How To Pack Your Board Bag

Because there's nothing worse than damaging boards in transit

Always remember to look both ways before packing your board bag in the street. Photo: Lowe-White

There are a number of things that can go wrong on a surf trip: dysentery, flat spells, staph infections—the list goes on. But there’s nothing more disheartening than opening up your board bag upon arrival only to find that your boards have fallen victim to baggage handler malpractice. With the sadistic approach the airlines take to transporting your boards, you’ll need every tool at your disposal to ensure that they arrive safely and in one piece. Here are five tips on how to pack your board bag.

The most ingenious inventions are often the most simple. Before you begin packing your board bag, head down to your local hardware store to pick up some foam tubing. Grab a few feet more than the length of the boards you're packing. With a razor blade, cut down the middle from the bottom of the tubing towards the top, stopping a few inches before you get to the top. Take the tubing and secure the uncut end to the nose of your board and grip the open two ends to the rails of your board. The rails of your board can now stand up against just about anything the airlines throw at them.

Always stack your boards correctly. Your bigger boards should always go on the bottom (wax side up), and your smaller boards on top. Always keep the rocker in unison and the boards facing the same way.

If you're packing a board with glass-on fins, you can approach protecting them in two ways: you can either pack them individually, wrapping each fin in two or more layers of bubble tape, or you can buy a foam fin box. If you're packing a board with removable fins, remove them.

Always strap your boards together. Most good bags will come with straps, but if they don't, you can always use a couple of leashes instead. When you're stacking your boards, ensure that you use a towel between the deck and bottom to protect yourself from waxing the bottom of the boards. Keeping your boards strapped together will not only lessen your chance of picking up a ding while your boards are in transit, but it can throw off the prying eyes of a ticketing agent, making it look like your traveling with less than an entire quiver.

For an extra layer of padding, evenly distribute assorted soft gear throughout the bag. Pillows wrapped abound the nose and tail work wonders. Westuits and towels placed along the decks not only add an additional layer of padding, but it'll also save you a bundle of money by not having to check another bag. Throwing boardshorts and T-shirts into the mix never hurt either.

What are your tips for packing a boardbag? Leave your answer in the comments section below.

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