Often the best times to go SUP boarding are those times you are on vacation. You’re relaxing, you’ve got time to kill, and your are able to unplug from the other worldly distractions that typically keep you busy. The problem here is that vacations often dictate we exit our comfort zones, and our go-to gear. Unless you’ve packed your Land Cruiser with your toothpaste, learning how to transport SUP boards with rental cars is a crucial lesson. The crew at ISLE offers some really great advice below.
The best stand up paddle boards for traveling
Without a doubt, inflatable paddle boards (iSUPs) are the most ideal type of paddle board to travel with. Why? Because when deflated, they roll up to the size of sleeping bag. Pack them as a carry on or check them as bag. Airline marshals can throw around your inflatable paddle boards as much as they want – there will be no damage. Remember this: inflatables are portable, storable and durable.
If you have epoxy paddle boards, the general rule of thumbs for most airlines (with the exception of a few) is to keep your board under 9’6. If you’re a few inches over the limit, they typically won’t pull out the measuring tape and you will be okay. Just keep it to a few inches over. If you get greedy, prepare to be denied, so exercise caution when exceeding the length limits!
If you’re driving, (depending on the type of vehicle), you should have the option to bring a variety of paddle boards. You will be able to fit several inflatable paddle boards in your car. Epoxy paddle boards will be most effective on your car’s roof, unless you have a van. Most trucks and bigger SUVs can fit 2-4 epoxy paddle boards on the roof.
How to pack your paddle board to avoid damage
Travel board bags for hard boards
Regardless of the type of board you take with you, one thing is certain, and that is to always store your paddle board in a bag for protection and ease of transportation. We recommend getting a board bag a little taller than your board so you’ll have extra room to pack padding gear inside it. Our ISLE Board Bags have a reinforced nose for extra protection in addition to pockets to store your fins, wax, GoPro or any other accessories. They also serve as a sleeping bag to keep you warm on the beach if you go camping!
If you’re super cautious about protecting your board, you’ll want an extra layer in your bag. Pro-Lite makes a tried and true series of paddle board travel bags with extra wheels, thick padding and durable material over a standard bag to withstand anything airline travel can throw at it. If your paddle board is damaged by the airline, it is always a good idea to pack some ding repair and patches.