6 types of surfboard racks for your car

6 types of surfboard racks for your car

So you have received your new Carbon Fibre Surfboard and you cannot wait to flaunt your custom surfboard art on the beach. Even before the excitement boils over, it hits you that you don’t know how to carry it there. You are sharing your sister’s Mini Cooper (that doesn’t have surfboard racks) with two of her friends.

A Mini Cooper without a surfboard rackCarrying a surfboard without a surfboard rack


Well, you could use some bungee rope and cross your fingers. Hoping that it will not be catapulted hard on the tarmac when your sister does a hard braking, which she always does, on the junction to the main road.  This guide will help you choose a surfboard rack because you can’t live without one.


It is illegal

Carrying your surfboard from home to the beach is not as easy as it sounds. In some jurisdictions, it is illegal to carry the surfboard inside your car. Even when it is legal, you don’t want to cover your car carpets with sand, wax smearing and salty water which will definitely stain your upholstery. The best and hustle free way of carrying your surfboard safely is to install a surfboard rack on the roof of your car. Surfboard racks allow you to carry multiple surfboards without blocking your rear view or spoiling your upholstery. And guess what, you can even carpool.

A Mini Cooper with a Surfboard RackA Mini Cooper with a Surfboard Rack


Discover surfboard racks

Generally, there are two types of surfboard racks; Hard and soft surfboard racks. Hard racks are ideal for cars that have rain gutters and for people who want to keep their roof clear of any objects.

A car with a Hard surfboard rackA car with a Hard surfboard rack


On the other hand, soft racks are for people who want to have the racks only when they are carrying their surfboards. Soft racks are mounted with straps and can be quickly dismounted when you don’t need to carry your surfboard. Some surfers use soft pads to protect the surfboard art on from being scratched by the car roof.

A soft Surfboard rack A soft Surfboard rack



Other types of Surfboard racks

Under the two broad categories, you can opt to use; Rack pads These are ideal for people who want to use the rooftop rack that comes already mounted on their SUVs. It has become standard to have general roof racks in modern SUVs. The car manufacturer adds them there to enable users carry an assortment of things such as bags, roof boxes etc.

Surfboard racks with rack padsSurfboard racks with rack pads


Due to the general nature of stock roof racks, car manufacturers use hard plastics to make the racks. These hard plastics can easily tear up the surfboard rice paper decal on your board. Or scratch your freshly painted board. Rack pads exists for such struggles. The good thing about Rack pads is that they are straightforward when it comes to installing.  They mostly come Velcro edges as a standard and can be conveniently wrapped around the stock roof rack to offer cushioning and protect against wear and tear. All the same, you will need to secure your board with some kind of rope.

Installing Rack pads on a rooftop rackInstalling Rack pads on a rooftop rack


I found a video by eTrailer.com that demonstrates how easy it is to install rack pads on car. Hard roof racks are typically the safest option for transporting your boards, especially for long trips or when travelling at high speeds. There are two types of hard vehicle racks to consider when purchasing and they depend on whether or not your vehicle has rain gutters running along the rooftop.

Classic Surfboard Racks

This is the basic hard surfboard rack. Basically, it comes with two metal bars, tensioner and clamps. The clamps are clamped directly on your rooftop rain gutter to provide stability for the actual racks running across your rooftop.

Surfboard rack for cars with guttersSurfboard rack for cars with gutters


Surfboard Racks for gutterless cars.

If your car doesn’t come with a rain gutter, you can still have a hard surfboard rack. This time, you will have a set of clips that will attach to the rubber ‘thingy’ on top your doors. To install this rack, you will need to attach these clips, with the doors open of course, to each side of the car.

Surfboard rack for gutterless carSurfboard rack for gutterless car


The tensions are provided to tighten and make the closing of the doors possible. Once the doors are closed, the extra pressure ensures that the surfboard rack on your roof is held in position even with a considerable amount of speed.

Surfboard tailgate racks

They are exactly that. They let you carry your surfboard at the tailgate of your truck. Most tailgate racks are equipped with a foam to offer cushioning and also to increase durability. The cushion pad attaches at the back of your truck with clinching straps to secure them in place.

Tailgate rack on a truckTailgate rack on a truck


When properly fitted, the clinching strap will prevent any sliding, allowing you to carry your surfboard on your truck safely.


Parting shot

Surfboard racks come in all sizes and styles to suit the various uses.  The bottom line is, bringing your surfboard to the beach is easier if you have a surfboard rack. Whether overhead or tailgate mounted, surfboard racks will protect your precious boards on your trip to the beach.
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