How to Transport Your Stand Up Paddle Board

Transporting a paddle board seems like a simple task when you think about it. But when you attempt to do it, it’s pretty difficult. The thing is, paddle boards are large – it’s not so easy to carry something twice the size of yourself. Paddle boards are also pricey, so knowing the best way to transport one helps avoid causing any damage to it.

There are a handful of options out there to safely transport your SUP. The best ways to transport a stand up paddle board are a SUP-now carrier strap, a paddle board cart, a paddle board roof rack, or a pickup truck.

Transporting Your Paddle Board with Your Vehicle

The first step to transporting a paddle board to your paddleboarding destination is to use your vehicle. Here are some ways to do that:

SUP Roof Rack

One of the best ways to get your paddle board from your home to your paddle board destination is a SUP roof rack for your vehicle.

What you’ll need when using a paddle board roof rack:

  • Crossbars: you’ll need crossbars on your roof. Without these, the roof rack won’t have anything to hook onto. If you don’t have crossbars, continue onto the next section where we explain strapping your paddle board directly to your vehicle’s roof.
  • Roof rack: lots of companies sell rack systems that are easy to install and hold your paddle board secure. Most are compatible with all vehicles, but double check the manufacturers notes before you purchase to make sure the rack will fit your model.
  • Extra ropes: there are roof rack systems that don’t require extra ropes or tie downs, like this one, but others do. You want to make sure the ropes are long enough to go around your paddle board(s) while leaving enough loose rope to tighten the system. Ropes longer than 12 ft are our recommendation.
Paddle board roof rack kit with extra ropes to tie down your SUP
Paddle board roof rack kit (crossbars needed)

Another tip is to purchase a side loading extension kit. It helps you lift your paddle board onto the roof rack when you’re by yourself. You can find one here. It has a lever that juts out from the roof crossbar over the side of the car. You lean your SUP on it then lift the other side to get your board on your roof rack much easier.

SUP Roof Tie Down

If you don’t have cross bars on the top of your car, you can order kits for strapping your board directly to your roof. These kits will include:

  • Padding: you’ll need some padding or cushioning to go between your board and your car roof. This helps avoid damage to both your board and your car’s roof.
  • Straps: straps with locks will be included to help tighten the ropes and keep your board secure as you drive.
  • Ropes: these will be used to strap the board onto the vehicle’s roof.

The SUP roof tie down kits will have you apply the padding to your board then strap your board onto your car roof. The straps will go through your car windows, which is super easy.

If you already have straps with locks that work well, you don’t have to go out and buy a whole kit. Instead, you can go to the store and purchase a pool noodle for as little as $0.85. Cut it in 2-3 pieces and lay it under your paddle board before strapping it down.

Pickup Truck

If you have a pickup truck, your paddle board can go right in the bed of your truck. In order to not to scratch or damage your SUP, you’ll want to get a paddle board tailgate pad. Here’s one we recommend. This provides padding to the top of your tailgate, so you don’t damage your paddle board as it rests on it. Tailgate pads also have straps to secure your paddle board to your tailgate as you drive.

If you don’t want to purchase a tailgate pad or if you already have your own straps, you can use a towel as cushioning on your tailgate to avoid damaging your SUP. Then, use your straps to secure your paddle board to the tailgate.

Before you start to drive, make sure to tie a red cloth or flag to the end of your SUP that’s hanging off your tailgate. This is a “warning flag” and is required by law any time something extends over the rear of a vehicle.

Your Bike

If you live in a town that’s bike friendly, you can easily transport your paddle board using your bike.

Some people are able to hold their SUP while they ride, which is one option. If you’re not able to do that, they do have attachments you can use for your bike.

There are paddle board carts that will hook to the back of your bike, so you can tow your board. Or there are attachments where your paddle board can sit along the bike.

Transporting Your Paddle Board from Your Vehicle to the Water

SUP-Now Paddle Board Strap

You may have heard us mention this before, but we’ll say it again – we started SUP-Now with this paddle board strap. We weren’t happy with the carrier straps out there, so we made our own.

The SUP-Now paddle board strap is great because it adjusts to any size board and to the height of any person. There’s padding on the strap, so it’s not digging into your shoulder as you carry your paddle board. There’s a place for your paddle as well, which also doubles as a handle, making it easier to carry your SUP.

Paddleboard Cart

A great option for getting your paddle board from your car to the water is a paddle board cart. These are super helpful because you don’t have to do a lot of the work (aka you don’t actually have to carry the board). You strap your SUP on the cart then let the wheels do the work. Of course, you have to pull/control the cart, but you won’t be feeling the full brunt of your paddle board’s weight as you walk.

There are a lot of options out there for a SUP cart. Some hold one paddle board and some hold two. All have wheels that assist with transporting your board.

As mentioned above, you can hook these carts onto your bicycle as well, making it even easier to transport your paddle board anywhere you want it to go.

Just Carry It

Of course, you can always do it the old-fashioned way, how they did it before all the fancy gadgets – carry your board by hand. There are indents or small ropes in the middle of the board meant to be used as a handle. Just put the board up under your armpit and hitch your fingers in that handle hole, then be on your way.

Have any other questions about transporting your paddle board? Let us know in the comments and we’ll be happy to answer them.


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