Your Guide to Hitting The Beach In Style
The sun is nigh, and the waves are calling – but hey, calm down! The beach isn’t going anywhere, and you must first get the best surfboard car rack for your surfboard before making that trip to chase the waves.
We all love summer for two reasons. One, we get to go out in the sun with our perfectly toned bodies to get that tan. Secondly, don’t we all love the salty waters and the feel of sand on our feet?
I have never come across a soul that hates the beach. Even when someone can’t swim, there is always an excuse to wear a bikini, walk around, and to bask. Oh, you can play volleyball too.
But, besides these activities, there is something else that draws us to the beach from miles – surfing. Chasing and catching the waves is exciting and for most of us, we can drive down to the beach every waking summer morning just to be on that board. Even though this isn’t always the case, whenever we get the chance to, loading up the surfboard is almost as exhilarating as the next oncoming wave.
There is only one thing that can break this feel-good moment – a broken surfboard resulting from a haphazard carriage where your board flies off the car’s roof. As you may already guess, it is almost impossible to retrieve the board in good shape; because there is a 99.9 percent chance that the car behind you drove over.
This kills the fun for the day or even the whole summer vacation (think about it – what if you spent your savings on that top-of-the-range baby?). Let’s not even venture into the worst-case scenario for a flying surfboard.
Though these are terrible moments, we have the right to blame it on you because you ignored the call to get the best surfboard car rack.
If you are still unsure – a surfboard car rack is a structure that you place on top of your car for it to hold your surfboard (or snowboard) in place. These racks are the safest means of traveling with your surfing gear and the boards.
Why you should love a surfboard car rack?
Here is a summary of the reasons
- In many countries, you cannot transport your surfboard inside a car.
- The surfboards may be too big.
- They keep you and other road users safe.
- They increase travel convenience because you can throw in your personal gear on the rack making for easy packing for that long-awaited vacation.
- It is the best way of protecting your surfboard making it last long.
- The rack makes for easy loading and unloading.
- The other reason is, even if you live in a country with no restrictions on where you put your surfboard; that board will carry too much dirt in the form of sand and even sea animals. To avoid all that, you have a car rack which is a safer alternative.
Factors to be considered when chooing the best surfboard car rack
Unfortunately, there is one big problem that we all face when looking for surfboards. This is the how – how do we buy the best rack? What do we look at to make sure we have the best surfboard car rack?
To help you get a stable and a versatile surfboard car rack, here is a quick guide on the factors and features that require consideration:
Like anything else you’ll buy, you have to consider what you are using the rack for. In this case, you’ll need a rack for a surfboard, snowboard, paddle board, or possibly a kayak. Is the rack capable of pulling off the job without getting loose when on transit causing your board and gear to fly off the car’s roof? A good rack is versatile, and will hold together different things. How big is the rack?
If you are transporting larger pieces, then you will have to keep the rack’s maximum weight capacity and even the break-strength before buying.
Material and the finishes of the rack system
Is the material making up the surfboard car rack corrosion resistant? Surfing involves contact with salty water, and we all know that rusting levels are high along the beach. This means you must get a rack made using corrosion resistant materials to extend the rack’s life. Do for aluminum racks if going for metallic racks or get straps made of sturdy polyester material.
The factory rack system
Most new cars will come with rails (straight from the factory) which you mount the car rack on. This is an important feature because it will save you a lot of money and the other benefit of the rails is that they are suitable for your car and you won’t have compatibility or quality issues.
How easy is the installation process? Do you have to install the rack by drilling it into the roof of your car? Must you have a permanent base for the rack to lie on? Would you a car rack that you can easily switch between cars?
Considering these factors will guide you in choosing the best. This is where you will find yourself picking padded straps over metal racks which need permanent installation. When installing crossbars, you have to make sure that they are far apart to provide the required level of stability.
Noise of the racks
The noise caused by the wind when driving with a rack on your car is irritating. Unfortunately, it is almost unavoidable, well, unless you have a rack with an aerodynamic system because this reduces the whistling and all the noise from the wind.
Note that the whistling sounds emanate from air forced out of the car track system or components. Most sellers will not divulge information about the noise levels, and you should, therefore, read user reviews for such information.
Fit and security
Ill-fitting racks are dangerous. So, you should go for a surfboard car rack that fits securely to reduce the risk of losing stuff down the road. Even when the rack fits snugly and holds the rack board (s) in place, it shouldn’t cause the car’s paintwork to chip. For added safety, do not overload the car rack.
Height and the clearance of the roof
A rack automatically raises the height of the car and lowers clearance needed when crossing low bridges or driving into garages. To avoid any issues and accidents, keep in mind the car’s height without the rack and with the rack. You may also consider buying removable racks if you think that the clearance and the height will be an issue.
First off, set a realistic budget for the car rack. While on it, check out all the features and factors mentioned above, as well as compatibility to know if the price is justifiable and if the rack you just checked out is worth the price.
Rather than looking at the price tag alone, look at what you get for that amount. Make sure that all the necessary parts are there. If you can get a high quality used car rack, the entire better.
Now that you know how to buy a rack, here are our five best surfboard car racks. We considered the features above before giving their reviews.
5 Best Surfboard Car Rack Reviews 2017
Sturdy, reliable locking mechanism, versatile
Perfect straps, affordable
Strong velcro, excellent customer service
Highly portable, best for small cars
1. Vault Cargo Management - Perfect to Mount Onto Your Rooftop of Your Car or SUV
Do you think you’re ready to hit the beach and there’s nothing that will get in your way? Wrong. Without a surfboard rack or port, there’s a high likelihood your surfboard will fall off the car killing all your surfing excitement. But, there is a way around it – get the 53” Universal Locking Roof Rack Crossbars by Vault.
This is an excellent surfboard car rack that will carry your canoe, kayak, cargo, and any other gear safely, to and from the beach thanks to Vault’s use of an aerodynamic locking design. This design also makes it possible for you to mount the rack onto your car’s or your SUV’s rooftop.
The aerodynamic locking design of the rack reduces air resistance and contains a clamping mechanism within it. This design allays fears of your surfboard flying away on your way to creating memories.
Will your car’s rails remain intact once you attach the surfboard car rack? Yes. The padded clamps on the car track protect your car’s rails from any scratches. In a way, this protects your car as well.
The rack measures 53” wide and fits rails up to 47” apart making sure you have sufficient space to place your surfing gear. With this height, the rack holds a maximum of 200lbs. This weight is more than enough for gear, kayak, canoe, ski, and even a bike mount, right? Well, because of this weight capability and the large capacity, as well as the versatility, we highly recommend this car rack for your outdoor activities.
This rack weighs a mere 8.8 pounds, and it is durable.
- It has a large weight capacity of 200lbs.
- It will not scratch your car’s rails because of the padded clamps.
- It has easy to follow instructions which make it easy to place it on the car’s rack.
- The cross bars are sturdy, and it has a reliable locking mechanism.
- It is versatile & comes at a great price.
- It’s pretty loud and whistles when driving at higher speeds – above 40mph
2. Dorsal - Surfboard Kayak SUP Rack Tie Down Straps
It’s not every day you shop for a surfboard car rack with a metallic structure in its entirety. Thanks to technology, you will still come across a big number of alternate design materials that hold up well. Dorsal leads on this front with use of straps made of fabric rather than metal racks and bars.
If you are looking for a surfboard car rack that can comfortably hold a maximum of 200lbs and break strength of 600lbs, you need to get this Dorsal tie down straps. It's 15 feet long and one inch wide to secure the surfboards, SUPs, kayaks, and canoes.
The strap features an anodized 1-inch cam buckle and sturdy buckle pads that will protect your board. The strap comes as a pair.
These Dorsal straps are effective for the boards, and yes you don’t need to buy a car rack because of the construction out of sturdy material. The buckles, though made of aluminum, will not scratch your car. Behind the buckle, there is padding.
The downside of the straps is that they will not hold a kayak in place because of the size.
- The padding on the buckle protects your car’s rails.
- The straps are perfect for SUVs.
- The strap’s design is sturdy and holds a maximum of 200lbs. They also have a break strength of up to 600lbs.
- They are affordable.
- They don’t fit kayaks.
3. Dorsal - Origin XL Long Surf Kayak SUP Rack Pad
When is your next surfing trip? Do you wish to avoid loss of your surfboard by securing it in place? If going out with your friends using his or her car and using a different car model, will the straps or the bars hold all your unique boards in place to and from the beach?
Well, rather than worry about all these, why not get black 28-inch Dorsal Origin XL Long Surf Kayak SUP Rack Pads?
Dorsal stays on top of things in ensuring your surfboard or kayak stays in place on your car’s rooftop. The 18 inches of this pad make it possible for you to use this rack on most factory car racks. These pads will keep your boards secure throughout.
The sleek design and fit of pads tops bars and you can trust the pads to hold your boards in place thanks to the use of strong and sturdy 600D polyester. These Dorsal pads weigh 12 ounces.
The hook and loop closure secure the pad and consequently your kayak and surfboards in place. The ample padding all the way to the top of these wide straps makes them perfect for wide aero bars.
- The pads are affordable.
- The use of 600D polyester in construction makes the pads sturdy.
- The Velcro used is strong.
- The pads protect your car’s rooftop.
- Dorsal’s customer service is excellent.
- None. They are just perfect
4. Curve - Premium Surfboard Car Racks
The stability and the safety of your surfboard is dependent on the structural integrity of the surfboard’s car rack. This means as your search for the best surfboard car rack on the internet, you have to keep in mind the rack’s ability to hold down your surfboard to the car perfectly.
Curve knows all about this and in their design process for Surfboard Soft Rack LOCKDOWN Premium Surfboard Car Racks, they used the best materials. This car rack has inch-deep foam padding which provides excellent protection insulation between the surfboard and your car’s roof.
The surfboard car rack has a soft track interior lining made of soft neoprene cushioning that offers superior protection.
The padding using foam also works to cocoon around the surfboard’s rails, and this prevents any possible strap on rail damage.
Each of the racks has a 1-inch webbing strap secured by a super strong zinc cast cambuckle (this buckle has a plastic coating) offering a high level of safety and tension. The rack also features two connection options that will work either through the doors or the roof rails. Thanks to this sturdy construction, the Lockdown racks can hold 1-4 short boards, about three longboards and 1 or 2 SUP boards.
Unlike the racks you may have used before, soft racks aren’t as easy to install, and you’ll need extra time to learn how to use it. Fortunately, once you get around this, you won’t have any installation issues in future.
The racks are compatible with bare roofed vehicles as well as roofed vehicles, and they do not require cross bars.
The other downside of the Lockdown racks, besides complications, when installing it at first, is that they made a humming noise when driving because of wind.
- The racks have a high-quality design.
- It has a sturdy construction design.
- The rack holds the surfboards tight.
- Padding protects the car’s roof from scratches.
- It’s hard to figure out making it time-consuming to install.
- The humming sound may be loud.
5. Malone - Auto HR20 Inflatable Roof Rack
If you have been looking for the perfect way for transporting your SUP, paddleboard, snowboard, surfboard or kayak, then this could just be the car rack you’ve been looking for. It weighs a mere 3.31 (a pair) pounds but can carry a maximum load weight of 50lbs.
This strength is the result of the 420 denier nylon that has 2-D-Ring Anchor points.
As the name suggests, it is an inflatable rooftop car rack that offers the easiest and the safest way for transporting your boards. If you are the owner of a sports car or an energy efficient car; a car that doesn’t need a permanent car rack, then this inflatable car rack is the way to go. It fits 4-door and 3-door cars.
When inflated, it measures 26x6x4", and it offers dual protection – to your car and the surfboard from dents, dings, or scratches. It is easy to install – no need to have tools. It is easy to store when not in use. This HR20 by Malone comes with tie down straps, a pump, and a bag for stowing it away in the garage. The air pump is reliable and gives 1000cc double-action.
- It is perfect for transportation of kayaks and surfboards.
- It works well if you secure it well.
- It works best for small cars.
- It is highly portable, and the storage bag makes it easy for you to stash it away when not in use.
- The air bladder leaks making it useless.
- It isn’t very strong, and the straps may snap.
If don’t see the reason why you need the best surfboard car rack, think about this – how would you react is your newly purchased surfboard or kayak flew off the car’s rooftop and caused an accident (God forbid)?
See, the reason why we have these reviews is to help you pick the best car rack for your surfboard, but the reason that transcends this need is the fact that we need you to and every motorist or pedestrian to be safe on the road. This happens only when you have a surfboard, snowboard, or a paddleboard safely secured on the car’s roof.
The other reason, besides safety, is for you to declutter your car and to have enough space for your friends or spouse.
Having looked at the five best surfboard car racks, you may be wondering – which is your best choice or rather the editor’s choice? Our editor chooses Vault Cargo Management’s 53” Universal Locking Roof Rack Crossbars.
It has a sturdy design to hold a maximum load capacity of 200lbs; it’s long and holds surfboards, kayaks, canoes, or bike mounts while leaving you with space for any extra gear. Its aerodynamic locking design has a clamping mechanism within it that reduces air resistance.
We also recommend this car rack because of its padded clamps which protect the car’s rails. With all these features, we find this the best and a highly functional surfboard car rack.