How to strap surfboard to roof rack: Step by Step Guide

Being new to surfing, it can be hard to know where to start. What board should you get?

How do you strap the board to your car roof rack? Does this break surfing etiquette and if so, what are the consequences? 

All these questions may arise when you first set out on your journey into the world of surfboard flying. Luckily for us, we have answers to all of your questions.

We’ll walk you through the process step-by-step so that you can safely secure your board on top of your car.

Step-by-step procedure: How to strap surfboard to roof rack

You can’t just throw a board on top of a car and hope for the best. You need to know how to strap it down securely so that it doesn’t fly off when you’re driving. Follow these steps, and you’ll be ready for any adventure!

What will you need?

When strapping your surfboard to the rack of your car, it is important to use a strong strap or bungee cord to keep it from flying off while driving. In addition to the strap or bungee cord, you will also need:

  • 4 surfboard rack pads
  • 4 large zip ties
  • Tie down straps
  • 1 roll of duct tape

Type of rack on your vehicle

The first step in strapping your surfboard to your rack is to find out what type of rack your vehicle has. To do this, look at the inside of the trunk or under the hood. This will tell you what type of system you need to use to secure your board.

If you have a roof rack system, you will need to use crossbars to secure your surfboard. Crossbars come in a variety of sizes, so make sure to choose the right set for your vehicle. You can purchase crossbars at most automotive stores or online.

Once you have the crossbars, you will need to attach them to your vehicle. This process varies depending on the type.

Straps should be designed specifically for securing multiple boards onto racks

Make sure that the straps are long enough to go around the entire rail of your board.

Place both straps on the front end of your board. Run one strap from the front end under the crossbar and through the other attached strap, run it back up over the bars, then back down to attach it to itself.

This is a “figure 8” configuration that will keep your board in a secure hold while also allowing  you to easily remove the board from the rack.

Way of strapping

Place one end of each strap over an edge of the board. Make sure the straps are crossing over each other in an X pattern, with two overlapping on the deck of the board and two more crossing over them on top of the fins.

Then, take the loose end of each strap and wrap it around the bar on your rack. Make sure that the strap is tight against the board and that there is no extra slack.

Run another strap through both sets of straps at the nose end of the board, then bring it back around to your trunk or hatchback and attach it to the other end of the rack.

Check how good it has tightened

Pull each strap tight and attach them with a hook using your ratchet straps. Make sure all four ratchets are securely tightened, then check that your board is still secure by trying to shake it back and forth.

Once you have attached all four straps, it’s important to check that they are all tight. You can do this by trying to shake the board back and forth. If it moves more than an inch in any direction, re-tighten the straps until it is secure.

Final step

Take your car out for a spin around your neighbourhood and prepare to catch some waves! Your board will be ready for anything.

How to strap surfboard to roof rack with crossbars

If you have a car with a roof 5rack system and crossbars, the process for securing your surfboard is a bit different than if you have a car without them. Here are the steps:

  • Lay the board down on its side with the fins facing the ground.
  • Make sure that the rack system is in the open position and that the crossbars are perpendicular to the vehicle.
  • Place the board on top of the crossbars so that it is in the centre, making sure that the fins are still facing downwards.
  • Secure each end of the board to the crossbars using either straps or bungee cords. Be sure to tighten them as much as possible to prevent movement while driving.

How to attach surfboard to car without roof racks?

If you don’t have roof racks on your car, you can still strap your surfboard to the roof by using a few simple techniques.

  • Secure the strap or bungee cord around the surfboard and the roof of your car. Make sure that it is tight enough so that the board doesn’t move.
  • Identify two points on the car where you can securely attach the strap like a rack, a frame, or a hitch.
  • Tighten the cord until it’s snug against the surfboard and your car.

That’s it! Now you know how to strap a surfboard on top of a car. It may seem complicated at first, but with the right tools and information, anyone can do it. Follow these steps and you’ll be on your way to catching some waves!

Important instructions and warnings:

Important instructions:

When strapping your surfboard to your rack, it’s important to follow some basic safety guidelines.

First and foremost, make sure that the board is securely fastened and won’t fly off while you’re driving.

You’ll need a strong strap or bungee cord to do this, and it’s best to attach the strap to something solid on the car (like the door handle or rack).

Tie down strap to something sturdy on the car – the rack is ideal, but the trunk or windowsills can also work in a pinch.

The strap should be tight enough that the board doesn’t move around, but not so tight that it puts undue stress on the car or surfboard. Finally, always double-check that the board is tied down properly before hitting the open road.

A little bit of preparation will go a long way in ensuring a safe and successful trip to the beach.

Don’t damage it by improperly securing it on top of your car. To avoid this, we recommend using straps or bungee cords that are long enough to go around both the board and rack rails without stretching too tight so they don’t snap back when driving over bumps with their full force intact.

Loosen them up periodically while driving to allow for some give when going over rough terrain – but remember not to loosen them all the way because doing so will increase risk if they become caught in wind gusts and start whipping about wildly!


When strapping your board to your rack, be aware of the following:

Make sure that the straps are attached to a sturdy part of the car, such as the frame or a roll bar. Do not attach them to the windshield or side mirrors, as these can break under the weight of the board.

Check for any damage to the car before strapping on the board. Make sure there is no debris on the roof that could cause damage to either the car or the board.

Useful tips

1. Choosing the right roof rack system

When you’re shopping for a roof rack system, it’s important to consider the weight of your surfboard and the size of your vehicle. There are several different types of surfboard racks available ( soft racks, hard racks etc.), so it’s important to select the one that best suits your needs.

Roof rack systems come in two main varieties: those that attach to the roof of your vehicle, and those that mount on the inside of your car.

If you have a smaller vehicle, you may need to opt for a system that attaches to the roof, as these will be less likely to interfere with interior space. If you have a larger car or truck, you may be able to use a system that mounts on the inside, which will usually be more secure.

You’ll also need to consider whether or not your roof rack system is compatible with crossbars, which are designed to provide extra stability for heavy loads.

As you shop around, you’ll see that some systems are built with convenient front-to-back bars, while others have load-stabilizing side supports. Find the right combination.

2. Securing your surfboard for transport

Secure surfboards for transport by making sure that your surfboard is properly cleaned and dried before strapping it to the rack. This will help to prevent any damage to the board or the car.

Second, use a good quality strap to secure the board to the rack. This will help to keep it in place during transport. Finally, be sure to check the straps regularly and adjust them as needed to ensure a safe and secure trip.

3. Tips for driving with a surfboard on the roof of your car

When driving with a surfboard on the roof of your car, it is important to take some extra precautions to ensure that it arrives at your destination safe and sound. Here are all the tips to keep in mind:

  • Do not drive on high speeds and avoid sudden manoeuvres
  • Make sure the board is secured tightly to the roof rack system
  • Use a board bag if possible to protect the board from the elements

4. Which crossbar set will work best for you

When you are shopping for a crossbar set, it is important to understand which type will work best for your needs. There are three main types of crossbars: square, round, and aerodynamic.

Square crossbars are the most common type and are available in several different sizes. They are a good choice for vehicles with a limited amount of space on the roof, as they don’t take up as much room as round crossbars.

Round crossbars are a good choice for larger vehicles, as they provide more stability than square crossbars.

Aerodynamic crossbars are designed to reduce wind drag and are a good choice for vehicles that travel long distances.

5. Measuring your surfboard so it fits on the roof of your car safely

When you’re shopping for a roof rack system, it’s important to measure your surfboard to ensure that it will fit safely on the rack.

Most soft racks are designed to hold boards that are up to 8 feet in length, so if your board is longer than that, you may need to look for a system that is specifically designed to accommodate longer boards.

To measure your board, start by measuring the length of the board from end to end. Then, measure the width of the board at its widest point.

Add these two measurements together and divide by 2 to get the total square inches of your board. This number will help you determine which roof rack system is right for you.

6. Importance of straps when carrying surfboards on your roof rack system

When securing your surfboard to the roof rack system, it is important to use a quality front strap. This will help to keep the board in place during transport. Additionally, be sure to check the straps regularly and adjust them as needed to ensure a safe and secure trip.

Final thoughts

Securing your surfboard to the roof of your car is an important step in ensuring that it arrives at your destination safe and sound.

By following the steps listed above, you can use a rack system and crossbars to safely transport your board without any damage.

It is also important to note that, even though some cars have a rack system and crossbars installed from the factory, there are some cars that only have roof rails.

If this is the case for your car, you will need to purchase and install a rack system and crossbars before you can transport your board safely.