Last week, a surfboard flew off the roof of a car on the A361 causing a serious collision and injuring 6 people. So we thought we’d put together a quick guide on how to safely strap your boards to your roof. This isn’t just about road safety, it will also stop your beloved board getting wrecked too!
Do not use bungee cords!
Bungee straps are stretchy. Although it might seem like a quick and easy answer, when you’re shooting up the M5 at 75mph, they stretch a lot more than you ever expected. This means, with the wind underneath it, your board is now rearing up like a wild stallion on top of your car and it’s only a matter of time before you hear that ‘ping’ and kiss goodbye to your board.
Get yourself a decent set of nylon webbing straps, preferably with padded or rubber coated buckles. Strap your board down firmly front and back, but not so tight that you crush the fiberglass. Avoid leaving the buckles on the rail; instead, make sure they sit on the flat bottom of the board.
Finally, tie off the remaining length of straps. Don’t leave them flapping behind your car like streamers.
Tip: Don’t be tempted to just trap the left over length of strap in your door instead of tying it off properly. One, it will vibrate and annoy you, and two, if it rains the water will travel down the straps and drip onto you in the car.
Use foam pads on the crossbars
This is a no-brainer, especially if you haven’t got a foam board bag. Strapping your delicate fiberglass board to hard metal crossbars will leave two nice grooves across your deck.
If you haven’t got any foam pads, wrap towels or something similar around the bars.
Mount your board the right way round
There are two schools for this, fins to the front or fins to the back. Both require your board to be upside down! Your surfboard is conveniently shaped so that when it is upside down the curve of the board creates a nice aerodynamic contour over your car. Always make sure the nose of your board is pointing down.
Placing your board the other way up creates a giant ‘scoop’ at the front, and therefore, when you’re travelling at speed, wind will get underneath it and force it up off your car.
In essence, if you’re buying your first surfboard, make sure you have the correct kit to get it home. You’d be surprised how many boards we’ve seen tied to a car (with no roof rack) by bits of string. Why would you risk losing such precious cargo?!
To help you out, here’s a nice handy video from surf coach Lloyd Cole:
Image Credit: The Somewhere