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SUP Racks: Storage and Transportation Solutions

Stand up paddle boarding has taken the world by storm. Outdoor enthusiasts around the globe are taking to the water with paddle boards, discovering new blue spaces close to home, and even traveling further afield. Regardless of if you have inflatable paddle boards or epoxy, one thing remains the same – SUP racks are needed for easier transportation and safer storage.

The best SUP racks all feature similar features: padded brackets, securing bungee cords, and space-saving designs. Using a SUP rack ensures your paddle boards are kept safe in storage with all your gear carefully organized.

There are several types of SUP racks for storage available: wall racks, ceiling racks, and freestanding racks. You can use these for both epoxy stand up paddle boards and inflatable paddle boards.

Paddle board lovers also need to think about transportation SUP racks. Inflatable paddle boards have the advantage of deflation for easier travel. Epoxy SUPs are slightly harder to get around. However, fitting roof racks to your vehicle, either built-in or soft, will solve the problem and get you hitting the road in no time.

One last area of transportation solutions is getting your SUP to and from your chosen body of water. Getting a reliable rack and carry strap in your paddle board accessory collection is highly recommended. Learn from previous paddlers’ struggles and take on our expert top tips!

Types of SUP Racks

There are three types of SUP racks for storing your board: wall, ceiling, and freestanding. They all have different qualities but with the same end goal – to keep paddle boards safe and ding-free in storage.

Which type of SUP rack you choose depends on several factors:

  1. How much space do you have for storing your paddle board?
  2. Do you have multiple SUPs?
  3. Do you want to showcase your paddle boards or tuck them away discreetly?
  4. What is your ideal budget for SUP racks and other accessories?

After you have outlined what you need from your SUP racks, then you can determine what style to shop for.

Stand Up Paddle Board Wall Racks

Wall racks are the most standard type of SUP rack out there. As the name suggests, this storage solution mounts to the wall typically with two brackets and supports the stand up paddleboard against the wall. Some are super heavy duty while others focus on minimalistic design qualities.

The brackets, or arms, are padded to protect the board from any damage or compression marks while being stored. Most are made using aluminum, however some designs use wood or composite plastics. Bungee cords are in place for extra support and security for the paddleboards in storage.

Features do vary. Some SUP wall racks have the option to store multiple paddle boards. They are typically supported in a horizontal position. Generally, these racks have adjustable arms so the user can customize the height – perfect if you also have a kayak in your outdoor gear quiver.

Wall racks for stand up paddle boards can be installed indoors or outdoors. They require a clear wall space that is slightly larger than the SUP being stored.

Stand Up Paddle Board Ceiling Racks

SUP ceiling racks are a fantastic option for space saving. These racks fix into the ceiling of the home, garage, or structure. Using either straps or brackets, the board is suspended overhead.

Similar to wall racks, ceiling racks tend to be made from lightweight metal and foam pads for additional protection. Most often these racks only carry one or two SUPs or surf boards. Some larger designed mounts can support up to four, but users do need to be wary of the weight capacity of the fittings and the amount of equipment on the mount.

Ceiling racks obviously require a clear ceiling space. This rack option looks great in modern homes with high ceilings – the SUPs take on a decorative feature. Most of the time, ceiling racks are installed in garages or even under decking, a great space saving hack.

Freestanding SUP Racks

A freestanding SUP rack is portable and often the preferred choice for displaying boards. These racks can be placed anywhere and are easy to move.

The frame is typically made out of aluminum or wood, with foam pads for extra safety to the paddle board. Bungee cords can be used to give extra security to ensure the board doesn’t fall over.

The boards are held and stored vertically in freestanding paddle board racks. If you are considering this type of rack you must make sure that you have the space and height to fit your paddle board (10 ft or more). Otherwise, you can set these racks outdoors, just keep them under cover and out of direct sunlight.

This rack type tends to be the cheapest option. Some designs allow for multiple boards, or there are individual racks as well.

SUP Car Racks and Transportation

Traveling and transporting paddle boards is a feat in its own right. It’s important to not underestimate the difficulty of carrying a 10ft+ SUP on your vehicle.

Inflatable paddle boards have the advantage of deflation and compacting down into an easy and manageable size. However, sometimes you don’t want to deflate your board to only re-inflate on the other end of your journey. Perhaps you’re also transporting epoxy hard paddle boards.

Car rack solutions are an essential accessory to have in your outdoor sports gear.

Vehicles Without a Built-in Roof Rack

Don’t have a built-in roof rack? No problem! Soft roof racks are designed with these vehicles in mind.

These racks strap onto the car roof and are secured with heavy duty strapping through the doors. Foam pads, further straps, and buckles are used to secure and protect the paddle board in place.

First, you need to secure the soft rack in place on the vehicle. Make sure the straps are tight and won’t move while you’re driving. You can do this by trying to push and pull the pads on the car roof – they should remain in place. Once happy with this, place the SUP directly on the pads, deck down and fins up, with the nose of the board at the front of the car. Secure the board in place with the other straps and tie off the loose ends.

Some designs are double sided, so you can carry two (or even four) boards at one time! However, this is more aimed towards surfboards. Standard paddle board designs are single with the option to double stack due to the width of SUPs. Always check the recommended capacity from the manufacturer of the soft roof rack.

While these soft racks are secure, it’s still advised you drive with extra caution to avoid the wind catching at the SUP. You’ll notice the board may rock or gently bounce as you drive. This is normal as the pads cushion the paddle board in transit.

Vehicles With a Built-in Roof Rack

Some vehicles have roof bars already installed. This is the ideal setup for transporting a SUP on the car roof. You’ll need secure roof rack straps and roof rack pads to make the bars safer for the SUP.

Place the SUP directly on the padded bars, deck down and fins up, with the nose of the board at the front of the car. Some people like to also use a board sock or cover for added protection. Using strong buckled straps, lash the SUP down on both sides and tie off the ends. We recommend using two straps: one for the front and one for the rear of the board.

To check the board is secure, gently rock it. The SUP should feel like it’s not moving. Once happy, get on the road remembering that you have boards on top. You should adjust your driving slightly and avoid high speeds.

SUP Transport To and From the Water

After reaching the beach, river, or lake you want to paddle, don’t get caught out by struggling to get to the water. Some paddle boards can be difficult to handle, especially for youths or smaller adults. The weight and size of SUPs can be a hindrance when trying to carry if you aren’t lucky to have a lightweight iSUP.

Paddle board shoulder carry straps are a perfect solution. Simply attach to the d-rings on the SUP and sling the board over your shoulder. Once you reach the water you can stow away the strap in the bungee storage system, ready to help carry the board back up after your session.

Tips For Storing an Inflatable Paddle Board

Inflatable paddle boards offer more storage solutions than the hard board alternatives. Deflating, rolling, and packing away into a backpack is a major advantage to owning an iSUP. However, you don’t always have to deflate the board.

Just keep in mind these top tips for storing an inflatable paddle board:

  • Always wash off salt water and sand, this will protect the seams and overall construction of the iSUP
  • Keep out of direct sunlight and elements
  • When keeping the iSUP inflated, release a couple of PSI levels to relieve pressure on the seams, this will extend the lifespan of the board
  • When deflating and packing away the iSUP, always ensure the paddle board is dry to avoid mould and mildew