You’ve gone out all summer on your regular paddleboard and you know what it can and can’t do. You also know that there are other boards out there that are excellent for different types of paddling that you’ve been thinking about getting into- paddleboards that may be faster, have more glide or turn quicker. What you need is another board for your quiver and a good post-season option to consider are demo paddleboards.
Paddleboard shops usually carry a range of boards designed for specific types of paddling. There are paddleboards for surfing, flatwater touring, open water touring, downwinding, racing, river, yoga, fishing, and all-around (multi-purpose) paddling. The shop owners will likely have ridden these boards to understand how they perform and to decide if their customers will dig them. They then will designate certain boards to use as demos, so people can “try before they buy”. A lot of times the demo is the last board they have left of a given model, and at the end of the season it gets sold at a really good price because it has been used.
Paddleboard demos are very rarely abused because the demos are usually supervised by the owners. Also, people normally demo a variety paddleboards at once to compare and contrast so no one board gets ridden for very long. As such, the demo boards tend to stay in really good shape. If any damage does happen to a demo board it is usually repaired by professionals and done right. So, you can typically get a board in great shape for a really good price.
Many paddleboard shops are not just selling off their demo boards at the end of the season. There are also demo paddles, used leashes, specialty fins, PFD’s (personal flotation device), etc that are coming out of the inventory rotation. So it’s also a great time to get a paddle for the type of paddling you want to do. Surfing paddles tend to be shorter in length and have larger blades than paddles used for flat water or racing pursuits. Of course, it comes down to personal preference, but some paddlers like to have different paddles for the different kinds of paddling that they may be doing.
As the seasons change, like they do here in the northeast, different types paddleboarding come into season as well. In the summer, you tend to see a lot of paddleboard racing events, yoga classes, downwinding (mostly due to continual southerly winds), general touring, and fitness paddling. During the colder months when the winter storm surges kick up the surf you will see a lot folks in their 5/4 wetsuits having the time of their lives on all our favorite beach and point breaks. In the springtime the snowmelt fills the riverways and the river paddlers come out of the woodwork. Building a quiver of at least a couple of paddleboards will allow you to pursue all of these types of paddling.
Getting a demo board at the end of the season is also a great way to upgrade your current gear or try something completely different. For example, whether it’s a wider board for stability or a longer, narrower board for better glide and speed. You can explore new areas of paddling without feeling like you’re breaking the bank on something you are not sure about. And the great thing about this is that you can demo the board to see if it’s the right fit! All reasons why getting an post-summer season demo might be a good move for you.