OAM (On A Mission)
The most difficult issues arise when you are transporting longboards and stand-up paddle boards, because of their size and weight, or when you are carpooling and transporting multiple boards.
TRANSPORTING SURFBOARDS BY TRUCK
Most shortboards, Fish and Fun Shapes will fit diagonally in a truck bed. Just be sure to cover the corners of the bed with a soft towel to prevent dings to the tail and nose.
Longboards and stand-up paddle boards take a little more effort. First, you will need a tailgate pad, which will keep your tailgate and surfboard from getting scratched, dinged and covered with wax. You will want to place the tail diagonally into the truck bed, with the fin pointed toward the sky. The bottom half of a longboard is heavier than the top and should be placed inside the bed; this will prevent the board from bouncing in the truck bed and possibly falling out (depending on how fast you drive to the beach). The tailgate pad will come with a strap that clasps; be sure to fit it snugly around the board.
I also like to use a bungee cord to secure the board inside the truck bed. I hook the bungee cord around the clasps that are inside the truck bed. This method works well for both longboards and stand-up paddle boards up to 12 ft. in length.
If you are transporting more than one longboard, place them one on top of the other, all with their fins facing up, inside the bed. Wrap the secure strap and bungee cord tightly around all boards.
TRANSPORTING BOARDS ON A CAR
You will definitely need to invest in some good-quality racks. Heavy-duty racks are the more secure way to go. They are available either through your car manufacturer, or from companies that specialize in car rack systems, like Thule and Yakima.
A cheaper and less secure system would be one of the soft racks available from FCS, OAM and Ocean Earth. These are soft pads that you place directly on top of your car, with the boards securely fastened to the pads. These are removable rack systems, so the pads are not as stable.
The proper way to position your board on top of a car is with the fins in the front and the nose facing the rear of the car. The fins must be turned up, toward the sky; this better channels the wind around the board. Two sets of straps are needed, one at each soft pad, to secure the tail and nose of the board.
Transporting multiple boards with a car can be a bit trickier. Place each additional board one on top of the other, all with their fins facing up. Place a towel in between the boards, to prevent the top board’s wax from rubbing off on the bottom board, and to act as a layer of padding to prevent indents. Wrap the straps or bungee cord tightly around all boards, and make sure they are securely and snugly strapped down.
ADDITIONAL BOARD PROTECTION
It is always wise to invest in a protective surfboard bag or board sock. A day bags is not quite as heavy-duty as a surfboard travel bag, but is more heavy-duty than a board sock, which is just a thick piece of cloth that goes over the board. Day bags keep your board covered in a protective case that zips and unzips for easy use. They are a good investment if you want to preserve your board for years to come. FCS, Dakine, OAM (On A Mission), and Ocean Earth all make good-quality surfboard bags and board socks.
CARRYING YOUR SURFBOARD
Vanessa will show you how to carry your surfboard once your on the beach in this short instructional video: