As a paddle board manufacturer, I get daily Google Alerts on various keywords important to my business. One of the Alerts I regularly receive are reviews/guides to the best paddle boards. After reading dozens of articles over the years, I’ve come to the conclusion that most reviews of the “Best Paddle Boards for 20XX” are completely worthless.
Don’t get me wrong, there are sites like supconnect.com and outdoorgearlab.com that offer quality reviews, where products are evaluated by skilled users and tested and compared against each other. Unfortunately, most reviews don’t match that level of quality.
What are the signs that the review you clicked on might be worthless?
Poor Explanation of Review Procedures
In order for product rankings to be accurate each test sample has to be evaluated to the same standards, and tested to the same criteria. If the review doesn’t explain what it was testing and how it was tested, you should be skeptical, as the reviewer might have an agenda.
Available on Amazon
Let’s be perfectly clear, the best paddle board brands do not sell on Amazon. Brands such as Starboard, Wappa, Boardworks, JP, BIC, Naish, etc… sell to stores. If they sell online, its usually through their own website, or a dealer’s site.
The biggest sign that the review you’re reading is worthless, is when most of the paddle boards reviewed can be purchased on Amazon. Reviews like this are nothing but marketing clickbait. When a reader clicks on a link in these reviews, they are immediately redirected to Amazon. At this point the article writer receives an Amazon commission for any purchase made. The purpose of these types of reviews is to earn money for the writer by driving Amazon sales. It doesn’t matter if the reviewed products are any good. All that matters is that the reader goes to Amazon and buy something. Anything.
Like the Amazon example, many “best review” lists have links enabling the reader to purchase the products. This is just another marketing article where the writer who is an affiliate earns either a referral commission or drop ship sale. In other words, the best paddle boards on these lists are simply there because the reviewer has an opportunity to make some money.
Inflatable Paddle Boards Only
Unless the review is exclusively focused on inflatable paddle boards, no inflatable would be considered among the overall best paddle boards. The simple fact of the matter is that professionals and other top paddlers prefer hard boards for a reason. They are stiffer and glide better than inflatables, which makes them faster and more efficient. To have a list of the “Best Paddle Boards for 20xx” and not include hard boards is disingenuous.
Stand up paddle boarding has been the fastest growing water sport globally for over a decade. As with all rapid growth areas, some people are out to make a quick buck. Worthless paddle board reviews like the ones described, do a disservice to the paddle board industry and to shoppers trying to make a good purchase decision.
As a proud manufacturer of eco friendly bamboo paddle boards, I want people to love the sport. When people purchase an inferior product, they will have an inferior experience. I want everyone to love paddle boarding, and I don’t want people getting ripped off buying a crappy paddle board when they think they are getting the best available. It’s just bad business.
Feel free to reach out to the Wappa Paddle Boards team if you have any purchase questions. We want you to love paddle boarding, and buy the SUP that’s right for you.
The Wappa Blog
Written by Wappa's founder Layne Pennell, the blog's aim is to educate and share his love of stand up paddle boarding with anyone interested in SUP.
Wappa vs. competition
board performance explained
SUP for women
want a deal?