Can Uber Take Surfboards? (Yes But Not All)

Uber rides are appealing for their convenience and wide availability but they are not something that every surfer might have considered.

The main concern for surfers is, just like most other forms of transport, not being absolutely sure that you an Uber driver will allow you to travel with a surfboard, so let’s have a look at the answer below.

Can Uber take surfboards? Yes, some Uber XL drivers will take surfboards, but there is no guarantee that they will allow you to take a board. Your chances of being allowed on with a board depend on the size of your surfboard, as well as how you carry it, as will be explained below.

Uber XL and Surfboards

Uber XL offers larger vehicles for passengers to book rides when they need more space. This kind of service can be of use to surfers carrying boards given the added room that is needed.

Vehicles like SUVs, as offered with Uber XL, might be an option for carrying surfboards, but this would still need the agreement of the driver.

To get into the key points around Uber XL for surfers, let’s consider the key points below.

uber app next to a surfer
Photo Credit: Austin Distel (left) and Michael Hacker (right) on Unsplash

Types of Surfboards

Traveling with shorter surfboards by Uber will definitely increase your chances of the driver agreeing to take you and your board.

Obviously, smaller boards can fit into smaller spaces and work well even inside a car.

From experience, I can tell you that you can easily fit any surfboard up to about 7 feet in length inside a car, even a small one.

I would also recommend using a soft foam surfboard for learning to surf (more on that topic here!)

Fitting a Surfboard Inside a Car

The way to do this is by placing the surfboard on the front passenger seat and lowering the back of the seat as low as it will go.

In a standard car, this will still allow for 2 passengers on the rear middle and driver’s seats to sit properly and safely.

This is my preferred option when driving to the beach in my own car since I can also put the seat belt around my board to keep it in place and it’s quick and easy to arrange from start to finish.

The other option is to place the surfboard in the trunk and lower one of the rear passenger seats, putting the board at an angle in from the trunk with the nose sticking out into the main compartment of the rear of the vehicle, next to any passengers in the back seat.

Carrying your board in either of the ways listed will also not affect the driver, so it’s an easy solution for all. You just need to be able to explain it to them quickly and easily!

However, if your surfboard is over about 7 feet in length, although still possible to fit inside a car, it gets harder to do and obviously needs more convincing for the Uber driver.

That means that Uber XL won’t be suited to anyone with big surfboards over the 8 feet mark, especially longboards that are large and cumbersome, however there are some points in a later section on this post that might still give you some options if you have a bigger surfboard.

In fact, you can see the video below which shows exactly how to do this. In this video, she has an 8-foot long surfboard which fits into her tiny car.

The reason I wouldn’t recommend this for Uber, however, is because the width of these boards can make them a problem for the driver reaching the handbrake and the stick, so think carefully if your board is in that upper length range.

Dangerous for the Driver

On top of the size of the surfboard in the car, remember that if your board is large and not put into the car properly, it can make it hard for the driver to operate the car properly. Large surfboards can also affect visibility, so some drivers will be extremely wary of taking surfboards for this reason.

This again comes back to the point about putting the board in the car in the proper way, as explained in the section above, so stick to that where possible.

Seat Belts

The last thing is that carrying your surfboard inside an Uber car in this way will obviously take up an extra space. This means that there will be at least 1 less seat belt available in the car.

Not only is it crazy to travel without a seat belt on in a car, Uber drivers will not be allowed to take you since it would cost them their job and they would not be insured if anything happened.

Clearly, your own safety is for you to decide, but if your surfboard is going to take up too much space in an Uber car, with you and friends trying to cram into the remaining seats, your chances of getting a successful lift will be massively reduced.

Board Bags

Be sure to have your surfboard in a board bag if traveling by Uber. This is because it will not only protect your board but it will also help to convince the driver to take your surfboard in their car.

Remember that your surfboard will be sandy, covered in wax and possibly wet, which is hardly an appealing option for most professional drivers to carry!

Put it in a bag and you will find that the drivers are less likely to say no. Even if you are only going for a quick surf at a local beach, you can get a surfboard day bag that will be light and do the job just fine.

Price (and Hassle) Comparison

Before going down the Uber XL route, it would be a good idea to check the cost of either hiring a car and driving it to your chosen location, or just booking through a private travel company where you can consult them clearly on the terms and conditions beforehand.

Since some Uber drivers will want to charge extra for carrying a surfboard, you might find that the costs mount up quite quickly so definitely have a look into other options before scheduling a ride.

Think about the hassle of the different options available, too, since trying to convince a  

Uber and Roof Racks

At present, you can’t order an Uber with roof racks, so the chances of putting your board on the roof are slim.

However, you can order an Uber XL or an SUV, which may have space for the surfboard you want to carry on your Uber ride.

This will always be down to the driver so don’t think of it as a given that they will take you and your surfboard, even with a larger vehicle.

However, there is one way that you might be able to get around this if you plan in advance, buy some gear and ask nicely, as will be explained below.

Uber Roof Rack Hack for Surfboards

To increase your chances, you could take along a pair of soft surfboard racks since these can fit on any car and can be put on and taken off quickly and easily.

Given the extra time, you would like have to pay extra for the time spent doing this.

Soft surfboard racks are small enough that you could fit these into your board bag after your ride is done, and they might even come in handy at the other end of your journey.

Check out my full article on carrying your surfboard on the roof of a car for tips and insights!

That said, soft racks are still an additional item of luggage to carry so think about whether you want to have these racks with you at all times.

Remember that the decision to let you put soft surfboard racks on an Uber car would again come down to the driver’s choice, so always ask in advance in the before trying to get a ride.

Uber Surfboard Tips

Some surfers have said that they were able to successfully book an Uber by posting on different Uber forums and agreeing a rate that way.

This is always done in advance and usually involves an extra cash price on top of the ride.

I have seen $10-20 extra each way for Uber drivers to agree to taking a surfboard. Whether this is a good deal for you obviously depends on the following factors:

  • Overall journey cost
  • Availability of surfboards to hire
  • Cost of alternative transport options

If $10-20 is nothing in comparison with the fare you will be paying, then adding on a surfboard might not be that bad of a deal.

Alternatively, you could look into the price of hiring surfboards in your destination if you are going on a holiday or short surf trip. This could give you a proper price comparison and also cut out the hassle of having to drive  

Related Question

Does Lyft take Surfboards? 

You might be able to take a surfboard on a ride with Lyft but, similar to Uber, you would need to use the XL service and also check this in advance before relying on it. 

Smaller surfboards in a clean bag will have the best chance of successful journeys using Lyft, as they will for almost all kinds of similar transportation.

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