How to Transport a Paddleboard Without a Roof Rack

How To Transport A Paddleboard Without A Roof Rack

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Paddle Boarding’s popularity is on the rise, with more information about what it is, how much fun it is and it’s becoming much more accessible as a hobby or fun activity to do if you live near a decent-sized body of water.

The sport paddleboarding is most compared to is surfing, mainly because it’s a water sport and requires a large board, however, unlike surfing, paddleboarding can be done on a lake or a river if you want to and is much less intense than surfing if you require it to be.

How to Transport a Paddleboard Without a Roof Rack

The basic outline of the sport is to stand or kneel on a large board, with a paddle and use it to direct yourself around the water.

Paddleboarding is quite attractive compared with surfing as it does a full-body workout, engaging your arms, legs, and core, it’s more accessible than surfing, and can be more leisurely than surfing, so for beginners, this has its appeal.

One big problem that is faced with paddleboarding is getting and transporting the paddleboard around. Due to its popularity, there are quite a lot of places that will let you hire a paddleboard near a good location for it which is perfectly fine.

However, if you have your own paddleboard and know better locations than the places where they hire boards, then finding a way to transport your paddleboard may be problematic, especially if you don’t have a roof rack specifically for your paddleboard.

Table of Contents

Soft Rack

 This is basically a large soft pad designed to go on top of cars, the best comparison to make, would be to say it’s a small foam mattress to rest things on the top of your car without damaging the item or the vehicle.

Once the pad is placed on top of the car then all you have to do is simply place the paddleboard on top of the soft rack and strap it down.

This can be done with some simple straps, ropes or bungee cords that simply go around the board, in through the car doors and secured safely to ensure the board is tied down.

The only issue you may want to consider using this method is how safe the board is attached, especially if you’re traveling down a highway at high speeds.

If you’re unable to get a proper soft rack for your vehicle then there are other ways you can get the same results, any kind of soft or foam-like object big enough to cover the majority of the car’s roof would be an adequate replacement.

Pool noodles could do a good enough job for a small fraction of the price, or perhaps even a small foam mattress may even do a good enough job.

The main requirements for a DIY soft roof rack will be large enough to cover the majority of the car roof and thick enough so that it supports the weight of the paddleboard.

Use A Truck Or A Trailer

Now using a truck or a trailer may seem like obvious, or more complicated options, but they may potentially come at more convenience than installing a roof rack on your current vehicle.

Using a truck may be a much quicker option to transport your paddleboards around, especially if you’ve got a lot more equipment than just the paddleboard.

You may be able to access same-day truck hire or be able to borrow a neighbor’s, or a friend’s truck for the day or however long you intend to go paddle boarding for, this will simply require you to safely place the board in the back of the truck and make sure its safely strapped down along with all the other equipment.

Using a trailer has the same basic principles as using a truck. You may already have a trailer at your convenience, or you may know a friend or neighbor that will be able to supply you with a trailer.

If this is the case then all you need to worry about is attaching the trailer to your current vehicle, then placing the board down in the trailer, and making sure that it’s safely strapped down along with any other equipment.

How to Transport a Paddleboard Without a Roof Rack


This can be broken down into three different categories; essential items, clothes, and things that will make your experience more enjoyable.


So obviously you’re going to need a paddleboard and a paddle, then next in the list is a personal floatation device, this could be either a life jacket or an inflatable PFD belt. Then some other essentials will be a board leash like an ankle strap connected to the board, so you don’t lose each other and the same for a paddle leash.

The lesser essentials would be things like a compass, sunscreen, bottle of water, first aid kit, and a flashlight of some kind that is water repellent just in case you run into any problems like minor injuries, thirsty, and the sun setting on you.

These things are considered essential because if you didn’t have them and needed them it would make life so much harder when out on the water.


This will be either a swimsuit, wetsuit or drysuit depending on the weather and water temperature to make sure you’re comfortable. Then a spare change of clothes and a towel to make sure you’re comfortable afterward.

Things To Enhance Enjoyment

Waterproof bag, this will allow you to carry personal items like your cellphone and wallet, another good idea would be to have a small paddleboard repair kit on you just in case anything happens to your board, and a camera like a GoPro, this will make it easy to capture the memory and fun you had that day paddleboarding.

Final Thoughts

When transporting your paddleboard it’s essential to remember safety if you don’t have a suitable roof rack, don’t speed down highways carelessly, as the board could fall and cause serious traffic issues. Think about everything you’ll need for the day and make sure you have enough room for all your items,

otherwise if you’re missing loads of stuff the day could be ruined by this. Finally, make sure that the board is protected, make sure it has plenty of protection when traveling to ensure the board is kept in the best condition possible.

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