Who would have thought that the board bag is actually a bag to put your board in? Still, if you want to keep your board in good order, then it's best to go out and purchase yourself one. If you're thinking of traveling for a surf and your board will be going on a plane, then stop reading this and get a board bag right now! What are you waiting for?
The type of board bag you get will depend on what you will be using it for. We'll look at what is best for day-to-day use, storage, and travel. If you take the time to get the right boardbag, your board will likely remain ding free while out of the water. There are three different types of surfboard bags: the standard bag, the sock, and the hard case. Each has its own place.
Standard Board Bag
Standard board bags can be split into two types: travel and day bags. Travel bags are obviously for the traveling surfer and offer a greater level of protection. Day bags are for general day-to-day use and home board storage. Board bags come in different shapes, fitting a wide variety of different surfboard shapes. Remember this when buying your bag.
Day bags have a lightweight waterproof or semi-waterproof covering, are closed at the nose end of the bag, and zip up at the tail end of the board. The most lightweight (and cheapest) bags typically don't have any additional padding for board protection. A slightly more protected board bag will have 5 mm high-density foam padding to cover the board.
- Used for individual boards
- Offers little protection
- Handy for day to day use
- Good for short-distance board transportation
Travel bags are constructed for the traveling surfer. They have more padding than day bags and as a result offers more protection. A decent travel bag should have at least a 10 mm high-density padding layer. This type of board bag is often constructed to fit more than one board. Some bags are built for up to four boards and are referred to as coffin bags.
- Capable of holding one or more boards
- Ample foam protection for extra ding resistance
- Useful for transporting a board or storing it long term
- Some have wheels to aid with transport
Things to Look For In Your New Board Bag
- Extra nose protection
- Padded carry strap
- Padding thickness
- Wax pocket
- Corrosion resistant zipper
There are two more types of surf board bags to discuss. One is the minimum protection option and the other is the ultimate protection option. The board sock is the lightweight and cheap option and is ideal for carrying your board to the beach. The hard case offers maximum protection for a surfboard and is the best option to guard against dings or breaks when traveling or storing.
The Board Sock
The surfboard sock offers the least protection of any board covering. It is essentially a large sock that fits over your surfboard. These are made of stretchy cotton-like material and provide a light covering. The sock is great for carrying your board down to the beach or protecting it while it is hanging around the house or garage. The sock also doubles as a handy beach towel when you've finished surfing.
- Offers the least protection of any board bag.
- Adds light weight for easy carrying.
- Prevents surf wax on your board from covering your best surf t-shirt when carrying your board around.
- Is ideal for short distance transportation.
The Hard Case
The surfboard hard case is the best protection for a surfboard. The hard case is made of a hard plastic mold and is like a suitcase for your surfboard. These cases offer a solid surround for your boards making them practically ding-proof. Travel with the knowledge that your boards will emerge safely at the other end.
- Offers the most protection of any board bag.
- Has considerable weight and is expensive.
- Fly safe in the knowledge that the baggage handler is now powerless!
- Is great for long-term storage.
That's it for board bags, socks, and hard cases.
Now let's learn how to pack your surfboard properly!
Your surfboard is the most important part of your surfing equipment and you have got to make sure that your board gets to your destination in one piece and un-dinged. Try not to finish your surf trip before it has already started! This will only apply when taking your board long distance - no need to pack up like this for the 10 min drive down to your local spot.
You will need:
- Bubble Wrap of similar
- Commercial Fin box of Polystyrene Blocks (For boards with non removable fins)
- Fin Key (for removable fins)
- A good quality Surfboard Bag
First off you need to take care of your fins. These are probably the most likely part of the board to get damaged in transit if they are non removable.
Protect Your Fins
If you have removable fins then remove them. (Yep - no surprises here!). Wrap them in a towel and they can be packed in your boardbag along with your board.
Do Not Forget To Pack Your Fin Key! You will hate yourself to the end of your days if you arrive at an isolated spot, it's epic and you cannot fix your fins back on. Your mates will not be able to stop laughing etc. Anyway, back to the point. Do Not Forget To Pack Your Fin Key!
For non removable fins you have to make sure that they are well protected. The easiest way is to buy a commercial Fin Protector. A Fin Box is a protective cover which fits over the top of your fins and keeps them safe. Commercial Fin Protectors are pretty cheap and well worth getting
Commercial Fin Protection
If you do not want to spend the money on one then just make your own. If you have some polystyrene blocks around (you might have just bought a new tv?) then use them to fashion your own. If not go to an electrical store / warehouse and ask for a freebie.
Protect Your Surfboard
If you have a decent surfboard bag then you don't need to go mad with the packing. We suggest getting a 10mm thick boardbag as a minimum for traveling and a board sock for a little extra protection. To be extra safe pay the extra money and get a hard surfboard case.
Hard Surfboard Travel Case
You can go mad and bubble wrap your entire board if you like but there is probably no need. There are some areas of your board that are prone to damage while traveling which should be protected. The diagram below shows the areas that need most attention. The nose and tail need full protection. The rails should have some protection. The deck and bottom of the board can be protected for peace of mind.
Once you have protected the fins and applied the bubble wrap to the areas you want to protected then you can slip the board into the boardbag. For extra security when packing use some of your clothing as extra padding. If you are taking a wetsuit then use it to protect the tail of your board once it is in the boardbag.
It's a good idea not to have anything hard in the boardbag that could be crushed against the board while in transit. This means removing your leash before packing.