Surfboards, being relatively light, are fragile and need maximum protection at all times, especially outside the sea. To cater for this, whether you are using a longboard surfboard, a fun-board surfboard, or a short-hand surfboard, there are protective gears called surfboard socks and bags.
Surfboard bags come primarily in 3 types;
- Day board-bags – this type is suited for you if you surf locally. They have strings, which makes them easy to carry around. It is advisable to store it in better conditions once you get it to storage.
- Surfboard travel bags – They have at least 6 mm of foam padding, which is important in protecting your surfboard from possible damage, and you can comfortably carry it to the beach on the roof of your car.
- Travel tombs or coffins – These are large travel bags best suited for long-distance travel, such as by plane. It has 10 mm of padding, therefore it is able to withstand and protect your surfboard when handled roughly. It acquired the name because of its size and structure. Interestingly, one travel tomb can carry up to 5 or 6 surfboards.
Surfboard sock – as the name suggests, is just a thin cloth that protects your surfboard from minor things like sand. It is well suited and more accommodating for large surfboards as it can stretch.
We will be looking at the surfboard bags in general and how to choose the best surfboard sock or bag for your surfboard’s protection.
The need for a surfboard bag/sock
Surfboard bags and socks are necessary protective gear for your surfboards. Your surfboard should not be left naked and just like any other investment, surfboards should be maintained and taken well care of both on and off the beach, whether in storage or in transit.
Below are a few risks of not using a surfboard bag or sock;
- Broken boards – This happens when there is a hard shock on the surface of the board. Keep in mind how sleek and slender the surfboard is, the shock might be catastrophic to the board.
- Dings and nicks – they occur when you knock the board around the house or garage, and you end up bruising and creating pores around the edges of the surfboard.
- Delamination – Too much exposure to the sun may end up overheating the surfboard, causing bubbly, blistering bumpiness on the board, which might be the end of the surfboard’s life-span if it is not laminated again.
- Colour fading – this occurs as a result of too much exposure to the sun.
- Scratches and cracks – these are caused by a number of things including too much exposure to the sun or rubbing against rough surfaces, even including scratches by pets.
Since the board-bags have inner padding and a softer inner surface that is reflective, it creates a kind of inner microclimate that helps regulate the temperature inside the bag, making your board steadily cool and well protected against the ultra-violet rays that could be destructive to the surf-board.
Difference between surfboard bags and surfboard socks.
- Surfboard socks – majorly made of soft cotton, are the best for protecting the surfboard from the sun and minor things like sand, wax, and minor scratches.
The socks offer leeway in terms of size and can accommodate more luggage, but limited to not larger than the leeway size. They are easy to store, lightweight, and come in a large variety. They are also inexpensive, which makes them common.
On the other hand, they are thin and have no padding therefore cannot absorb any shock on the board. They also have wax issues on the surfboard. Some sizes might be hard to put on and remove from the surfboard too.
- Surfboard bags – besides providing the capabilities of a surfboard sock, the board-bag provides a lot more protection. They are suited for your daily use as they are convenient in carrying even multiple surfboards at a time. They come in different shapes and sizes, therefore good to be careful choosing the right bag.
They also keep the surfboards cool since once the bag is zipped to the nose, the padding and the inner surface of the bag create a mini-climate that is good for the surfboard. They have a range of around 5 mm to 10 mm pudding, but some custom designers offer more pudding depending on your needs.
Surfboard bags can sometimes be difficult to carry because some may not have shoulder pads for proper support. Some may not even have inner compartments for storing extra commodities like the surfing costumes.
Lastly, if not of the best quality, some bag zips often blow up and render the bag useless. It should be noted that quality bags, however, seem to be more expensive than the other bags with lesser qualities.
The common uses of surfboard bags include taking surfboards down to the local beach and transporting them anywhere local or long distance. They are also good for storing the surfboards away in the storage unit. Some may have padded shoulder pads, which makes it easy and comfortable to carry them around conveniently.
Which should you use?
The preference to use either a surfboard sock or bag solely depends on the needs of the surfer, maybe considering the proximity to the beach, and whether they need it for daily use or for travel purposes.
Using a board-bag is the best way to keep your surfboard safe and free from any dangers. Since surfboards come in all shapes and sizes, you should be careful to choose the right surfboard bag that is compatible and can comfortably hold your surfboard.
Pointed bags are majorly for short surfboards, semi-round for hybrid and fun-board surfboards, and lastly, the full round bag, best suited for longboard surfboards. Padding is very important to protect your surfboard, and bags offer at least a minimum of 3 – 5 mm.
Most board-bags have insulation and are covered with reflective material, which helps in keeping the board cool even when left in the sun. It also ensures that you won’t find wax on the board.
A surfboard sock is inferior to the surfboard bag in the sense that it has little to no padding. It is also made of very thin material and is not able to protect the surfboard from heat.
On the bright side, most surfboard socks are elastic and can stretch to accommodate larger boards. Getting a surfboard sock is better than getting nothing at all.
Tips for choosing a surfboard bag
As already discussed above, there are a number of factors to consider when choosing a surfboard bag. Let’s look at the most important factors;
- Zippers – Choose a bag with a good zipper that will last. Metal zippers will rust when exposed to salty water but are best if coated. Nickel-plated zippers in this case are the best.
- Padding – Most surfboard bags come with great padding of at least 5 mm, which is good for the comfort of your surfboard. Thicker padding is however better for assured protection. Shoulder pads are also good for portability.
- Compatibility with your surfboard – The board-bags are marked by length. It is necessary to choose a bag that is not shorter than your surfboard and maybe 2 – 3 inches longer. The shape is important too, to keep all parts of the board protected, especially the tail and nose. For example, a channel island or a dakine bag is recommended for a shortboard.
- Gussets – These are fin compartments within the bag. When a board has wings, the bag should stretch to give room and hold the fins comfortably.
- Size and compartments – A good board-bag should have extra space and compartments to hold more stuff, like fins and surf-suits, whenever needed. This is a feature that is associated with more expensive bags but is worth investing in.
Tips for choosing a surfboard sock.
There are a number of factors for consideration when choosing surfboard socks too.
- Stretchable high quality fabric – Most board-socks are made of stretchy cotton fabric that makes it easy to slide in your surfboard and can accommodate boards of any size. The quality fabric prevents the harmful UV rays that fade off the board color over time and also prevents wax from ruining the vehicle’s interior while in transit to your favorite surf spot.
- The shape and nose dimensions – A tighter board-sock is better recommended than a baggy one, to avoid disappointments of a shaky and restless board when carrying it.
- Reinforced nose and drawstring closure – reinforcement on the sock’s nose may include a little padding, important for protecting the board’s nose, while the drawstring closure is responsible for keeping the tail covered. Since it can stretch, there is no need to remove the fins.