DIY Truck Tailgate Surfboard Pad from a Beach Chair

Some time ago, I found a discarded, broken beach chair sitting next to the trash on one of the beach crossovers. The chair was of no use anymore, but the seat material was still in decent shape. It’s made of a heavy duty nylon with a waterproof backing material. That material can be pricey to buy, but here’s some just being tossed out. So, I cut away the seat material (I did chuck the seat frame), and brought it back home to run it through the washer.
Here’s the seat laid out:

Beach chair seat material

I thought it would work great for a tailgate pad on my husband’s truck so I wouldn’t get wax all over the tailgate anymore. I looked at the Thule tailgate pad as an inspiration.
I was able to get a good sized rectangle out of the seat material, around 13″ by 22″:

Rectangle cut from the seat material

For the underside of the pad, I cut another rectangle of the same size out of nylon flag fabric, leftover from my car rack pad project from a couple of weeks ago:

I made sure to overlock the raw edges of the blue nylon flag fabric, so the edges wouldn’t fray.
Using 1″ nylon webbing, I cut a 3 yard strip in half to use as the straps to go under the tailgate. I burned the cut ends with a lighter (outside!) so the webbing wouldn’t fray out:

1″ wide nylon webbing
From each 1 1/2 yard piece, I cut a small 6″ length of webbing that I threaded through a parachute buckle and folded in half, then sewn onto the bottom of the seat material rectangle, 3 inches in from the edge, placed UPSIDE DOWN and facing inside (see first picture), since this entire piece will be sewn onto the flag fabric backing, and turned inside out. On the top side of the rectangle, I sewed the other two long pieces of webbing across from the buckle pieces (see second picture below).

To make strap to secure the tail to the pad and keep it from sliding back and forth on the tailgate, I used some leftover 1″ nylon webbing in purple (sorry, that’s the color I had!). I cut one piece about 15″ long and secured a buckle piece to that end, and the other I left about a yard long with no buckle. I stitched the ends centered on the rectangle, as far in from the edges as the black straps, and in the middle of the rectangle. I sewed a square with an X inside to make sure the end of each piece was secure- I did not sew the webbing all the way to the outside edges- I wanted the straps to be free to come up and around the tail of the surfboard.
I’m ready now to put the flag fabric backing onto the piece. I gathered all the straps and made sure they stayed in the center, away from the edges, placed the flag fabric piece on top, and sewed around THREE sides only:
 

Since I left the side open, I can now turn the piece right side out:



 
Using some mildew resistant polyester 1″ thick foam, I cut a rectangle a little smaller than the tailgate pad case and slid it inside the casing:

 
Once the foam batting was inside the casing, I folded the open edges in about 1/2 inch and stitched the rectangle closed:

I unbuckled the purple tail straps and ran three lines of stitching down the middle of the pad, going through all layers. This will keep the foam batting from moving around inside the casing.


Next, it was time to do a fit check with my fattest board, an SUP, and trim any major excess off of the webbing strips and singe them with a lighter to seal.
I installed it like the Thule instructions directed.
Here’s the final fit:
 
 
 
 
 
Now I can use the Hubby’s truck to do donuts in the middle of A1A without the board sliding around. Weeeeeeeeee!!!!!
 





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