Surfboard Racks for Car

Surfboard Racks for Cars: Choosing the Best Roof-Mounted Systems

Transporting surfboards is a common challenge for surfers. To ease the task, many turn to surfboard racks for cars, which provide a secure and efficient method of carrying surfboards over long distances. These racks save space inside the vehicle and prevent any damage to both the surfboard and the car’s interior. Whether one is heading to a local beach or embarking on a surfing road trip, having a reliable car surfboard carrier is essential for any surfer.

The selection of a surfboard car mount involves various considerations, such as the rack’s compatibility with one’s car, the number of surfboards it can carry, and the level of security it provides during transit. Those in search of the best surfboard car racks will encounter a wide range of options, each with unique features, such as UV-resistant materials, padded cradles, or integrated locks. Understanding the nuances of installation and ongoing maintenance is also crucial for ensuring that the surfboard racks last as long as possible and continue to offer reliable service.

Key Takeaways

  • Securely transporting surfboards requires a reliable vehicle surfboard rack.
  • Key features like load capacity and build quality are essential when selecting surfboard car racks.
  • Proper installation and routine maintenance are crucial for the longevity and performance of surfboard racks.

surfboard rack

Key Features to Consider When Buying a Surfboard Rack

When selecting a surfboard rack for my car, I focus on durability, ease of installation, and compatibility. These features ensure my surfboard is transported safely and the rack serves me well over time.

Durability and Material

I look for surfboard car rack pads made from high-quality, weather-resistant materials. They must withstand sun exposure, saltwater, and the rigors of frequent use. I prefer materials like UV-resistant fabrics and rust-proof metals that promise longevity and protect my surfboard from damage during transit.

Ease of Installation and Removal

Portable surfboard racks should offer a hassle-free installation and removal process. A good soft surfboard rack for cars comes with clear instructions and can be easily fitted and taken off without tools. I value racks that save me time and allow for quick assembly and disassembly.

Compatibility with Different Car Models

It is vital to choose a surfboard rack that is compatible with my car model. A versatile rack with adjustable straps or components is ideal, as it can adapt to various vehicle sizes and roof types. Whether I own a sedan, SUV, or hatchback, the rack should securely fit my car without causing any damage to the vehicle’s structure.

surfboard racks for car

Top 15 Surfboard Racks for Cars

When selecting the best surfboard racks for cars, it’s important to consider compatibility with your vehicle, durability, and ease of use. I’ve gathered comprehensive options that serve various needs, whether you’re looking for a soft rack, roof pads, or more secure tie-downs.

FCS D-Ring Soft Rack

The FCS D-Ring Soft Rack is ideal for quick trips to the beach. Its simple installation makes it a go-to for surfers who need an easily removable option.

Thule Evo Wing Bar

For those driving SUVs or sedans, the Thule Evo Wing Bar offers an aerodynamic and quiet ride. Its versatility allows it to serve as a multi-sport rack for all your outdoor adventures.

Dakine Aero Rack Pads

Dakine Aero Rack Pads ensure your surfboard stays scratch-free during transport. Their design fits neatly on existing aero rack bars.

FCS D-Ring Tie-Downs

The FCS D-Ring Tie-Downs are a must-have for securing surfboards. Their strength and reliability have received positive surfboard car rack reviews.

Dakine Pickup Pad

For pickup truck owners, the Dakine Pickup Pad is a robust choice. It allows for the safe and secure transport of multiple surfboards in your truck bed.

Yakima SupDawg

The Yakima SupDawg is a top-tier surfboard roof rack, praised for its easy-to-use design and integrated rollers for hassle-free loading.

Ho Stevie! Surfboard Roof Pads

Simple and quick to install, Ho Stevie! Surfboard Roof Pads offer cushioned protection and are an excellent option for those preferring rack pads over hard racks.

Malone SteelTop Square Bar Rack

Solidly constructed, the Malone SteelTop Square Bar Rack is a durable solution, fitting a broad range of vehicles, including SUVs and sedans.

Ho Stevie! Roof Rack Pads

Ho Stevie! Roof Rack Pads are another durable option for surfers. These pads can be left on your car, ready for your next surf session.

COR Surf Tie Down Straps

I recommend the COR Surf Tie Down Straps for their heavy-duty build and ease of mind they provide while securing boards to any car roof rack.

FCS D-Ring Double Soft Rack

The FCS D-Ring Double Soft Rack can carry multiple surfboards and installs with ease, making it a preferred choice for surfers on the move.

Thule Board Shuttle

Thule Board Shuttle is praised for its versatility, able to carry different sized boards securely, and is a favorite among surfboard rack for SUV owners.

Thule SUP Taxi XT

The Thule SUP Taxi XT stands out with its locking mechanism, ensuring your surfboards are safe wherever you travel.

Thule DockGrip

Versatile and secure, the Thule DockGrip accommodates a variety of watercraft, offering peace of mind with its robust construction and padding.

Thule Surf Pads

Lastly, the Thule Surf Pads are a quick solution for those with existing Thule rack systems, adding the necessary cushion to protect your boards on the road.

best surfboard racks for car

Installation and Maintenance Tips

Ensuring your surfboard is securely transported to your destination involves a reliable installation of your vehicle surfboard rack. With a correct setup, I can guarantee safety and minimize the risk of damage to both my surfboard and vehicle. Let’s dive into the specifics of proper installation and upkeep.

How to Properly Install a Surfboard Rack

When I install a soft surfboard rack, I always start by laying the rack on the roof of my car with the straps open. It is crucial to position the rack pads to evenly distribute the weight of the boards and avoid pressure points that could damage the roof. Here’s a simplified step-by-step process:

  1. Place the rack pads evenly on the roof, ensuring they are centered.
  2. Open the car doors (not the windows) to secure the straps through the interior.
  3. Loop the straps through the buckles, pulling them tight to secure the pads in place.
  4. Load the surfboard with the fin up and towards the front to reduce wind resistance.
  5. If transporting multiple boards, place additional padding between them.
  6. Loop the straps over the board(s) and back through the interior of the car, then back up to the top where you can tie them off securely.

Maintenance and Care for Longevity

The maintenance of my vehicle surfboard rack ensures its longevity and protects my surfboard during transport. Here are some essential tips that I follow:

  • Regular Inspection: Before each use, I inspect the rack straps for any signs of wear or damage. I also check the tightness of all fixtures to ensure they haven’t loosened over time.
  • Cleaning: After each use, especially after driving on salty roads or through harsh weather, I clean the pads and straps with fresh water and allow them to air dry before packing them away.
  • Storage: When not in use, I store my soft surfboard racks in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight to prevent the material from degrading.
  • Proper Use: I avoid overloading the rack beyond its recommended weight limit and always secure the surfboard in a way that prevents it from slipping.

By following these installation and maintenance practices, I increase the safety and reliability of transporting my surfboard on my vehicle’s rack.

surfboard racks for car roofs


I’ve covered the essentials on choosing the best surfboard car racks, considering factors like vehicle compatibility, rack type, and security features. Reflecting on the varieties available, soft racks and hard racks emerge as prominent options, each with its advantages.

For those seeking ease of use and temporary installation, soft racks are a top choice. They’re cushioned, adaptable to various vehicles, and typically kinder on the budget. Conversely, hard racks offer a more permanent solution and often a higher level of stability and security — a significant point if I frequently travel with my boards or live in an area where theft is a concern.

When contemplating the best surfboard car racks, it’s vital to balance these considerations with the ability to protect my surfboard from damage during transit. Here’s a quick reference list to recap:

  • Vehicle Compatibility: Ensure the rack fits my car model.
  • Rack Type:
    • Soft racks for temporary, cost-effective solutions.
    • Hard racks for enhanced security and permanent setup.
  • Security: Lockable features for theft prevention.
  • Durability: Robust materials for long-term use.
  • Board Protection: Soft padding to prevent damage to surfboards.

As someone deeply involved in surfing culture, I recognize the importance of selecting a rack that complements my lifestyle. While no one-size-fits-all solution exists, I’m confident that by prioritizing these critical aspects, I can make an informed decision that ensures both my surfboard’s safety and my satisfaction on the road to the waves.

Frequently Asked Questions

In my experience, the most common queries about surfboard racks for cars focus on reliability, secure attachment methods, carrying multiple boards, soft rack features, racks for trucks, and safe driving speeds with a board in tow.

What are the most reliable surfboard racks for vehicles?

I’ve noticed that well-known brands like Thule and Yakima often come up as reliable surfboard car racks due to their robust design and secure locking mechanisms. Also, racks with a custom fit for specific vehicles tend to provide better stability and security.

How can you securely attach a surfboard to a car using roof pads and straps?

I recommend placing the surfboard on roof pads to protect it from scratches and securing it with straps that are tightened around the board and roof. It’s imperative to thread the straps through the doors or roof bars, not the windows, to avoid damaging the car or the surfboard.

Are vertical surfboard car racks a good option for transporting multiple boards?

Yes, vertical surfboard car racks can be a great option for transporting several boards, as they utilize the side of the car and can reduce aerodynamic drag. However, they must be properly installed to ensure that the surfboards do not obstruct visibility or access to the vehicle.

What features should you look for in the best soft surfboard racks for cars?

The best soft surfboard racks for cars should have strong, UV-resistant straps, a protective layer between the board and the vehicle, and a reliable fastening system that keeps the board snugly in place without damaging its structure or the car paint.

What considerations are important when choosing a surfboard rack for a truck?

When I’m selecting a surfboard rack for a truck, it’s crucial to consider the type of truck bed, the installation method, and whether the rack provides lockable security. An adjustable width is also beneficial to accommodate different board sizes.

What is the maximum recommended speed when driving with a surfboard on your car’s roof?

While manufacturers may vary in their recommendations, I suggest not exceeding 65 mph when driving with a surfboard on your car’s roof to prevent any damage to the board, the vehicle, and to ensure overall safety on the road.