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COURTESY DABCO INC.
The Gatekeeper surfboard lock secures any size board to a roof rack or can be attached to the bed of a pickup truck.
Lock system keeps board safe on car
A few years ago, my beautiful, custom, one-of-a-kind Hobie Phil Edward's model was stolen off my car. I had left it strapped to my Thule roof rack right in front of my house. Silly me. I thought thefts only occurred in other neighborhoods.
Stealing someone's surfboard is more than just taking a water-riding vehicle; it's like taking a part of the surfer's soul.
While I searched for the perfect surfboard lock -- tough and simple to install -- I transported my boards inside the SUV and suffered through the crowded conditions.
Most of the locks I found were little more than deterrents, using a steel that attached to a special fin screw and then looped around something immovable. If a thief was determined and had a bolt cutter, well ...
What I wanted was an intimidating and impenetrable locking device that I could attach to my equally strong roof rack.
Then I found Gatekeeper, manufactured by Dabco Inc., a Southern California company that makes a variety of locks depending on a surfer's needs and vehicle. The one that caught my eye was Gatekeeper's factory roof rack system ($169).
Despite its small size, this rack is the gorilla of all surfboard security systems. Its all-metal base attaches to the vehicle's rack with two large easy-to-use, lockable spin nuts.
On top of the base is a steel, oval bar. One end slides out so a surfboard can be secured in the oval.
The Gatekeeper is positioned just in front of the fin(s) and behind the board's hips. Because of the height of the fin(s), the board cannot be slid forward. Because of the greater width at the hips, it cannot be pushed backward. Another lock seals the deal.
The Gatekeeper lock expands to accommodate a board of any size. Included Rail Cushions conform to varying rail shapes.
I've been keeping my Gatekeeper on my car all the time, but if you want to use it just for those high-security occasions, it can be installed in less than a minute. (The Gatekeeper comes in a nylon stow bag.)
The three locks and other components are specialized for a coastal environment, and the no-mar clamps won't scratch your factory crossbar. Anything that is not coated or steel-plated is stainless steel. The tubing is welded and plated in zinc, then powder-coated.
The Gatekeeper line includes a lock to protect surfboards with removable fins and another that attaches to pickup trucks or truck beds.
No lock is impenetrable, Gatekeeper owner Don Bistline says, but a good lock can discourage a thief. "The bad guy needs time and tools, so he's looking elsewhere for an easier target."