How to video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Sp90k_gY0g

There’s several ways to tie a board to your car.  In this video I’m showing how to tie a single surf style board to a car using cam straps.  In future videos I’ll cover how to tie down race boards, multiple boards, using different types of straps and ropes.

My Set-up:
I have Yakima racks as I prefer the round bars because my pads roll when I push a SUP or kayak on from the rear.  As an instructor, I load anywhere from one to 8 boards on my racks depending on the class size.  The cross bars allow me to load a variety of boards, both displacement and surf style, and on occasion mixing in kayaks too. For large loads of 8 boards, I have 68′ wide bars – no wider than my side mirrors. I have two stacks of 4 boards, each secured separately. Some ask why I don’t have a trailer. I teach a lot in public places so I don’t want to have to park it, back it up or store it at home.  The Subaru works for me.

Pads for the Rack:
– Pipe insulation tubes are super cheap and effective.  Secure every 1 food with electrical tape.
– Surfboard pads which wrap around the bars work well.
– Some SUP board traction pads are good enough against the bars.

Which Way to Place Board?
– Nose forward. I see it as wind similar to water flowing past the nose may be more efficient?
– I put my fins down over the windshield otherwise the board rocker prevents me from getting in the back hatch.  Or remove fins, but either way, deck up is easier – for me.
– If I do go fin up, it’s because I’m stacking boards with multiple fins, offsetting each.
– The cool surfer way is fins up and forward. The idea being if the straps are loose, your fins will catch the strap.  My thinking – don’t have loose straps.
– If going on a long drive, I’ll push the nose of my board back where the roof meets the windshield for  wind resistance.  If so, I’ll put a red flag on the end.

Cam Straps
I use cam straps from two companies, Seattle Sports and Mile22.  Those pictured in this video are from Seattle Sports.  I prefer straps with a rough texture to the fabric so the buckle clamps more securely.  Sometimes but not often, the metal buckles slide, so in the detail clip at the end of the video, you can see that I’m tying an addition knot at the buckle in case of failure.

Mile 22′s straps are 2″ wide and have a plastic buckle that doesn’t ding my board or car when I throw it over.  I use these straps for big loads, 3 or more boards.

Ropes are fine if you use climbing rope or similar thickness.  Learn the trucker’s hitch to secure them down then do an additional knot to prevent slippage. My shipwright friends can tie their boards down with one long rope.

A Few Tips:
– Do a shake test of your rack system before putting boards on.  Shake vigorously.
– Put straps on first, then boards.
– Make sure no one is on the other side of the car when you throw the straps over. Ouch!
– If windy, bunch the strap to hurl it over.  Also secure one side to prevent board from flying off if you’re not ready to do both – are just hanging out, or doing other tasks.
– Twist the straps if in open air sections or on a concave deck, otherwise it’ll buzz on the road.
– Always do a shake test before leaving. Push/Shake both the sides and tail/nose.
– After a few miles, do another shake test. Twisted straps can stretch on the road.
– End ties?  Maybe for displacement boards 14′ or longer. But two middle straps should do it.
– If your buddy is in the process of tying down a board, ask how they want it done. Everyone’s way is he right way. Seen a few quarrels here.

Fins up, and offset


2 sets of four, long bars


Any questions give me a holler: rob@ / 206.465.7167
Check out my Seattle area SUP classes – beginning to advanced instruction and PSUPA Certification.


Salmon Bay Paddle SUP Tips

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This