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Transportation, Storage & Care




Goodboy V Rack (flatter V option in back) photo: Cyril Derreumaux facebook review

Car Top Boat Carriers

Surfskis and Outrigger Canoes are relatively long boats to transport with car roof boat racks and carriers. If you haul such long boats on a sedan or other short roofed vehicle, there will be a lot of boat not supported or controlled by anything longitudinally unless you add longer supports to your roof racks. Such racks can be home made with a little ingenuity or purchased from several manufacturers. Longitudinal support can also be increased for some cars via a trailer hitch mount.


  • Safety
    • Maintenance
      • Regularly Check Connections and tighten or replace when needed - roof to roof mount, roof mount to cross bars, cross bars to longitudinal bars or load assist setups.
        • Some longitudinal bars use some sort of locking nut (aircraft nuts) that will not unscrew due to vibration, etc. But cross bar connections and roof mount connections often have adjustable bolts and nuts that can and do loosen from vibration - regularly check and tighten them if needed. Rack manufacturers now typically provide torque wrenches for achieving the proper tightness and avoiding over tightening.
    • Precautions to Consider
      • A strap over your whole setup and going inside your car, snug but not super tight (close your back doors on the strap) can provide a critical safeguard in case of roof rack failures. It may provide that extra bit of time that allows you to slow down and pull over before any part of your rack detaches - before something actually falls off and is destroyed or endangers other travelers.
      • Don't rely solely a single bungee strap with V-racks or rely on old bungees - replace old bungee regularly and double-up for highway driving. Add non-stretch tie downs on boats in addition to or instead of bungee.
      • While it is problematic to tie straps on the ends of your boats, you can add straps fore and aft to your rack bars for additional security.
      • Some folks have bolted their cross bars through their car roofs - maybe something you are okay doing with older, less valuable cars?
      • For racks that have clamps that hook into the door wells some folks have drilled through such clamps and screwed the clamps to their door wells. If you do this, don't do it in a way that would substantially weaken those clamps (too many or too large holes) - the idea is to reduce the likelihood of the clamp slipping out and off of the door well - make sure you check clamp tightness regularly. You might also want to use rubber gaskets or silicone caulk to prevent water penetration around the screws.


Longitudinally Stretched Racks

several of these have the option of removable V ends which can be quite valuable if you anticipate needing to park in parking garages or anywhere else with low overhead clearance. Some of them sometimes do custom work or offer extension options that are not necessarily obvious or even shown on their websites. If you are thinking about a change/improvement/variation or something you do not see in one of these base designs - ask if they can help you get what you are looking for.

Carrying Suggestions:

  • Carrying your boats at an angle (video link) note that this may decrease the stress from cross wind but it can also increase lift making the strapping suggestions even more critical. One of the ultra light surfski manufacturers, Nordic Kayak, recommends the angled approach for their surfskis in V racks. Owners of other very light boats, including most OCs of recent vintage, may also want to seriously consider this carrying position with V racks.
  • Surfski Upside Down video advantage of strap following contour of boat bottom spreading load? Is spreading the vertical load actually that large/critical? Maybe only if you tend to over tighten? You can also spread load by using wider straps. If your ski has a flat rear deck this suggestion may only work well with a flat rack end like llama rack offers.


Commercial Brands

Kayak Saddles & Carriers

Upright Roof Bars

Probably designed for stacking kayaks, SUPs, etc. on their sides - so maybe most appropriate for plastic boats and their like intended for rugged handling?

Trailer Hitch Rack Mount

Extended Rack with Custom Attachments

Load Assistance


photo from Escape Outdoors video (looks like a Keri-Tek UK rack)


Lift Assist

Tie Downs

The 3 R's - Repair, Replace, or Regret. Wider straps better disperse the force on the surface of boats. Surfskis and Outrigger Canoes can be damaged by straps that are excessively tightened. Some kind of soft guard under cam strap buckles is very helpful.

Security Locks

Most commonly imagined is a set of loops/yokes to fit over each end with some kind of cable connecting both loops tightly enough so that the loops cannot be slide off of the ends of your boat. If you are looking for a ready made one, you might ask Lasso Security if one of theirs will fit your surfski.

If you have a hole (drain hole?) in your surfski that is 3/4 inch (1.91 cm) diameter or larger this lock can work: Lasso Master LockAll


Boat Stands

Homemade Boat Stands - Paddle Channel

Boat Trailers


There are many different styles and load capacities in boat trailers. If/when we get experience with or recommendations for specific trailers we will include that information here. In the meantime you will have to do your own research. Among other things to pay attention to, you have to get a trailer tongue that is long enough for surfskis (& doubles?) - can you easily add a tongue extension??. Here are a few places that you might start looking…


Home Storage

Paddle Travel

Boat Care

Rinsing and Drying

You want to keep your boat and equipment clean and dry. Rinsing with fresh water is particularly important after each outing in salt water.

  • Rinse
    • DIY Car Top Washer this can be used to rinse your boat as well as the top of your car (particularly helpful with salt water) if you do not have boat rinse stations handy where you paddle.
    • Portable Rinsers
      • Water Sprayers - 2,3 gallon pump and spray - inexpensive - easy to find at hardward stores.
  • Drying Inside of Hull

Boat Covers

Boat covers can protect boats from UV during outside storage (the cover itself will decay instead - how fast depends on the materials in the cover) and they can prevent dings from flying rocks, etc. while traveling. But JD Davies in the Gorge reports that covers with any slack in fit will flap against boats while driving on highways and dull boat finishes (the material composition of the cover may make a difference, others using bags with soft inner linings have reported driving many miles with no ill effects).

Some of the following companies make covers that are more robust and more expensive than surfski brand covers and other less expensive options. Be aware that if you use a cheaper canvas cover for outside storage that the cover will probably deteriorate quite rapidly.

Discussion Surfski Kayak Facebook Group 2/1/2023

River Bear Racing on covers: “Undoubtedly the best way to guard against handling rash and sun faded gelcoat is to store your boat inside, typically in a garage, and inside a boat cover (keeping it in the cover helps protect against those little bumps against all that stuff you have stored in your garage…) And keep your boat inside the cover whenever you’re carrying it somewhere, especially if it will be sitting outside in the sun for long periods of time. It protects your boat against bugs and road debris while traveling, as well as against UV. A boat cover is a cheap investment in protecting your kayak or surf ski; it will absorb the wear and tear that would otherwise be absorbed by your boat. Simply replace it when it wears out. I believe in covers enough that I automatically include a cover with every boat I sell at no extra cost. For even more protection, Stellar offers padded covers. Or for a little more style, bright neon colors (helps to ensure your boat is seen on top of your vehicle as well). But the basic gray nylon cover does a dandy job of protecting your boat, with the added bonus of a flag on the back so you don’t have to attach a separate flag when transporting your boat. If your boat gets rain-soaked while in the cover, be sure to remove the cover and air it out when you get home so you don’t build up mold.”

boat_transport_and_storage.txt · Last modified: 2023/11/08 11:57 by preavley