If you’ve got a small car and a big board or are trying to get a full car of surfboards and people to the beach you’re going to need some roof racks.
While it’d sure be nice if we could all have one of those fancy surf vans with couches, kitchens, and custom build board racks – most of us have to deal with what we’ve got, even if it is a clunky old sedan.
In a car without roof racks, soft surf racks that include straps to go through your car and straps to secure your surfboards are the way to go.
These can be installed and removed fairly quickly and work great for hauling your log to and from the beach.
The Block Surf soft racks include exactly what you’re looking for: padded racks with a flat bottom, secure straps to go through your car, and another set of straps to secure your boards – all in a convenient storage bag that you can toss in the trunk or under the seat when you’re not using them.
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Top Picks for Surfboard Roof Racks
The best surfboard roof racks are:
- Block Surf Single Soft Racks
- Block Surf Double Soft Racks
- FCS Single Soft Surf Racks
- FCS Double Soft Surf Racks
- Dakine Long Aero rack pads and Dakine Baja tie downs (for hard racks)
- Dakine tailgate pad with straps (for trucks)
Surf Racks for Cars With No Roof Rack
If you’re driving a sedan or and vehicle without built-in roof racks, soft racks that your can secure to the roof are the way to go.
These allow you to put them on quickly and take them off when you’re not surfing so you don’t have to drive around with ropes flopping everywhere.
The soft racks your looking for will include:
- 2 sets of foam pads with flat bottoms.
- 2 set of straps that run through each foam pad that feature a strap and buckle that connect through your car and another strap that goes over your boards to secure them.
Many surf shops have racks like these with their name printed on them, if you’d like to go down and support your local. Otherwise, you can order some good ones online.
How do soft surf racks work for cars without a roof rack?
Here’s how to use your soft racks to carry your surfboards:
- Position the racks on the center of the rook about midway over each window.
- Guide the longer straps down through the door openings and make sure the straps stay untwisted as you do so.
- Connect and tighten these straps on the inside of your car.
- Place your surfboard(s) on top of that pads so that it;s evenly distributed.
- If you’re carrying multiple boards, place the larger boards on the bottom and place something like a towel between each board.
- Thread the remaining straps over your boards and tighten them down.
To help your soft surf racks last as long as possible you should remove and store them when they’re not in use.
Is it safe to drive on the freeway with soft surf racks?
How well your soft racks behave at higher speeds really depends on the types of boards you have on them, how many boards you’re carrying, and how well you’ve tied them down.
For the most part, soft racks are probably going to be perfectly fine as-is at speeds under 50 mph. If you’re driving on the freeway at higher speeds, it might be necessary to secure your boards with additional straps.
Best Soft Roof Racks for Surfboards: More Good Choices
If you plan on carrying a lot of surfboards (like more than 2 or 3), you can find some double soft racks just like the ones described above. These include 4 total foam pads so you can carry sets of boards side by side on the roof of your car.
In addition to Block Surf Single Soft Racks, some other great choices for the best soft surf racks include:
All of the soft surf racks described here are universal fit and are designed to fit the majority of cars without roof racks.
Block Surf Double Soft Racks
The double soft racks allow you to stack boards side by side and secure them easily.
FCS Single Soft Surf Racks
The FCS soft rack is similar to the Block Surf single with integrated padding and straps to hook it to your car and secure your boards.
FCS Double Soft Surf Racks
The FCS double racks are another good soft rack option if you have a lot of boards to transport.
Best Surf Racks for Cars with Roof Racks
If you car or SUV already has some hard roof racks, you’ll still want to get some surf racks to protect and secure your boards.
You’ll want to look for soft pads that can attach to your existing rack’s crossbars as well as some quality straps with decent closures to secure your boards.
A good choice for surf racks to go on your roof racks are the Dakine Long Aero rack pads and Dakine Baja tie downs.
Best Tailgate Surf Racks for Trucks
If you drive a truck and place your surfboard in the bed, you can get a pad and strap that goes over your tailgate to secure and protect your board.
A good choice for a tailgate surfboard rack is the Dakine tailgate pad with straps.
This will add some padding against the tailgate of your truck and will allow you to keep your board in place.
Do you have experiences with any of the surf racks described above? Maybe you’re a fan of something we’ve missed? Let us know in the comments below!