Buying your First Paddleboard

Buying your First Paddleboard

Try Before You Buy!

Paddle Boards are a serious investment and you’ll want to make sure you’re fully committed before you pull the trigger.

First and foremost: have you ever been on the board before?  You are probably not going to buy a car without taking it for a test drive, similarly, you should “test drive” different boards of all shapes and sizes before making a decision. 


Where and How Will You Be Paddling?

The biggest question we will ask our customers is what they will be doing with the board, who will be using the board and where they will be using it.  Paddleboard packages are expensive and a lot of customers are looking for a board that is ideal for all family members. Do you want to do yoga on the board? Are you looking for speed?  Do you need an inflatable board that you can travel with? Do you want to paddle with your dog?  It’s up to you and what you need really, but one thing that we can recommend for any type of paddler is an adjustable paddle.

How much paddling experience do you have?

Measure this in terms of hours and/or miles paddled.  Have you taken basic through intermediate lessons from a certified paddling coach?  As you learn proper paddling and turning techniques as well as spending a lot of time on the water, you will begin to develop a personal style and gravitate toward paddling that reflects what you want to do on the water, such as; recreational cruising, touring, racing, surfing, flat water, open ocean & lakes or down-winding,   An all-around, planning type board is the most versatile for recreational paddling.  Surfing boards are shorter for wave maneuverability while touring boards are longer and wider and less maneuverable.  Racing boards are long, narrow and unstable.  

Buy a reputable brand?

Buy from a reputable brand that has been in business for more than 3 years.  With so many new companies the paddleboard market has already become saturated and full of inferior boards that have been mass produced overseas. Think about the process of R and D (Research and Development) that a new board company has to go through. Do you really think that you can perfect a board in less than three years time?  Take our advice and go with a company who has been perfecting their boards for years through R and D.

New or used Paddleboards aka SUP Boards?

For most people, paddleboards are expensive.  This is a big decision that will take some time.  We get calls and emails all the time- do you have any boards for $200 or $300?  Quick answer, No!  Couple things to understand here.  Paddleboards are not pieces of plastic like kayaks.  The average entry level paddleboard costs $899 and along with a paddle you are looking at spending around $1,000.  Let’s think about a used board here in mint condition. If a board costs $950 new including tax, then how much do you think a used board is? Definitely not $200 or $300.  You will be spending closer to $700-$800 depending on the condition.  Every now and then we feature some amazing specials and some used board deals with even more savings and we invite you to check in with Cane River Paddle & Pedal Sports page for these specials.  A couple of other things to keep in mind: every year these boards get better and more durable as companies are always looking for an edge in quality, construction and design.  If you do buy a used board is it a board that will last or is it one that you might find yourself bringing back to us for ding repair? Is the board damaged?  How much is it going to cost to fix?  What year was the board made? In general, most early model boards were R and D boards and made from styrofoam; stay away from 2008-2012 models.  We also recommend staying away from boards in their first 3 years of their company life in general, including a lot of the newer wakeboard company owned paddleboards.  The Advantage: 1.You can get a great deal on a used board if you shop around.   2. Most used boards are no longer in production (like cars) and might actually be better than newer ones.  Take the Bark Competitor for example, in 2013, Bark made a great 12’6 racing model with an amazing color design that still enjoys great popularity.   This board is no longer made and you can only buy it used if you are lucky to find it at all.

The Cost of the Board is Generally Reflective of the Quality

I probably would not buy a board that costs less than $500 new unless it is a soft top or a kids model.  Cheap boards lack quality, durability and time tested research and development.  Remember, you get what you pay for.

Go with a name brand from one of the bigger reputable companies. Brand names like Yolo Board, Surftech, Naish, Bounce, Hobie, ATX, Lahui Kai, Jimmy Lewis and Imagine will be here for the long run.

Don’t Buy a Board on the Internet!

There is a big risk that the board will arrived damaged. Then you have to hassle with re-wrapping and returning this big piece of equipment. What a headache.

Try before you buy. Head out to your local Paddle & Pedal Sports location and demo our boards.

Support your local surf company - Cane River Paddle & Pedal Sports