By far, the two most popular surfboard racks one the market are Thule and Yakima surfboard racks. Unfortunately they are also the most expensive. Here is a little run down of Thule’s and Yakima most popular surfboard racks that are designed to be used with pre-installed factory and aftermarket rack systems unlike your typical soft surfboard racks.
Thule Surfboard Rack (554xt): A simple, 4 piece rack system that attaches to your factory rack and has straps to hold either 2 surfboards or 2 wind surfboards. Comes with mounting hardware to connect to all pre-installed racks. Once installed, you can set your boards down on your original rack and then throw over the two straps. Tighten the straps and then your are set to go.
Yakima Surfboard Racks (4014 Strapthang): Is basically the same type of rack and works in the same way. However, the Yakima will only work with the Yakima multipurpose roof rack systems. If you have one of these installed then you can install the Strapthang just like the Thule Rack system. Once your boards are laid on the Yakima multipurpose rack system, straps from the Strapthang are strung across and tighten down.
If you have a Yakima Roof Rack system, then obviously the Yakima racks are the way to go. There are lighter, require less hardware, and work a little easier and faster than the Thule racks. However, they are also more expensive that Thule. If you want the Yakima system you have not only have to by strapthang, but another Yakima Rack system and remove your existing rack, if you have one. This will cost you much more, but with the Yakima Multipurpose system you can buy accessories for just about anything you may need to carry.
If you don’t want to shell out that kind of cash and you already have a roof rack, go with the Thule. Not only are they cheaper, but you can use them on just about pre-installed and aftermarket rack system. Perfect if you don’t use the same car every single time you go surfing. Remember the only real difference between the two rack systems is that Yakima makes you buy another rack system if you want their system, Clearly not worth the extra money unless you are just set on having Yakima racks.
As far as pricing goes, both of these surfboard racks run a little over 60 and can be found on any Surfboard rack website.
Also, if you are using any of these surfboard racks or plan to, I suggest getting a set of crossbar pads. These pads are made of foam and fit around your cross bars and keep your board, whichever it is, from getting scraped up. They also allow you to keep your boards from sliding on the racks allowing a snugger fit.
Once again Thule crossbar pads are cheaper than Yakima and work the exact same way. Neither one is better than the other and is strictly a matter of preference.