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The Motor Vehicles of Surf

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Surf Motor Vehicles

PC: The Examiner

Whether you ride a handboard, surfboard or bodyboard, how you get your ride to the beach is a big deal.  For those not fortunate enough to live within walking or biking distance from the waves, a sweet, beach-inspired shred-mobile will get you there.  The surf vehicle, whether it's for a quick cruise down the street or a road trip up the coast, is all about style.  Check out these surf motor vehicles, ranging from classic beach wagons to contemporary surf-mobiles.

Woody Wagons

While most people weren't huge fans of the bulky wagon, surfers fell in love with them.  Their affordability and roomy size allowed for ample space for multiple surfboards.  The wood grain paneling became synonymous with California surf style.  These vintage motor vehicles were built in the 1930s and 1940s by the likes of Buick, Ford, Oldsmobile and Chevy.  If you're looking to pick up one of these, be sure you have some serious cash.  According to The Examiner, fully restored woody wagons often sell in the six-figure range.


In the 1960s and 1970s, the woody gave way to the more welcoming van.  The space-friendly van matched the "free love" era and its unrestrained, roaming culture.  The more people you could squeeze in your vehicle to road trip, sleep, party or chill, the better, and a van provided just that.  Vans like the iconic Volkswagen Westfalia took watermen and waterwomen up and down the coasts of the United States on the wild hunt for waves, and they gave them the space to live while they traveled.


The importance of four-wheel drive came into play in the 1980s as pickup trucks gained popularity as the surf motor vehicle of the time.  Favorites included Land Cruisers, Jeeps and 4Runners.  According to Surfline, the Toyota 4Runner was literally called "The Surf" in Japan, and it was a wild hit with surfers around the world.


Ever since the start of the 2000s, the environmentally conscious hybrid has maintained its top spot as the prime modern-day surf vehicle.  The Toyota Prius has been a huge hit with surfers, hipsters and CEOs alike.  Their streamlined style, along with their relative affordability and gas-saving abilities make it a popular, modern vehicle choice that a waterman can pop a surf rack onto.  You won't even need a surf rack if you're planning on a handboarding/bodysurfing session!

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