There are a number of reasons why you should visit your local sup shop-here are 13.
- More expertise – local stand up paddle board shop usually offer more expertise than big box stores and buying online. In a good local shop the people working there actually paddleboard. In many cases they have ridden the what they sell. Many people in box stores have not even been out paddleboarding, nevermind had the opportunity to demo the boards for sale there.
- You can usually take lessons and rent boards from them. It is good to get guidance before you take a board out, even if you don’t want to take a lesson, renting from a local shop they should be able to give you the tools that you need to get started safely. Often, the local shop will deduct the price of your lesson or rental from your board purchase- that’s value added savings you can’t get from a big box store or online.
- If you are lucky they have demos so you can try before you buy. The best way to find the right board and paddle is to be able to try a variety of them before you buy. Good sup shops will offer demos either in conjunction with sales reps or from their own fleet of demos. Sometimes they will take you out for the demo, sometimes, you can rent a higher quality board than the traditional rental soft top and try it out that way. It’s nice to be able to give a board you are considering a workout before taking it home with you. Sometimes you hop on a board and know in a couple of minutes if you like it. Some boards you have to warm up to, but in the long run they might be a good fit for you. Being able to try them out helps a lot in steering you toward the right choice for you.
- Selection –local shops usually offer different brands than what you find at many box stores, kayak shops, etc. There are a lot of small sup brands that make great boards at good prices. They do not buy based on a national sales plan, they make their buys based on what is good for their customers.
- You can see and feel what you are buying. You should be able to take boards off the shelf and feel the weight and balance.
- Many shops offer opportunities to meet other paddlers – Through events, tours, meetups, fitness classes, social media pages, etc there are opportunities to meet other people who share your interest in paddling. Paddling friends are cool!
- You can build relationships with people at local shop. Personalized service is important for a stand up paddleboard purchase. You want to make sure you get the right things for your needs. Local shops will learn about what you like, how you paddle, what you have and what you may need. There is continuity of service so you don’t have to start over every time you need an accessory. You can also “talk shop” because for many people working in small shops, it is not just their job, it is their lifestyle.
- They often provide additional services like ding repair, clean and polish board, etc. And you can usually get extra parts there. If you lose a fin screw or break a fin, your local shop is a good place to start to find a replacement.
- To get the skinny on great paddle and surf spots. As mentioned above, this is a lifestyle for many of the people working in small shops, so pick their brains to find out where they like to go when they get out to paddle.
- They care about the local area and have a vested interest in growing the sport and community. This means that your happiness is actually important to them. They want you as part of the community so it is important that you are excited about your experiences and purchases.
- For the vibe…good shops should have a good aloha vibe. Love what you do, do what you love.
- There may be pricing flexibility…you can often get deals if you buy packages
- And all of the other reasons you should shop locally whenever you can
- you will be contributing to the local economy
- you will help build a sense of community
- you will be supporting local people
- you will be protecting the local character and prosperity of the neighborhood
So next time you are in the market for paddleboarding products or services, head over to your local standup paddle board shop and check it out! You might learn something and pick up some cool new gear and maybe they’ll have a cool shop dog!