How to protect your surfboard for long travel
The best waves are out there waiting... somewhere. If you're heading far afield, getting there is only half the work; you'll need your gear to survive the journey in great nick, too. Whatever your mode of transport, make sure your surfboard is protected from all the potential cracks, bangs, and dings along the way.
First up: the bag. Make sure it's good quality. Hard-sided options exist, so think about the type of traveling you'll be doing. If it's likely to be bumped, stacked, or crammed into small spaces, a hard-shelled bag is your best option.
When selecting a size, choose a bag that allows room for extra padding; a good rule of thumb is 6-8 inches of extra space at the top and bottom and 3-4 at the sides.
Remove your fins and wrap them up in bubble wrap or a cloth. Keep them - and your fin key - in the bag with the board. If your fins aren't removable, it's possible to purchase polystyrene fin protectors. The slots fit snugly over the fins and prop the end of the board up off the bottom. Make sure the bag you've chosen can accommodate this extra space if this is the case.
Clean off your wax and remove your leash. Store the leash in and either wrap it in a cloth or store it in a separate compartment.
Wrap up the fragile parts of your board. You can use bubble wrap or foam padding - or even cut up an old towel and use duct tape - to protect the nose and tail. Some surfers also like to give the rails some added buffer.
Foam pipe insulation, sliced down the length of one side, is a great choice for this. Your own choices will depend on the quality and protection offered by the bag you've chosen, and how much peace of mind you want while separated from your board.
Use cling film to create a tightly-bound package and hold everything in place. Place your board in the bag and pad out all the extra space tightly with any extra soft items you have.
Planes, Trains, & Large Boats
Your board is likely to be stored in cargo or otherwise out of sight, so make sure anyone who handles it knows to do so with care. Use a marker to write "Handle With Care" or "Fragile" on any available visible surface. Also, make sure that your name and contact information is secured both inside and outside the bag. If you want extra security, buy a lock.
Automobiles & Boats With No Hold
If it's going on top of your car or the roof of a boat, simply strap it down securely and go. If it's in the back or bed of a truck, or inside a boat, do the same, and ensure that nothing is stored on top of it, or can fall and crush your board.
Bikes and Other Various Conveyances
In many places surfers seek out, in-the-know locals will have lots of customised gear to help you get around conveniently with board in tow. These often include motorbikes and push bikes retro-fitted with side racks, which are padded and hold the board in place. Look for or ask for these, as they make scooting through dense traffic or down beach paths a breeze.