Inflatable paddle boards are much easier to transport than hardboards – no wonder inflatable boards are much more popular than hardboards.
But: In fact, there are also some ways to transport a hardboard without much effort.
In this article we present nine ways to transport a paddle board.
How can you transport a paddle board?
You can transport a paddle board with a bike trailer, in a backpack, with the help of transport straps, with a paddle board trolley, in the trunk of a car or with the help of roof racks on the roof of the car.
Also, a paddle board can be transported on a train and by plane. Inflatable paddle boards are easier to transport than hard boards.
Table of Contents
- 1 Transporting Paddle Boards by Bicycle
- 2 Transporting Paddle Boards on Foot
- 3 Transporting Paddle Boards by Car
- 4 Transporting Paddle Boards by Motorcycle
- 5 Bonus: How to Travel With a Paddle Board
- 6 Quick Tips: Transport Paddle Boards Correctly
- 7 FAQ
Transporting Paddle Boards by Bicycle
Paddle boarders don’t need their own car, even though that is also the most comfortable solution. Especially because of the environmental aspect, however, it’s great that paddle boards can now be transported by bike without much effort.
Possibility #1: Transport Paddle Boards With a Bike Trailer
With a paddle board bike trailer, one or more boards can be transported at once. There are different options available.
A few manufacturers make handheld-only trailers that can be pushed only. Other manufacturers build proper bike trailers for water sports enthusiasts, which are significantly larger than, for example, classic children’s bike trailers.
The leading manufacturer of bike trailers for paddle boarders is the company good goods tegernsee from Bavaria, which manufactures and sells with the reacha a series of different paddle board bike trailers.
Meanwhile reacha offers different models. For paddle boarders, the reacha sport models are particularly suitable. In the reacha test we had a look at the reacha sport compact model.
Here are a few impressions of the reacha:
The affordable reacha sport comapct model is the allround model. If you ride a lot over unstable surfaces, you should go for the reacha sport beach. The reacha sport street is the best choice for asphalt surfaces. This model is also suitable for road cyclists.
The reacha bike trailers are great for water sports enthusiasts. The bike trailers from reacha are very-well built and come with a cool mount system.You can attach a reacha trailer to all kinds of bicycles and even tow multiple (even inflated) paddleboards at once. Bicycle trailers like the ones from reacha are great to not always have to rely on your car to get to the water. However, they come at a reasonable price tag.
You can learn more about reacha bike trailers in our full review.
Transporting Paddle Boards on Foot
For short trips like getting from the parking lot to the water, (especially inflatable) paddle boards can be transported using the following methods. Most options are more appropriate for short trips.
Option #2: Transporting Paddle Boards in a Backpack
Inflatables can be easily transported in a paddle backpack. Most sets already include a backpack. With higher quality paddle boards (such as the winners in our paddle board test), a good quality backpack is usually included.
With the rolled up paddle board, the dead weight of the backpack and other paddle board accessories (such as the paddle, the air pump, the leash and more equipment) the backpack quickly comes to a total weight of 10 to 15 kilograms (22 to 33 lbs).
Here it is enormously important that the backpack has wide, well-padded shoulder straps. Very good paddle board backpacks also have padding built into the back area for added comfort.
Waist straps and adjustable shoulder straps (with a high quality mechanism) are mandatory for long distances. For backpacks with wheels, make sure that the wheels are located at the front of the backpack. If the wheels are in the back, they will constantly dig into your back while walking.
Check out the best paddle board backpacks
Option #3: Carry Paddle Boards With a Transport Strap
Paddle boards transport straps, also called transport slings, originated in surfing. For paddle boards, the transport belts are now also increasingly in use.
Such a paddle board transport belt is usually tied to the D-rings and the loop is placed over the shoulder.
The use of transport straps is especially advantageous for paddle boards without a central carrying handle, as it is difficult to grip the board properly here. Also for smaller paddlers and paddlers paddle boards transport straps come into question, if they do not come well to the carrying handle.
The low dead weight and the small size of the slings speak in favor of carrying slings. Rolled up, they take up almost no space. The purchase price is also very low.
Check out the best paddle board carrier straps
Option #4: Push Paddle Boards With a Trolley
For short trips like transporting your paddle board from the parking lot to the boarding area, paddle board trolleys are a convenient option. Paddle board trolleys or paddle board carrying trolleys are no different from the models of canoes and kayaks known in canoeing as canoe trolleys.
The (inflated) paddle board is simply placed on the trolley and in the best case additionally fixed. Afterwards, the trolley only needs to be pushed. The transport by trolley is very simple and fast. The transport trolleys also do not cost much money and can be folded to a small pack size.
Check out the best paddle trolleys
Option #5: Transport Paddle Boards With a Backpack With Wheels
We already briefly touched on paddle board backpacks with wheels. High-quality paddle board sets, such as the Bluefin Cruise Carbon, come with a paddle board backpack that is equipped with wheels.
If you want to do without the car and prefer to travel on foot or by public transport, it is best to get such a paddle board backpack.
However, better get a current model. The first paddle board backpacks that appeared had only small wheels and other flaws.
The wheels of the first models ran similar to a cheap trolley case and on uneven surfaces, as found at most entry points, these backpacks did not make a good figure at all.
Backpacks in which the wheels are on the backside are another problem. Thus, they constantly hit against the back when worn, which becomes uncomfortable even with the best padding.
Therefore, make sure that the rollers are attached to the front. At first glance, this seems unintuitive, but your back will thank you for it.
Check out the best paddle board backpacks
Transporting Paddle Boards by Car
Transporting paddle boards by car is definitely the standard. With a car, it’s easy to reach nearby paddle board spots as well as those you like, which also makes for great paddle board tours.
Possibility #6: Transport Paddle Boards in the Trunk of the Car
Inflatable paddle boards are usually stowed in the paddle board backpack included in the package. The packed backpack, which often also contains equipment such as paddle, leash, air pump and small items (e.g. waterproof phone case), fits in almost any car trunk.
Whether the backpack also fits in your trunk, can be calculated quite easily. The Inflatable is rolled up and stowed almost upright in the backpack. This means that the width of the paddle board corresponds to the height of the roll of the paddle board and thus the height of the backpack.
Now you just have to see if there is enough space for it. It is best to include an extra 5-10 cm. If you run out of space in the backpack and the accessories don’t fit in properly, the pack size of the backpack will be a bit bigger.
So far, our paddle board backpacks have always fit into the trunks, however small. If it should not fit once, remains of course still the passenger seat or the back seat.
Experience has shown that typical paddle boards for beginners tend not to be tight. With larger or extremely stiff boards, which can not be rolled up so well due to the stiff construction (such as the Bluefin Cruise Carbon), there may be more problems.
Option #7: Transport Paddle Boards on the Car Roof
Riders of hardboards and fans of other water sports and board sports are familiar with the problems that come with the annoying process of transporting equipment.
However, we hear time and time again that many paddlers with inflatable paddle boards would also prefer to save themselves the trouble of constantly setting up and taking down (not to mention the work involved in pumping).
A promising solution here is transport on the roof of the car. The normal solution that comes to everyone’s mind is the typical roof racks that are permanently mounted on the car roof. In fact, this is not the best option. For water sports enthusiasts and especially paddle boarders, inflatable roof racks are much more suitable.
Inflatable roof racks are often the better option for water sports enthusiasts. The two big advantages of this type of roof rack are that they are quick to install and remove, and cost much less.
While fixed constructions are 1. much more expensive, 2. adapted to the particular car model, 3. more complex to install and they also consume 4. significantly more gasoline, because these roof racks usually remain attached to the car all year round.
Tip: If you want to transport several paddle boards on the car roof, the longest board should always be placed as the lowest. The paddle boards are then stacked on top in descending order of length. At least for hardboards, you should also place a towel between each board to prevent damage.
Transporting Paddle Boards by Motorcycle
Transporting your paddle board by motorcycle is more challenging than by car, for example.
However, it is not impossible, although not quite as practical. Therefore, taking the board on the two-wheeler is also less suitable for long trips.
Possibility #8: Transport Paddle Boards With the Backpack
Inflatable paddle boards are best left in an uninflated state for transport on a motorcycle. The board can then be carried in the paddle board backpack on your back.
The bag can also hold a paddle, leash, pump and other small accessories. The paddle should of course be divisible.
Depending on the weight of the board, this can add up to a considerable total weight, which makes this transport option practical only for short trips.
So that the carrying comfort is then also as high as possible, the backpack should be equipped in the best case with wide shoulder straps and a padded back section.
In addition, a hip belt integrated into the backpack for a firm fit and secure hold is highly recommended for this mode of transport.
Option #9: Attach Paddle Boards With a Mount (Private Property Only)
There are manufacturers that offer special mounts for two-wheelers. Since these mounts were originally designed for surfboards, they are designed to transport the paddle board when inflated.
The holders are attached to the side of the motorcycle as a rack. However, as a rule, the racks offered contain the manufacturer’s note that they are not approved for road use. Therefore, they only serve their purpose for short distances on private terrain.
BMW is currently still the only company dedicated to taking a surf or inflated paddle board on the road and has launched a special motorcycle model with an integrated mount.
Until the whole issue is more advanced, we tend to advise against the use of racks.
Bonus: How to Travel With a Paddle Board
With the options presented above, you can reach any paddle board spot in the vicinity, but what about travel with a paddle board?
Below, we’ll go into detail about paddle board transportation on planes and trains. Then nothing will stand in the way of your next paddle board adventure!
Possibility #10: Transport Paddle Boards on the Train
Inflatable paddle boards can be transported in a backpack without much trouble. In streetcars, suburban trains and regional trains this is no problem at all. After all, the packed paddle board is also not much bigger than a typical suitcase.
In the train it looks similar. As far as we know, you cannot transport a hardboard here. For inflatable paddle boards the same applies as in public transport or regional trains. Paddle board backpacks are somewhat larger than a suitcase and therefore do not fit or do not fit so well in the designated places for luggage.
Possibility #11: Transport Paddle Boards on the Plane
Paddle boarders can also take to the air and explore the coolest paddle board spots nationwide or even worldwide by plane. Here, there is also the distinction in transporting inflatable paddle boards and hardboards.
It is not a problem to transport an paddle board on a plane. As a rule, inflatable paddle boards do not count as sports luggage, but most packed SUP backpacks are slightly above the airlines’ specifications in height.
We haven’t had any problems flying with a paddle board backpack (instead of or in addition to a normal piece of luggage), but it can’t be ruled out. If the backpack has to be checked in separately, it is not expensive. However, it is really expensive for sports luggage. More about this now.
Hardboards count as sports luggage, which means that high costs are incurred during transport. Also, not every airline transports sports luggage on every flight or on every route. Therefore, find out from your airline before the flight whether it is possible to take a hardboard.
Quick Tips: Transport Paddle Boards Correctly
Most paddle boards have a transport handle in the middle of the board. This handle is located exactly in the center of gravity of the paddle board, so the board can be carried well by it.
Carry the paddle board with the tip facing forward.
Bend your knees when lifting the paddle board. Keep your back straight when lifting. This prevents back pain.
In a crosswind, turn either away from the wind or right into it. If you continue to run with the board straight ahead, this can be very strenuous, as the wind hits the board centrally (which in this case acts more or less like a large sail).
A lightweight paddle board is easier to transport. Keep this in mind when choosing your next paddle board.
When carrying the paddle board, you can clamp under the arm that grips the paddle board’s carrying handle. This way you always have one hand free. On some paddle boards, the carrying handle is also a paddle holder. Here you can mount the paddle and then carry the paddle and also paddle board at once.
How to transport a paddle board?
A paddle board can be transported with a bike trailer, in a backpack, with the help of transport straps, with a SUP trolley, in the trunk of a car or with the help of roof racks on the car roof.
Also, a paddle board can be transported by train and by airplane. Learn more about the best ways to transport paddle boards.
Does an inflatable paddle board fit in the trunk?
Yes, inflatable paddle boards fit in almost all trunks.
Learn more about the best ways to transport paddle boards.
Can you transport a paddle board without a car?
Yes. Paddle boards can also be transported on foot, by bicycle, or for travel by train or airplane. For this there are different possibilities like the transport in a bicycle trailer, in a backpack, with the help of transport belts or a SUP trolley.
Can you transport a paddle board with public transport?
Yes. Inflatable paddle boards can be transported in any kind of bus, train, streetcar and co. An inflatable paddle board can be easily stowed in the accompanying paddle board backpack.
We recommend a well padded SUP backpack with wheels. For longer distances on foot or even the journey by public transport comfort is enormously important.