Just like there are several ways to carry your paddleboard, there are several ways to load one on your vehicle.
The method that works the best for you will depend on your size, the size of your vehicle, and the size and weight of your board. These methods all assume that you have crossbars on your roof. And you want to load the board with the fin toward the sky.
If you have a SUP Taxi, things might be a little different because you have to get up and over the edge of the cradle and boards don’t tend to slide well on the padded cradle covers. If you have a high vehicle, usually approaching from the back is easier. If it’s a lower vehicle, you can probably get it up over the edge from the side.
1.The buddy system. Just like with the carry, each of you grabs an end and you put it on the car together. This is the safest and easiest way to do things.
2.The lean and roll. With one hand on either rail of the board, you lean it up against the side of your car just above the side mirror, and then roll it on up to rest on the rack.
3. Over your head from the back of the vehicle. For this method you get the board in an overhead carry and when you approach the back of the vehicle you should be able to get close enough to at least rest it on the first cross bar…then you can scooch backwards while scooching the board forward to the front cross bar. Be careful of your antenna when approaching from the back. You don’t want to bend it unnaturally or snap it off. So if it unscrews, it might be a good idea to take it off so you don’t damage it.
4. Stand it up against the back window and walk it up. A rug to protect the roof/back of your car and to help the board slide can be a really good idea. Also something on the ground to protect your board might be necessary depending on the terrain. Typically it’s preferable to have your fin in the front, over the hood of your car. But for this method it’s often better to rest the board on its tail. As long as you get it up there safely and it is well secured, you should still be fine, but keep an eye on it for any movement because you will not have the fin to catch it if the board starts to shimmy backwards. You should tell them to make sure it’s upside down.
5. If you have a fantastic handle like the SIC EZ, you can grab it by the handle and rotate it over your head to slide it on the roof. I rest it on the back of my forearm and elbow and use the other hand to guide it.
You may need a stepstool for any of these (except for the last one probably). Make sure that you have a very sturdy step. It’s already challenging to maneuver a big, unruly board. If you are trying to do that while coordinating stepping on a small, unsteady step, that is a recipe for disaster. So be careful. If you can test this out in a grassy area until you are used to it, even better. That should mitigate any potential damage from an unbalanced load knocking on the ground. It’s typically more difficult to get used to the sheer size of the board than the weight of it, so when you get comfortable with that, things should get much easier.
Once the board is on your roof it should be fairly easy to make adjustments to the positioning…you will likely have to step on the ledge of your door to get up there, but you can reposition by lifting one end or the other and shimmying the board.
Now that you know how to carry and load your board, we will have to do another post on securing it up there. Stay tuned…
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