One Board Quiver: The Board Bag
I like board bags. I like keeping my board safe from dings and wacks. Yes, I’m a nervous nelly about that, but can I be blamed if I like a board in good condition? I know my Pau Hana Ricochet board is pretty tough, but I got a board bag anyway. Maybe I’m neurotic, but I get nervous when my board is exposed, especially on the roof of my car. Pau Hana makes a bag specifically for the Big EZ, so naturally it should be part of the review.
I brought the board home right after a late season snowstorm. When I tried to slide the board into the bag, it didn’t fit. Fitted bags tend to be tighter fits than generic bags, understandably, but this bag wouldn’t fit entirely around the board! Even after pushing and pulling and finagling, there was about a half inch sticking out of the end. I was wondering if the low temperature had shrunk the bag. The problem resolved itself later, and, fancy scientific explanations aside, this bag just needed to be completely unzipped before you put the board in. That’s a bit of a drag, but understandable. I’m probably so used to generic bags that I didn’t know how to handle a different design.
The board bag has some nice features. The padding on the bag is fine, enough that I don’t have to pad the roof rack of my car. The bottom is made of reflective material, so the intention is for it to travel bottom-side up. No complaints there. I prefer the velcro closure of the fin slot to a zipper. Zippers tend to break and the velcro can make a nice fit around the fin. The bag has three pockets. There’s two inside on either side of the fin slot — great for storing your fins— another on the outside near the shoulder strap. This is more like a key pocket, but it’s big enough for a small wallet or some energy bars.
And then there’s the handles… The very first time I used it was pulling the bag onto the board that time I mentioned above. Then came a distinct tearing sound. Not good. Yes, I was applying some pressure but nothing out of line. If you compare them to other brands, you can see that the Pau Hana bag’s handles are just stitched into the seam. There’s no reinforcement. (The shoulder strap has the same problem.) This is a issue because those handles need to to take some abuse. You might need to prevent the board from falling off your car, or lifting it onto a high rack, or carrying it across the street. An argument might be made that this is a lower-end bag that doesn’t have the extra features of bags costing twice as much. Fair enough, but something as basic as a handle still needs to be usable. I’d hate to think of one tearing while I’m carrying the board a street. The shoulder strap has the same issue.
I like having a board bag made for a specific model of board. It fits snugly around the board with no wump-wump when my car gets to highway speed. In most ways the Pau Hana board bag is fine, but those handles need to be reinforced! If this adds $10 or even $20 to the price, fine. I keep my board bags forever. (Seriously. I have an Epic bag that’s about ten years old.) I’ll pay that extra buck or two for the peace of mind. You don’t want to sell a board bag that isn’t trustworthy, especially one that has so many other redeeming qualities. Pau Hana should seriously consider this.