If there’s one thing that we’re not so excited about when going on a surfing trip, it is transporting the surfboard from your place to the beach – more so if you live a car ride away. Surfboards aren’t the most portable sports item, and transporting them with your car can be challenging.
Aside from being far too big for the trunk, the sand, pieces of wax, and salted water it may leave if you decide to lay it inside your car may cause upholstery and interior issues later on. In most countries, carrying surfboards inside vehicles is not allowed, too.
We reviewed the best surfboard roof racks in this article and threw in a few essential things you should know about surfboard roof racks, including:
- What are surfboard roof racks?
- The best surfboard roof racks
- Factors to consider when buying a surfboard roof rack
- How to install your surfboard roof rack?
- How to tie down your surfboard onto the roof rack
- How to reduce strap noise
Top 8 Surfboard Roof Racks Reviewed
Ask any surfer, and they’ll say their dearest object is their surfboard. Therefore it isn’t surprising that surfers go to great lengths to safely transport their surfboards.
Surfboard roof racks are by far the most accessible and most convenient system to carry surfboards. They are easy to install and simple to use. But, as straightforward as they sound to be, finding one can be a burden. We’ve reviewed the top surfboard roof racks to give you an idea.
- INNO Racks – Locking Surfboard Roof Rack
- Block Surf Surfboard Roof Rack
- Dorsal Surfboard Kayak SUP Surf Rack
- Thule Shuttle Board XT Carrier
- OrionMotorTech Universal Car Soft Roof Rack
- Block Surf Double Wrap Rack
- Lockrack Universal
- Curve Surfboard Soft Rack
#1. INNO Racks – Locking Surfboard Roof Rack – Best Overall Roof Rack
- Dimensions: 33.5 X 12 X 6 Inches
- Weight: 8 Lbs
- Type: Surfboard- specific
If you want a premium quality strong and rugged surfboard rack, the INNO racks- Locking Surfboard Roof Rack would be the perfect choice for you. The rack does not have any complicated design. The easy to use rack makes it suitable for most factory bars.
The high-quality stainless imparts the steel straps much-needed strength. Besides, the rubber coating over them protects them from any dent or damage. Overall, it makes the rack highly sturdy and durable.
In addition to its strong build, the rack is very easy to install and use. It has a carrying capacity of 2 to 3 surfboards. You can be relaxed after securing the boards properly with the straps. The assembly is equipped with a ratcheting system to provide enough tightening to your gears. Once tightened firmly, it neither causes any vibrations nor any noise even at high speed.
|No vibration or noise even at high speeds||A shade bulkier than others|
|High-quality straps make it durable
|Can carry 2-3 surfboards
|Easy to install and use|
#2. Block Surf Surfboard Roof Rack – Best Roof Rack for Budget
- Dimensions: 18 X 9 X 4 Inches
- Weight: 2.8 Pounds
- Type: Universal
Safety and protection- these are the two main features of a good surfboard transportation roof rack. Yes, if you can carry your gear without even worrying about losing them in between and without having any concern about the damages during the transportation, you have an efficient roof rack system. The Block Surfboard Roof racks offer you exactly the same and that too in style by allowing multiple surfboards for loading at the same time.
The rack features the stacking arrangement in which you can keep the boards one over the other. The complete arrangement consists of padded straps and aircraft-grade buckles for ultimate safety and protection.
The pads and the straps keep your gears secured during your long trips and also keep them from any damages throughout the travel. There are two pads, one each on the front and the rear end. They are soft with rugged buckles ensuring no movement of the board even at high velocities. The rack can fit on most of the car roofs with or without the gutters.
The racks are not only useful in transporting the surfboards but can also carry longboards, board beaters, and snowboards with equal ease. In addition, the racks are longer lasting. And the high-quality strong & sturdy material ensures the durability of the roof racks. The use of EVA foam in making the pads coupled with nylon sleeves makes it highly weather resistant. The rack can bear the brunt of extreme cold, hot, and rainy weather conditions.
|Strong buckles and straps for highest safety||Metal buckles can cause scratches|
|The capacity of holding up to 3 surfboards
|Universal & versatile
|No jerks and noise|
- Dimensions: 0.4 x 0.4 x 0.4 inches
- Weight: 9.9 ounces
- Type: Universal
What’s better than a sturdy rack that protects your watercraft like nothing else? The Dorsal Surfboard Rack is one of the strongest and certainly among the most durable roof racks that you will see in the market.
The Dorsal rack, though not made of metal bars, is one of the toughest racks due to its ultra-strong fabric strap construct.
These straps feature the unique anodized cam buckles coupled with the special buckle pads to make these carriers one of the most effective ones in their category whilst optimally safeguarding the boards and boats from any damage.
With massive break strength of 600 lbs and ideal design, these racks also offer high aerodynamic efficiency.
In addition, with these racks, adjustability is one of the best features that you will enjoy. Though the racks are ideally suitable for SUVs for their ultimate strength, you can confidently use them on any other type of vehicle.
Overall, it is a good quality product with high strength and great features.
|High working load of 200 lbs||Strap tightening is a bit tough|
|Perfect for SUVs
- Dimensions: 6 X 23.3 X 3 Inches
- Weight: 5 Lbs 8 Oz.
- Type: Surfboard-specific
The specially designed Thule Shuttle Board XT Carrier is one of the few Corrosion-Resistant Carriers that you will see in the market. With its tie-down and center straps, you can quickly pack your watercraft up in the click of a finger and carry them confidently and safely.
The Thule Carrier, with its wide variety of features and amazing quality, is among the most equipped roof board racks available in the market.
The product with its ideal telescoping design and ultimate versatility offers to accommodate heavy and huge boards of up to 34” wide. Moreover, corrosion-resistant stainless steel design offers high durability.
The carrier is made to bear tough scratches, smashes, and strikes of weather and will serve pretty consistently for surprisingly long.
In total, its quality, strength, and superior design give you a perfectly suitable choice for any car.
|Corrosion-resistant stainless steel construct||Not universal roof racks|
- Dimensions: 36.22 x 9.06 x 4.72 inches
- Weight: 4.12 pounds
- Type: Universal
With ultra-long straps and aircraft-grade buckles, the OrionMotorTech Universal Car Soft Roof Rack is what you will get as one of the most versatile Watercraft carriers.
It is a uniquely designed board rack that fits over any car, with or without the roof gutters, with superb perfection. In addition, with its sufficiently high load capacity of about 160 lbs, you get to carry almost any size and weight of surfboards with ease. The soft base of the rack, in addition, avoids scratches and scuffs on the car roof nearly perfectly.
On grounds of quality, the ultra-soft construct made of fine quality makes the rack a heavy-duty option for you to go with. Besides, the completely adjustable super-long straps provide ultimate ease of usage. The safe buckles add on to the safety features provided by the impressive rack.
With a large carrying capacity of about 3 surfboards (varies with size), and the anti-vibration technology, the convenience offered by the rack remains matchless.
Moreover, the installation process, which is a big headache for many, is a real cakewalk. Just slide the rack wraps over the car roof after opening your car doors and it’s literally done.
The telescopic design not only provides safety to your precious water buddies, but it also offers an aerodynamic design for better fuel efficiency.
In an all-round aspect, this Universal rack is one of the best in class. Its durability, features, safety, as well as the lightweight, make this highly effective watercraft carrier an ideal choice.
|Soft material construct for prevention of damages over the car roof||Metal clasp requires careful handling to avoid damage to the strap|
|Ultra-long straps and aircraft-grade buckle for more convenience|
|Carrying capacity of 160 lbs
- Dimensions: 0.4 x 0.4 x 0.4 inches
- Weight: 2.49 pounds
- Type: Universal
When it comes to flexibility and versatility, the Block Surf Double Wrap Rack is just irreplaceable. Being a heavy-duty carrier, this magnificent product won’t trouble you with any single issue for ages.
It is a top-quality watercraft rack that suits perfectly for many surfboards in the range as high as 2 to 6 depending on the size of each. In addition, the compatibility of this unique rack is just matchless.
The product can fit into almost every car with or without gutters, and that too so well, that safety of your boards won’t be a matter of concern for you at all.
The Carrier also features the aircraft-grade buckles for additional protection of the watercraft. And guess what, the installation process of this carrier is one of the easiest. You do not at all have to be a DIY pro to put that over your car roof. DIY specialists, a bit experienced, and even a beginner can fix the carrier with pure ease.
For extra safety, you can buckle the boards up from the side as well as from the tops to prevent any damage to your water buddies.
The overall quality is just perfect. You will get features and specialties of ease of use, flexibility, versatility as well as safety while going with this Double Wrap Rack by Block Surf.
|Capacity of 2 to 6 surfboards||Side window leaking might be an issue|
|Extremely easy to install
- Dimensions: 28 x 16 x 7 inches
- Weight: 17 lbs
- Type: Universal
With its simple yet super safe design, Lockrack’s Universal Watercraft Carrier is made to offer the ultimate quality and unique features.
If you are looking for a versatile surfboard rack that fits in all the parameters of safety perfectly, your hunt ends with this one.
It is an ideally designed carrier that brings a bagful of unique and useful features including a special hold-all system to carry, surfboard, kayak, and canoe at the same time.
Going by its name, the Lockrack has one of the strongest locking systems to safeguard your valuable boats and boards confidently.
Besides, the arms folding design offers an ultimate aerodynamic design for considerable enhancement in fuel efficiency.
In addition, the superior telescopic design of the rack allows dialing in and adjusting the optimum width for your board or boat for a perfect fit.
Overall, the quality and features of this Universal Watercraft carrier by Lockrack is sure to win your heart and bring in great value for money.
|High aerodynamic efficiency||A little heavier than most|
|Sturdy Locking System
- Dimensions: 20 x 12 x 7 inches
- Weight: 3.31 lbs
- Type: Surfboard- specific
One of the softest racks available in the market today is the Curve Surfboard Rack. It is a single-loop locking carrier that secures all your precious boards to a large extent. Moreover, the anti-vibration locking prevents your board from moving even a single bit, making your car as well as your boards safe from any type of damages.
The Curve Surfboard is known for its unique straps and structure It is known to avoid all types of fluttering, sliding, scratching, lifting, and of course, vibrating of your boards. This rack, along with its unique foam padding that has a top-quality interior lining of neoprene is the ideal solution to prevent scratch on your car roof.
As far as the construction of the rack is concerned, it features an excellent webbing strap coupled with a super-strong cam buckle made of zinc. The compatibility of the rack is very high. You can install the carrier over a roofed as well as an unroofed car.
All in all, with its superb quality, features, and structure, the Curve Surfboard Soft Rack is an ideal watercraft rack for all.
|Foam padding with neoprene lining for extra damage protection||A bit tough to install at first|
|High-quality strap and buckles|
|Ultra-safe and soft construct
Features to look for when buying Surfboard Roof Racks– Buyers Guide
So, you would have shortlisted 2-3 surfboard roof racks out of the above-reviewed models to decide the best one for yourself. Now, we would share with you some of the important factors to look for in a good quality surfboard transportation rack. We hope that this would help you in finalizing the right rack for your watercraft.
Number of Surfboards
The first and foremost factor to consider is the number of surfboards that you intend to carry on your rack. For transporting a single board you can buy a simple roof rack however, loading more than one gear would require a strong and sturdy roof rack system.
You, in addition, need to look for the rack that offers a high level of stability while traveling at high speed, You would not want to compromise with your speed just because of inferior quality of rack system that is not able to keep your gears secured at higher velocities.
You have already considered the number of boards that you would need to carry on the roof rack. Also, consider the different types of boats like a kayak or a longboard that you would want to secure on your rack. In this case, rather than going for a surfboard specific rack, you may actually select a universal rack that can carry all types of boards on it.
This is the basic factor to consider once you have assessed your requirements well. It is a simple but often ignored factor by many buyers. There is no fun buying the best surfboard that is not compatible with your car. For instance, car racks with crossbars are no use to cars without the rails. Therefore, ensure that the rack is fully compatible with your car.
If you are a water enthusiast, a car rack would be an essential item for you to have for your outdoor trips. However, buying a rack with fancy features just for showing off won’t do any good to you if you already have budgetary constraints.
Don’t go overboard while buying a surfboard. At the same time, do not compromise with essential features like strength, durability, or safety just to save a few bucks.
The last thing that you would want while transporting your gears on a roof rack, is the noise or a lot of vibrations distracting you while driving. The rack should be able to hold the gears securely at high speeds and during high wind conditions. A hard rack would be a preferable choice for you if you ride a lot on the highways. Racks designed considering the aerodynamic effects would be much more stable, vibration & noise-free even during some particularly unstable conditions.
Surfboards would have a peculiar property of carrying sand and saltwater with them. The salinity of water can corrode your roof rack in no time. For this reason, buy a rack build with high-quality material having high corrosion resistance.
Check the security system of your car rack. You may have to leave your gears along with the rack on the car unattended. Look for the best security arrangements to ensure against the intentional theft.
A hard rack system with a locking arrangement is worth considering keeping yourself relaxed during such situations. It also ensures that the car windows are closed when it is left unattended.
While going for the surf and returning after the sport, no one really wants to get wet on their way. So, check for the strap design. If they come through the windows, they would not protect you from getting wet, particularly in the rainy season.
Once you are clear about your requirement and your budget then comes the design and other important features of the roof rack that you should consider while buying the most suitable surfboard.
Remember that by installing a roof rack you are going to increase the effective height of your car. Less if it is not loaded, more if it is loaded with one or more gears. You have to be aware of this fact while driving and while parking in the garage.
If this is your first roof rack you might not be having any accessory with you. And you may want to have extra pads or straps. Besides, to protect your car roof from scratches, you may want to have the carry cases as well. Get the accessories as per your specific requirements. However, do not buy any accessory that does not add any value or convenience to you.
How To Install Your Surfboard Roof Rack
Every surfboard roof rack has its specific instructions, and it varies depending on your roof’s set up – whether it is bare or with existing bars. In addition, it also differs on the type of roof rack you are installing, whether it is the soft or hard rack.
Be sure that the surfboard roof rack you pick includes the installation manual in the package. If not, here’s a general way to set these roof racks up.
For Soft Surfboard Roof Racks
Have all the straps ready to attach to the roof of your car. Place the racks fittingly with just enough space in between to accommodate your surfboard. Be sure that the space is not too narrow nor too wide to get the boards securely strapped.
For Hard Surfboard Roof Racks
The first thing you have to make sure of when picking a hard surfboard roof rack is if it is compatible with the roof of your wagon. There are surfboard roof racks that work well with bare-roofed cars, and then there are those that can only do with roofed vehicles. Plus, some work either way.
Your roof rack should come with specific instructions. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s manual to install your roof rack properly.
How To Tie Down Your Surfboard Onto The Roof Rack
The methods in tying down your surfboard to the surfboard roof rack may depend on the kind of roof rack you have. But, generally, it is as simple as positioning your surfboard onto the rack, centering it, and strapping it secure.
Remember not to let the surfboard touch the roof of the car with no protection, or else both the vehicle and surfboard’s surface can get damaged. To strap it securely, pull the ends of the strap into the car and then close the door. Some may have you buckle up the belts inside, others, on top of the board.
Surfer’s tip: Twist the straps on top of the surfboard to decrease humming when driving at high speed.
How To Reduce Strap Noise
Most surfboard roof rack users must have encountered the annoying and distracting strap noise, especially if you are driving at high speeds. Aside from twisting the straps, here are two more steps you can try:
- If you are loading multiple boards, stack them with the biggest at the lowest and the smallest at the top. This method will not only reduce noise but also keep things from slipping.
- Make sure the straps are secured tightly. Sure, you don’t want to damage your surfboards with the digging of belts, but if they are at the slightest bit wobbly, they will be too noisy when you speed up.
Our Favorite Surfboard Roof Rack
INNO racks- Locking Surfboard Roof Rack with its premium quality and sturdy built is our top pick among the 8 best surfboard roof racks. And there are multiple reasons to select this as the top pick.
Firstly, it is highly durable. Thanks to the stainless steel straps with a rubber coating that provides great strength to the rack and also protects it from any damage or ding.
However, the strength and durability do not make it rigid and difficult to handle rack. Rather, the rack has a very simple design making it easy to install and remove.
The high capacity of loading of up to 2-3 gears is an added advantage to the already feature-filled mounting rack.
Over and above this, the unit is highly secured due to the ratcheting system that does not allow the gears to slip, vibrate, and make noise while running. Last but not the least, the locking system of the rack makes the rack a highly safe transporting rack.
Every surfer whether a newbie or a professional knows the importance of a good surfboard roof rack. However, not all surfers know which surfboard would be the best for their purpose. The task of selecting the best surfer has become even trickier with the availability of a wide variety of roof racks.
So, it requires a lot of effort to do a thorough review of many different roof racks and shortlist the best ones amongst them.
In this article, we have shared with you the top 8 surfboard roof racks after comparing the features offered by each one of them. Besides, the review also considered the advantages and disadvantages of each roof rack.
We further recommended some important factors to be considered before making the final decision of buying the best surfboard. We hope that the review and the buyer’s guide would help you finalize the best surfboard for your purpose.
If you still find it difficult to make that final decision, refer to our top pick among the 8 best surfboard roof racks. We hope that all this information would help you in selecting the right racks for your watercraft.
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
Q: Which one is a better option between the Hard rack and the Soft rack?
Both have their own utilities. A hard rack is stronger and rugged and keeps the gears stable while driving. It creates fewer vibrations and noise. However, hard racks would require rails on your car. On the other hand, soft racks do not require rails. They are strapped through the car. They are good for the short distance as they cause more vibrations and noise. Moreover, with the soft racks, you cannot fully close your car windows.
Q: What are the safety measures to be taken while using a roof rack for transporting the surfboards?
First and foremost is to check the rack properly against any damage and broken or loose assembly parts. The straps should not have signs of wearing out and the buckles should not be broken. The rack should be properly mounted before loading the boards. Ensure that the racks are not overloaded. Finally, check that the boards are properly secured and do not show any sign of loose-fitting or wobbling.
Q: Can I do a DIY installation of the surfboard roof rack on my car?
Yes. They are pretty simple to install and mostly come with all the fitting requirements. Hard rack, however, is more difficult to install compared to the soft rack. You can consult the seller in case of any difficulty and also request for their assistance to install it on your car.