Do I Need a Surfboard Bag? (& Why You Should Use One)

As a surfing enthusiast, a lot lies in the condition of our surfboards. After all, without a board, you will not be able to surf.

In order to surf, more often than not, we need to transport our surfboards in a car, on the train, or at the least walk or cycle a distance to the beach.

All this moving of your board increases the chances of your surfboard becoming dinged or broken over time.

Most surfers choose to use a surfboard bag to protect their precious toy. It is not mandatory to use a surfboard bag, but it is highly recommended as it will add a layer of protection to the source of your fun.

As surfboard bags are so important, we will look at what options you have when buying a surfboard bag, why you should use them, and how to choose the correct one for your situation.

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What Is a Surfboard Bag?

A surfboard bag is exactly what the name implies: A bag or cover for your surfboard.

Surfboard bags are generally padded and come with a handle and strap to move the board from place to place easier.

Not all surfboard bags are equal as some are made to protect your board from dings and other knocks, while other covers, such as board socks, will protect your board from the sun and scratches but will not do much to protect it from impacts.

Essentially, a surfboard bag or cover is used to protect the integrity of your surfboard while you store it or transport it from place to place.

Is a Surfboard Bag Necessary?

A surfboard bag is not necessary, nor do you have to have one; however, not using a protective cover for your board is unwise and will likely end in a broken or badly damaged surfboard.

Surfboards, as they are made from fiberglass and epoxy, are fairly brittle. Constantly transporting a brittle object greatly raises the risks of damage.

This is why, although surfboard bags are not necessary to surf, they are recommended in order to keep your surfing device safe.

The Dangers of Not Using a Surfboard Bag

The dangers of not using a surfboard bag are simple; no bag means a higher chance of damage.

Although it is always damaging to our boards that the bag reduces, this damage can come from various situations when not using a surfboard bag.

Falling Over

When we store our surfboards, they are not completely safe from damage. 

Most of us do not have large amounts of space, and because of this, we may need to store our surfboards standing up.

If you store your board in an upright position without a cover and it falls, you will likely find a few large dings or cracks in your board the next time you try to use it.

Tail Damage

It is not recommended to store your surfboard standing up. This is partly because of the chance of it falling over but also due to the pressure damage that can occur to the tail of your board.

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However, as mentioned above, we do not always have the option to lie our boards down.

If you do not use a protective cover, or at the least a towel to soften the floor, you may find that the tail of your board has started to become brittle, crack, or cave in due to the pressure.

Transport Damage

The most likely time your board will become damaged is while transporting it.

Moving your board through your house past shelves, chairs, doorknobs, and corners can be like an obstacle course. Do this every day, and the chance of you hitting something becomes high.

Furthermore, putting your board in the car and removing it further adds to the chance of you damaging your board because of the tight space and often uneven road.

Sun Damage

You should always avoid leaving your surfboard in direct sunlight or a hot car.

Not only will this melt off the wax off of your board, but it will dry out the resin and eventually lead to it cracking.

The problem is, this is not always avoidable. There are times when our surfboards will be left in the car as we grab a snack, do some shopping, chat with a friend, or have an after-surf beer.

In this case, a surfboard cover or bag will help insulate your board and prevent it from seeing direct sunlight.

How Much Is a Surfboard Bag?

The price of a surfboard bag will vary depending on its size, design, materials, purpose, associated brand, and sometimes even its color.

Simple surfboard bags such as surfboard socks can go for as little as USD 50, while more extensive travel bags that hold multiple boards at a time have sponge protection, and transport wheels can reach up to USD 500.

These prices are simply examples as it is possible to find surfboard bags that are under USD 100 or surfboard socks well above USD 100.

Furthermore, these prices are for new bags. Finding a good quality second-hand surfboard bag will greatly decrease the price.

In summary, a new surfboard bag can cost you anything between USD 50 and USD 500, depending on your use case and preference.

How to Choose a Surfboard Bag?

When you buy a new surfboard cover, it is not as simple as simply walking into a surf store and purchasing a cover with the nicest pattern or most appealing shape.

Buying the incorrect board cover will not provide the protection you are expecting.

When buying a cover or bag for your surfboard, you should consider the following:

The Size of Your Board

As you likely know, surfboards come in countless different sizes. A shortboard can be as small as 5 ft, while longboards reach up to 12 ft.

It is important to buy a board bag that corresponds with the size of your surfboard.

If you buy a longboard bag for a shortboard, your board will slide around the inside of the bag. This will mean that the bag does not provide the protection it was made to.

Similarly, purchasing a bag that is too small will mean that you cannot fit your board inside the bag, and therefore the purpose of the bag is lost.

The Board Shape

As surfboards come in different sizes, so do their shapes differ.

For example, a Mini Simmons is a short fat surfboard used to surf smaller swells with a shorter board, while a Gun is a long thin board designed for big wave surfing.

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Attempting to fit a Mini Simmons into a bag that is designed for a thin board such as a Gun will not work.

This is why it is important to pay attention to the type of board you are using before buying a cover.

The Number of Boards You Want to Store

The number of boards you plan to store, or transport is also important.

If you are traveling with multiple boards, it may be in your best interest to purchase a single bag that can contain all your surfboards.

On the other hand, if you are heading down to your local beach with a single board for the day, then using a large multiple surfboard bag will be a waste of space and is necessary. 

Available Space

Considering how much space you have, both in your home and your car, is important.

There is no use in buying a large thick-walled, multiple surfboard bag when it does not fit inside your car.

Purchasing a bag too large for your means of transport will result in you leaving it at home and transporting your surfboard without its protective cover.

In limited space, a surfboard sock or single board bag could be your best option.

Travel Distance and Frequency

How far you will be traveling and how often you will be doing so should play an important part in your board bag buying decision.

For example, if you live 5 minutes from the beach and generally head down for a surf once or twice a week, a surfboard sock or a thin board bag could suffice.

Alliteratively, if you are on a surf holiday, plan to fly with your surfboard, or travel long distances in a car, it is recommended that you use a thicker bag that has to carry straps or wheels for easy transport.

In short, the further and more often you transport your surfboard, the higher the chance is that it will become damaged.

Risk vs Protection Ratio

Lastly, but certainly, not least importantly, you should consider the risk your board faces and the protection that your board bag provides.

If you feel as though there is a low chance of damage due to distance, your surroundings, or any other factor, then a surfboard sock could be a good enough answer.

If you feel that damage is a high chance or that you will be particularly crushed if your surfboard breaks, then you should choose a surfboard bag with more protection.

The Difference Between Surfboard Sock and Surfboard Bag

Surfboard socks and surfboard bags are different in almost every way, except for the purpose of protecting a surfboard.

Surf socks are made from thin materials and do not provide much protection. A sock is usually used only for protection from the sun and is often used in accompaniment with surfboard bags.

On the other hand, Surfboard bags are polyester cases that store and protect your surfboards with padded walls.

Surfboard bags provide protection that a surfboard sock does not.

4 Types of Surfboard Bags

Now that you know the importance of using a surfboard bag and knowing what to look out for and consider before purchasing a board bag, let’s look at some of the options you have when finding a surfboard bag best suits your needs.

1. Surfboard Socks

Also known as stretch covers, surfboard socks are thin woven fabric less than 2mm thick. Socks are lightweight and are usually used to protect a board from the sun.

Cons
  • Thin material.
  • Low level of protection.
  • The sock tends to stick to the wax on your board.
  • Difficult to get on and off.
  • Does not protect the tail of the board when standing upright.
  • Only stores a single board.

2. Day Surfboard Bags

Day surfboard bags are usually made from durable polyester. These bags are the most common among surfers as they offer a high level of protection inside a car, on the roof, or while storing your board at home.

Day bags also include reflective surfaces inside the bag, which keep it insulated and cool.

Pros
  • High level of padded protection.
  • Comfortably fits a single board.
  • Available in different shapes and sizes to match your surfboard.
  • Usually includes a full-length zip.
  • Keeps your surfboard cool.
Cons
  • Zips tend to break over time.
  • The bag is difficult to carry if it does not have a shoulder strap.
  • No pockets to store gear.
  • The padding is not sufficient for traveling on an airplane.
  • Can be bulky when you have limited space.
  • Only stores a single surfboard.

3. Surfboard Travel Bags

Surfboard travel bags are similar to day bags but with extra padding. Most travel bags have padding approximately 10mm thick.

These bags are bulkier than day bags but often include nose protection for the board.

Travel bags are ideal for transporting your board longer distances.

Pros
  • Can store multiple surfboards.
  • Added protection from impacts.
  • Can be used to store surfboards in an upright position.
  • Usually includes storage pockets for wetsuits and other accessories such as surf wax.
  • Can be used for international travel.
  • Keeps your surfboard cool.
Cons
  • Zippers tend to break over time.
  • Travel bags are a more expensive option.
  • Travel bags are heavy and bulky.
  • Inconvenient to store or transport when space is limited.
  • Added cost when traveling with an airline.
  • Usually limited to 2 boards per bag.

4. Travel Tombs or Coffins

Travel Coffins or Travel Tombs are specifically designed for transporting multiple surfboards long distances.

These bags include wheels and multiple storage compartments to make transportation easier.

Travel Tombs are the go-to for surfers who are traveling internationally.

Pros
  • Highest level of protection for your surfboards.
  • Can carry 3 – 4 boards (sometimes more).
  • The most convenient way to transport multiple surfboards over long distances.
  • Wheels make traveling through airports easier.
  • Multiple storage compartments to include all surfing needs.
Cons
  • The most expensive option for surfboard protection.
  • Takes up a large amount of space and is heavy.
  • Wheels do not work well on dirt.
  • Difficult to store when they are not in use.
  • Expensive to use while traveling due to airport baggage costs.
  • Some airlines do not accept Travel Coffins.

Final Thoughts 

Surfboard bags are not necessary in order to surf, but not using one is a huge mistake.

Surfboards can be brittle and likely to get damaged due to all the transporting needed to and from the beach.

Depending on your needs, different surfboard bags will be best. It is always a good idea to make sure you buy a suitable surfboard bag with the correct dimensions.

Keeping your surfboard safe should be your top priority, as, without it, you will not be able to enjoy the sport that you love so much.

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