Easy Surfboard, SUP or Kayak Rack Pads

I’m a big fan of simplicity and keeping things affordable. Here in Seattle in the land of the big outdoor companies we have lots of car racks with every accessory for every sport.
1″ Diameter Foam

When I started kayaking in 2000 I got the Yakima Hully-Rollers which are useful for loading 17′ round hulled kayaks.

Then I started to get into whitewater and surf kayaking. Those boats have planning hulls (flat bottomed) which didn’t fit well in the half circle kayak cradle shape.  So I got the Yakima Kayak Stackers, the vertical metal posts which allow for whitewater and surf boats to be stacked on their sides.

When I added SUPs in 2007, these stacked flat on one side tied to the cross bar while my ww, surf kayaks or sea kayaks stacked on their sides attached to the kayak stackers on the other side. Eventually SUP usage replaced my kayak interest, usage and the towers went away.

Years after adding a rack to my car I’m now just using two cross bars as my racks.

I did go through a period of using fabric pads on the cross bars. Most had brand or shop names printed on the pad but I chose not to advertise other’s businesses on my business vehicle.

Now I pad with Insulation foam bought for $1.79 at hardware stores. The tubes slide on easy which I secure with black electrical tape or in the below pics, thin bungie cord.

They last a good 6 months of heavy use, and are super easy to replace.  Pool noodles are also a great option over your cross bars but those are hard to find here in the non summer seasons.

Another advantage of this type of rack is that you can use it for other purposes. SUP and kayak racks limit your roof usage for carrying other items.

How to Attach Insulation Foam
Here’s a few pics of how I attach the insulation foam.  For Yakima and Thule cross bars I get the 1″ diameter insulation foam. I’m able to use one piece end to end on each cross bar, attaching electrical tape or thin bungie or 1.5″ wide velcro every few inches.

If you add the tube in pieces, they will roll as you push your board or kayak on the car. This can help slide your craft on easier.




Bungie tied around foam.

About Rob Casey – Named a pioneer in the SUP industry by Stand Up Journal, Rob is the author of “Stand Up Paddling Flat Water to Surf and Rivers” and “Kayaking Puget Sound and the San Juans, 60 Trips.” Rob owns SUP and Kayak school Salmon Bay Paddle in Seattle. He also runs several paddling races.

Salmon Bay Paddle SUP Tips

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