You’re all packed up for the weekend to enjoy another surf adventure at a place you recently just discovered. Wetsuit, check. GoPro camera, check. First aid kit, check. Surfboards, check. Your about to load everything into your car but notice that there isn’t enough space for your most precious boards. Although it’s preferable to load your boards inside your car, there will be instances when you need to mount them on top of your car. So, is there a right way to do it?
Well, the answer may vary because there are things you need to consider.
First of all, cultural differences. What’s normal for one country could be different to another. For example, in Europe, they never put their boards with the fins forward on top of their car racks (except for longboards). In California, it’s always fins up and forward, no matter what type of board you’re carrying.
The second thing you need to consider is safety. Some would say that you need to put your boards with the bottom up, the waxed part down. Your fins should be pointed up and forward so in case it slips, the straps will catch it and possibly save it from sliding out. The wind will not get caught under the board, and it will be safer in case you didn’t strap your board properly. Others would say that the nose should always come first because it totally makes sense since it is the board’s natural aerodynamic direction. A few say that sideway fastening is the best option.
On the contrary, aeronautics professor Dr. Paul Dimotakis says the nose should come first. In his interview with The Inertia, he says, “My opinion is that nose first is preferable. If there’s any side wind, having the tail in front would increase drag more than having it in the rear because the flow would separate at the fin and it’s better for it to do that aft. If the bow faces forward, it’s also important that the board tip is down, again to minimize flow separation since the flow has an upward component as it’s going over the car and one would like the board to conform with that to the extent possible. I’ve sometimes seen boards with their tips pointing up and that’s not a good idea.”
Is this how you do it?
Well, it’s obvious that there are conflicting theories about how you should mount your board onto your car rack. You can always follow the norm or do it your own way. But always remember that safety comes first, for you and for other people on the road with you while you’re on your way to your next adventure.
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