Surfboard Bags for Everyday Protection & Traveling

Surfboards can have this weird tendency to feel real fragile whenever they’re out of the water.

Bumps against corners and car trunks, drops on rocks or asphalt, sun damage, overly-tightened tie downs, careless baggage handlers, messy cargo holds, etc. – can all lead to a situation where your board is looking worse for wear and needs to be repaired.

If you’re looking for a simple solution to keep your surfboards safe from out-of-water dings and damage, you’re going to want to get a board bag or two.

Picking a board bag is not too difficult, but you do have some options.

Surfboard Socks vs. Bags

What’s the difference between a surfboard sock and a surfboard bag?

The main differences between surfboard socks and bags is the level of protection they afford, how they close up, and additional features they have.

A surfboard sock is going to be your most basic level of board protection.

A surfboard bag will offer more protection with a padded foam liner, zipper closure, additional storage pockets, and shoulder straps.

Surfboard socks are good for everyday travel and storage, whereas surfboard day bags and travel bags are good for longer trips or when you want some extra protection from dings, damage, and impacts.

Types of Board Bags

Surfboard bags can fit in 3 main categories ranging in protection as well as price from low to high. What bag is right for you depends on what you’ll be using it for and maybe how clumsy you are when transporting your surfboards.

Surfboard Socks and Soft Bags

Heat & UV rays are no bueno for your boards. A surfboard sock is designed to protect it from the sun and minor dings without the bulk of a day bag.

A surfboard sock is a lighter fabric knit – many are made of cotton – that slides over your surfboard.

Surfboard socks slide over the nose of your board and are closed at the tail, usually with a rope and cinch clip.

They come in a variety of shapes and sizes designed to fin a bunch of different types of surfboards.

You could even make your own out of some old beach towels, wetsuits, or boardshorts if you’re handy with scissors and a sewing machine.

The surfboard sock is perfect for everyday surfboard protection. It’s not going to be the best defense against major impacts or drops, but a soft bag will protect against minor dings, scratches, sun damage, and wax transfers.

What is the purpose of a surfboard sock?

A surfboard sock is designed to protect your board from the sun and minor dings.

What do you mean protect your board from the sun?

That’s right, just like UV rays can burn you, they can also damage your surfboard’s foam and fiberglass.

Over-exposure to sunlight is the cause of yellowing of your surfboard. A cover will help prevent that.

A surfboard sock will also help protect your board from minor dings as you take it to and from the beach, stick it in your car, or store it on your board rack. Extra points if it has a padded nose cover.

In addition to sun and heat protection, a board sock will also keep sand out of your wax if your hanging out at the beach. If you’ve ever experienced a sandy wax job, you know how difficult it can be to apply more wax or clean it off.

On the way home, it’ll also help keep wax and sand out of your car – if you mind that sort of thing.

How to Make a Surfboard Sock

If you’re the DIY type, which we at Wave Arcade highly encourage, you can upcycle yourself a surfboard sock out of old beach towels and other surf junk.

The simplest homemade surfboard cover would involve laying some old towels under your board and tracing and outline slightly bigger than the board. From there, just cut and stitch together the towels and you’ve got yourself a bag.

For bonus points, you can use an old wetsuit to add a noseguard and an old leash or rope to add a draw string.

Happy creating!

Surfboard Day Bags

Surfboard day bags are typically constructed out of a foam padded fabric top and bottom that zipper together to secure your board.

Most day bags feature a shoulder sling and some storage pockets for wax, fins, tools, leashes, etc.

Surfboard day bags offer more protection than the sock with the addition of padded walls. This will allow your board to stand up to some harder impacts and drops.

It’s a good choice for road trips and surf excursions that require some hiking down to the beach.

What surfboard day bag is best for sun protection?

Exposing your surfboard to sunlight and heat can do some damage. When you’re looking for a day bag – especially if your board is going to be at the beach all day – you’ll want something with a little added heat and UV protection.

The best day bag material for sun protection is one that reflects the light. Look for something with a reflective or light color and you should be good to go.

Surfboard Travel Bags & Cases

Pro-Lite Finless Coffin...image Pro-Lite Finless Coffin Surfboard Travel Bag Double/Triple (2-3 Boards) 7'0 $304.00 Go ☛
Dakine Tour Regulator...image Dakine Tour Regulator Surfboard Bag - Carbon, 7FT Go ☛
Pro-Lite Rhino Surfboard...image Pro-Lite Rhino Surfboard Travel Bag-Fish/Hybrid 7'2 $258.00 Go ☛
FCS Travel 2...image FCS Travel 2 All Purpose Travel Bag - Black/Grey - 7' Go ☛
Pro-Lite Wheeled Coffin...image Pro-Lite Wheeled Coffin Surfboard Travel Bag 2-4 Shortboard 6'6 $426.00 Go ☛

Surfboard travel bags can either take the form of beefed-up day bags or hard-shell cases.

The soft-wall travel bags will feature even thicker layers of foam padding. The hard-shell travel bags will featured a padded interior that’s enclosed by a hard outer case.

These types of surfboard bags often come in larger sizes that allow for transportation of more than one surfboard. They also feature more room for storing your other surf equipment and accessories.

Larger travel bags will often feature wheels and handles for easy transport and maneuvering.

Travel bags are ideal for any sort of airline travel or off-road travel. These bags are designed to stand up to major impacts and being jostled around, dropped, or otherwise abused.

What type of surfboard bag should you use on an airplane?

If you’re traveling by airplane, you’ll definitely want a travel bag that can withstand some of the hazards and roughness of air travel – with the baggage system itself, on the airplane, and dealt out by baggage handlers.

Look for something with strong outer material, thick and durable foam padding all around, and handles for easy mobility.

It’s a good idea to pack some towels or wetsuits inside the bag with your surfboard for a little added protection.

Picking the Right Surfboard Bag

Aside from your intended use and need for a board bag, you’ll want to look for something that will:

  • Fit your board or boards. Make sure to select a bag that matches the length and width of your surfboards.
  • Fit your fins. Look for a bag with room to accommodate your fins – either with storage pockets, extra room, or slots in the bag itself.
  • Provide the protection you need. Select a bag with enough padding and material that will protect your boards from whatever you’re buying the bag for.
  • Last a while. Select a quality bag with zippers that will stand up to salt, stitching that will hold up to use, and material that won’t tear easily.
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