Surfboard Racks For Cars

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A Review of the Top Surfboard Car Racks

Getting your surfboard between home and the beach is where a great many surfboard dings occur. Choosing a good surfboard car rack system can make all the difference. There are surfboard racks for cars that attach to existing roof rack systems such as Thule, and Yakima. Then there are surfboard car racks that stand alone without an existing car rack.

There are also tailgate surfboard rack systems for getting your surfboard to the beach in your pickup truck. We've reviewed two of the top brands of tailgate racks for surfboards on the market.

The following information will help you choose the best surfboard car rack system for you.

Soft Car Rack Systems for Surfboards

The cheapest, most portable and most practical option available is the soft surfboard car rack system. They install in five minutes and will work on cars, vans or SUV's. Manufacturers of soft surfboard racks are FCS, Ocean Earth and Block Surf.

Soft surfboard car racks mount to your vehicle by wrapping the fastening straps through your vehicle. They are designed for vehicles with four doors, they do not securely fasten to two door vehicles. The soft surfboard racks are sold as Single Surfboard Car Racks, which will carry up to 3 surfboards, or you can purchase Double Surfboard Car Racks which will transport up to 6 surfboards. If you are surfing with longboards it is more realistic to knock those numbers down to 2 surfboards and 4 surfboards.

This type of surfboard car rack is perfect if you are traveling and renting a car. They are very portable and adjust well to different vehicles, because the racks are secured by wrapping around the roof and through the vehicle. The surfboard racks are not heavy. They weigh between 3 and 10 pounds depending on which product you purchase. They all come with a bag to keep everything in place.



Block Surf have a well priced, well made surfboard rack. This is Block Surf's lowest priced surfboard rack for cars. It can transport up to 3 shortboards or 2 longboards.  You get good bang for your money with these surfboard racks. The surfboards tie down securely and do not shift around. Some other brands will only work on vehicles with rain gutters on the roof of the car. Block Surf will work on cars with or without rain gutters making them a great choice for travelers who may rent different vehicles. Amazon user reviews for this product have been positive.


The Block Surf Double Surfboard Car Rack does just what it's name implies, it doubles the number of surfboards you can transport. With the Block Surf Double Surfboard Rack you can carry up to 6 shortboards or 4 longboards. This surfboard rack will also work on cars with or without rain gutters on the roof. The cost is not much more than the single surfboard car rack, so you're getting good values for your money. Again, the user reviews on Amazon for this Block Surf product have been positive, receiving 5 stars out of 5.

FCS - one of the most recognizagle brand names in the surf industy has an excellent soft surfboard rack for cars. A common complaint with the FCS surfboard rack is that the straps do not stay securely fastened. The FCS system with the straps is different from the other brands, so it is important to follow the instructions on how to tighten and fasten the straps. You do not want to be driving down the freeway at 65 mph and have a strap loosen off. The straps are fastened securely by passing through a locking D ring. After cinching the straps tightly the straps need to be looped back through the D ring hole and then tied off at the end to prevent slipping. Do it the way FCS recommends, and your surfboards are locked in place. Do it without reading the instructions and you'll end up with the straps loosening off. I found a video that explains how to fasten the FCS rack straps, it is at the bottom of this page. Like the Block surf products, FCS offer a single or a double surf rack system. The Double Rack is only a few bucks more, I'd choose the FCS Double surfboard car rack for the versatility.


Ocean Earth soft surfboard rack for cars is the lightest of the soft surfboard car racks. It weighs in at only 3 pounds. For the traveler concerned about packing light, this is the brand for you. This is my least favorite of the brands reviewed because it lacks versatility and also the reduction in weight does reduce the padding and quality somewhat. The Ocean Earth surfboard rack will only work on vehicles without roof gutters. This can be a big drawback if you will be renting a vehicle or if you change your own vehicle in the future. I also have a personal preference when it comes to quality in surf leashes. The FCS surf leashes are a more durable product than the Ocean Earth surf leashes, so that bias I have translates over to my opinion on their surfboard rack. Go with Block Surf or FCS unless you are really wanting a light surfboard rack.

Hard Surfboard Racks for Cars

These surfboard racks are more expensive than the soft surfboard racks. They come with two center bars, which keep the weight of your surfboards up off of the roof of the car. These racks will work on virtually any vehicle, so if you have a two door vehicle and could not use the soft surfboard racks for cars, this style of rack is the option for you to transport your surfboards. The first rack I review is the most adaptable because it comes with a strap that will wrap all the way through your vehicle and cinch tight.



The Block Surf Hard Rack has two 50 inch center bars. This surfboard rack will transport up to 4 surfboards. There are two ordering options that you have available. This means that this sysem will work for you regardless of the style of roof on your car. Some cars have rain gutters and others don't, if your car has gutters, simply choose the "hook mount" option when ordering. If your car does not have gutters, choose the "pass thru" option when ordering. Will work with all styles of SUV's and car roofs, whether your car is a two door or four door model.


The Block Surf "Snubber" Hard Surfboard Rack for cars is designed for SUV's and cars with roof gutters. It features 50 inch wide center bars and will hold up to four surfboards. The advantage of these hard racks over the soft racks is that the center bar keeps the weight of your surfboards off the car roof. It isn't usually a problem for a couple of surfboards, but if you plan to transport 3 or 4 boards, especially longboards then either of these Block Surf racks is the way to go.

Surfboard Tailgate Racks for Trucks

Pickup trucks are great for easily getting your surfboards to the beach. The problem is keeping them from sliding around. A tailgate surfboard rack for pickup trucks gives the surfboards lateral stability. The strap systems make it quick and easy to load your surfboard and get going.



The Block Surf Tailgate Rack is a well priced product to keep your surfboards from shifting around in the back of your pickup. The strap system they have designed makes it very quick to load and securely fasten your surfboards to the bed of the truck. The rack comes with a mesh bag for storage when you aren't using the tailgate rack.


The SteelCore Security Surfboard Tailgate Rack is the only brand in the market place that gives you the ability to lock up surfboards in the back of your pickup truck. Prevent your surfboard from getting stolen in the back of your truck with the SteelCore Rack. The straps are cut resistant with an inner steel core. The buckles lock with a key allowing secure storage of one or more surfboards.


The FCS Premium Tailgate Surfboard Pad
will secure up to 2 surfboards across the back of the tailgate of trucks. Easily attach the rack to the back of your pickup truck in seconds. Pad is 20 mm high density foam padding. Designed for quick loading of surfboards. Comes with FCS storage bag when not in use.

Surfboard Rack Attachments for Existing Roof Systems

If you already have a car roof rack and are looking for more lateral stability and strength in your surfboard rack then a surfboard car rack by Thule or Yakima is the answer. Thule and Yakima are the top surfboard rack makers to attach to existing roof racks.



Thule is my pick for surfboard racks to attach to existing car racks. It is versatile in that it will attach to factory installed roof racks, as well as Yakima or Thule roof racks. This surfboard rack attachment will transport your surfboards safely. It provides excellent lateral stability. If you plan to use it for Stand Up Paddle Boards or Windsurfing boards you will find the straps that come with the 554XT are not quite long enough. Frustrating, yes, but it is a relatively easy fix. Just get some longer straps. Capacity may be an issue for some people. The Thule surf board rack will only carry two surfboards.


I don't recommend the Yakima Surfboard Rack attachment. The value for the money is just not present with this product. Let's have a look at what you are getting for $65. Straps. Hmmm, you want pads with that? All you have to do is order them separately. Yes it's true that if your surfboard is in a board bag you could get away without the pads, but it seems cheap to me not to include some pads. If you've got a Yakima roof rack, the Thule roof rack works just fine with the Yakima rack.

A question that commonly comes up regarding surfboard racks is this: What direction do you load a surfboard on the car surfboard rack? Someone told me I should put the fins to the front when I load the surfboards on the rack, but I usually see other surfboards with the nose of the surfboard towards the front of the car. Does the nose go towards the front, or the fins?

It's a good question, and the answer is that it doesn't really matter from a surfboard protection standpoint. I always put my surfboards on the car surfboard rack with the nose of the surfboard towards the front of the car. It provides the best gas mileage. The majority of the surfboards you will see loaded onto cars will be loaded this way with the nose of the board facing the front of the car, but again it isn't a big deal. The most important thing to do when loading your surfboard onto the car rack is to have the fins pointing up to the sky. DO NOT put your surfboard onto the roof with the fins pointing down.

How To Fasten The FCS Soft Car Rack Straps To Your Car


FCS make a good soft surfboard rack. Some people have a hard time figuring out how to fasten the FCS straps so that they don't slip. You have to slip the strap back through the D-ring. I found a video on how to fasten the straps.

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