Shopping for a stand-up paddle board (SUP) can be a daunting experience for the first-time buyer. With dozens of brands, different technologies, materials, and large differences in price, choosing the right SUP can be difficult.
Prepare for a successful shopping experience by answering the following questions.
WHAT IS MY EXPERIENCE LEVEL?
Chances are, if you’re reading this article, you’re considering purchasing your first paddle board. First time buyers range from the totally inexperienced, to people who’ve logged dozens of hours on a SUP at a resort or rental facilities. If you’re very new to the sport, you will want to choose a SUP that has more stability. This will help you maintain balance as you gain confidence and experience.
When evaluating your experience level, you should consider more than the number of hours you’ve spent on a SUP. Consider your general athletic ability as well. Do you generally have great balance? Does your body learn new skills quickly? If so, board size and stability become less of an issue.
While considering your experience level in choosing a SUP, remember not to get a SUP to large just for added stability. While it may seem like a great idea at first, you will quickly grow out of it. As you gain experience, the larger board will become a hindrance.
WHAT ARE MY PADDLE BOARDING GOALS?
There may be no more important question when choosing a SUP than determining your goals. What you visualize doing on a paddle board will lead you down the proper branch of the SUP tree.
Generally, stand up paddle boards can be divided into the following styles:
HOW WILL I TRANSPORT MY BOARD?
If you’re not leaving your SUP permanently at the cottage or cabin, then you will need to consider how it will be transported.
If you have a vehicle with a solid roof, then you’ll be able to get a roof rack and a rigid paddle board.
If you don’t own a vehicle or won’t spend the money for a rack, then you should be looking to choose an inflatable SUP. Inflatables are stored in a backpack, and can be taken on public transit.
WHERE WILL I STORE THE BOARD?
When choosing a SUP, you have to consider where it will be stored.
The average paddle board is at least 10’6” long. If you purchase a rigid paddle board, you will need a space long enough to store your board. Many people store their boards in a garage, basement, at the cabin, or hung on a wall.
Storage space isn’t an issue for inflatable boards. Rolled into its backpack, these boards can be stored in an apartment closet.
WHAT IS MY BUDGET?
Even the cheapest of paddle boards are several hundred dollars, and the most expensive ones cost several thousand dollars. Either way you cut it; paddle boards are not cheap.
Everyone wants to get the most bang for their buck, so knowing your budget will help you to choose a SUP which does that.
If you budget is less than $500 than you should only consider inflatable paddle boards. New rigid paddle boards at this price are poor quality. Simple as that.
Once your budget exceeds $1000, you should consider a rigid paddle board. Better quality boards are available at this price, and from a performance and durability perspective, rigid paddle boars are superior to inflatables. Top performing inflatable brands are also available in this price range.
WHO WILL RIDE THE SUP?
Who is going to be riding the new paddle board? When deciding to choose a SUP, you need to consider everyone involved.
Will this be a family board? If so, you’ll need to consider the size, experience level, etc… of the largest person in the house.
Choosing a SUP doesn’t have to be difficult. As a shopper, you simply need to determine both your current needs and long term goals. By answering the six questions, you will have a better understanding of your needs and which path to follow. Now answer those questions and start shopping!
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.
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