I will be covering the various surfboard locking systems that are currently available or were available. I have personal experience with all of these systems, so I will be discussing their pros and cons.
Why Is It Needed?
There are basically four ways you can transport your surfboard in a vehicle: You can place it inside your car, place it in the bed of your truck, place it on the roof of your vehicle or you can place it on the vehicle’s rack, should you have one. If you place it in the bed of your truck, on the roof of your car or on the rack, there are carrying systems you can purchase so that your board is secure. However, most of these systems do not have a locking mechanism which leaves your board vulnerable to theft.
If you plan to leave your board unattended, and it is not locked inside your car, you need to purchase a surfboard locking system unless you don’t care if your board is stolen. It is unfortunate that you can’t leave your board unattended without some type of locking mechanism, but I know of too many surfers who thought it was safe, only to have their boards stolen.
Cable And Lock
The cable and lock system features a braided steel cable that may or may not be sheathed in vinyl and uses a padlock or integrated locking mechanism. These systems feature another integral piece that either fits in the surfboard’s fin box or attaches to the leash plug.
Pros – Easy to use, fairly inexpensive and can be attached to many different objects.
Cons – Limited attachment points on a vehicle and cable can be cut.
The cable and lock systems are produced by DocksLocks and Gumby Lock, to name a few, and are priced at $50.00 – $75.00.
The reinforced straps has a steel braided, vinyl covered cable inserted into a nylon strap with an integrated locking mechanism. Because of the steel cables, the straps cannot be cut with a knife.
The reinforced straps are also made in a style that is similar to a standard soft surfboard car roof rack and tailgate rack, except the reinforced system comes with steel braided cables and integrated locks.
The roof rack system has at least two cushioned pads, sometimes four, with straps to secure the pads to the car roof and additional straps to secure the surfboards to the pads.
The tailgate rack system had a cushioned pad that is placed over the top of the tailgate, two straps to secure the pad to the tailgate and two straps to secure the surfboard to the pad.
Pros – Can be securely locked to the car roof, vehicle roof racks and a truck tailgate, fairly common and once installed not difficult to use.
Cons – Requires more work to use system, can be expensive and can damage the car’s rubber door seals.
The reinforced strap systems are produced by Steelcore, Kanulock and Yakima, to name a few, and are priced at $85.00 – $199.00.
The Rack System
The rack locking systems, as the name suggest, requires that a vehicle has a rack system with a crossbar. The rack locking systems will be secured to the crossbar via a locking mechanism. These systems are the most expensive but also are some of the best made and most secure systems.
Some systems have sculpted soft rubber pads to protect the surfboards. They will also feature steel cables or a nylon strap with an inserted steel cable as the means to secure the surfboard, they all have an integrated locking mechanism.
Pros – Very secure, fairly easy to use, once installed on the rack they don’t have to be removed and very well made.
Cons – Requires a rack with a crossbar, expensive and when attached to a vehicle, it may exceed the maximum height requirements of some parking garages.
The rack locking system are produced by Inno and Thule and are priced at $225.00 – $280.00.
The Gatekeeper locking system is a system that look like your typical u-shaped bicycle lock. They can be attached to the crossbar of a rack system, the tailgate on a truck or inside the bed of a truck. I personally, consider this system the most secure system for locking a surfboard.
This system is locked either to rack of vehicle, a truck tailgate or the inside of a truck bed. The surfboard is secured between the two metal u-shaped ends and then is locked.
Pros – Very secure, very well made, easy to use and once installed does not require removal.
Cons – If installing on the tailgate or truck bed requires drilling for installation. Somewhat pricey.
The Gatekeeper locking systems was made by Dabco, Inc. and were priced at $175.00 – $200.00. Unfortunately, Dabco, Inc. no longer makes the Gatekeeper for vehicles.
Whatever surfboard locking system you may decide to purchase, purchase one of them so that you may leave your surfboard unattended and not fear that it will be stolen.
Click here to read my review of the Thule surfboard locking system.
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