Fact: Surfers love their boards more than they love most things in life.
Another Fact: We often commit terrible, terrible crimes against our loved ones by transporting them in very reckless ways.
For those who are passionate about their surfboards one of the most important transportation devices you can own (besides a car, truck or bike) is a quality surfboard rack. There is a huge range of racks available and they’ve come a long way from the rusty old metal things you might remember from the past. Modern board racks can provide a great deal of protection, ensuring that the board makes it to the beach in one piece, not to mention quick and easy storage and access.
There are several different types of surfboard racks. What rack works best depends on the individual person, their boards, their vehicle and where they want to go. The two most common types of racks are hard racks and soft racks. Each rack has different benefits and works in a slightly different way.
Soft racks are, as their name implies, racks that are flexible and easy to adjust. Soft racks generally consist of two padded areas and a set of straps. The pads lay on the roof of the vehicle. The straps wrap around the pads and through the windows of the car, securing the soft rack to the roof. The surfboard lies on the pads on the roof and is secured to the rack using another set of straps.
Soft racks are usually simple to take on and off a vehicle, so you can switch this type of rack from vehicle to vehicle if you need to. Mounting a surfboard to a soft rack is easy. They are also usually a bit less expensive than other rack types. The downside to soft racks, however, is that they are not meant to travel at higher speeds or over long distances. Soft racks work perfectly when the journey to the beach is a short trip down side roads. If the trip is longer or involves speeds over 45 miles per hour, though, the soft rack straps may come loose or begin to fray, causing the rack to fail. Soft racks can also slip or slide.
A more secure rack choice is a hard rack. Hard racks are sturdy racks with tough, durable frames that are meant to transport surfboards either over long distances or at highway speeds. These racks generally mount to the roof of the car, either by hooking onto the vehicle’s gutters or by strapping into place in a manner similar to a soft rack. Hard surfboard racks work well on a variety of vehicles, from vans to compact cars. Although these racks can be more expensive than soft racks, they will never slip or slide and they offer a great deal of protection to the board.
For those who drive pickup trucks, there are also some different rack options. Truck racks secure to the tailgate of the truck. The board can then be strapped to the rack, so that it will not move or become dinged during the drive. For an even less conventional transport, bicycle racks, which mount onto either the tail or the side of the bike, allow riders to easily transport their board to the beach.
For added surfboard protection, surfers should always remember to either bag or cover their boards during transit. This protects against debris that could scratch the board. It also keeps the boards out of the sun’s rays, which can cause yellowing.
If you’re into protecting your beloved (and the ones you’ll love in the future) you might consider the investment in a set of racks that suit your vehicle and lifestyle. It’s one of those things that is easy to neglect but can make a big difference.