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The thing about aquatic outdoor sports gear is you usually have to buy extra gear to haul it around. Roof racks for kayaks, paddleboards, and their vastly more fun relatives, surfboards, are all part of those ecosystems. But not everybody wants to commit to the fixed rack life, whether because they won't get much daily use out of it, aren't as keen on the price, don't want to deal with wind resistance and whistling, or some other deterrence.
A great solution are soft racks, a less-committed option that comes in different shapes and sizes and is meant for easy setting up and taking down.
Prominent wave-centric retailer Curve recently dispatched its Lockdown surfboard soft racks to me to test and review out here in one of North American's more prominent surf spots, Los Angeles County. And so far, here's what I've made of it.
My surf background
It sounds crazy, but weirdly shaped tall people like me also surf. Well, in my case, I'm in the process of getting back into it after a several-year hiatus. I used to be able to fit my eight-foot board in the back of my old Mazda 2—that's right, the hatch life is the best life—but that's not quite possible with my current BMW 128i coupe or Audi S4 sedan. Plus, I'd rather not schmutz up their interiors with surf wax, seawater, and so on. I'll inevitably get more sand inside, but anything I can do to reduce that is a good move for sure.
And as a side note, because I have two cars, having soft racks means I don't have to invest in twice the hardware to live that outdoor sports life. Nice.
Wicked easy to set up?
The Lockdown by Curve, so far, seems like a solid option, even if I haven't quite put it to full use just yet.
Firstly, its packaging is quite substantial, as the bag it comes in has generous space, is made of a tougher water-repellent synthetic material, and includes a plastic window. The drawstring doubles as a sling, so it's not only easy to carry around, but the bag's size makes it easy to quickly toss the soft racks inside. Then, there's extra room for keys, flip-flops, wax, and other things you'd have in your possession at the beach.
I'm also a big fan of the redundant directions, as they're printed on the bag itself, as well as in a booklet inside of an inner pocket. If either the bag's print was to rub off, or the directions were to be steeped in seawater—or simply lost—having both means future users have a higher likelihood of quickly referencing how to set it up.
This brings me to my next point: Curve's Lockdown surfboard soft racks don't appear to be the most straightforward to set up, so printed diagrams or not, users might take two or more sessions to commit it to memory. Plus, it's important to point out that post-session fogginess is a thing after a few hours of having the crap beat out of you by the ocean. I will report back on this.
Next, the materials seem to be of high quality, and Curve boasts that its foam padding not only protects boards but roofs and roof rails, too. Then, the one-inch webbing straps run through plastic-coated zinc buckles, which the brand says is for ultimate tension and safety.
I'll be driving at least 50 miles of mostly highway between my home and the strand, too, so hopefully, the latter is plenty strong.
Capacity-wise, the Lockdown holds 1-4 shortboards, or 1-3 longboards, so either bringing out a small mix of boards, or a couple of friends with a board each, is a possibility.
What would you like to know?
I'm stoked to vibe out with these soft racks attached to my cars' roofs. Hopefully, my buzz isn't harshed by a critical failure that results in surfboards strewn across Southern California's I-10 freeway. See, even after a few years I can still speak the lingo.
With that, what would you like to know about Curve's Lockdown surfboard soft racks? I should also note that, for those who don't live in a surfable part of our fine nation, the brand's got a very similar option for paddleboards, so this review could cover both.
I'm also stoked to report that my review will publish as a head-to-head comparison with Ho Stevie's surfboard soft racks, as they're very similarly priced, so look forward to an in-depth, comparison-rich review of both. Look for initial impressions covering that product, soon, too.