How To Choose a Surfboard Bag.
Surfboards---how we love them, let us count the ways.
Unfortunately they are fragile and surfboards get damaged.
It's a dangerous world out there, dings, nicks, scratches and ex-girlfriends (or boyfriends, this site is for you too ladies).
Lucky for you there is a quick and easy solution---wrap it up---in fact that's good advice for many things in life but lets stay focused on surfboards.
First of all it's just plain logical, you just spent $300-$800 bones on a new stick and you need to protect that board.
There are three primary types of board bags (if you consider a sock a bag). Each one has its own benefits and use. Lets take a look at which one is right for you and what you need to look out for when you buy one.
The Surfboard Sock (not for your foot)
The surfboard sock is the most light weight of the board protection options and also the wimpiest. The sock mainly serves to protect your board from scratches, sun damage, and minor dings. If your stick never rides on top of the car and doesn't get much sun exposure then this is a good option.
Try and find a board-sock with a padded nose, usually the nose is the most vulnerable part of the board as you maneuver through the house or garage on your way to the beach. A sock also does a good job at keeping wax, sand, and water away from your goodies after your surf.
The Wave Tribe board-sock is a rad choice because it has a padded hemp nose and it is make from re-purposed materials---they also come in awesome designs and multiple sizes.
The Surfboard Day Bag
The day bag provides all of the benefits of the sock but offers much more protection. The most noticeable feature added is the strap which allows you to carry it over your shoulder. Most have an extra pocket (ours have two) to hide goodies like fins and wax. Day bags usually include about 5mm of padding to protect the board during beach transport. Five mm isn't a ton of padding (your wetsuit has 2-4mm) but its enough to protect it if you bump into your little brother while loading the car.
Day bags also do a good job of keeping your board from overheating while in the car or lying on the beach when you come in to smooch your partner. Most day bags are covered with reflective material and have insulation that keeps the board cool. This ensures you won't find a mess of wax inside when you open it up or cook your board while grabbing a beer with your bros after your session.
A surfboard day bag would be the best option for you if you carry your board a good bit. For those people that have a long walk to the beach like Trestles (get a skateboard) a day bag with a shoulder strap can be a lifesaver.
The Wave Tribe day bag, The Pioneer, is made from thick hemp and reflective material, comes with an interior pocket and exterior pocket, has a place for your name and phone number and has the strongest zippers available. The zipper is the most important element of your bag, if you buy a cheap bag you'll get a shitty zipper and it might fall apart in a few months while you are walking to the beach. Dude, don't let the chicks see your bag fall apart---so embarrassing.
The Surfboard Travel Bag
If you get on a plane with your board please use a travel bag---it'd be like flying without your underwear. Travel Bags can also double as a second suitcase while traveling and save you baggage fees---stuff your wetsuit and towels in there to add extra protection to your board.
Moat surfboard travel bags have many of the same feature as the day bags but they are made with thicker padding and more resilient straps and handles. Unusually when you travel you also take more than one board, so you'll want one that fits two boards and also has a padded divider.
Most travel bags contain about 10mm of padding to protect your board from damage during transport (Wave Tribe bags use 13mm). You might want to consider traveling with a board that has removable fins but a good travel bag should allow you to transport glass-ons also. Some travel bags have wheels, these are usually called coffins and can carry up to 4 boards.
If you are planning a surf trip by car, train, boat or plane, a travel bag is a good investment. The Wave Tribe Global Travel Bag has been tested in the most extreme travel conditions and makes a great companion while on the road (it makes a good bed too).
What to Look For When Buying A Bag
How does it fit? Make sure the bag fits your board. Length should be obvious (and does matter by the way), the bag will be marked but remember to check the width too. It's cool to get a boardbag a few inches bigger than your board, but not too much bigger---that way you can use it if you ever get a slightly bigger board. The best way to know for sure is to buy a bag when you buy your board or just get the measurements and match them to the bag. If you buy a fish or mini simmons you should look for a bag with the same qualities and dimensions (Wave Tribe has both fish and mini boardbags). Finally, check the nose shape. Surfboard bags come in three main nose shapes, pointed, semi-round (or hybrid) and full round. Just make sure it fits the board you have.
Do your fins fit? You will want to make sure your bag works with your fins in and out. Quads have wide fin setups and will require more room in the back. Glass-ons are making a comeback and if you are going to be traveling with your GOs make sure those fins are well protected. Single fins will need a zipper so the fin can poke through.
Does the zipper suck? Most board bags that are discarded are thrown out because of a dead zipper, as we stated above. Your bag is of no use if it won't open or close, duh. Make sure your bag has a good zipper that will last. The zipper should be waterproof and rugged---metal ones could rust---so try and stay away from those if you can. YKK is a good brand (perhaps the best) but there are others as well.
Is it padded like a push-up bra? A cheap bag will skimp on padding and you are better off wrapping the board in a towel and a dipper. Don't be a cheap bastard, when that zipper breaks and your board gets dinged from the thin padding you'll be cursing at yourself and wish you would have listened to uncle D. Check it out and give it a good squeeze, like grabbing your partners arse, before you buy any bag.
Can you pull a wheelie? If you're traveling with 3+ boards you'll want to get a coffin with wheels (or womb as we call it at Wave Tribe, come on these things are ALIVE not dead). Wheels are rad, especially when you are lugging those boards through customs and they tell you to go get in that 5 mile line to X-ray your bag (remember, shake that bag loose before you leave for your trip and make sure you didn't drop any, ahem, roaches in there <<< that's the most important advice of this entire article).
Can you hide your condoms inside? Most bags come with a number of cool features like pockets, board padding, extra stitching, and other bag goodness. It is great to have a few pockets to keep an extra set of fins, some wax and a tube of ding repair. Check out the inside of a few bags and make sure you're getting one that works for your needs. More is better.
Conclusion (condoms not included). Surfboard bags help protect your boards from dings, nicks, scratches, sun damage, and your Mother-in-Law (it hides it from her when she comes over to feed the cat). Starting at $25 socks are a good investment to protect your surfboard for light duty travel. Clumsier surfers like me should definitely grab a day bag and if you are getting on a plane do it travel style.