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Geartrade: How to ship a paddleboard

Hooray paddleboards! They’re a thing everybody loves—until you’ve got to ship them. Because bless ‘em, they’re just not that portable. They’re too oversized to just drop off at the post office. Fortunately, we’ve done the legwork and research to solve this shipping puzzle. Fear not and read on.

Gather your supplies.
You’ll need four things:

  • Packing tape: just the standard stuff—two-inch width, clear tape.
  • Bubble wrap: the kind with small bubbles (rather than large) is easier to bend around the board’s corners.
  • Cardboard or pipe insulation: you’ve got to protect the board edges, and you can either do this with pieces of cardboard taped around it or with cheap pipe insulation you can get in the plumbing section of the hardware store.
  • A great big box: this is easiest if you can get a paddleboard/surfboard box from a surf shop, but if not, you can improvise your own by overlapping two other large boxes together and taping them.

Package ‘er up.

  • Wrap your board in bubble wrap from end to end, taking care to cover every inch.
  • Then, protect the edges by either taping cardboard strips around them or covering them with plumbing insulation tubes.
  • Gently slide the board into the large box without disturbing any of your bubble-wrap handiwork. Fill any excess empty space with extra bubble-wrap.

Ship it out.

  • Most normal shipping carriers (U.S. Postal Service, UPS, and FedEx) won’t ship paddle boards because they’re so big. But you can send it freight.
  • All you have to do is Google-search freight carriers. Choose one, and ask if they charge higher pickup fees at residential addresses (in which case you could look into getting it picked up from your work address).

Beth Lopez is a seasoned writer and creative director who loves to tell tales of adventure and discovery—and finds writing a powerful way to give a voice to people, causes, and places. Beth runs amok in the Wasatch mountains when untethered from her computer. She believes there’s no such thing as a bad ski day and considers animals her favorite people. Don’t tell her mother about her Instagram mountaineering photos.