How To Transport A Paddle Board Without Roof Rack: In-car, Soft Rack & Trailer

Do you want to know how to transport paddle board without roof rack?

This is about solid SUPs only since the inflatable ones are easy to roll once deflated. Unless you want to transport it when it is inflated, this post does not apply to it.

Because of their size, paddle boards do not fit in car trunks. Yet, you do not want to miss your paddle boarding vacation in San Diego.

If you have a solid SUP board, you will definitely have to deal with the issue of transporting it to the beach.

This should not stress you too much. Other people do it, so why not you?

With the tips we share here, you will see that stand up paddle board transport is possible without roof rack.

Transporting a paddle board without a roof rack

How To Transport Paddle Board Without Roof Rack

You have a couple of options that you can use for how to transport SUP even when your car does not have a roof rack.

You could try them out to see which is going to work, or you can stay at home and miss your SUP sessions.

You could also just get an inflatable SUP board and forget all the shenanigans about transport.

1. Paddle board transport inside the car

This is the very first option that you have at hand. But it may not apply to all cars. If you have a pickup truck, just tossing the paddle board inside the back is going to be enough.

If you have a station wagon, just fold the rear seats and see whether the board is going to fit. If your car has seats that split 60/40, you might not even have to fold the entire back row.

If you have an SUV, the third row seats fold up leaving space. However, stand up paddle boards are quite long and so it might not fit.

Be careful not to break traffic regulations.

Once you have exhausted the stand up paddle board transport ideas using your car, you can try the other options below.

2. Using a paddle board car trailer

If you love water sports, you know that gear for the same can be quite large. Imagine the size of the solid sup boards, kayaks and canoes. Thus, it would be a good idea to consider leasing or buying a trailer.

Your trailer could be made for smaller items, but you can add some modifications to make it safe and big enough for a paddle board.

You will also need to use some padding and straps to secure your paddle board while it is in transport.

3. Using SUP Roof Kit

This method for how to transport paddle board without roof rack only applies to some vehicles.

If you have an SUV without a complete rack but it has rails, you can use the SUP roof kit. It is expensive, but it is definitely worth it.

This kit comes with everything that you need to secure your SUP on the car. It has soft racks, straps and user manual.

Today, most SUV come with roof racks. If yours has a rack, you just need padding and straps to secure your SUP board to the roof.

Some SUV also come with rails, onto which you can attach a rack or crossbars to carry your loads.

Usually, if your car came with rails and crossbars, there are mounting feet too, which join the crossbars and rails.

If you have everything you need, getting your roof rack ready to carry your board is easy.

4. Soft rack: how to strap surfboard to roof without rack

If you do not have a roof rack, you can improvise and make a DIY sup board rack. It is very simple too and need not take too much of your time.

If your vehicle does not have rails, it cannot take crossbars. However, you can still make your own makeshift rack and carry your SUP board on the roof.

The reason why they are called soft racks is because they are made of soft material that cannot damage your vehicle’s roof.

Many people ask: Are soft racks any good? Well, they are a lot of good. For instance, they pack down small and lightly. They do not occupy a lot of space in storage.

You might want to try the Alfa Gear Universal Folding Rack that you can buy on These are used for transporting SUP boards, kayaks, canoes and other water sport equipment.

Once you set them in the right place, you will secure the straps while the doors are open.

When the straps are secure, you can close the doors. As rudiment as it seems, this is a sure way of delivering your SUP board where you want.

Since soft roof racks are thick, they look as if they can hold the SUP board fin down with it scratching the roof.

However, it is good practice to always strap the board with the fin facing upwards. Also, do not pull the paddle board on the car too much towards the back.

CAUTION – Do not use a soft rack if your car has a panoramic sunroof. You can damage it.

How to transport two or more paddle boards

It is possible to carry two or even more paddle boards. However, because of their broad size, they cannot fit on the roof side by side. Thus, you have to stack them on top of each other.

First, you have to follow the instructions for how to put a paddle board on car without roof rack, as we have shown you.

You will have to put some padding between the boards so that they are not directly on each other.

Image of how to attach a surfboard to a car without a roof rack

The fins of the boards will be facing upwards. However, the second fin should sit on the first one just before the fin.

If you have a third board, just set it in the same way. However, do not stack them too high since they might offset your car’s center of gravity too much.

Also, you have to set the paddle boards in such a way that they are not to the back of the car too much.

What is the best way to transport a paddle board?

This depends on whether we are talking of a solid or The best way to transport a paddle board is on the roof rack of your wagon, SUV or other car.

However, if it could fit inside your station wagon with the back row seats folded, you could transport it that way.

If it has to go on the roof, tie it up with the fins towards the back and facing upwards, that is, for fixed fins. For detachable paddle board fins, you could just remove them.

Other ways, albeit riskier, to transport your paddle board include using a bicycle or a motorbike.

If you have an inflatable SUP board from Isle Surf, you just need to roll it up, store it in its bag and toss it in the trunk.

Also, if you have the Three-piece Easy Eddy paddle board, you can transport it inside the trunk.

Can I strap my inflatable paddle board to my car?

You could, using the ratchet straps, but what is the need. Consider this … inflating a SUP board takes minimal time, and anyway, the package comes with a pump.

The straps need to be tightened up. However, this might not be possible with the inflatable paddle board because when you pull too hard, the board will give. It can never be as solid as a wood or other solid paddle board.

If it is not too much trouble, just deflate the iSUP, roll it up and stash it in the bag. When you get to the beach, inflate it again and hit the water.

Can a paddle board fit inside a car?

Can a paddle board fit inside a car

A paddle board can be anywhere from 9 to 13 feet long. Beginner paddle boards are up to 34 inches wide. While the width is not a problem, the length is excessive and it will not fit in a sedan.

With the back seats folded, the board might just fit in a station wagon. The same applies to the paddle.

If it is too long though, you might want to use a roof rack to transport it. You could order SUP paddle holders to use on the roof rack.

If the SUP board is not fitting inside the car, it is too big. You cannot force it to fit.

The good thing is that even if your car does not have a roof rack, you can still strap your paddle board on the roof, safely and without causing damage to the board or the vehicle.

How to transport a paddle board on your car

Transporting the paddle board on your car is easy when you have a roof rack. Just tie it up securely, with the fin towards the back and upwards.

The deck of the board should be the one in contact with the roof. If it is painted, the paint may peel off when you tighten the straps. Therefore, put something soft between the board and the rack.

If your car does not have a roof rack, use the soft roof rack we have recommended here. Just make sure you are allowed to do that by the traffic regulations.

With pool noodles, ratchet straps or foam blocks if you do not have pool noodles, it is simple to strap the board on the car.

I can also assure you that this is not going to cause damage to your car or to your SUP board, so go all for it.

You will have to secure the ratchet straps while the doors are open. Don’t worry, when you shut them, they will close snugly.

When you are done doing all that, toss the other paddle boarding accessories in the trunk, and don’t forget to bring your Type III lifejacket for paddle boarding.

Watch this video to see how to secure a solid paddle board on the roof of your car:

Other methods for hauling paddle boards

By the way, these methods are also applicable for how to attach a surfboard to a car without a roof rack.

But they are not the only methods.

You could use a motorbike trailer. Remember, the only thing you have to mind is that the weight of the trailer should not be more than half that of the bike.

Well, certainly, the weight of your SUP board is definitely far lower than that of your motorbike.

You can also use a bicycle trailer. Actually, this is a commonly used method because it is cheaper. But it is mostly applicable for short distance rides.


That is how to transport a paddle board without roof rack. You could also learn how to strap a paddle board to your car without a roof rack, and even with a roof rack.

It is quite an art, you know. You do not want the straps to be too tight since that could damage the board.

However, when on the freeway, with the wind bashing against the boards, you do not want them to be loose either.

Do not use just any rope. Use store-bought straps. You can order such as a complete kayak strap kit on, or you could buy the straps separately.

Once you know how to transport SUP boards safely and securely, you can go anywhere to enjoy stand up paddle boarding.

Anytime you are taking a road trip, attach SUP to the roof rack and when you get to a lake or ocean, get it down and enjoy yourself.

See? That easy. You can now go have fun paddle boarding in Santa Cruz.

Read my other posts on

Best life jackets for paddle boarding

Is it safe to paddle board alone?

Are cheap paddle boards any good?

Can you paddle board in the rain

Can you fish from a paddle board?

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