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Taking a well-deserved vacation to the beach is indeed an exciting time. You probably already have fun activities lined up for you and your family—surfing included. But imagine reaching your destination only to find your surfboard scratched and damaged or worse still if it falls off the car roof en route. What a way to dampen the mood, right?
And yes that can happen if you don’t put careful consideration on how you’ll transport your board safely. Sure, your SUV might be roomy enough to squeeze it inside but at what cost? Damaging your leather seats? Uncomfortable seating arrangements? Selecting the right surfboard rack for SUV is the only answer to your problem.
Buying the best surfboard rack for SUV is worth considering because it’s safer for your passengers—and board. Unless you’re driving alone placing your surfboard inside the car isn’t only uncomfortable, but it might injure passengers during those curves and bends. Let’s help you—have a look at a few recommendations below.
Best Surfboard Rack for SUV Reviews
1. Block Surf Double Wrap Rack
These are some of the most affordable types of racks on the market. And any equipment which is affordable and effective is definitely on our list of recommendations.
Whether your SUV has gutters or not you can still install this rack thanks to the Wrap—Rx design which wraps around the roof and inside your car. You can fit surfboards for the whole family on this rack because it carries up to six short boards. However, if they’re long boards it can only carry two.
This double rack includes a carrying case with a Velcro closure for a more secure fit and is designed with heavy aircraft buckles for safety a strength.
The material the racks are made of is important, particularly the straps. If they’re not made of weatherproof material you might find yourself wet when you reach your destination if it happens to rain. Why? Some materials like foam absorb water which in turn drips into your car. Therefore, this rack might not be an ideal option for rainy weather because the fabric ties absorb the water and it makes its way inside.
Related: Best Surfboard Travel Bag
2. Dorsal Aero Rack Pads for Car
If quality is first on your list of priorities when selecting a surfboard rack, you might like this one. It’s rated one of the best quality surfboard racks in the market.
One of the reasons it made our picks is its aerodynamic feature. Did you know whatever you put on the roof of your car will impact noise and your fuel consumption? Choose a rack with a lower or aerodynamic profile which will essentially make loading and unloading easier as well as minimize noise and fuel use. That’s why we love this one.
Apart from the rack pad set being integrated with top grade EVA foam, it’s secured by a weatherproof nylon sleeve. You can secure your board effectively from your car’s cross bars thanks to the pads and middle positioned closure straps provided.
It’s ideal for carrying your bigger surfboard since it’s wide enough and transports it in an aerodynamic style, making for smooth driving. The top of the bar is padded for a sleek fit and the rack pads are made of polyester making them very durable.
3. OrionMotor Tech Universal Car Soft Rack Luggage Carrier
Looking to transport your surfboards without damaging your car in the process? You might appreciate this type which is made of ultra-soft material and you’re guaranteed no scratching or scuffing to your car.
It has adjustable and heavy-duty straps to carry your boards securely. The ultra-long straps and aircraft buckles can secure items of over 165 lbs. We know you might also like the versatility of these racks as they have a universal car fitment so you can fit onto any SUV.
This set comes with two soft racks. Note the racks are either soft or hard. If you’re traveling a short distance and your car doesn’t have side rails, the soft racks are ideal—also if you’re working on a budget.
Please note they’re not permanent fixtures and they may also break the seal that your doors create with your vehicle.
The upside is these racks are pretty lightweight. The weight of the rack is important since you’ll be adding more weight by carrying a surfboard. The perfect combination is having a lightweight but strong rack so as not overload your car. Bear in mind: Strong is good—heavy is not. You get it all with this brand.
Best of all, this one has anti-vibration features for a more pleasant and comfortable drive. This means you won’t experience any vibrations when you hit those high speeds. You’ll also hear what’s going on in traffic around you which makes for safer driving.
4. Thule 531 Express Surf Strap
Attaching surfboards, sailboards, and stand-up paddleboards to the roof of a car is easy now, thanks to these durable, flexible, and stretchy straps from Thule. Surfers have long had to figure out the best way to travel with their boards without damaging them, and using a strap is a great idea, but not all straps have the best design to ensure that the boards are safely secured without the possibility of major damage when on the road.
Since these straps are stretchable, they have more give than a piece of rope, but they aren’t nearly as bouncy as bungee cords are, which will prevent boards from banging against each other and against the roof rack on the car. They are perfect for securing loads of varying sizes, which means that they are a one size fits all answer to the old problem of moving boards from one location to another, and they can be used to secure boards for an entire family.
By fastening the looped ends around the load bars on the vehicle, it’s then fairly easy to place the boards on top and stretch these straps over the top of them. Getting the tension correct is important and will ensure that the boards don’t bounce. The cinching system is easy to use and makes tightening and loosening the straps easier than ever. Thanks to the hook on the free end of the straps, attaching it to the other load bar before tightening allows for the perfect fit every time.
5. FCS Premium Surfboard Rack
Surfers who want to travel with their boards but don’t have a vehicle with a rack or load bar specifically designed for transporting surfboards will benefit from considering this surfboard car rack from FCS. It’s designed to work on any vehicle, no matter whether or not there is a rack on the top, and it fits through the doors so that it is tight and secure. Unlike other surfboard car racks, this one is padded to prevent damage to the roof of the car and to the surfboards and is lightweight enough to easily move without help.
The square non-rolling pads that are included with this rack are designed specifically to prevent the rack from shifting position, no matter how far it is to the beach. This means that it’s possible to drive at high speeds on the interstate without fear of the surfboards moving around or becoming damaged.
Unlike some racks that are designed only to fit certain vehicles, this surfboard car rack easily fits on most vans, cars, 4WDs, and SUVs. The cinching and tightening system is easy to understand, and since the straps are brought through the vehicle, the driver will be able to keep an eye on their setup to reduce any anxiety while on the trip. Any leaks from the straps breaking the door’s seal can be addressed by putting washcloths or small towels in the door frame with the straps.
Now you have the facts, which one do you prefer? We recommend the Orion Motor rack which will transport your surfboards securely thanks to the heavy-duty straps and aircraft buckles. As a result, chances of reaching the intended destination without any problems are pretty high.
We like that the rack is made of high-quality material meaning your car will arrive at its destination without any scratches. The anti-vibration feature is also another plus if you want a peaceful ride to the beach.
Because of the aerodynamic feature of the racks, you can also save on fuel consumption. That means more cash for your holiday. Stop crowding everyone and everything inside the car; will you spend a little money to make your next holiday that much more enjoyable?
Megan Jones is the lead author of Seaside Planet. She is an avid surfer, scuba diver, and travel enthusiast who takes any opportunity she can to spend time in the ocean. You can learn more about Meg and the rest of the editorial team here.