THE SMART WAY TO BUY A BOARD
3.5 min read
Like a child's first visit to a sweet shop, the process of buying a new SUP board in today's marketplace can be a bit overwhelming and hard to make sense of.
Let’s set the scene... you’re sitting in front of your laptop, finger twitching on the mouse, ready to click and invest in a shiny new SUP board. You’ve decided how much you have to spend, you’ve checked out all the sites and their pretty pictures, and you’ve seen what others are using on the water. You’ve nailed the board for you. It has all the bells and whistles. Nice colours too! But wait a minute… what’s that nagging feeling you have? The one that’s making you wonder if this IS the board for you? Once you click you can’t go back, eh! We’ve all been there. We want the best for ourselves. That’s natural. So when you’re buying a SUP board or kit, how do you make the right choice...
Here’s how… when considering your purchase, don't base your choices solely on price and pretty pictures. Filter it down in this order - Why, Who, What, and then you can think about Price.
Why.... are you buying a board? Is this a chance purchase or the start of a long journey with SUP? Think about what your new board's primary purpose will be. You can learn the basics on many boards, but once you earn your stripes, you'll want a board to suit your regular SUP sessions. For general play on the water, an all-rounder will be ideal. If you’re more of an adventurer, then maybe you’ll need a touring board; if exercise is on the cards, then perhaps you’ll need a yoga or race board, and so on. That's not to say that all boards are exclusive machines (some will cross over), but each has a designed purpose. You’ve also got to consider whether you want a hard or inflatable board; both have pro’s and con’s, delivering different SUP experiences.
Who… is the board for? Based on this person’s stats (height, weight, ability), decide what size/style of board will suit them. Most reputable brands will have indication charts available on their websites to help you with this. If you're not sure, then contact them, your local SUP school, or your local supplier. And remember that if you plan to take little passengers along for a ride, you’ll need to be able to take their weight too!
What… technology or add-ons do you want? Double layer drop stitch, extra cargo nets, carbon paddles, powerful pumps - the list of options are nearly endless. Each brand will have its version of the newest leading-edge technology. There are only a few out there who are genuinely leading the way in innovation and development. Beware of those who are wolves in sheep’s clothing!
Price… so now you know why you are buying a board, who it is for, and what add-ons you want. It’s time to take a look at what's available and the range of prices. You'll know what your budget is. For everyone, this figure is different, but remember that you’re now making an informed investment based on personalised information. I suggest you don't skimp. A deal that seems too good to be true, probably is. And if SUP doesn't work out for you, then, based on current trends, it's likely you'll easily sell on your board very quickly without losing a huge amount of value.
So armed with all this information, where next? Yes, you can buy directly on the net, but why not consider popping into your local watersports store. They might let you try before you buy if they also run a school, and they will be able to answer any burning questions you have. You’ll also be supporting the watersports community you are becoming a part of. And don’t forget that there is a very active second-hand market, where you can cut a good deal and give a board a new home. Reduce - reuse - recycle, but make sure to inspect the board inflated before you part with any hard-earned cash.
Happy and safe SUPing!