How to Strap a Surfboard to a Roof Rack

Written by virginia watson
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How to Strap a Surfboard to a Roof Rack
Always place your surfboards fin-up when strapping them to a roof rack. (sailboard,surfing image by Greg Pickens from

Not everybody is lucky enough to live within walking distance of the beach, so most surfers end up needing to drive themselves and their boards to the ocean. If you don't have a vehicle large enough to store the boards inside, you'll need to place them on a roof rack. Strapping a surfboard to your roof rack properly is critically important; poorly-strapped boards can fly off causing accidents, or the straps can crush the edges of your board.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Roof rack
  • Nylon straps
  • Rack pads
  • Towels

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  1. 1

    Ensure your roof rack is installed properly. Tighten all of the screws on the rack, and test it to make sure it is not wiggling around on your car. If your roof rack is not securely installed, the force of the wind hitting your surfboards could cause both the rack and the boards to fly off your vehicle.

  2. 2

    Place padding on the rack's crossbars. Surfboard rack pads are available for purchase from many surf shops, however, the surf club at California Polytechnic suggests using foam tubes purchased from a hardware store, or blankets and towels if you don't have anything else. The pads will help secure the boards to the racks, and will protect them from scratches, dings and other forms of damage.

  3. 3

    Lay the straps over the crossbars. Fold them in half and let them dangle over the windshield and the rear window. Center the surfboards on the rack with the fins facing up. The website Surfinghandbook states that the correct way is to have the fins pointing up and facing the front for aerodynamics. If you are stacking boards, make sure you put towels or other padding between them.

  4. 4

    Pull the straps over the surfboards and secure. The straps should run parallel to the crossbars of your roof rack. Open the window of your car and loop the straps around the handle on the ceiling of the interior of the vehicle. Buckle the straps together and tighten, making sure that you do not over-tighten and crush the edges of your board. If the buckle is not padded, place a towel or rag between it and the board to keep it from scratching.

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