Roew is a new style of surfboard bag bringing clean insights to classic surf problems...
The Roew Roll Top Board Bag is the Kickstarter project of Joey Cunningham. Joey is a designer at Peak Design and a surfer. Somewhere in his brain, the frustration of average surfboard bags bubbled up into a project that would not rest. Surfboard bags could be better.
He had a few key gripes with board bags. Corroded or broken zips, a lack of size adjustability, and (in my opinion, the worst) a soggy, moldy, stinky bag.
So with his bag design pedigree, he set out to change things and the result is a chill and obvious conclusion. A roll-top, breathable spacer mesh board bag.
I’ve had a chance to use a personally sewn proto from Joey over the last three weeks. I managed to snag a surf trip and get some good testing in. I had the bag on roof racks, in the back of my car, stored in a house and at various car parks along Phillip Island and the Surf Coast of Victoria, Australia.
Who It Suits
The Roew sits between a board sock and a board bag. It is soft, compressible, and length/shape flexible… sock. It has handles and a carry strap… bag. It pretty much offers the best of both.
Simply put, it suits most surfers.
There are three lengths available: short, medium, and long. The short fits up to 7′, medium up to 8’6″, and long up to 10′.
My boards are all within a foot in length of each other. From 5’10” to 6’6″. The small fits them all and the generous nose shape means my more retro boards fit in well along with my shortboards.
Carrying this bag has resulted in a number of positive comments. It does not look like a board bag, there is no reflective silver plastic. It is not a loose, baggy woolen sock. Rather, it is neat, well presented, and pretty tidy.
Who It Doesn’t
The bag does not give off ‘flight safe’ vibes. If you’re not flying, great. If you are… eeek… I would not put this under a plane and expect a healthy board on the other side. If jet setting to surf destinations is your game, then you’d best be looking at some heavier padded alternatives.
Well, the roll-top lets you use the bag’s material to protect and buffer your fins/tail. Additionally, the more you roll, the shorter the bag gets. So you end up with more flexibility in length combined with added protection at the tail.
It also gets rid of zips; they get corroded, break teeth, and age quicker than the body materials.
Spacer mesh body
The breathability of the spacer lets the board dry in-bag. It is simple but effective. The nose of the bag is heavier duty and the nose has a webbing loop at the tip. The combination of materials helps your board slide into the bag and gives a bit more stability at the nose, good for when it is on the roof.
Yoga mat vibes
The bag rolls tight, like yoga mat tight. This may not seem like much; however, it means you can store this bag or transport it without it taking up your trunk. It is such a pain to be carrying around an empty board bag. They’re soft and droopy, hard to control, and generally take up as much space as a board. It is kind of the sleeper feature of the bag that it is not always taking up 100% of its space.
Post-consumer recycled materials
Almost as expected, bottles to bags and post-consumer waste is used to make nearly all of the materials for the bag, the exception being the plastic closing hardware. The claim is 104 to 124 bottles per bag are repurposed, bag size-dependent.
Not So Good
The long access
With the roll-top at one end, you do need to manage getting the board safely in and out of the bag. It can get a bit tricky pushing your board into a sock-shaped bag. I have used a number of zip-opening bags that kind of become taco shells with a surfboard filling. Quick to pack and quick to unpack when you’re going from spot to spot.
Structure of the side handle and strap
It grabs a little softly to the bag. I had a proto with thinner material, but I would still be a little nervous about how much control you have over a more narrow board sitting inside the bag. The grab handle kind of moves independently of the bag, so your board swings around a bit. Not hugely, but more than with a standard foamed-out surfboard bag.
Rain on the roof racks
It pissed down, like totally drenching rain while I was driving with the board on the roof, and the bag was soggy. I also had a silver foamed-out board bag that had shed water like a duck on the body and only had wet binding tape and zippers. The Roew had to stay outside and dry off. If you’re not throwing it on the roof, i.e. you don’t have kids taking up your car space, then no worries!
Alternatives to Consider
There are not any other roll-tops, the Roew sits in its own world. There are socks from many brands and silver bags from many others.
Board socks are done by heaps of crew, all the major surf brands and plenty of surf lifestyle crossovers too.
I enjoy Project Blank Board Socks, they are so black and not surf vibes, which suits me great.
Single board bags are also done by heaps and heaps of brands. All the majors, most of the minors. They range greatly in price and quality but tend to be a bit of a staple.
For an interesting option the Shelter Board Bag by Db is pretty awesome and stealth… you may be getting a hint at what I like.
The bag was great. I got comments in the car park about it, which never happens. It was a good-looking, quick-drying, small-storing board bag for a trip where I swapped boards and cars often, and this was the go-to.
I view the Roew Roll Top Board Bag as a complement to my other bags. This is the quick trip, locals-only bag. Not for the long-haul flights or along wild coast adventures, and when it comes down to it, that is most of my surfing.
You can pre-order on Kickstarter now.
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