I love surfing. It’s such a simple sport, with the only requirements being a surfboard and maybe certain attire to make sure you stay warm enough in the water. But that surfboard…it’s big, bulky, and sometimes a big pain to transport to the surf break.
Since I obviously also love biking, let’s figure out this whole biking with a surfboard problem so we can put these great activities together and ride a bicycle to the waves! Surfboard racks for your bicycle are the solution. I’ve heard of some people biking with one hand and carrying a short surfboard with the other, but this is clearly only sustainable for easy rides and isn’t nearly as fun (or safe)!
In this post I’ll go through all the different types of surfboard racks to carry a surfboard on your bicycle and the best options on the market for each type. By the end of this article you’ll know everything you need to know about surfboard racks and trailers! Or just go for a top pick and get out there and go surfing!
It’s a long post so here’s the outline with some internal links:
- Top Picks
- What Type of Surfboard Rack Do You Need?
- The Best Side Mounted Surfboard Racks
- The Best Surfboard Bike Trailers
- The Best E-bike/Motorcycle/Scooter Surfboard Racks
- DIY racks
Top Picks for Surfboard Racks and Trailers in 2022
The Moved By Bikes (MBB) longboard rack is the best and most versatile of all the side mounting racks in terms of what it can carry, its quick release features, and the ability to mount on the rear rack or the seatpost (if you don’t have a rear bicycle rack). It doesn’t come with any bungee cords, so I recommend you get some ~2 feet bungee cords to go with it.
The Ho Stevie! shortboard rack is also a great option and costs less. If you’re on a budget and only carry shorter boards this will work well. Unfortunately the arms don’t quick release at the mount. If you want that feature MBB also makes a shortboard rack with quick release arms.
If you don’t want to install anything on your bicycle and want to have a rack for easy travel, a bike trailer style rack may work better for you. The SUP Wheels Evolution uses your board as the platform so you just add wheels and a nose cover that wraps onto the bike seat!
Read on to see more details and some other styles of racks, including motorcycle/scooter style racks.
What Type of Surfboard Rack Do You Need?
First off, what do you want in the ideal surfboard rack?
- It holds your board and keeps it safe
- It’s easy to take on and off (unless you have some beater cruiser bicycle specifically for use going to the surf break)
- Biking with the surfboard is still enjoyable. No awkward body movements required.
Side mounted racks are the most popular type of rack you’ll see out and about. Many of them you see are shortboard racks adequate for boards 8 feet or less (can carry bigger if you ride carefully and watch out for wind), but if you want a rack that can carry both shortboards and longboards, go for one of the longboard racks that has 2 separate arms like the MBB top pick. The advantage of the shortboard racks is that they’re usually a little cheaper and there’s only one point of installation, but that one point of installation is often on the seatpost (which I’m not a fan of).
Even though you can carry very large boards with longboard racks, you do have to beware of wind and quick changes in road incline and little valleys (like gutter crossings) where the front or back of your board could potentially touch the ground and get dinged (only a concern for longer boards).
Bike trailer setups that you can roll behind your bicycle can remove the potential dangers of wind and the board hitting the ground, and may be better for your needs. Some of them don’t have any permanent fixtures on the bicycle and pack down small so can be great for travel without having to have a huge bike trailer! The tradeoff is that they seem a little more involved to set up and are a bit more expensive, but this all depends on your situation!
Ok, let’s get into some more details.
Best Side Mounted Surfboard Racks
The best side mounted racks for boards 8 feet (2.5 meters) or longer (and shorter too!)
These kind of racks have each arm individually attached to the bike. One on your seatpost or rear rack, and the other on your headtube. Having the arms farther apart this way gives you more stability for a longer, larger board. Unless your board is super short, this kind of rack will also work for shorter boards and be more stable, so this kind of rack is more versatile if you carry different boards.
Moved By Bikes (MBB) Longboard Rack – Top Pick
This is the most versatile of all the side mounting surfboard racks. It can carry shortboards, longboards, walk dogs, everything. It has quick release buttons on both arms and the rear arm can mount to your seatpost or your rear rack with the included hardware. This will take your board to the waves. The arms can be turned sideways when not in use (like many other racks) if you don’t want to take the entire arm off.
If you have a very large board like a SUP (or you want to potentially carry more than one board at a time), MBB has some special wider lower bars that you can use for things like this. Awesome!
Be aware that the MBB racks don’t include bungee cords, so you have to buy your own. Maybe a ~2-3 foot bungee cord would work well for each arm. I reached out to MBB got some more info on why they don’t include bungees. It allows people to use their own gear that they may already have (not wasting here!), wrapping the bungee around the frame like the picture below holds the board in place better, and bungee cords are the first thing to wear out if left in the sun. They also mentioned they like using Better Than Bungee and cutting any unused tail instead of using normal bungee cords that can stretch more and allow the board to wiggle.
There are some MBB copycats out there on Amazon like this ENZZONE one, but I would be suspicious of the quality and they’re not that much cheaper.
Carver Surfboard Max Bike Rack – Includes Rear Rack
This is an unusual rack that has the surfboard rack arms attached to a normal rear bike rack. This surfboard rack is the rear rack and the surfboard arms. No quick release on these arms, but you can loosen the screws and remove when not in use. If you don’t already have a rear bike rack, you should hop on that bandwagon and get this rack. It’s also nice that this doesn’t use the seatpost for the rack installation.
The best side mounted racks for boards less than 8 feet long (2.5 meters)
These kind of racks have both arms attached to the same contraption that usually attaches to your seatpost. These are good for boards less than 8 feet or so, but you can definitely get longer boards on these as long as you aren’t on a bumpy road and ride carefully. You can usually adjust the arms to be a little closer or farther apart just by loosening the bolts and moving the arms.
Ho Stevie! Surfboard Rack – Top Pick for Shortboards
Has everything you need in one simple package. Aside from the newer Amazon-only random copycat brands, this seems to be the most bang for your buck that fits most boards up to 8 feet long. It includes the bungee cords to hook onto your board, and the quick release mechanism is only for the curved part of the arm, so not as good as the upgrade pick MBB Shortboard Rack. The Ho Stevie! rack also comes in other colors like metallic blue & metallic gold/orange.
There are a variety of shortboard racks that seem to have the exact same features as the Ho Stevie! surfboard rack, but they’re either more expensive or suspiciously cheap from a random Amazon-only brand. Prices are always fluctuating, so I’ve included the links to the other racks if you want to take a look.
Cheapo rack: SolidGnik Shortboard Bike Rack
Moved By Bikes (MBB) Shortboard Rack – Upgrade Pick for Shortboards
This is a nice upgrade pick because it has a nice quick release mechanism, but it doesn’t come with a bungee cord, so you have to buy your own (one ~4 foot bungee cord to wrap up over the board and around would solve this). In some ways this is annoying that you need to buy something extra, but it also makes sure the rack will last, as the bungee cords will likely be the first thing to go with the other racks, and I don’t know how easy a built-in bungee is to replace.
Disadvantages of seatpost mounted surfboard racks
As you may have noticed, many of these racks mount to the seatpost, which has some drawbacks.
- If you’re a small person on a big bike and already riding with the seat at its lowest setting, there’s no room to install one of these racks!
- The surfboard rack acts as a lever and if your seatpost isn’t tight enough it can easily twist your seat if moved around. I had some problems with this and often had a seat that was slightly twisted. Tightening my seatpost did help a bit.
If you’re looking for alternatives that don’t attach to the seatpost at all, you have a few options:
- The Moved By Bikes longboard rack has a rear rack attachment that you can use on your rear bicycle rack instead of the seatpost attachment. This is also my top pick for side mounted surfboard racks.
- The Carver Surfboad Bike Rack might work for you if you don’t already have a rear bicycle rack
- Look into the bike trailer options discussed below.
- If you have a heavier duty rack (common on some ebikes and cruiser bikes) you may be able to use the attachment systems designed for motorcycle/scooters discussed below.
Best Surfboard Bike Trailers
Bike trailers for surfboards are less common, but can be easier to use depending on your situation. I love the travel possibilities for the “just add wheels” type of surfboard trailer. If it’s windy in your area or you want to carry more than one board at a time, these surfboard trailers could be better. They sometimes have bad reviews as maybe it’s hard to get them working properly and set up securely, so be prepared to take some time to get that figured out at the beginning!
The first two trailers I mention are very similar. Although the SUP Wheels Evolution is my top pick being a bit cheaper and having more options, the extra pocket in the Mule rack is tempting. Both have similar solo founder vibes, so they both seem like reputable companies. If anyone has any other thoughts please mention in the comments!
SUP Wheels – Top Pick
Simply attach some wheels to the back of the board and a little nose cover to the top of the board that you can attach to the bicycle with a strap (so no tools and no attachments to your bicycle!). Pretty cool how you can carry huge boards with this small setup, but it can be complicated to setup. The airless wheels fold flat when not in use too! They have a variety of slightly different products, so let’s go through the differences. Check their FAQ page to see more info on the differences and how to install.
- SUP Wheels Evolution – The standard bike-friendly SUP Wheels. Good for most longboards, but not good if your board is extra wide. Can carry any board that tapers down to 15 inches or less in the tail.
- SUP Wheels Evolution X – A wider wheelbase better for larger SUP boards and inflatables. Can handle boards that taper down to 22 inches or less in the tail. Check their FAQ for more info on sizing to see if your board will fit.
- SUP Wheels Classic – This is not for bicycles. It includes only the wheels that attach to the back of the board, and is meant for walking with the board. Still useful, but not for your bicycle. If you have this already you can buy just the front strap to make this like the Evolution version.
Very similar to the SUP Wheels. Actually I can’t quite tell the difference except that their website says the nose piece has a “pocket for wax, leash, and personal items.”
The Mule website has some fun testimonials with some epic pictures of people seemingly going on surfboard bike touring adventures!
Salamander Wheele Racks – Upgrade Pick
This trailer is big and long and doesn’t fold down, but it can handle multiple large boards and has a bag that you can use for storage of wetsuits or other items. This is a big one and requires storage space when not in use, but it opens up lots of possibilities for taking your surfboards (and more) to the beach.
Best E-bike/Motorcycle/Scooter Surfboard Racks
We all know riding a bicycle to the beach is way cooler since everyone will be impressed with your badassity, but if you are a little farther away from the beach or have some other restrictions, some of the same companies above make racks that attach to other 2-wheeled devices. The wider diameter of the racks on e-bikes and other cruiser bikes sometimes make them suited to one of these kind of attachment systems. Yuba e-bikes clearly recommends using this moped one instead of the bicycle MBB longboard rack.
Moved By Bikes (MBB) moto rack – All Board Sizes
The same as the MBB bicycle longboard rack, but the attachment system is different. Each arm is installed separately, so you can install it next to each other if you only carry shorter boards, or you can install them farther apart to handle longer boards. Like the bicycle rack version, this rack doesn’t come with bungee cords, and with a faster moving motorcycle you will definitely want something to secure your board. Likely a ~2 foot bungee cord would work well for each arm or the Better Than Bungees that MBB recommends.
Ho Stevie moto rack – Shortboards Only
The same as the Ho Stevie bicycle surfboard rack, but the attachment system is different. This only works for boards generally less than 8 feet.
My Motorcycle Surf Rack
When I was in Nicaragua, I used my motorcycle to get to surf breaks farther away, and I was even able to squeeze 2 boards on one rack a few times (something that would be more difficult on the side mounted rack of my bicycle) by bending the arms open a bit.
One time, I even used my motorcycle to transport my bicycle, and awkwardly fastened it on my surfboard rack and wrapped around it with the bungee cords. What I’m saying is these surfboard racks can be used to carry other large items otherwise uncarryable!
DIY Surfboard Racks
If you’ve looked at all these options and thought that they don’t fit your situation or they’re too expensive, it’s fairly straightforward to DIY and make your own surfboard rack out of PVC pipe or something other light material. You may even have a bike trailer already that you can fasten a surfboard to. Perhaps an epic Bikes at Work trailer.
Here’s something random I found on Pinterest. Pretty similar to the Salamander Wheele Racks bike trailer but more badass looking actually, and hooked up to a child’s bike!
Then here’s a guy who cut some PVC and made it work on his bicycle frame.
The possibilities are endless.
You could carry your surfboard with one hand. You could strap a shortboard to your backpack like this guy. Or you could live the life of luxury biking to the surf break with a nice secure rack carrying your surfboard.
If you need any more inspiration, here’s a short video about some surfers biking to the waves in Mexico!