Even if you belong to the lucky few that can live on the ocean shoreline, if you want to move locations and follow the best waves you can find, you will need a roof rack.
While our boards are perfect for their life in the water, they are not what you would call compact, especially if you have a longboard.
That is where a roof rack comes in to secure your board from all sides and make sure that both the board and your car, survive the journey unscathed.
A long time ago, roof racks used to be quite simple.
It was just a couple of rails you had on your car and you’d use paracord to tie the board to the frame.
This was no good for your board because any hard material can scrape away the paint and the polish.
New roof racks are not only soft and protect the board, but are also easily removable from the car. Not to mention that they secure the surfboards much better, as well as on all sides. This means that the type of car you have is not important and that you will be able to drive freely with your boards attached to the top.
Top Picks for 2019
The best thing about the surfing industry is that it is mostly powered by enthusiasts.
This means that everything is made by people who plan on using it, including the roof racks. There are no unnecessary bells and whistles; everything is streamlined, simple, and effective.
On top of the market, there are plenty of good choices, and it is only hard to select which ones are at the top of the top. These are all awesome models that will not only fit any car and any condition, but can even adjust to your own lifestyle, which is an important part of surfing culture.
The key advantage of this model is in its simplicity. It is very straightforward to attach to the car and has a pair of Dorsal pads that will keep the boards comfy while you drive. The way this rack is attached means that it can be placed on flat tops and curved tops in the same way, and it is as safe on both types.
The straps are made from nylon, which is both sturdy, flexible, and waterproof. The buckles are also very strong and will not deteriorate from sand, salt, and water. With all of the features combined, this is a very simple model that is bound to last for a very long time.
- 19 inches Dorsal pads
- Nylon straps
- Strong buckles
- Can transport multiple boards
The proof that Dorsal makes one of the best pads for surfboards on the market is that even other manufacturers use their pads inside other products. But this is the original. Every part is as high-quality as it can get, although the design is slightly older than with other products.
The pads are made from 600D polyester, EVA foam and durable nylon, making the whole construction resilient to all weather conditions and capable of withstanding even the heaviest of boards.
- High-quality materials
- Easy to install
- Excellent Value
The only thing worse than scratching your prized board is doing so against your other prized board.
Curve made a patented ‘’lockdown” system that uses a single loop to prevent your surfboards from moving. This doesn’t just include inertial moving from the car, but gusts of wind from trucks, as well as fluttering of the boards.
There is about an inch of foam separating the boards, meaning that they will never damage each other or the car beneath them. Finally, the way this rack can be connected means that you can attach is either through the doors or with any roof rails that you might have on your car.
- Patented Curve ‘’Lockdown’’ system
- Thick padding between the boards
- High-quality materials
- Easy attachment to the car
Experienced surfers will enjoy this product because it returns back to the tested paracord formula we have used in the past, but with few innovative features. It has really thick and durable pads that can hold up to 200 pounds of boards. This will be more than enough for even longboard enthusiasts. Additionally, the cords have been tested up to 400 lbs for breaking, which will save your boards from anything but a high-speed head-on collision, which you should avoid for multiple other reasons.
Finally, Roraima gives a lifetime warranty for the product, as there is nothing on it that will suffer from wear and tear.
- Thick pads
- Extra durable lashing straps
- More than 16ft of paracord rope
- Lifetime warranty
For those who don’t just want to practice surfing but want to be one with the nature that surrounds them, this is a perfect product. This roof rack is made from high-quality hemp fibers that are just as good as any nylon line, even though it is theoretically biodegradable.
It also has strong and sturdy buckles and can be easily attached to any car roof.
- High-quality hemp fiber
- Stylish design
- Easy to install
Surfing Roof Rack Buyers Guide
There are three aspects that you should look for when buying a roof rack.
The most important aspect is the quality and strength of the material. The cord or line you will be tying your board with needs to be very strong, but not rigid. Formerly, this included only paracord and similar materials, but now there are many ways to make something that will pass muster even for the longest of longboards.
Second is the way the rack attaches to the board. This needs to be easy to set up and take off, but should never leave the board unsecured on some side. The best roof rack will have the surfboard secured on all four sides, as well as from going up. It should always give a bit of wiggle to prevent ripping from inertia, but not too much.
Finally, it is important how the roof rack attaches to the car. Ideally, this would be an easy system where you can connect and remove the rack at will. Additionally, the best roof rack would allow you to use your car uninterrupted and not spread cords all over.
After this, the only things we have are aesthetics, which depend on the person buying the rack. All of the products look good, and unlike old models, they are quite compact, but it will be up to you if you find some of them better looking than the other.
Apart from the three primary aspects that we have previously mentioned, there are a couple more things to know before selecting your roof rack. Generally, it is a good idea to adapt the rack you are buying with your needs. This should include your car, as well as the type of road you will be driving on.
For those who often go off-road and know that they will have a bumpy ride, they will need to buy more durable and tighter racks, as anything basic will break in an instant. Additionally, the best roof racks for surfing will be resistant to different weather conditions, including rain, salt, and dust.
The main reason why rigid roof racks are never a good idea is that they have only two anchor points for the board. Opposite to that, a soft roof rack will have an excellent hold on your board because it will let them sink into the foam a bit, providing a large surface for them to stick as well as security from all sides.
The important thing here is to have a wide pad that will nicely fit all of your boards, as well as to be able to make them at least 3ft apart from each other. This will make your surfboards secure and balanced, lowering the risk of anything breaking or tearing.
Make Sure it’s not Obstructing Your View
All of the products we have listed have adjustable positioning, meaning that this part can be solved for any vehicle. Regardless, the fact that you should be safe while driving is something most products don’t mention, but is very important.
When latching up your boards, make sure that they are at a right angle and not entering your field of view while driving. This will not only make your journey safer but will also make the boards more secure on their pads, as they will have their weight equally distributed.
Finally, a roof rack is an affordable way for you to move around your boards, regardless if they are shortboards or longboards. It is always better to spend a bit on good storage than to suffer with fitting the whole board onto the back seat or sticking out from the back.
Thankfully, there is a wide selection of premium roof racks, and you will not be sorry whichever one you chose.