Small Car, meet Paddle Board

A little off topic but our lives are a little off topic lately. We have found ourselves uncomfortably stationary in a world that is pretty foreign to us… Florida. Although, we have become residents of this vacation-destination state, we treat it like an extended vacation ourselves. We want to make sure we experience it all and find the niches we love the most. If we make the most of it now, we don’t ever have to come back (insert laughs here).

Let us be honest, we are out of our element and we have had to do some expanding of our outdoor hobbies. First, if you follow our instagram (@mich906 – you should follow it!) you would have picked up on our favorite past time : kayaking! We picked up a used tandem for an amazing $300 and have put it to work. But sometimes our time restraints with work don’t allow us to have days off together and that puts a tandem kayak in a rather useless position.

River and wine, goes together like me and him, or coffee and toast.

So I took the jump and bought a paddle board. As much as I would love to tell you all the sweet adventures I’ve had with our new water vessels, (there have been a bunch!) this little article is about a little something different.

Transporting our kayak takes our Toyota 4Runner. We can lob it on top of the vehicle or even fit most of it in the car with the end hanging out the back window. But for the paddle board, it only fits on top the truck. The back window is not an option because it would bounce around too much. So up on the padded roof rack it goes. Here is the problem with the paddle board on the roof… I bought this sucker for myself so I can embark on solo adventures and I drive a hatchback car… with zero roof rack. After endless searching online, I found some answers to how to transport my new toy but not answers to ALL my questions.

Manatees really do love paddle boards!!!!

So my first question about transporting a paddle board with a car was just “how to transport a paddle board with a car”… duh! I found an array of options. From getting mounted roof racks, clip in roof racks, or soft racks… I found homemade solutions, like this awesome little gem you can plug into your hitch that reaches up to support your board hanging off your car with the love of a tennis ball on the end. I’m not sure how long I will want to keep my little Pontiac Vibe for, so I decided that investing in hard roof racks was not the best financial option for me. I ordered some soft racks off Amazon after reading reviews. They fit perfectly on my roof and are so easy to use. This would now allow me to cart my board to the river and back on my own, but my board would be too exposed to the elements for long drives… So I went back to researching what other people do.

This most information I could find about my current set up was that some people had tested the speed limits on their soft racks and have had large success reaching 80 mph. I still was not finding anyone driving long miles with these racks… most people suggested buying a van instead. My next step was to buy a board bag to protect the board from flying objects and from lots of sun time. I found was an excellent resource and I was able to score a Riviera Paddlesurf padded bag for a great price. When it showed up in the mail, I was stoked! Super thick padding on all sides, a fin slit, and cinch straps.

With this all coming together, I finally put my board on the car all padded up and hit the road… I drove from Florida to Michigan with my paddleboard on the top of my Vibe. I purchased an extra ratchet strap to accompany the front soft rack, just to give extra security with the wind. The front of the board, I tied to the front of my car by a small paracord just to ensure no back slipping… I took I-75 at a staggering 75mph-80mph and never had any problems with my board. No damages to it and everything stood up to my highest expectations.

The wind drag was a bit of a fight when the autumn winds came at me while on the highway but I expected this. My gas mileage seemed to be hardly impacted and my vision line was just fine the whole drive. I could set up everything on my own in under 15 minutes and take down all of it in about 5. I drove 3,000 miles like this. I hope this helps anyone else that find themselves in the same wondering I was in 🙂

My upper Michigan home



2 Comments Add yours

  1. Michelle Juneau says:

    Wow amazing you two! Hope to see you back in CO someday!

    1. We hope so too! If you guys ever need a FL vacation, let us know!

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