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Packing & Shipping Surfboards
Idiot's Guide to Packing & Shipping Surfboards
Traveling with your surfboards is a sometimes necessary but dreadful experience. Surfboards are very difficult to ship due to their fragile and bulky nature. This surfboard packing guide provides 14 easy to follow steps. Thanks to Charissa Proctor of Proctor Surfboards for giving me great packing tips!
You can pick up all the necessary packing supplies at your local shipping, packing, or surfboard supply store for around $40 or you can buy one of the many models of surfboard bags offered.
Surfboard Packing List:
Packing foam (sheets)
Bubble wrap (optional)
Step 1: Cut off the boxes' excess length. You'll want to lay the longest surfboard on the flattened box. IMPORTANT NOTE: Make sure you only cut one end of the box so you preserve one set of folding flaps (used to seal the box - see photo below).
How much excess should I cut off?
Step: 2 You'll want about 2" of space on each end of the box from the nose and tail of your board and the extra space needed to cut the folding flaps on one the end (remember that you're cutting the folding flaps when you cut the excess off one end). How much excess you leave for the folding flaps depends on the size of your box. Measure the height of the existing flaps to see how much extra you'll need before you cut the excess off the other end.
Step: 3 Once you've downsized your box on one side only), cut your folding flaps on the end you just cut. Take a look at the side you didn't cut to see exactly how to cut your new flaps.
Step: 4 Now that your box is the perfect size, we must prepare the boards for shipping. The best type of foam for protecting surfboards are thin perforated sheets which can be torn into 12 inch strips. You want to tear the foam into 24 inch wide sheets so each sheet can be folded in half.
Step: 5 You'll then want to slip your surfboards into a plastic bag which will prevent them from getting that nasty adhesive residue left by packing tape (believe me, doing this extra step will save you a lot of time and headache!). Cinch both ends of the plastic bag either with tie wraps or a knot.
Step: 6 Wrap both ends with packing tape so your board doesn't move around in the plastic bag.
Step: 7 Fold a 24 inch wide foam sheet in half and tape to the top of the board that will sit on the bottom of the box.
Step: 8 (Optional) you can wrap the ends of your board with bubble wrap but this step isn't necessary if you have boards with similar rockers. Use the bubble wrap if the nose or tail of your boards are touching one another.
Step: 9 Place your second board directly on top (make sure your second board also has its own plastic bag) and tape the two boards together. It's best to tape the two ends and the middle.
Step: 10 Once you have the two boards taped together, you'll want to take your 24 inch wide foam sheet and fold in half once again. Wrap the rails of BOTH boards with your sheet of foam and packing tape. You'll want to make sure that the foam wraps around both boards so that the top and bottom of your 'board sandwich' are protected.
Step: 11 Take another 24 inch wide foam sheet and begin wrapping the nose and tail as shown in the photo below. If you want to take extra precaution against dings, you can first wrap the nose and tail with bubble wrap followed by foam sheet but that step is option.
Step: 12 Fold in half and tape down the extra foam sheets to the top and bottom of your boards. The idea here is you want to have foam in all the areas that come into contact with the box (top/bottom & nose/tail).
Step: 13 Insert your packed 'board sandwich' into the box and stuff both ends of the box with shirts, jackets, towels, or extra foam/bubble wrap. You may also need to pad the sides of your boards depending on the width of your box (see photo). Make sure that you've padded the box so that your board doesn't move around.
Note: I've heard surfers say that TSA security sometimes check the inside packed surfboard boxes. I've never had that happen to me but I usually bring tape with me to the airport just in case they open my box.
Step: 14 Seal the box with packing tape and be sure to use one of those red fragile stickers. If you don't have stickers use a sharpie as an alternative. Be sure to write your name/address/phone number.
Step: 15 Secret Tip: I highly recommend using a handle bar to carry your box through the airport. You can buy something similar at the store but I actually make my handle bar out of tape (see photos below). This makes things so much easier, especially if you need to walk far with your boards.
I hope this guide makes shipping surfboards a lot easier for you. Feel free to drop me a line if you have questions or comments. Email me at neal at surfboardshack dot com