Josie's Got Racks: Getting surfboard racks on the side of my campervan

If you've been following my blog and journey for the last few months you know that there was one big problem I struggled to find a solution for: How to transport my paddle board and my long board in/on Josie (my campervan). 

Traditional roof racks weren't really an option because the it's too high up.. And while they do fit inside, they take up a lot of space and as much as I love my boards, they are not exactly the most comfortable thing to cuddle up to at night ;) 

I did a little bit of research before I bought my van and saw a few similar vans that had racks on the side of the van so I figured it can't be too hard to find someone who can build those for Josie. Well, let's just say I should have probably done a bit more research... 

Turns out the fact that Josie has a fibreglass top makes it a bit more challenging. I emailed and called just about anyone in New Zealand who does anything around car conversions and customisations, motorhome specialists, roof rack stores and even some boat builders. Most of them didn't even bother to reply at all and most of the others gave me a 'sorry can't help'. 

I started to get a bit desperate. Going on my trip without my boards was not an option (it's just not!). I seriously considered selling Josie and getting a different van - but I already loved her so much and had already invested time and money into making her feel like home. 

Dropping Josie of at VCM last week

Dropping Josie of at VCM last week

Luckily, one wonderful day my knight in shining amour appeared - well, technically he was a knight in a greasy overall and I appeared in his driveway... 

I guess sometimes it really is just a numbers game because one of the many, many people I reached out to was the team at Vehicle Construction and Maintenance in Auckland and they replied in true kiwi fashion with something along the lines of "Sweet as, we can do that. No worries at all". 

So I dropped Josie of with Blue, Debbie and the rest of the VCM team last week and picked her up again three days later with the most amazing surfboard racks!! 

Here are some photos or the built and the result. 


Here are some progress shots the team took for me while they were building the racks


Basically they attached two metal struts to the side of my van. The back one is fitted nicely right between the windows and the front one is attached to the sliding door. The great thing about this is that the door opens easily when I take the boards off which is important because access to my gas bottles is via that door. It won't open with the boards loaded but that's no problem given the door backs onto the kitchen anyway (you can't get into that van that way). 

At the bottom, little struts fold out when needed to put the paddle board on. And another pair of little struts in the middle holds the longboard. There are rings at the top, middle and bottom for my straps so I can tie the boards down and secure them - I've got lockable straps so don't have to worry about someone just taking the boards off when I'm not there. 


This is what it looks like with the boards on. Don't worry, I'm not planning to drive around with them without having the boards in their bags, just did this for the photo :) 

The whole thing is super stable and not moving at all. Super happy with it :) 


And just to make it even better, the guys also attached a tow ball to the step at the back of my van which means I can now attach a standard tow bar bike rack and my bike is coming along as well! 


So with that all done, I'm truely ready to go. Last day in the office tomorrow and moving out of my temporary flat and into my van on Friday. It still doesn't feel quite real yet but I can't wait to get going.