Paddle Board Transport: The Best Ways To Move Your Board

Paddle Board Transport, moving it without damaging It

No matter how strong you are, at 3 feet wide, 12 feet long and about 35 pounds, paddle boards can be tricky when traveling with them. So, if you were wondering how to transport a paddle board on your next vacation, I have you covered.

In this piece, we’ll be talking all about paddle board transport, so you look like a pro next time you hit the beach.
By the end of it, you will know:

  • How to transport a paddle board
  • How to put a SUP on a vehicle properly
  • How to strap down a SUP board

Firstly, it’s important to know that this does not apply if you have a paddle board that inflates. In that case, you can just carry it in its designated backpack and inflate it right on the spot.

So, if you’re still thinking how to choose a paddle board then take a look at the best inflatable paddle boards for this year. And if you do go for a non-inflatable one, then let’s talk paddle board transport.

SUP Wheels can be handy for short distances

Proper paddle board transport

Whether on a vehicle or under your arm, it can be awkward to transport paddle board if you don’t know how to.

First off, when carrying it in your arms, you should go for the handle located at the center of the board. Look for this handle and position it on the outside of your body so that you can grab the board and place it tightly near your body while gripping the handle.

Here are some practical tips:

  • Position the board on the side, so its nose faces forward, with the base of the board next to you.

  • Reach over the top edge of the board to grab the carry handle and lift.

Remember to protect your back so that you bend your knees and keep your back straight when lifting your SUP.

If the board is too heavy, use a cart with wheels until you build up to it.

How to put a SUP on a vehicle

Your paddle board transport depends on the type of vehicle you have. If you drive a truck, you can put the board deck-side down in the bed with the nose supported by the tailgate. So, you don’t have to worry about straps and about putting the board on your roof.

However, for those who own sedans, station wagons and vans, let’s talk about how to transport a paddle board on the roof without damaging it or the car.

Things you will need to transport a SUP on your car’s roof securely:

  • Crossbars
    There are crossbars that you can install on the top of your car’s factory-installed bars situated in front to back.

  • Rack padding
    There are specially designed racks with padding that can be attached across your crossbars that will save the SUP from additional damages like scratches. For this, you can also use basic foam blocks or padding.

  • Cam straps
    With cam straps, you can hold your SUP down securely. For one board, two straps of 12+ feet are needed.

  • Bow and stern lines
    You can either use a nonstretch, water-resistant rope or special ratcheting lines. With the lines, you need one for the bow and one for the stern.

I would recommend having someone help you with the lifting and getting your board onto the racks/crossbars because that’s the trickiest part. So, if you have someone, basically, it’s all about each one of you lifting one end of the board and placing it deck-down on the rack. It should have its fins toward the front of the car.

Lifting All By Yourself? Here Are Some 1 on 1 Tips:

  • For shorter vehicles
    Lean the board against the side of the car with the deck facing you and the fin at the front of the car.

  • Grab the handle with one hand and the upper edge of the SUP in the other.

  • Lift the board onto your knee and grab the other edge with the hand that was on the handle.

  • Lift the board over your head.

  • Place the board deck-down on the rack or padding.

  • For taller vehicles

  • Place your board deck down and fin forward near the back of your vehicle.

  • Lift the tail of the board onto the back of your car.

  • Slide the board up and forward until it’s in place.

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Additional Tips on Paddle Board Transport

Your paddle (if adjustable) can go in your car. But if it doesn’t fit, then you can attach an additional holder designed for paddles only.

Place the longest SUP on the vehicle first. Then, as you put the other shorter SUPs, put padding between them to prevent scratches.

If you have a truck and your SUP fits inside instead of on the roof, then pad your truck’s tailgate. Also, secure the board in the bed, so it doesn’t move around while driving. Put a red flag at the end of the board to warn other drivers of its length if your board is too long.

How to strap down a SUP board

If, during your paddle board transport, you are using a rack that had been designed to carry a SUP, then it’s easy. You can simply cinch down the built-in straps, and you are good to go!

If you are using foam blocks or padding, then just tie down your SUP with two cam straps.
How to do it? Easy. Here’s how:

  • Position your SUP, so it is running parallel with the car and with the widest point of the board between the crossbars of your rack.

  • Take a cam strap and position the buckle, so it is resting on top of the board and near the edge. It should be close to one of the crossbars. Toss the other end of the strap over your SUP.

  • Walk around to the other side of your vehicle and grab the strap and loop it underneath the crossbar then toss it back over your board. Make sure the strap is to the inside of where the crossbar attaches to the vehicle. This will prevent the strap from slipping off the end of the crossbar.

  • Walk back around your vehicle and loop the strap underneath the crossbar, then up into the cam buckle and cinch it down. Again, make sure the strap is to the inside of where the crossbar attaches to the vehicle.

  • Repeat with the other strap on the other crossbar.

  • Tighten both straps until snug, but not overtight. Too much tension can deform a SUP.

  • Tie off the loose ends of the straps just below the cam buckles, then tie any remaining slack to the crossbars. This backs up the cam buckles and prevents the slack from flapping around while you’re driving.

  • In the end, grab hold of either end of the SUP and shake it from side to side to make sure it is secure.

However, with the bow and stern straps, I would recommend using stern lines in addition to the cam straps. This is just to be safe in case there is wind, or you have a really long SUP. Also, do not worry about installing ratcheting bow and stern lines. This is how you do it easily:

  • Hook the end of the line with the ratchet to a secure point on the tail of the SUP, such as the leash loop.

  • Attach the other end of the line to a secure point on your vehicle, such as a tow hook. If you don’t have a stable spot, you can install a hood loop strap to create one. Never attach the tie-down straps to plastic parts on your car.

  • Pull the free end of the line down to tighten the line until snug. Be careful not to overtighten.

  • Tie off the loose end of the line just below the ratchet.

  • Repeat with the bowline. (Note: not all paddle boards have a secure attachment point on the bow. If your board does not, you’ll need to add one. Options include suction cup anchors.)
You can carry a whole load of boards with a high quality strap

Additional Tips on Strapping Down a SUP board:

Use a ladder if you have a tall vehicle. It’s essential to reach all points of the SUP and secure them well.

Look for the widest point of your paddle board and position it between the two cam straps. This way, you are preventing the board from sliding.

Add a twist between the cam straps so that you prevent the strap vibration while you are driving.

If you are making a stop on your way to the beach and you are leaving your paddle board unattended up on your car roof, then locking the straps is a great idea! Get locking cam straps that can be unfastened with a key. Also, there’s a more secure option, a locking cable. Better safe than sorry, right?

But then, even if you aren’t making a stop on your way, I’d recommend you do at least one or two depending on the length of the way so that you make sure your paddle board is in its right place and secured well.

Lastly, if you have any concerns or questions about what is the best way of strapping your paddle boarding gear, do not hesitate to ask me. And if you have any additional tips and guidelines on how you strap your board or paddle board transport, our readers and I would love to hear them. Sharing is caring, after all!

I might earn a small commission when you make a purchase through my link, so that I can keep my site running and pay the hosting bill. Read my affiliate policy to learn more.
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One response to “Paddle Board Transport: The Best Ways To Move Your Board”

  1. We have a minivan with sliding doors without a roof rack. Is there anyway to strap a SUP to the roof? I don’t think the straps made to go through the widows would work with the sliding door?

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Review written by: Tom

Hi! My name is Tom. During the year I try to be on a paddle board as much as possible. By reading this blog you'll stay updated on everything I test on the water :)

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