Tips for Transporting your Stand Up Paddle Board

Transporting stand-up paddle boards (SUPs) presents a unique challenge due to their substantial size. Yet, with the right approach, getting your SUP from home to the water can be seamless. Here’s your go-to guide for safely and effectively transporting any SUP, ensuring you spend more time paddling and less time puzzling over logistics.

Key Highlights

  1. Choosing the Right Board: Considerations for selecting between solid and inflatable SUPs based on transport ease and performance needs.
  2. Using Proper Equipment: The importance of roof racks and SUP trolleys for secure transportation of both solid and inflatable boards.
  3. Safeguarding Your Board: Tips for protecting your SUP with board bags and secure fastening methods during transit.
  4. Preparation and Packing: Best practices for packing your SUP, paddle, and accessories for the journey.
  5. Weight Capacity and Vehicle Preparation: Ensuring your load complies with vehicle weight limits and preparing your vehicle for safe SUP transport.
  6. Safety Precautions: Strategies for safely securing your SUP to avoid damage and ensure road safety.
  7. Maintenance of Transportation Equipment: Regular inspection and maintenance tips for your transport gear to prolong its life and safeguard your SUP.

Stand up paddle boards (SUPs) are a fantastic way to enjoy water bodies, offering a unique perspective whether you are on a lake, river, or ocean. However, due to their size, transporting SUPs can be a challenge. Here are some tips to safely and effectively transport your SUP to and from the water.

Choose the Right Board - Solid Boards or Inflatable Paddle Boards?

man carrying a paddle board

Before even considering how to transport your SUP, it's crucial to choose the right board for your needs. There are a few options available, including hard boards, inflatable boards, and touring boards, all with different transport requirements. Rigid boards are robust and stable, offering a smooth ride and great performance on the water, but their rigidity makes them more challenging to transport.

In contrast, inflatable paddle boards can be deflated, rolled up, and transported in a carry bag, making them a popular choice for those with limited storage or transport options. They're also more forgiving when bumped or dropped, which can be a significant advantage during transport.

Use Proper Equipment

When transporting a SUP, especially a solid paddle board, the right equipment is essential. Roof racks are a common solution for those with a suitable vehicle. These systems securely hold your SUP on top of your vehicle, allowing for safe transport. There are specific SUP roof racks designed to accommodate the size and shape of paddle boards, providing secure tie-down points and padding to protect both your board and your vehicle.

If a roof rack isn't an option, consider using a SUP trolley. These are especially useful for heavier hard boards or multi-person paddle boards. They feature a lightweight frame on wheels that cradles your SUP, allowing you to easily roll it from your vehicle to the water.

Safeguard Your Board

Protecting your SUP during transport is vital to prolong its lifespan and maintain its performance. Use a board bag to safeguard your SUP from scratches, dings, and UV damage, especially during long road trips.

Ensure your board is securely fastened to prevent it from moving during transport. A loose board can not only damage your board and vehicle but also pose a safety risk. Whether you are using a roof rack, SUP trolley, or another method, make sure your SUP is secure.

Preparation and Packing

inflatable paddle board in a storage bag

Before heading out, deflate your inflatable paddle board and roll it up neatly to fit into its carry bag. Don't forget to include your manual or electric pump, and your repair kit. For solid paddle boards, you might want to remove the fins to make the board lie flat during transport.

Pack your paddle separately to prevent it from scratching your board. An adjustable paddle can be broken down into smaller parts for easy storage and transport. Similarly, other accessories like your leash, personal flotation device, and any other gear should be packed securely.

Consider the Weight Capacity

One essential aspect to consider when transporting your SUP is your vehicle's weight capacity. Make sure not to exceed this limit when loading your board and equipment. Stand up paddle boards, particularly solid boards or multi-person paddle boards, can be heavy. Add in the weight of additional gear, such as your paddle, personal flotation device, and any other equipment, and the weight can add up quickly. Make sure to check your vehicle's manual or manufacturer's guidelines to ensure that you stay within the recommended weight limits.

Safety Precautions

Safety should always be a top priority when transporting your SUP. Secure all loose items in your vehicle to prevent them from shifting while driving. If you're using a roof rack, make sure your board is securely strapped down and check the straps for any signs of wear or damage. The nose and tail of your board should be facing towards the back of your vehicle to reduce wind resistance and the chance of the board lifting off.


Regular maintenance of your transportation equipment, such as roof racks or SUP trolleys, can go a long way in ensuring safe and secure transport of your SUP board. Inspect your equipment regularly for any wear, tear, or damage. Loose or worn-out straps should be replaced immediately. If you're using a roof rack, check for any rust or corrosion, particularly if you're frequently transporting your board to and from saltwater locations. Keeping your transportation equipment in good condition will protect both your SUP and your vehicle.

In Conclusion

paddle boards on a roof rack

Whether you're a beginner paddler with your first board or an experienced paddler with a premium board, transporting your SUP doesn't have to be a daunting task. With the right equipment and some careful preparation, you can ensure your SUP board gets to your destination safely, ready for your next paddle boarding adventure.