What started back nearly a century ago in Huawei, has now spread its tentacles to almost every other region in the country. Paddleboarding and especially standup paddle boarding has gained immense popularity over the past few decades.
Once you get the nag of SUP and start enjoying the sport, you realize that it is harder to get there than actually jumping in the water. Paddle boards are either huge pieces of wood or inflatable type that you ought to carry with you to the shore and have fun.
To take your SUP or paddle board along, you need to equip your car with a suitable rack that’s sturdy enough to bear the weight of the board and is easier to use. Let’s understand why you need a paddle board in the first place and the best SUP rack for cars that you should check out right now.
Why Do You Need a SUP or Surf Rack for a Car?
Well, you could simply tie down the SUP to the roof of your car or throw it in the trunk and drive away, but that is not the right way to do it and you could get in serious trouble for doing so.
If you’re confused about a surf rack and thinking, do you need one in the first place? Yes! you do need a SUP rack for your car and here’s why;
Prevent damage to your car
The metal parts, buckles, or hatchets can damage the paint of your car if the SUP is not properly tied to the roof, and can cause monetary damage. A roof rack keeps the paddle board in place and prevents it from rocking and damaging your car.
Protect your paddleboard
If the paddle board is loosely tied to the roof, it can get dislodged or swayed by the strong winds. Being a costly accessory, the repairs or replacement can be very expensive and time taking.
Imagine the SUP getting dislodged from the roof of your car and hitting the oncoming traffic. It can become a serious safety hazard and can hurt you and others on the road. A rack keeps it locked securely to the roof of your car and prevents traffic hazards.
You could get in trouble with the traffic authorities for not using a roof rack for your SUP and face heavy fines or flagging your driver’s license.
Should you Drive with an Inflated SUP on the Roof of a Car?
Technically, it is feasible to drive with an inflated SUP tied to the roof of your car, but that kills the purpose of an inflatable SUP. It comes with a set of other gear, particularly a pump, which is used to inflate it. You can deflate the SUP, pack it up, and store it in the trunk of your car, without having to worry about space.
If you don’t want to go through the hassle of inflating and deflating your SUP, you could simply tie it to the roof rack of your vehicle and drive down to the shore. Otherwise, simply get a conventional paddle board and enjoy the sport.
If the question is about driving with an inflated SUP on the roof of your car, you SHOULD keep it in the trunk, rather than tying it to the roof and driving.
Top 5 Best SUP Rack for Cars – Buyer’s Guide
If you’re new to the world of kayaking or paddle boarding, you must be totally lost about the types of SUP roof racks and what’s best for you. We have compiled a list of the top products and the best SUP racks for cars to help you take an informed decision.
1- INNO Racks – Locking Surfboard Roof Rack
Made from tough materials and coated with soft rubber, the INNO surfboard roof rack is one of the best you could get. Compatible with most vehicles and featuring the floating strap design, loading and unloading a rack becomes a piece of cake, without damaging the car’s surface or the SUP itself. It is among the most premium options in the market and must be on your wish list.
- High build quality and dependable long-term durability.
- Easily carries 2 paddle boards.
- Prevents slippage, thanks to rubber-coated metal straps and a strong latching mechanism.
- Comes with a security lock and prevents any kind of theft, offering you peace of mind
- Installation takes less than 15 minutes and fits most cross bars.
- Only suitable for surfboards or SUPs, and no other sports equipment.
- Requires your car to have a pre-installed crossbar.
- Not the cheapest to get, given its limitation to just the SUPs.
2- Yakima – SUPDawg Paddle Board SUP Carrier
Another great option on the list, the Yakima paddle board carrier makes an ideal roof rack for people who like to travel with 2 SUPs. Featuring sturdy parts, strong latches, and a fixed design, it offers a reliable way to carry your paddle boards to the sea with your friends onboard.
- It comes with 2 anti-theft locks for added security and keeps your paddle boards right where you left them.
- It can carry two large-sized SUPs.
- It attaches strongly to the roof of your rack and doesn’t vibrate or rock while you drive at high speeds.
- The rollers make it very easy to load and unload the paddle boards, without scratching any surface.
- It produces a weird whistling noise sometimes when traveling at high speeds.
- The locking mechanism is not totally reliable and can be undone easily.
- At nearly $300, there are better, more versatile options to consider.
3- HandiRack – The Original Inflatable Soft Roof SUP Rack
One of the most versatile roof racks is the HandiRack inflatable soft roof rack. For more than a decade, it has served most customers with utmost reliability and durability. There are no metal rods or latches, its inflatable design means it cushions the paddle boards aptly and prevents any damage to the car or SUPs.
When you’re not using it, simply deflate it and put it in the back of your car, not spoiling the looks or adding weight to your vehicle.
- It is highly versatile and can carry your kayaks, surfboards, SUPs, and canoes.
- Can also be used to carry heavy luggage, something you can’t do with other roof racks.
- It has strong buckle grips that hold onto the car firmly and don’t let your luggage or SUPs rock.
- Doesn’t require your car to have crossbars or any other equipment for fitting. It also fits the majority of vehicles and fits in under 5 minutes.
- Even being so lightweight, it can support up to 175 lbs of weight.
- It cannot fit soft-top vehicles or convertibles.
- It doesn’t have a locking feature and doesn’t provide any security to the SUPs.
- Not suitable for vehicles with curtain airbags.
4- Thule – 810 XT Taxi Roof Rack
It is one of the simplest roof racks to use and fits almost any car. It features a locking mechanism, not just to hold the surfboards firmly in place but also to keep them safe from theft. The soft padding around the metal brackets protects the car’s body from scratches and it allows you to load/unload your SUPs in under a minute.
- It is compatible with most vehicles and all other Thule products as well, offering superb versatility.
- Its telescopic design fits huge SUPs and surfboards.
- If you have 2 small paddle boards, it can carry both of them.
- It has sturdy construction with weather-resistant surfaces, ensuring long-term durability.
- Large-sized surfboards may require extra padding to prevent dents or scratches on your board or car’s body.
- Tucking away straps can be confusing.
5- Curve – Soft Rack Lockdown SUP Roof Rack
This is a unique rack that comes with a patented curved lock design that wraps around the paddle boards and cocoons them safely. It holds down the SUPs firmly and thanks to a soft neoprene lining underneath, the boards and the car’s roof remain protected. It doesn’t let the surfboard lift, flutter, or slide, no matter how fast you’re going.
- With its Curved design, it prevents the boards from slipping away.
- Easy to use and install, with no complicated procedure involved.
- Protects the car’s roof and board from getting damaged.
- There’s a reported issue of slippage after a few months of usage.
- Quality could have been better.
Kayaking and surfboarding have gained immense popularity over the decades and people love to enjoy these water sports way too much. It’s all bells and whistles until you realize that taking your SUP to the sea is not easy.
You can solve this problem by gifting yourself a versatile paddleboard car roof rack. It fits the roof of your car and securely holds your SUPs in place, without any slippage or rocking. There are a few good options in the market and you should pick the one that’s compatible with your car and is durable enough to serve you for years.