We were in Pacifica, California, browsing through the shelves at NorCal Surf Shop. The mission was to get cheap second hand wetsuits.
The reality is that we fell in love with a surf board, her name was Flo. She was a beautiful, custom shaped long board, in the beautiful color called “one drop green” with a solid redwood stringer. She was made for the owner of the shop, but it wasn’t exactly what he as looking for. He’d put her up with the rest of the consignment boards.
It was a great deal, she was gorgeous. More than that, she was PERFECT. We had to get her.
Only Problem is we had no roof rack, but at 9’6″ she barely fit inside the van, which is exactly where she remained for the next month.
This made life in the van quite challenging, but, being on a strict monthly budget, and roof racks not being cheap, there wasn’t much we could do about it. We adjusted.
Finally, and as soon as it was within budget, we got ourselves a roof rack kit and put Flo up on the roof.
Here’s a little video showing you how we managed life in a Westy with a 9 1/2 foot surf board,and how to install a Yakima roof rack on your Vanagon.
How to Install a Roof Rack on a Vanagon:
If you also need to shove some bulk up on your roof, this is what you’ll need:
Once you have all of the parts you need, do read all of the directions that come with all of the packages.
If you don’t have a long board like we do, and are installing maybe a basket, make sure to install the rack as far to the back of the pop top as you can as it will be much easier to lift up the pop top.
You’re drilling through fiberglass, so don’t do what we did. Fiber glass gives off tiny little bits of glass that get stuck absolutely everywhere, including your clothes, skins and lungs, and are very difficult to get rid of.
So wear eye protection, a face mask (just a paper one will do) and gloves.
Measure twice, drill once. You’ll want to make sure the height is the same on the front and back bars. It isn’t the easiest thing in the world to make sure everything is aligned left and right and back to front and up and down, so take your time here when placing and measuring the brackets.
Don’t overtighten the bolts, they will break. (oops)
always make sure nothing can catch wind and that everything is securely tied down. That’s why we kept one bar close to the back of the board, and one close to the front of the board.
There are a few ways you can lock down your board:
The classic locking straps:
A bit pricier, but one step.
Or you could go with this smart surf board lock that installs in your fin box:
We went with the latter option because it allows us to tie our board to things other than our roof rack and just opted for non-steel straps.
We hope this helped! If you have any further questions about the install, feel free to shoot us a comment or an email, and also feel free to share any other ingenious ways you’ve found to live with the stuff in your van, or put it on your roof. :)
As always, thanks for stopping by!
Now get out there and explore.