If you live near the water, you’ve probably seen all manner of transportation methods for kayaks, canoes, and paddleboards. People will do just about anything outside of physically holding their paddleboards through the passenger window to transport their paddleboards.
There are multiple ways to transport paddle boards, including roof racks, truck bed extensions, trailers, or just a whole lot of tie-down straps. Paddleboards are long, wide, flat, and easily grabbed by the wind, so it’s essential to strap them down tight.
The point is you want to get your paddleboard in the water because there’s nothing worse than staring at a stand-up paddleboard collecting dust in your garage. If you want to know how to transport paddleboards without causing a traffic scene, please read on.
How to transport paddle boards
If you own one of those microcars, you may have to get a little inventive. For most people, it’s not too difficult to come up with a decent method to get your paddleboards from your house to the water.
Some paddleboards may be small enough to fit inside your vehicle, if you drive a Nissan Armada, Navigator, Sequoia, or something similar. For everyone else, you will probably have to strap your paddleboards to the roof.
Standard Roof Racks
Most SUVs, Mid-size SUVs, Crossovers, Compact Crossovers, and vans come with a simple, dual-rail rack on the top of the vehicle. It’s not the most ideal rack for paddleboards or other self-powered water vessels, but that doesn’t mean they’re useless.
The rails are designed to carry luggage on the roof of your car, but a couple of ratchet straps will effectively secure paddleboards. Fortunately, paddleboard designs usually include a handle in the center of the board.
Simply slide your paddle boards on top of the vehicle, secure a couple of ratchet straps to the rails, and run the straps through the paddleboard handles. You need one ratchet strap as far forward as it will go, and it doesn’t need to go through the paddleboard handle.
The forwardmost ratchet strap will keep the front of the paddleboard from lifting in the wind. The ratchet strap in the back runs through the handle, which will keep the paddleboard from sliding back and forth on the roof.
Tighten the straps down hard enough to hold while not deforming your paddleboards, and you should be good to go.
Paddleboard roof racks
While most roof racks for your water toys aren’t called “paddleboard roof racks,” they’ll work for paddle boards all the same. The most popular version of the roof rack is the J-hook and they are commonly used for kayaks and small canoes.
However, a J-hook roof rack will secure a paddleboard just as well as a kayak. All you have to do is load up the paddleboard, with the starboard or port side resting in the crook of two, vertical roof racks.
J-hook roof racks come with their own straps (most of them do anyway), which will fit snugly over the paddleboard and secure it to the roof.
Trailer bed extensions
Another device commonly used for kayaks—but will work just fine for a paddleboard or three—is a trailer bed extension. These are really simple devices and they attach to your hitch, extending your truck bed enough so the paddle board ends can rest on the T of the extension.
From that point, it’s just a simple matter of using some straps, preferably ratchet straps, to secure the paddleboard in the bed of your pickup.
SUP car racks
Paddleboard car racks come with their own variety, which is nothing more than two flat bars running perpendicular to the vertical roof racks most people have on the vehicle roof. The paddleboard rests on top of it, and you can strap it down from there.
Malone manufactures a popular roof rack, perfect for paddleboards and relatively inexpensive, though you could probably put together something similar for less money.
Pool noodle rack
You can make your own pool noodle rack with nothing more than two noodles and a strap running through each. Align the pool noodles on the roof similar to the Above-mentioned Malone roof racks.
Run your straps through the hollow center of each pool noodle and through your open car doors. Tie them off securely. Use a flat strap so you can close your car door when you’re done. Once both pool noodles are securely in place, set your paddleboard(s) on them and strap them down.
Extra paddleboard transportation tips
One of the most important tips is to not forget to bring your paddle. It sounds silly to have to say it, but it’s easy to get so tied up in securing your paddleboard that you completely forget to bring your paddle. There are some other tips you should consider as well.
- Pad your tailgate
- Always strap your paddleboards securely
- Consider how the wind will affect it on the ride
- Always use padding beneath the paddleboard
- Lay your longest paddleboard down first
- Keep your eyes on it (if possible) while driving
Transporting a paddleboard isn’t too difficult, even with a smaller car. It just means you will have to get a little bit more creative. Fortunately, something as cheap as a couple of pool noodles is as effective as some of the multi-hundred dollar roof racks available on the market.
If you already have roof racks, you just have to get creative with how you strap your paddleboard down. Always remember to secure the forward end the most, since the wind will affect your paddleboard on the drive.
All of the same rules apply if you’re using a trailer, so long as the paddleboard will fit, all you need to do is strap it down. If the trailer is too short, it’s not advisable to use it for transportation. No matter what kind of vehicle you have to use, where there’s a will, there’s a way.
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