Unless you live right next to the beach, getting your surfboard to the shore can be a bit difficult. If you’ve got an SUV or a pickup truck then life is easy, but if you have a smaller car you’ll probably want to invest in some quality surf racks. There are actually a number of different options available for the safe transport of your board.
If you have a small compact car with no factory racks, you can buy aftermarket hard racks from companies such as Yakima and Thule. They offer racks to fit just about every car. Although they can be a little pricey, if you are an avid surfer then the investment will be worth it.
Another option for those without hard racks—factory or aftermarket—are soft racks. Soft racks are a temporary rack solution made of soft foam that attach to the roof of your car with straps. The boards are then secured to the foam rolls. Soft surf racks are an excellent option if you’re traveling and using rental cars. They’re also great for when you don’t have the money for a more permanent rack solution. Soft racks aren’t the most secure rack system out there, so if you’re driving around with boards a lot you might want to think about getting a more permanent solution.
If you have a car or SUV with factory racks, then you might want to invest in some rack pads. These are soft foam rolls that attach to the rack crossbars and protect your surfboard from dings and contact with the bars. These are fairly inexpensive, but you will also need to get some straps or cords to tie down the board. Some rack pads come with straps already attached, which can make your life a lot easier.
Another option for those with hard racks is to buy a special surf rack attachment. There are a couple different models to choose from.
In my experience, the Inno Boardlocker rack system is the best option for hard rack attachments. The Boardlocker has an easy to use floating strap system, which ratchets down and then locks to keep your surfboards secure from thieves. No more worrying about someone running off with your boards while you’re not by your car. The Boardlocker has plenty of room for several boards stacked on top of each other. It is also compatible with just about every factory and aftermarket rack system out there.
Another hard rack system is the Thule Hang Two. This is a popular rack system that is easy to use and fairly cheap, and is also compatible with factory racks. It is designed for up to two boards, however it doesn’t have a locking mechanism like the Boardlocker.
The Gatekeeper is another locking rack that also has a version for pickup trucks. The Gatekeeper has gotten good reviews, however it can only store one board, so it’s a bit limited.
If you’re in the market to buy a surf rack, think about how many boards you like to take around with you, what your budget is, and what features you’d like. Also consider versatility if you’re into other sports like kayaking and fishing.