Unless you live right on the beach, you are not going to need to transport your paddle board in your vehicle. Since most boards are at least 8 feet in length, you will have to secure them on the roof of your car.
However, as we set off to find the best paddle board car roof racks, we realized our search wasn’t going to be quite so easy.
To start with, there are quite a few designs to select from and their capabilities aren’t immediately obvious. So, we had to test out different options and decide which ones worked for us best. To ensure that you don’t have to go through such a process, here is a summary of what we learned.
Types of SUP Roof Racks
There are two types of car racks to select from: soft racks and hard racks. Each of these has its own features, benefits, and downsides. So, you will need to determine which option is right for you.
Hard racks only work on cars that already have some kind of railing. So, you can only go for this option if your vehicle has a built-in system. As the name suggests, they are tough and quite durable. As a result, they can be kept on your vehicle at all times since there is no risk of degradation.
Soft racks are often threaded through the top of your car door. As such, they pass over your head and secure your paddle board with the help of this completed loop. So, they can work well with a wider number of makes and models of cars.
At the same time, they do have to be installed and removed every time you want to go paddle boarding. Not to mention, while they are sturdy, they may not match up to hard racks when it comes to durability.
What to Look For in a Paddle Board Car Roof Rack
In this section, you can learn about just what features to look for when selecting the most suitable car rack for your vehicle and your paddle board.
The first thing to realize about paddle board car roof racks is that you can’t simply choose a design randomly and place it on any vehicle. This is because most roof racks are compatible with specific roof designs as well as existing features on your vehicle.
In particular, you will need to pay attention to whether you have round, square, aero, or factory bars. Then, when selecting a particular paddle board roof rack, make sure that it will be able to properly grip these bars. Fortunately, these days, most SUP racks are compatible with most types of bars.
Now, there’s a good chance that you may want to go paddle boarding with friends or a partner at some point. In this case, you should consider how many boards your preferred carrier is able to hold. Typically, most paddle board roof racks are able to hold up to two boards.
As mentioned, most paddle boards can be pretty heavy. Adding to this is the fact that they are quite a bit longer than most people can manage. This is why you should look for racks that have a simple loading mechanism. This can be especially important for petite paddlers who can’t reach the top of their vehicle easily.
Consider paddle board car racks that have wheels on the very end of the racks. This way, once you have managed to get part of the board onto the carrier, you can simply wheel the rest of it with minimal effort. The same mechanism is going to come in handy when trying to get the board off of the vehicle as well.
There is no denying that the locking features on the car roof rack are the most important. First and foremost, you should examine how the straps wrapped around the board can be locked into place. For the most part, this will determine just how secure the boards will be, particularly when traveling at higher speeds or taking corners.
It is now becoming more common to find paddle board car roof racks that allow you to lock your boards to the rack. This gives you the opportunity to be away from your car and not have your paddle boards with you. While this is not an essential feature, it can be still rather useful and help to prevent theft.
Best Paddle Board Car Roof Rack Reviews
Below, you can find our reviews for the car roof racks that did the best job holding our paddle boards down:
- Carry 2 sup/surfboards: Comes with everything needed to carry 2 stand up paddleboards or surfboards...
- Fits most crossbars: Compatible with Yakima round, square, factory and aerodynamic crossbars;...
- Easy to load: Integrated rollers ease the effort of loading oversized SUP boards; A strap management...
- Padded protection: Soft padding along the mount cradle and protect your board from scratches and...
- Easy install: Comes fully assembled out of the box; Tool-free installation in about 10 minutes;...
This is a rather versatile mount as it can be used with cars that have different kinds of bars. Thus, it is compatible with a greater number of makes and models.
The mount can be installed onto your bars within a relatively short period of time. It is just as easy to have your SUP secured onto the mount as well.
Your paddle boards are held steady, ensuring that they don’t budge at all, regardless of the roads you are driving on or the speed you are travelling at.
- Equipped with new Speed-Link mounting system for convenient, tool-free mounting to Thule rack...
- Exclusive, telescoping design delivers a custom fit for board widths up to 34" wide
- Heavy-duty, steel reinforced webbing and spring loaded locking cam provide unsurpassed security for...
- Dual loading design allows for transport of two boards with maximum stability
- Soft, weather resistant padding protects boards during transit
This particular rack is quite popular among paddle boarders and it is easy to see why. The durability and secureness of this model alone are enough to make it a fan favorite.
There is also the fact that it is quite easy to get the paddle boards onto the rack as well, cutting down on how much time you spend on the process.
Thanks to the versatility of the design, this rack can be placed on various kind of bars on virtually any vehicle that you have.
- 🔒 super secure LOCKDOWN single loop system - cocoons around Stand Up Paddle Boards eliminating...
- 🧽 1" foam padding provides cushioning between SUPs and vehicle roof, with a soft inner neoprene...
- 💫 *NEW* 1" foam now extends to cocoon around SUP rails and prevent strap on rail damage
- ✌ 2 connection options - either thru doors or via roof rails / Capacity - secures 1-2 SUP boards -...
- 💯 nothing holds SUP boards-to-car better than Lockdown! 🤙🤙
Don’t have rails or bars on your car? Well, that’s not a problem with this soft rack. You can easily still place your paddle boards on your roof without any of these features.
This rack can be installed and removed as you please without doing any damage to the roof of your vehicle.
Despite being a soft rack, it is more than capable of keeping your paddle boards in place and safe during your journey, even on highways.
- Removable and Universal Car Rack for SUP, longboard, and surfboard
- Fits most vehicles that don't have existing roof racks -- sedans, SUVs, pickup trucks, etc
- Durable foam padding to protect your boards
- Designed for highway speed travel
This is yet another soft SUP rack that you can use if you are looking for a temporary and low-profile option.
With this rack, you can ensure that both the roof of your car and your paddleboard will be well-protected.
It is the perfect option for vehicles that don’t have rails and if you don’t want to bother with adding any kind of carrier features either.
- Universal Fits Cars and SUVs w/no Roof Racks: straps to and tightens around your roof, and around...
- Holds 2-3 Surfboards: depending on size/thickness, including thrusters, longboards, wavestorms, fish...
- Up to Highway Speeds: heavy duty straps and buckles to secure your surfboards while you're chasing...
- Comes as a Set: includes 1 pad for the front and 1 pad for the back of car, and all straps to setup...
- Easy on, Easy Off: installs in minutes and easy to remove roof rack when you don't need it
Unlike many of the other soft roof racks, installation is pretty simple with this option. So, you should have it up and running in no time at all.
The rack works well with all vehicles and can be placed on any car roof with minimal hassle.
Once in place, the roof rack does a pretty good job of keeping your paddle board secure.
- Versatile - this rack supports kayaks, canoes, and wind/Paddle/sail/SUP/long and short boards.
- Protection - Rubber Coating on the straps and adjustable corner pads help protect your boat and...
- Easy loading - loading and unloading your boats and boards is easy with the floating strap system...
- Universal mount - this rack features a universal mounting system, fitting square, round, Aero and...
- Secure - the featured ratcheting straps connect over boat or boards and tighten with integrated hand...
You should find that this roof carrier can be fitted onto most roofs with rails. Installation takes only a short while and then you are free to set off on your adventure.
The durable framework and excellent securing mechanisms ensure that your SUP is completely held in place, even when travelling on highways.
This is certainly a carrier that is going to last you quite a while.
So, What Is The Best Paddle Board Rack For Cars
So, which design can be crowned the winner?
Well, if you are looking for a soft rack, then the Curve rack can’t be beaten. It is incredibly secure and will hold the boards in place at high speeds as well. Best of all, it will protect the paddle boards during the journey too.
In case you want a more durable option, then the Yakima mount is the way to go. It is easy to install, incredibly versatile and is specifically designed for all paddle boards. What’s more, once secured, you can guarantee that your boards will not budge even a little.
These are the top tips to pay attention to when looking for paddle board car roof racks. With all the information provided here, you will have no trouble narrowing down the right choice for you.
At the very least, you will know exactly which qualities to look for in a great SUP car rack.
This page was last updated on 2022-01-16. Affiliate links and Product Images are from Amazon PAAPI