Any surfer will tell you, there’s nothing like a nice set of racks. In particular racks that have a soft touch but are firm enough to hold up where it counts. The angles are just right and there’s enough surface area for most anyone’s taste. And for under $30 bucks ... we’re talking about surfboard racks right? Did I mention these particular racks are eco friendly?Mother of Invention
They say necessity is the mother of all invention. And in the case of Nice Rack
, necessity came in the form of an accomplished surfboard shaper needing to make room to store his wares. In 2001, shaper Darryl Matsui brought his engineering mojo to bear in coming up with what would later become Nice Rack. Taking inspiration from his son’s Legos® and industrial shelving systems, Darryl fashioned surfboard racks that were both easy to install, modular and structurally strong.
In 2009, surfer and entrepreneur extraordinaire Michael Russell took over Darryl’s design bringing them to the general surfing public through a company called Nice Rack. Based out of San Diego, California, their stated mission is to provide reliable, eco-friendly surfboard storage racks at an affordable price. Not to mention employing some smokin’ hot models for good measure.Closer Look
What sets Nice Rack apart from conventional surfboard racks is their ease of installation, affordability, modularity, and eco-friendliness. You really don’t even need to read the instructions to install these bad boys. Dealing with two screws and two holes on the mounting bracket does not a PhD require. At $29.95 for a set, Nice Racks are far more affordable than conventional surfboard racks which can run from $75 to well over $100 per set. Being able to connect Nice Racks together like Lego® pieces really help in keeping the racks aligned and adding to their structural integrity. Lastly, Nice Racks are made of 100% recycled ABS plastic and all packaging are made from recycled materials. That’s good karma all around.
The components for a set of Nice Racks is very straightforward and come in compact packaging minimizing shipping costs and delivery time. Included in a set are two wall mounts, two support arms, four mounting screws, four end caps, and an insert with a smokin’ hot model and a bunch of words which may have been instructions of some sort.
A closer look at the rack system shows attention to detail. Both the wall mounts and the support arms are padded so there is never a direct surfboard-to-plastic contact which is bad juju. And this is not some cheap flimsy padding but rather some serious quarter-inch thick medium density foam tape. The connection between the wall mount and support arm is pretty much kook proof. Grooves in the wall mount correspond to notches on the support arm hook so there’s really no way to incorrectly connect the two. Once assembled, the fitment has a very tight tolerance and the rack feels solid. End caps close off the connectors (used for connecting multiple racks together) providing a clean look.
For the spec freaks out there, the wall mount measures 8 inches and the support arms measure 16 inches angled at 22 degrees. Nice Racks are rated to hold up to a 9 foot longboard or anything under 25 pounds.Installation
It took me longer to open the packaging (not including drool time on the hottie insert) than it did to install the Nice Racks. Find the studs, drill in the wall mounts, hook on the support arms, and throw on a surfboard. The most time I spent was just making sure the wall mounts were aligned using a laser leveler. Total install time maybe 10 minutes tops.
Removing the racks is just as painless. The connection between the support arms and wall mount did take some slight force to disengage but I prefer that they tend to mesh rather than having a loose connection under load.Load Testing
Speaking of load, Nice Racks handle shortboards with ease. A 6 foot Channel Islands MX thruster hardly broke a sweat for these racks. Two 6 foot thrusters didn’t seem to phase it much more.
Taking it up a notch, a 7 foot 6 inch Becker Patriot Pro hybrid model was placed on the Nice Racks. The extra foam definitely seemed to put more pressure on the racks but the support arms held their ground and I felt confident on the hybrid. The only issue was that with the added length, it took some fidgeting to get the board centered on the racks otherwise it seemed to tilt to a side.
For longer boards, Nice Rack suggests skipping a stud which are typically 16 inches apart.
Time to release the Kraken!! And by Kraken, I mean my wife’s Titanic of a longboard measuring at 9 feet 8 inches and weighing several thousand pounds. A wee bit more than the 25 pounds load limit.
The support arms clearly gave a bit of ground from its 22 degree angle and the connection to the wall mount appeared to be slightly buckling.
Although the Nice Racks held, I did not feel comfortable storing this longboard on them. The Low Down
No doubt, Nice Racks are really some nice surfboard racks. Not even counting the very effective hottie placement, these things live up to their promise and then some:
- For purposes of storing most equipment including shortboards, hybrids, and lighter longboards, these racks will do the job.
- Price-wise, these racks are literally a fraction of conventional racks. For the $75 on lower end conventional racks, you could get a triple rack solution from Nice Racks.
- These racks look good. Unlike the burly piping wrapped in insulation most other racks are made of, I wouldn’t mind sporting these in my living room.
- Super easy to install. So much so I’m not even going to expand on this.
- Eco-friendly so you can sleep sound that at least your racks didn’t spew as much carbon footprint as the surfboards they’re holding.
The main drawback with these racks are their ability to hold up bigger boards. In fairness, Nice Rack states specifically that these particular racks are limited to 25 pounds in load. It also appears that they have other racks on sale meant for larger longboards and SUPs. But as far as these particular Nice Racks are concerned, I would not feel comfortable storing larger longboards on them. I did wonder whether doubling up on the racks would allow storage for larger longboards. However, Nice Rack has told me they are working on a rack system for heavier surfboards and SUPs.Get Some
Currently, you can get some Nice Racks directly from their website at http://www.thenicerack.com/
. The basic set sells for $29.95 while a double and a triple set sells for $60 and $75, respectively. I think you can get additional sets beyond this at a discount as well.
You can also get Nice Racks at some local shops in San Diego including Mitch’s and Rack-It.DISCLOSURE: THE AUTHOR OF THIS ARTICLE WAS PROVIDED THIS PRODUCT FOR FREE FOR PURPOSES OF TESTING.