Tips for Aerodynamic Positioning of SUPs on your Car

SUP are big compared to traditional surfboards and will most likely put a drag on your vehicle's fuel mileage.  But you can try to reduce the windage with creative positioning of your boards on your vehicle.

I run a mobile SUP business and am on the road all the time, sometimes driving several hours to clients or for group trips to places we love to paddle.  I've found that by placing the boards further back on my car's roof I can reduce drag and increase gas mileage a bit.  This also helps reduce additional drag from strong headwinds.

4 tips for reducing drag:
- Place your boards on your car so they don't stick over your windshield too far. (see picture)

- Place the most narrow part of the board to go forward and over your windshield.  On a surf style epoxy board that's your tail - upside down. For Displacement boards the nose may be the most narrow part of the board.  Inflatables may not have this advantage since the rail foil and overall shape tends to be wider.

- After strapping down, do a shake test to make sure your boards are secure to your rack.

- Add a red flag to the board ends sticking out over the rear of your car.  Sometimes a fin may work if that's the tail of your boards.

My rig - boards pushed back above windshield with Mile22 Straps


5 Additional SUP Rack Tips:

- Place pool noodles or pipe insulation foam in between your boards if stacking.  Boards with a lot of rocker (bottom curve) or displacement boards with raised deck shapes can make stacking difficult. If rockered boards are spinning a bit, place foam (or a towel) in open areas.  Or add foam or a towel where displacement boards may rub against each other when strapped down.

Pro paddler Matt Parker's racing board stack


- I usually carry my boards finless to make stacking easier.  Get quick release fin systems to help with attaching / removing fins.  QFR, ImagineSurf and Larry Allison have quick release fin options.

- I use Mile22 2" wide straps for my big loads or displacement boards.  These add additional security while underway.

- Downside of surf style boards placed tail first deck down means you may have difficulty getting into a car with a hatchback.  Sometimes I carry boards deck up if I need to get into the back of my car.

- Surfers are known to have their boards fin up, tail first. The purpose is not only for efficiency but also in case your straps get loose, the fin will keep the board from slipping out.  Ideally your straps shouldn't be so loose you'll ever loose a board anyway.




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