Surfboard car racks: protect your car and your boards and travel safely

Surfboard racks are the safest way of traveling with boards and surfing gear on top of your car. Not only do they keep your board safe and secure during the drive, but they also free up space inside your car for other gear and passengers.

A surfboard is not a very portable sports item, and transporting boards in or on your automobile can be tricky.

Here are some very good reasons why you shouldn't carry your board inside your vehicle:

  1. Safety: Surfboards can be long and unwieldy, and if they're not properly secured, they can shift around or even fall out of the car during transportation. This can be dangerous for you and other drivers on the road. Surfboard car racks keep your boards secure and prevent them from causing accidents;
  2. Space: Surfboards can take up a lot of room inside a car, especially if you're traveling with more than one board. This can be a problem if you have other passengers or gear that you need to fit in the car. Surfboard car racks free up space inside the car, allowing you to bring everything you need for a day at the beach;
  3. Damage prevention: Traveling with your surfboards inside the car can put them at risk of getting scratched or dinged by other gear or passengers. Surfboard car racks keep your boards separate from the rest of your stuff, protecting them from potential damage;
  4. Convenience: Surfboard car racks make it easy to load and unload your boards, especially if you have more than one. They also allow you to access your boards without having to climb into the car or dig through piles of gear;
  5. Cost: While surfboard car racks can be a bit of an upfront investment, they can save you money in the long run by protecting your boards from damage. This is especially true if you're traveling long distances or on rough roads, where the risk of damage to your boards is higher;

The Smartest Way for Transporting Boards

Above all, you don't want to put your life and other people's lives in jeopardy.

For instance, in many countries, surfboards are simply not allowed to travel inside cars. In other cases, sticks are just too big for your vehicle.

Also, driving with surfboards inside the car may cause other secondary issues. Sand, pieces of wax, and salted water will damage your car's upholstery and overall interiors.

The safest way of hitting the road searching for perfect surf is to install easy-to-use surfboard car racks available on the market.

These systems are inexpensive and allow you to carry boards on top of your car while simultaneously deblocking your rear and side view driving angles.

All you need to do is install the racks, put your boards on the roof rack, and strap them down.

Remember to place the surfboard with the fins up and facing forward. Believe it or not, it is the most aerodynamic option.

If, for any reason, the board slides out from the straps, the fins will work as a block for a while and hold the surfboard until you stop your car.

Surfboard roof cars: the safest and most comfortable way of transporting a surfboard on your vehicle | Photo: Shutterstock

Choosing the Right Surfboard Car Racks

There are a couple of different types of surfboard car rack systems to choose from, each with its own set of benefits and drawbacks. Here's a rundown of the most popular options:

Soft Racks

These are the most affordable and easiest-to-use surfboard car racks.

They consist of a set of padded straps that you wrap around your roof, doors, or trunk to hold your board in place.

Soft racks are great for short trips, but they may not provide enough support for long-distance driving or rough roads.

These systems can be easily and quickly mounted and dismounted with straps so that you're only driving with them when you're surfing.

Smooth rack pads will ensure that surfboards are not in direct contact with the car roof and damage it with wax and scratches.

Hard Racks

They are more expensive than soft racks, but they offer a higher level of protection for your boards.

They typically consist of a set of metal bars or frames that mount to your roof or trunk, with rubber or foam padding to protect your boards.

Hard racks can support multiple boards and are great for long-distance driving, but they can be heavy and difficult to install.

Surfers who prefer to keep objects off the car roof and people driving vehicles with rain gutters usually opt for hard racks.

Drivers with cars equipped with roof rails should definitely get this sturdy solution.

Quality Is Critical

All these surfboard car rack systems are compatible with board bags and unprotected surfboards, but make sure to travel with the surfboard fins up and in the back of the car, pointing forward.

Finally, make sure you tighten the straps, but not too hard.

Follow the manufacturer's instructions for installation and use, and always check your racks before hitting the road to make sure everything is secure.

There are several brands creating quality car racks for surfboards, longboards, and other watercraft.

Cheaper models will deteriorate faster and are often less safe than those developed by trusted manufacturers.

No matter which system you choose, it's important to make sure it fits your car and boards properly and is secured firmly in place.

Discover the best overhead surfboard car racks for 2024:

Thule Board Shuttle

Thule Board Shuttle

The Thule 811XT Board Shuttle SUP Carrier is a type of surfboard car rack designed for transporting stand-up paddleboards (SUPs).

It consists of a set of padded saddles that hold your SUP by the center and tail, with a set of straps to secure it in place.

The rack is designed to fit most factory and aftermarket roof racks, and it includes a built-in lock to help prevent theft.

One of the key features of the Thule 811XT Board Shuttle SUP Carrier is its ability to hold a variety of board sizes and shapes.

The saddles are adjustable and can be positioned to fit boards with widths ranging from 25.5 inches to 34 inches.

The rack also has a capacity of up to two boards, making it a good option for those who want to transport multiple SUPs at once.

In addition to its versatility and security features, the Thule 811XT Board Shuttle SUP Carrier is also designed for easy use.

The rack has a simple, tool-free installation process and can be mounted on your roof in just a few minutes.

It also has a compact design that allows for easy storage when not in use.

Buy: Amazon.com

 

Thule Surf Pads

Thule Surf Pads

The Thule Surf Pads are a type of accessory for surfboard car racks that are designed to protect your board from damage during transport.

They consist of a set of 18/24-inch padded foam blocks that you place on your car's roof or trunk before securing your board in place with a set of straps or racks.

The pads are designed to fit most factory and aftermarket roof racks and can be used in combination with a variety of surfboard car racks.

One of the key benefits of the Thule Surf Pads is their ability to protect your board from scratches, dings, and other types of damage.

The padded foam absorbs shock and cushions your board, helping to prevent damage caused by rough roads or heavy loads.

In addition to their protective function, the Thule Surf Pads are also designed for convenience and ease of use.

They have a simple, tool-free installation process and can be mounted on your car in just a few minutes.

They're also lightweight and compact, making them easy to store when not in use.

Overall, the Thule Surf Pads are a good option for those who want to add an extra layer of protection for their boards when transporting them on a car rack.

They're a simple and affordable accessory that can help extend the life of your boards and save you money in the long run.

Buy: Amazon.com

 

Thule SUP Taxi XT

Thule SUP Taxi XT

The Thule SUP Taxi XT is the ultimate surfboard and stand-up paddleboard car rack. It features an exclusive telescoping design, soft weather-resistant padding, and four One-Key locks.

It consists of a set of padded saddles that hold your SUP by the center and tail, with a set of straps to secure it in place.

The rack is designed to fit most factory and aftermarket roof racks, and it includes a built-in lock to help prevent theft.

One of the key features of the Thule SUP Taxi XT is its versatility and ability to hold a variety of board sizes and shapes.

The saddles are adjustable and can be positioned to fit boards with widths ranging from 28 inches to 34 inches.

The rack also has a capacity of up to two boards, making it a good option for those who want to transport multiple SUPs at once.

In addition to its versatility, the Thule SUP Taxi XT is also designed for durability and security.

The saddles are made of sturdy, weather-resistant material that can withstand the elements, and the rack includes a built-in lock to help prevent theft.

The rack also has a simple, tool-free installation process and can be mounted on your roof in just a few minutes.

Overall, the Thule SUP Taxi XT is a good option for those who need a secure and convenient way to transport their stand-up paddleboards.

It's a bit more expensive than some other types of surfboard car racks, but it offers a higher level of protection and support for your boards.

Buy: Amazon.com

 

Thule Express Surf Strap

Thule Express Surf Strap

The Thule Express Surf Strap is a type of surfboard car rack designed for transporting surfboards, SUP, and windsurf boards.

It consists of a set of padded straps that you wrap around your roof, doors, or trunk to hold your board in place.

The straps are adjustable and can be tightened or loosened to fit boards of different sizes and shapes.

One of the key features of the Thule Express Surf Strap is its simplicity and ease of use.

The rack has a quick and easy installation process and can be mounted on your car in just a few minutes. It's also lightweight and compact, making it easy to store when not in use.

In addition to its convenience, the Thule Express Surf Strap is also designed for durability and security.

The straps are made of sturdy, weather-resistant material that can withstand the elements, and the rack includes a built-in lock to help prevent theft.

Overall, the Thule Express Surf Strap is a good option for those who need a simple and affordable way to transport their surfboards.

It's not as sturdy or secure as some other types of surfboard car racks, but it's a good choice for short trips or occasional use.

Buy: Amazon.com

 

Yakima FlushBar System

Yakima FlushBar System

The Yakima FlushBar is one of the safest overhead racks on the market and integrates seamlessly with the shape of your vehicle. It was designed for use with vehicles that have a flush-mount factory roof rack.

The crossbar with integrated towers maximizes strength, minimizes drags, and reduces noise levels to nearly zero.

It consists of a set of metal bars that attach to your roof rack using a set of clamps, with a set of rubber or foam pads to protect your boards.

The rack is designed to hold up to three surfboards, and it includes a set of straps to secure your boards in place.

One of the key features of the Yakima FlushBar System is its low profile and streamlined design.

The metal bars sit flush with your roof rack, creating a smooth, aerodynamic surface that minimizes drag and wind noise.

This makes it a good choice for those who want a rack that won't negatively impact the performance or fuel efficiency of their car.

In addition to its sleek design, the Yakima FlushBar System is also designed for durability and security.

The metal bars are made of sturdy, weather-resistant material that can withstand the elements, and the rack includes a built-in lock to help prevent theft.

The rack also has a simple, tool-free installation process and can be mounted on your roof in just a few minutes.

Overall, the Yakima FlushBar System is a good option for those who don't want to compromise the performance or appearance of their car.

Buy: Amazon.com

 

Woowave Roof Rack Pads

Woowave Roof Rack Pads

The Woowave Roof Rack Pads are portable, lightweight roof racks that will allow you to carry surfboards, SUP boards, kayaks, longboards, snowboards, and canoes.

They feature a grade EPE foam-padded interior, UV-resistant ballistic nylon cover exterior, and waterproof bungee cord end straps.

The pads are designed to fit most factory and aftermarket roof racks and can be used in combination with a variety of surfboard or kayak car racks.

One of the key benefits of the Woowave Roof Rack Pads is their ability to protect your boards or boats from scratches, dings, and other types of damage.

The padded foam absorbs shock and cushions your boards or boats, helping to prevent damage caused by rough roads or heavy loads.

They have a simple, tool-free installation process and can be mounted on your car in just a few minutes. They're also lightweight and compact, making them easy to store when not in use.

Buy: Amazon.com

 

Dorsal Aero Rack Pads

Dorsal Aero Rack Pads

The Dorsal Aero Rack Pads are the perfect solution for surfers who wish to transport up to two shortboards.

It features a carrying case with a drawstring and heavy aircraft buckles for safety and strength.

Buy: Amazon.com

 

Block Surf Wrap Rax Double

Block Surf Wrap Rax Double

The Block Surf Wrap Rax Double is a very secure system that allows you to travel with up to six surfboards or two longboards.

It was designed for cars with or without gutters.

Buy: Amazon.com

 

Ho Stevie! Car Roof Rack

Ho Stevie! Car Roof Rack

The Ho Stevie! Car Roof Rack system allows you to carry up to three surfboards in any vehicle.

Its silicone buckle covers will protect your car against scratches and dings.

Buy: Amazon.com

 

Creatures of Leisure Single Wrap Rax

Creatures of Leisure Single Wrap Rax

The Creatures of Leisure Single Wrap Rax comes with unbreakable metal buckles with neoprene padding to protect your car and surfboard in a broad range of board travel conditions.

Buy: Amazon.com

 

Curve Roof Rack Pads

Curve Roof Rack Pads

The Curve Roof Rack Pads offer a secure lockdown single-loop system.

The cocoons around surfboards eliminate lift, slide, and flutter. You have two connection options: either through doors or via roof rails.

Buy: Amazon.com

 

Dakine Aero Rack Pads

Dakine Aero Rack Pads

The Dakine Aero Rack Pads are the ideal two-piece system for large surfboards.

It features a sleek aerodynamic design and offers 28-inch wide protection.

Buy: Amazon.com

 

FCS Premium Double Soft Racks

FCS D-Ring Double Soft Racks

The FCS Premium Double Soft Racks are an excellent system that fits all cars, vans, and four-wheel drives.

It holds 1-6 shortboards or 1-4 longboards.

Buy: Amazon.com


Words by Luís MP | Founder of SurferToday.com

The surfboard car rack review has been updated on January 6, 2024.

SurferToday may earn a small commission from affiliate program links in this article - at no additional cost to you. We only review and recommend products that we buy, receive, or select from a carefully curated list.

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