As a newbie, asking specific questions like “how do you rack a surfboard on a car” is not uncommon. Some surfboards, especially longboards, measure up to nine feet and cannot fit into some cars.
Also, you may have multiple surfboards or more people in the vehicle going to the beach. Hence, the only way to transport the surfboard(s) is on the car with a rack. Not everyone can rack a surfboard on a vehicle properly.
Racking a surfboard incorrectly can get someone into serious trouble or ruin one’s day. This simple guide contains a step-by-step guide on how to rack a surfboard on a car.
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A surfboard on a car roof rack can lead to accidents if not properly strapped down while the car is moving. Some vehicles are pre-fitted with crossbar roof racks, while others require you to purchase one.
Below are the steps to follow when racking a surfboard to a car.
Step 1: Ensure that the rack is well installed
Remember that racks are essentially to transport surfboards safely. Therefore, before you attempt to rack a surfboard, you must ensure that the car rack is well installed. You do not want your surfboard to snap or fly off during transit.
If you do not have a rack, your priority is to get the best car racks for a surfboard. Depending on your budget, you can go for a soft or crossbar rack. However, the crossbar option can carry more surfboards and travel more distances.
Roof racks have a similar installation procedure, but check the installation guide for confirmation. Generally, soft racks have straps that go under the roof for installation.
Step 2: Inspect the straps
Most racks come with more than one strap. Check every strap associated with the rack and ensure it will hold the surfboard. The strap must be long enough to accommodate the number of surfboards you plan to carry.
Straps must be adequately inspected for wear or weak points. Also, check the buckles on the strap for rusts or cracks and replace them if necessary.
Step 3: Place the surfboard on the rack
When placing surfboards on a rack, one needs to be careful, especially the crossbar types. Therefore, put a protective foam on the rack before placing your surfboard to cushion it and prevent slipping.
Gently place the surfboard deck side down with the fin towards the front. This arrangement helps to reduce wind resistance or lift while the car is in motion.
Also, placing the fin upfront will secure the board from sliding backward because the strap wrapped around it will prevent slippage. Be careful when stacking more than one board of different sizes.
Always stack from the largest surfboard to the smallest surfboard. Place cloth or foam between them to avoid unwanted damage to the board or slipping. Do add too many clothes; just a towel will do.
Step 4: Secure the surfboard(s) to the roof rack
Segment the surfboard into three equal areas along its length. Loop one strap to the first segment of the surfboard and hold it tight with the buckle. Run the other strap on the last part of the surfboard and hook it down with the buckle.
In the case of soft racks, you have to open the doors to run the straps through the car. You can pad the edges of the vehicle to avoid scratches.
Some straps come with D-ring locks instead of cam locks. Most cam locks require you to insert the strap’s tail to the buckle and tighten it.
For D-ring locks, loop the straps multiple times around each ring before tying it to the strap. However, if you need more clarity, check out the manufacturer’s guide on how to use the locks of your roof rack.
Some people complain that their straps make a lot of noise while driving. One way to avoid that is to twist the strap at areas without contact with the surfboard.
Also, don’t forget to fold loose parts of the straps inside the car or tie them to keep them from flying around while driving.
Step 5: Confirm before you proceed
Before starting the trip to your surf location, give either end of the board a firm shake to confirm. If the surfboard is not strapped down firmly to the car roof rack, it will move around loosely.
You should also check the surfboards regularly while driving. Sometimes, you have to pull over to check if the straps hold the surfboards securely.
You can also check out this video to learn how to strap boards to car in just 30 secs.
Do you have some questions regarding how to rack a surfboard on a car? Did you miss or need some information? Please go through some of the frequently asked questions I answered below.
How Fast Can You Drive With a Surfboard on the Roof?
You can drive as fast as 70mph, and anything above that poses a severe risk. Nevertheless, it depends on the quality of the strap you use. Hence, check for the manufacturer’s recommendations of any strap you purchase.
Is a Surfboard Bag Necessary?
No. Surfboard bags are not compulsory, but a few benefits are associated with using them. Surfboards can add a level of protection to your surfboard and also keep the wax from melting.
Now you have an idea of how to correctly and safely rack any surfboard on a car through the use of a car rack. It is essential to know that choosing a good rack and strap is equally important to avoid undesired circumstances.
Inspect the rack and strap before use. In cases where you plan to stack multiple surfboards, ensure that the straps are appropriately secured. Never forget to place clothes between each surfboard for extra protection and safety.
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