Summer without frights
When summer comes along, water sports are on the rise. Many of these, such as diving or paddle surf, require specific equipment that must be transported correctly in your car without compromising personal safety. “The large dimensions of a paddle surf board, which is more than three metres long, and the amount of space in the boot for all your diving material are two setbacks when you want to drive to the beach” says Mariona Gea, a regular paddle surfer in the waters of the Mediterranean. Below are seven tips for transporting all your equipment safely so that a problem on the road does not spoil a fun day at the beach.
1. A well-organised boot. This is where your diving equipment and accessories and your paddle-surfing equipment should be secured. It is important that the load is evenly distributed so it doesn’t affect the weight of the vehicle. With a storage capacity of 620 litres (and up to 1,600 when the second row of seats is folded down), the new SEAT Leon Sportstourer is the ideal car for transporting all kinds of equipment. In addition, “the folding compartment in the centre rear seat enables you to place the paddle in the luggage compartment without having to fold the whole row” highlights Mariona.
2. A properly secured load is essential. Oars and oxygen cylinders must be securely fastened inside the boot to avoid accidents. The blade of the paddle should face forward with a strap on the handle connected to both sides of the luggage compartment. The oxygen cylinder must be placed flat and perpendicular to the line of seats, so that it cannot roll around with the movement of the vehicle, and it must also be secured with straps.
3. Place your board on the roof rack. Although it may be tempting to store your paddle board inside the car, it is neither safe nor feasible, as it can get projected forward in the event of an accident. Furthermore, if detected in some countries such as Spain, fines can range from 80 to 200 euros. Properly securing it on the roof rack is the best way to transport it. “The keel part must be placed face up at the front to prevent it from sliding back and off your car” explains Mariona. It’s preferable to use a surfboard accessory like one that SEAT has, which can be anchored to vehicles with or without a roof rack, to secure your board and prevent it from getting damaged.
4. Attach a warning sign if necessary. As a rule, the load on the roof rack must not exceed the length of your vehicle. However, depending on the car model, the paddle surf board may stick out just a little. In this case, only at the rear of the car and you must attach a V-20 sign at its rearmost point. On cars like the Leon Sportstourer or the SEAT Tarraco, with more than four and a half metres in length, a board fits perfectly on top of the vehicle, so no sign would be necessary. “This is an advantage for users of inflatable paddle surfboards, as you can transport them without having to inflate and deflate them each time” says Mariona.
5. Check your tyres. You must take into account all the added weight you put into your car. With the occupants of the vehicle, the contents of the boot, the 15 kilos of the 10-litre oxygen bottle and the 10 kilos of the paddle surf board, the tyre pressure could decompensate. Therefore, before setting off for the first time, you should check their pressure with a pressure gauge and adapt it to the weight. A lack or excess of pressure could cause punctures or wear down the suspension.
6. Adjust your speed. Once underway, try to maintain a constant speed which is lower than when the roof rack is loaded, and avoid sudden acceleration or braking. Mariona warns that “when transporting a board on the roof, it exerts resistance to the air and the front part often moves slightly up and down.” However, if it begins to move a lot or from side to side, you should stop in a safe place and secure it better.
7. Keep a safe distance. The added weight also affects the braking time of the vehicle, so it is important to increase your safety distance. Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) systems, which are widely integrated in today’s cars, help regulate driving according to the needs of the driver and traffic conditions. In the Leon Sportstourer and the new version of the SEAT Ateca 2020, this function has been enhanced with travel assist, which allows for more relaxed driving by anticipating road signs and maintaining distances between vehicles.
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