The Value of Buying Your Paddleboard from Your Local Sup Shop

With standup paddleboarding growing so quickly, it’s natural that they are starting to pop up everywhere…big box stores, discount stores, all over the internet, and at your local sup shop. It can be a daunting thing to choose which board to get.

  • It’s hard to know why some boards cost $500 and some cost $3000.
  • Why shouldn’t you just pick out what you want and have it delivered to your door by UPS?
  • Why should you spend $1400 when you can get a perfectly fine looking board at West Marine for $700?
  • So what’s the difference between buying a board from Costco or a local shop?

cheap plastic board                                vs                       carbon fiber construction


Here’s why

  • There are many differences between a $500 board and a $3000 board.
    • Few people need a $3000 board (these are generally full carbon, high performance race boards).
    • And few people are happy with a $500 board. It may seem like a good way to try paddling out.   And if you aren’t sure how much you will use it, it might seem like the best way to get into for a modest amount. But, if you are buying a 50 lb board that hardly glides on the water, you are not going to get the real experience of paddling because that’s not a paddleboard…that’s a dock. And you can end up injuring yourself just getting in on and off your vehicle.
    • At your local sup shop, they can explain to you the differences and help you understand where your dollars are best spent. Buying the cheapest board might not save you money in the long run.
  • Buying a paddleboard online isn’t quite as easy as it sounds. Someone needs to be there to receive and unpack it.
    • We unpack and inspect everything for you. The damage rate upon receiving paddleboards is higher than you would imagine. Most carriers don’t even know what a paddleboard is, much less how to handle it. Forklifts meet boards, stuff gets thrown on top of them, they get tossed around, and many boards come in dinged, cracked, scratched, and occasionally buckled in half.
    • If you do insist on ordering a board online, make sure you unpack and inspect every inch of it before the truck driver pulls away. Whoever you bought it from will have a procedure for you to follow when you receive it, but it will look something like this…you need to make note of any damages on the shipping paperwork and call the company immediately to get credit for damages. You will have to decide if it’s something that you want to get fixed or if you want to refuse the shipment.
    • Then you wait…you can expect to wait to get a credit, wait if you return the product, or wait to get it fixed. In any of those scenarios, you won’t be riding your board the same afternoon.
    • At your local sup shop, the board will be unpacked and inspected for you. Any damages will be handled between the shop and the vendor, and you won’t have to worry about anything other than where you’re going to drop it in the water first.
    • We also dispose of the packing materials, which are voluminous.


  • West Marine, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Costco, etc. might be able to ring up a board for you, but the chances of them knowing much more about the product than the price are slim to none.
    • Most people in these stores are not particularly vested in the sport and therefore they only know the bare basics. Purchasing a quality paddleboard should at least involve talking to someone who paddles. As mentioned above, quality varies greatly between boards, and you should ensure that you are getting a quality product for your money.
    • Just because two boards share similar dimensions does not mean that the boards paddle the same, or that the durability is the same. The $700 West Marine board might be a good option for you, but $700 is a lot to spend on the wrong thing, so don’t you owe it to yourself to at least learn about what you are buying.
    • People who work at SUP shops should paddle what they sell, they should be able to talk to you about different styles of boards, and discuss your paddle goals and help to match you up with a board that will help you fulfill those goals.


  • There are many other services that your local sup shop should offer
    • Showing you how to install your fin
    • Showing you how to hook up and use your leash
    • Showing you how to load and secure your board on your vehicle
    • Educating you about your choices in boards, paddles, and safety gear so that you can make the choice that is right for you
    • Demos-many shops offer board and paddle demos so you can try before you buy
    • A good shop should provide lessons options for tours or outings.
    • Sup shops build a community through education, lessons, tours, group paddles, and gatherings. These local shops are what foster the growth of the sport.

In the end they’re your dollars to spend. But we want you to get the best value for your money, and that often doesn’t equate to the cheapest board. Most people will benefit from a board and paddle that they can grow with rather than a “one season” board that needs to be upgraded in a year. The learning curve with paddleboarding is very small, so you will improve quickly if that’s your goal.

If you have questions about what’s right for you, please contact your local sup shop. The local sup shop is the heart of the sport offering services that you can’t get in a big box store or online. There’s no substitute for seeing, feeling, and paddling the gear before you buy it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Social Media Auto Publish Powered By :