Watersports towers provide obvious performance benefits. Tower-attached board racks offer more practical dividends. “You need somewhere to safely store your equipment and keep it out of the way when you’re not using it,” explains Roswell -Marine’s chief of design Darrick Wilson. “Board racks do that for you, but not all are created equal.” What to look for? Here are six key areas to consider.
Most board racks resemble an elongated letter E, with twin padded cradles. Select a specific style based on the type of boards you use most often. Wakeboards are relatively thin, whereas wakesurf boards can be both thicker and wider. A universal fit is accommodating, but the board can have more play. Racks sized for specific board types will be the most secure but may limit what you can bring.
Racks are typically formed from polished or anodized billet aluminum, designed to prevent corrosion. Board contact surfaces should be lined with foam, often in a higher density where the bottom edge of the board settles into the cradle, and a softer density along the sides to protect a board’s more vulnerable top and bottom surfaces. Mounting hardware should be stainless steel.
Fixed vs. Swivel
Fixed-position racks are the most affordable option, but a swiveling rack is more convenient in real-world use, allowing for easier loading and unloading from the safety of the cockpit, rather than standing atop the gunwale and reaching out around the tower. Swiveling racks also eliminate the worry of damage at the dock or when rafting up, and decrease the overall width when towing or trying to fit into a narrow boathouse. Basic swivel mechanisms release via a removable safety pin; more advanced mechanisms include magnetic or spring-loaded pins that are an integral part of the design. One more alternative is a removable rack that can be detached from the base.
Cords vs. Clamps vs. Telescoping Arms
Bungee cords remain the most cost-effective way to secure a board—wrapping up and over its top edge before securing back to the rack—but they allow some play and may stretch over time. Strapless alternatives are convenient and provide a more secure hold, but they are more expensive. Options include levered clamps that trap the top of the board against the rack’s bottom surface, and telescoping arms that secure a vertically cradled board by its top rail.
Mounting points integrated into the tower itself offer the most secure, movement-free attachment. Universal clamps, however, accommodate towers of varying tube diameters, as well as offer flexibility in the mounting location and angle to position the rack where the owner finds most convenient or out of the driver’s vision. Universal mounts are also the best solution for adding new racks to older tower designs.