Paddle Boarding and surfing are among some of the most enjoyable water sports that you can complete.
There is absolutely nothing better than feeling the cold sea air on your skin and having nothing but water surrounding you, it is a wonderful way to escape.
But no matter how relaxing paddleboarding can be, there is one thing that can cause stress, and that is transporting your SUP to the sea.
SUP boards are in no way small, and this can make transporting them very difficult. Especially if your car is smaller.
In order to transport your SUP around you will need a good quality SUP carrier or car rack, but it can be very hard to find one.
To make your life easier we’ve put together this complete guide to the best SUP carriers and car racks, with a shortlist of some of the best options currently available on the market.
So if you want to find out the best option for your SUP, then keep on reading.
OUR TOP PICK
- 0.1 Yakima SUPDawg Rooftop Mounted Stand
- 0.2 IKURAM Roof Carrier Rack for SUP
- 0.3 Orion Motor Tech Roof Rack Pad for SUP
- 0.4 Leader Accessories Rack Pair J Bar for SUP
- 0.5 Wonitago Soft Roof Rack Pads for SUP
- 1 Best SUP Carriers and Car Racks Buying Guide
- 2 Frequently Asked Questions
Our favorite SUP carrier on the market is the Yakima SUPDawg Rooftop Mounted Stand. We’ve selected this as the top pick for a couple of reasons, the main one being that it is easy to install.
Some roof carriers are unnecessarily complex which means it can take a long time to set them up, but this device is easy to use.
It is ready constructed out of the box, and takes less than 10 minutes to securely fasten it to your roof rack. You don’t even need any tools.
This is great as this rooftop carrier is also compatible with surfboards as well as paddleboards, so you will definitely be getting a lot of use out of it. So there’s no doubt that this is one of the best options on the market.
- Easy to Install - no construction needed as it is ready out of the box, and takes less than 10 minutes to attach to your roof rack with no tools needed
- Very Secure - uses integrated rollers and a strap management system to secure the boards in place while you drive
- Versatile - can hold up to 2 paddleboards, but can also be used with surfboards, simply adjust the width, attach your surfboards, and you’re ready to go
- No notable drawbacks
Another great choice is the IKURAM Roof Carrier Rack for SUP. This is a great choice as it is extremely secure, so you know that your paddleboard will be safe when it is attached to this carrier.
This is further supported by the fact that this carrier is built to last with extremely strong, aviation grade aluminum alloys which will keep your paddleboards safe while you drive to the water.
But this carrier isn’t only compatible with paddleboards, in fact it can also be used to transport two kayaks as well, making it a great choice if you are a fan of water sports. So you should definitely consider this SUP carrier.
- Highly Secure - uses thick rubber saddles to hold the SUP boards in place and sturdy straps to ensure they are safe while you drive
- Incredibly Durable - built to last with aviation grade aluminum alloys which are water-proof and corrosion resistant
- Lots of Uses - can also be used to transport two kayaks as well as SUP boards for a versatile roof rack
- No notable drawbacks
Furthermore, you should consider the Orion Motor Tech Roof Rack Pad for SUP.
This is an excellent choice if you regularly upgrade your car as this roof rack is compatible with most vehicles, even those that don’t have roof gutters.
As well as having a universal fit, this roof rack is also great because it is extremely secure with ultra long straps and aircraft-quality buckles to secure your SUP boards in place.
Not only does it protect your SUP boards, but it also protects your vehicle’s roof from scratches through the use of soft materials and padding.
So if you want a device that will protect your boards and your vehicle, this could be the one for you.
- Universal Fit - designed to be able to fit with most vehicles, including those with or without roof gutters
- Extremely Secure - comes with ultra-long straps and aircraft quality buckles to ensure that your SUP boards are firmly secured in place while you drive
- Protects your Car - designed using soft yet sturdy materials to ensure that your car’s roof will not become scratched by using this carrier
- Instructions are Unclear - which means that fitting this device for the first time can be time-consuming
You should also consider the Leader Accessories Rack Pair J Bar for SUP. This is the perfect option if you are a fan of lots of water sports, as well as paddleboarding, as this carrier is multipurpose.
This means that you can use it to transport surfboards, kayaks, canoes, and lots more, so you won’t need to buy a replacement carrier when you want to transport something other than your paddleboard.
This carrier is able to do this as it is built with heavy-duty materials and powder-coated for extra protection.
But you won’t have to worry about these heavy-duty materials damaging your car as this carrier is also well-padded. So if you want a versatile carrier, this could be the one for you.
- Multi-Purpose - this device is highly versatile and can be used with SUP boards, kayaks, canoes, surfboards, and lots more
- Heavy Duty - built with sturdy steel that is powder coated to limit rust so that this roof rack will last for years to come
- Extra Padding - designed so that it will not cause any damage to your vehicle such as scratches due to the extra padding between this rack and your vehicle’s roof
- Incompatible with Rhino Racks - this roof rack can not securely fasten to a Rhino Rack if you already have one on your car
Finally, we can’t forget about the Wonitago Soft Roof Rack Pads for SUP. This is a great choice as it is suitable for use with most cars due to its universal design.
But the best thing about this roof rack is that it is incredibly user-friendly and convenient to set up and attach.
It takes next to no time to attach this rack to the roof of your vehicle meaning you can enjoy more time on the water and less time fiddling with your roof rack.
With this plus an anti-slip design which ensures your boards will be secure all the way to the water, there’s no doubt that this is one of the best choices on the market.
- Suitable for all Cars - made with a universal design that makes them compatible with almost all vehicles
- Anti-Slip Design - soft design ensures that they securely attach to the roof of your vehicle to transport your SUP board safely to the water
- User-Friendly - convenient and easy to use, allowing you to set up this roof rack and get on your way in no time
- Not Permanent - the soft design of this rack means that it must be removed in between uses, you can not attach it to your roof and leave it till next time
Best SUP Carriers and Car Racks Buying Guide
Choosing the perfect SUP carrier or car rack for your car can be a tricky task, but the products that we have looked at above are some of the best on the market.
If you are still unsure we’ve put together this quick buyer’s guide full of everything you need to know to find the SUP carrier that is perfect for you.
So if you want to find out more before you buy, read on.
The first thing that you need to consider when buying an SUP carrier is the locking mechanism that it has.
This is one of the most important components of a roof rack as it is this part which ensures that your SUP is tightly secured in place while you drive your car.
Locking mechanisms are usually found on models of SUP carriers which are rack-mounted, and ensure that the carrier is firmly attached to the existing roof rack of your vehicle.
You will also find locking mechanisms to secure your SUP in place on all SUP carriers, even if they do not attach to your existing roof rack.
The majority of carriers will come with a lock and key style of mechanism as this is the most secure method. A lock and key mechanism will ensure that your SUP is safe from thieves and those trying to steal, as well as the road wind as you drive.
This means that you will be able to leave your car fully loaded without having to worry that you might return to your vehicle to find that your SUP and all of its equipment has been stolen.
So before you buy, consider all the different scenarios in which you might use a locking mechanism, as you may want to secure your board from more than just the road wind.
Number of Boards
Something else that you need to consider is the number of boards that you will want to load onto the SUP carrier.
If you will only ever be carrying a single board then there is no need to worry about rack capacity, but if you are part of a larger family then you might want to consider this.
The majority of SUP carriers and roof racks are designed to carry a maximum of 2 SUP boards, mainly due to their size and weight. But this will differ from model to model, so before you load up your car it is important that you check the weight capacity of the rack.
As anyone who has ever used a paddleboard will know, these devices are very large and substantial, so it is usually impossible for a single rack to be able to hold more than two of these devices.
So, if you want to transport more than two boards at any one time, a SUP carrier or car rack might not be the best option for you. Instead, you should perhaps look for a trailer to attach to your vehicle if you want to carry more than two racks.
So before you buy, consider the number of boards you want to carry and whether a roof rack will actually be able to support the weight of these boards.
Additionally, you will need to consider the mounting system of the SUP carrier. The best mounting system for you will depend on your vehicle, so bear this in mind when you buy.
If your car already has a roof rack, then it is best to buy a SUP carrier that works with this roof rack in order to secure your SUP boards in place.
There are two main types of mounting system that you might encounter, these are rackless roof racks and rack-mounted carriers.
Rackless roof racks do not require an existing roof rack on your vehicle in order to work, instead they bond with the roof of your vehicle, using a non-permanent method, and can simply be detached when you no longer need to use the rack.
Whereas rack-mounted carriers will attach to your existing roof rack in order to secure your SUP boards in place.
The main thing that will impact which option is the best for you in this category will be whether your car already has a roof rack. If it does, then you should buy a rack-mounted carrier, but if it does not then a rackless roof rack might be perfect for you.
Finally, you need to consider the versatility of the roof rack before you make a purchase.
Some SUP carriers will solely be able to carry this style of board which really limits their ability, as you will not be able to use the rack to carry anything else that you can’t fit in your car.
A lot of people who enjoy paddle-boarding will also be fans of other types of water sports, like surfing, canoeing, and kayaking. All of which require different boards than paddleboards.
So, if you enjoy these sports but buy a roof carrier that is only able to carry SUP boards then you will not be able to transport your surfboard, or kayak, on the roof of your car. Of course, this will only affect you if you do enjoy completing other water sports too.
If you only enjoy paddleboarding, then a carrier that is only suitable for SUP boards will be fine for you, but if you enjoy other types of water sports you should look for a more versatile carrier.
This will mean that you won’t need to change your roof rack every time that you want to take a different piece of equipment out to the water.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you carry a SUP on a roof rack?
If you want to carry a SUP on your existing roof rack, then the first thing that you will need to do is pad the rack. Once the rack has been padded out sufficiently you should place your board on the rack.
It is very important that you balance it in the center of the crossbars with the tail pointing forward. Then you should use straps that are suitable with your roof rack to secure it in place.
Finally, you should check that the straps are tightened properly to ensure that your SUP is secure, and then you are good to go.
Can you use a kayak rack for a paddleboard?
Yes, you can use a kayak rack to carry a paddleboard. A kayak is one of the heaviest and largest things that you might attach to your roof rack, and so anything lighter than this will be easy to secure on the rack.
So yes, you will be able to attach your paddleboard to your vehicle using your kayak rack. The most important thing is that you ensure that the paddleboard is securely connected before you begin driving to ensure that it is safe, secure, and will not get damaged.
How do you transport a SUP in a car?
The best way to transport your SUP in your car is actually to carry it on top of your vehicle. Not all vehicles are compatible with roof racks, but if your vehicle is then this is the most effective way to carry your SUP.
You should position your SUP so that it is running parallel with your vehicle and so that the widest point of the board is located between the crossbars of the roof rack.
Once that is fitted in place you can then secure the SUP in place with a cam strap, with the buckle in the center for the best security.
You should then tug on the strap to check that it is properly secured before you start driving your vehicle again.
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I’m an Colorado native, who learned to surf in the Pacific Northwest, and SW Canada. I live inland near the mountains now, and love to get out on my SUP. It’s weird, but I love windy, choppy days as no-one is out and I like the challenge.