Surfboards are huge and unwieldy. They take regular trips to and from the beach and are often strapped to cars, attached to bikes, or carried awkwardly in the crook of your arm as you walk, run, or cycle to the surf. In that time, they can accumulate a lot of little dings and scrapes and these compromise the delicate exterior of the board.
If the fiberglass or epoxy shell is dinged or cracked, water can seep inside and cause great harm to the board. It’ll become waterlogged and will eventually start to slow you down, before the foam degrades and your once pristine board becomes useless.
To protect it, you need to purchase a surfboard bag. But how can you find the perfect bag and ensure that your board is protected at all times?
What’s the Right Fit?
Obviously, you don’t want a bag that is too small, as you won’t be able to squeeze your board inside and even if you manage with a little force, you could be stretching the bag and weakening the protection that it provides.
At the same time, you should refrain from buying an oversized bag. Your board will definitely fit, but it will also be free to move around inside the bag and could accumulate some serious damage.
What are the Types of Surfboard Bag?
Surfboard bags come in several shapes and sizes, each with their own pros and cons:
- Board Sock: A sleeve that slides over your board. There are lots of cool designs to choose from. It’s lightweight, cheap, and very easy to store when not in use. However, it doesn’t provide a great deal of protection against drops and can be a nuisance to slide on and off your board.
- Travel Bag: Built to withstand drops and mishandling and can often hold a couple of boards. These bags are great for travel and general protection, but they are also expensive and bulky.
- Day Bag: Provides some great padded protection and keeps your board protected against heat, scrapes, and dings. There are no straps or pockets and if you buy cheap, the zippers will likely fall apart very quickly.
The Best Way to Buy
The best way to ensure your board fits is to buy the bag when you purchase the board and test it. You’re looking for a snug fit and shouldn’t settle for anything less. You can also measure your board and look for a bag online or get one custom-made for your bag.
Surfboard bags typically come in fixed sizes and can usually accommodate boards that are a little longer as they have a couple of extra inches. For instance, a 6’5” bag will suit a 6’7” bag. However, it’s best to get a bag that is as close to your actual board size as possible—2 inches is too high.
If you can’t find an exact fit, always err on the higher side. It’s better to get a bag that’s slightly too big than slightly too small.
Packing Your Bag
If you’re traveling on a plane, it’s important to take extra care with your board. When you go to the beach, you might take the time to ensure the board is handled carefully and remains protected, but the baggage handlers won’t afford you the same duty of care.
To make sure you avoid dings and dents in these situations, take a look at our guide to packing your bag for travel.