There are many ways to enjoy paddle boarding this summer.
You could get yourself an inflatable SUP, go on a calm, zen-line lake, and put your mind at ease. Or perhaps you’d prefer to go on a fishing trip with a broader, more stable SUP? No, I know; you want to feel the rush on a wild river trail with a highly-maneuverable board, right?
Whatever the case, you’ll need to buy a paddle board first.
The question is, how much do paddle boards cost? And how should you plan your budget for the rest of the equipment?
Well, let’s find out!
Paddle Board Cost – Key Takeaways
- What influences price; There are many factors that go into the price of paddle boards, including the brand, type of board, weight, capacity, its material and construction method.
- Average cost of a SUP; Paddle boards range from £200 to £2500 depending on type, brand and quality.
- How much to spend; If you are a beginner, it is not worth spending more than $1000 on a paddle board. If you are an experienced paddle boarder, you can spend up to £1200 to $2000 on a high-quality board.
- Depreciation; A SUP is worth 50% of its original value after 3 years, and it will go down 10% every year after that.
- Best time to buy; Timing is important when purchasing a paddle board- you can bag a deal at the end of the session, during holiday sales, or when new models go on sale.
- Are Cheap SUPs worth it; There are good and bad budget-friendly SUPs, but most offer good quality for the price, as long as you do your research.
- Why are SUPs more expensive than kayaks; While paddle boards are just ‘boards’, the science behind their design and manufacturing process is more complex, which is why they can sometimes cost more than kayaks.
What Influences The Price Of A Paddle Board?
While you’re going through the whole process of finding the perfect paddle board for yourself, you might have noticed something interesting about the price ranges (and the SUP market in general):
Two seemingly identical boards can have a price difference of about $500-$1000! But why is that?
You can choose a SUP style, the perfect materials, you can even pick out a brand you like and you’ll still be presented with some huge leaps between the cheap and the expensive boards.
So what’s the deal? What factors influence the prices of paddle boards?
Well, as it turns out, there are a LOT of factors that impact paddle board pricing, here’s a quick look at the most important ones:
- Paddle Board Type: Because there are so many types of SUPs that are specialized for certain waters and conditions – you need to figure out exactly what kind you need and want. A fishing kayak won’t have nearly the speed and stability that a racing SUP offers, so choosing the type is the first bridge to cross.
- Construction Method & Material: Construction-wise, SUPs can be split into two groups – solid and inflatable. The inflatable SUPs are usually made of PVC combined with some form of polycarbonates – while the solid options come in five “flavors.” From the cheapest to the most expensive, these options are plastic, foam, wood, fiberglass and epoxy resin, and Carbon fiber. Composite boards are typically the high-end choice and come with a price tag to match.
- Weight: The general rule regarding weight is that the lighter your stand up paddle board of choice is, the more you’ll spend on it. That’s the rule for rigid SUPs, anyway. Inflatable SUPs are usually cheaper and weigh less because they’re hollow.
- Weight Capacity: Most SUPs have a weight capacity of roughly 300 to 700 pounds. The solid vs. inflatable design differences rear their ugly heads here as the above-400-pound capacity is almost always reserved for inflatable boards. The point is, a higher weight limit doesn’t necessarily mean that the board will cost more.
- Extras: This one should go without saying. In most cases, the price will increase based on the “extras” that come in the package – such as a carrying case, SUP leash, a pump for an inflatable model, and the like. In other words, you’ll pay less for a board that does not include any additional accessories.
- Specialized Boards: Basic, recreational paddle boards without any specialized features or functions, will cost a lot less than those designed for specific purposes – think racing or fishing SUPs, for example. Hybrid SUPs follow the same rule and will cost more, too.
It may seem somewhat complicated now, but it all comes together the more you learn about the boards – and paddle boarding in general.
Average Cost Of A Paddle Board: How Much Are Paddle Boards?
There’s a lot to “unpack” here. The average paddle board price range ultimately depends on the kind of SUP you’re interested in getting. I can give you some rough estimates – but for that to work, I’ll have to split the SUPs into a few categories.
Inflatable Paddle Boards
So, how much do inflatable paddle boards cost? And, are they cheaper than rigid boards?
The prices of inflatable SUP boards are typically lower compared to rigid SUPs. However, considering they can be found anywhere between $200 and $1800, the range offers the most diversity.
The sweet spot is between $600 and $1200, and you tend to get what you paid as the prices go up. Inflatable boards priced at $1000 and above are usually better constructed with multiple-layer PVC skins (meaning better protection), and there’s a better chance of getting higher numbers of drop stitches, welded seams that add to longevity, etc.
Other than that, it’s typically the case of manufacturers charging more for specialized features or a hybrid design, where an inflatable paddle board can be converted into a kayak.
Hard Paddle Boards
Hard SUPs will generally fall in the range between $700 and $2000. So why are they more expensive?
Well, the time, materials, and money that it takes to actually manufacture hard SUPs aren’t comparable to their inflatable cousins. And it’s not just how much material it takes, it’s which ones are used that counts as well. High-quality PVC is still affordable when compared to fiberglass, wood, kevlar or epoxy paddle boards
The lower end of the spectrum (somewhere between $700 and $1100) is reserved for all-around SUPs. These perform reasonably well in almost all conditions and are perfect for beginners who are still mastering the art of paddle boarding.
All-Around Paddle Boards
All-around paddle boards are the universally ideal buy for any beginner and recreational paddler out there. They typically range from about $600 to $1500, depending on the model. Since these SUPs are usually made to do a little bit of everything, they all come in a similar style, with one or two “emphasized” features.
For example, you can get an all-around board with better speed capabilities than another model in the same – or similar – price range. If you are going for an all-around SUP, you’ll have to focus on the basics – brand name, quality of materials, and additional features.
Surf Paddle Boards
While an all-around board could technically double as a good surf SUP, some still prefer to get a SUP that’s specifically designed for the waves. How much should you expect to spend, then? Well, a low-end surf paddle board still costs around $1000.
Surf paddle boards need a more intricate design, especially when it comes to what kind of rails surfing maneuvers require. Even though they’re smaller than other hard boards, the combination of the rails, larger deck pads, and the kick pads required for pivots and turns while on the waves results in a high starting price.
So yes, you’re going to need to spend a bit more on a surviving paddle board, but anything under that asking price just won’t allow you to perform as well while riding the waves.
Racing Paddle Boards
Racing paddle boards are undoubtedly an example of the “You get what you paid for” rule in the SUP family. The price range for racing SUPs starts at $850. While you can get a good board for the money, the more expensive models – those that hit the $2000 mark – will typically offer better performance.
The reason is simple:
Racing SUP’s performance depends on higher-end materials and more complex design decisions. They’re typically longer than your standard SUP, sure, but the additional amount of materials used don’t matter as much.
The focus here is purely on performance – the complex and time consuming construction methods needed to create a racing SUP drive the price up. But these things deliver what matters most in the segment – speed and stability.
Whitewater Paddle Boards
Whitewater paddle boarding is no joke. You need a stable and durable SUP so that you both can arrive at your destination unharmed. The usual bottom of the price range is about $800, and for the money, you’ll get a higher-quality inflatable or lower-end solid board with a few features here and there.
Inflatable SUPs do offer convenience and durability. Then again, rigid SUPs provide much better handling and stability. “Crossover boards” that work well for whitewater paddle boarding are also available, but they usually start at about $1200.
In any case, look for good grip on the deck pad, D-rings and tie downs, a rear kick pads to keep your back foot for sliping, and a fin set-up that’s designed for whiteboarding. These things may drive up the price – top-of-the-range whitewater SUP boards may even set you back about $1800 – but the upgrade is worth it.
Fishing Paddle Boards
The price range for fishing paddle boards almost seems unreal. You can get one at about $800 – and yet, the top-of-the-range models can cost as much as $2500.
It might seem strange, but it’s pretty simple:
The high-end SUP boards come with so many specialized features that you may think you have a full-blown fishing boat that just happens to have a board-like shape.
These SUPs offer a fantastic paddle boarding experience overall – not just for fishing. That said, low-budget fishing paddle boards can be a decent choice – especially if you don’t need as many bells and whistles.
The high-end SUP boards come with many specialized features, such as D-rings, action and scotty mounts, kayak seat and fishing rac compatibility, rod holders etc. All of these features are here to make hauling fishing equipment easier because let’s face it, fishing requires you to bring a LOT of stuff with you!
Low-end fishing boards are still a good choice, as they offer similar features, just in lesser numbers. Everything you need will still be there, just with less weight capacity and less attachment options.
Kids Paddle Boards
Compared to the other categories of SUPs, the “kids paddle board” market is as simple as it can possibly be. Most models are designed as all-around boards that’ll let your little ones learn and explore as much as they can while on the water. The range starts at about $500 and can go up to the $800 mark, give or take.
Durability and comfort should be a priority – but as long as you do your research, you can’t go wrong with a simple, kid-friendly SUP.
Yoga Paddle Boards
The range starts at about $500 but can go up to $1300 if you choose to go for all the bells and whistles.
Yoga SUP boards are simple – or at least they should be. While it helps to have some additional features on a board like this – such as storage options and accessories – the main requirements are stability and comfort.
And that’s where an inflatable board comes in:
A hard surface doesn’t make much sense in this case; you want an inflatable SUP’s softer, more comfortable deck.
SUP Kayak Hybrid
Sure, this might not be the “purest” type of SUP board on the list, but for those who love a good two-for-one deal, you can’t go wrong with a SUP-kayak hybrid. Depending on the features, they can be found in the $800 to $1200 range – which is a steal for what you’re getting.
These boards come in two flavors, though – and those “flavors” come at different price points.
The more straightforward – and cheaper – option is the so-called “Paddle board Plus.” These will have D-rings that you can use to attach a second part that essentially turns a SUP into a kayak.
The second, more expensive option would be the actual hybrid paddle board-style kayak, with a hard, shallow-draft hull that looks like an open-top kayak – the top part of which can double as a board.
Family Paddle Boards
With family stand up paddle boards, the range starts at about $800 – and how much money you’ll spend generally depends on how big your family is. The more expensive SUPs cost up to $1500 – give or take – and there are typically some great options at the top of the family board range, made of more durable, high-quality materials.
Of course, these, too, come in a few different styles. Inflatable options are popular, as they offer much higher weight capacities than their hard counterparts. And weight capacity and distribution will be crucial here for obvious reasons.
Here’s one thing to remember when buying a family SUP:
Small kids may fit on the board now, but your children will grow – and they grow fast. So, leaving some wiggle room capacity-wise is highly recommended.
How Much Should I Spend On A Paddle Board?
Or to phrase that question another way; How much does a decent SUP cost?
The thing is, there is no exact number that I can give you. If you’re a beginner, I suggest sticking to all-around boards – ones that land below the $1000 mark, to be precise. It’s not worth spreading more than that on your first paddle board purchase, as you will be paying for features and materials that you may not even need – or be able to take advantage of.
Inflatable stand up paddle boards (iSUPS) are also a great option to consider if you’re just starting since they offer plenty of versatility – and value – for the price.
That said, don’t just go with the cheapest board without doing some proper research. Stay away from unknown manufacturers – especially if they have no reviews whatsoever. Sure, it might turn out that they sell boards that are perfectly fine – but you don’t want to take that chance.
And if you absolutely must have the newest and the best of everything, I suggest waiting for a few paddle boarding seasons before making that big purchase. By then, you will know exactly what works for you – and what doesn’t. And that knowledge will save you a lot of money in the long run.
Now, if you’re an experienced paddle boarder – one who knows exactly what they need and want from their SUP – then by all means, spend whatever you feel comfortable with. Just remember that the sky’s the limit when it comes to paddle board prices.
But as a guide, a high quality inflatable paddle board will cost you between $1000 to $1200. And a high-end solid, hard paddle board will set you back anywhere from $1500 to $2000 – and even more, for some specialized SUPs.
Do SUPs Hold Their Value?
The answer to this question depends on a couple of things – let me explain.
While most boards do hold their value well over the years, there are a couple of things that need to be taken into consideration. The first one is, to no surprise, how well the boards are taken care of. But if we’re talking about a board that’s in good condition, the value shouldn’t depreciate at one point in time for no reason.
Sure, you always need to keep depreciation in mind, a SUP will be worth about 50% off its original value after 3 years, and it will go down about 10% every year after that. Now those numbers might sound a bit rough (especially the 50% drop) but it’s just an estimate, not an exact prediction.
The SUP style, its construction, the materials used, how much of a demand there is in the market for it, how well it’s been kept, etc. – all of these things have to be considered. As you can imagine the numbers vary a lot with so many factors!
A high-end racing SUP that’s in good condition will almost always get you most of your money back, even if its value depreciates as time goes on. On the flip side, a cheap board from an unknown manufacturer will most likely be worthless after a few years.
What Is The Best Time To Buy A Paddle Board?
Timing is always crucial when making a purchase. Spending your hard-earned money on a new, expensive paddle board just for it to go on sale the next day may just be the worst feeling in the world.
So, how can you avoid such heartaches and is there a certain season that you can pick to get the best deals?
What time of year do paddle boards go on sale?
Well, your best bet is either the end of the year, if you’re in a hurry, getting an end-of-season deal. Sellers are usually getting rid of their stock at the end of summer, so you’ll probably find the cheapest options then.
Here’s a few tips to get you started:
- Reach out to dealers and manufacturers. While it usually ends with something along the lines of “We don’t have a specific date of when the sale will start,” some brands and retailers will share this information with a potential customer. Get in touch with customer support; it might just save you a few bucks.
- Holiday sales can’t be beaten. If it’s the middle of April, you probably won’t be willing to wait for the Black Friday sales that roll out around Thanksgiving. But checking in with the retailers before any major holiday is a must.
- End of the season. Chances are that you’ll be able to get the best deal at the end of summer. So if you’re prepared to wait and skip out on the warm season, you’ll be rewarded with your brand new SUP that will be set-up and ready for the fall!
- Buying an older model is an option. Most people want the brand’s latest model. So, a SUP model that was released only one or two years ago will most likely go on sale once the new collection rolls out. That could be your opportunity to get a great deal.
Why Are Paddle Boards So Expensive?
The old “You get what you paid for” saying is more than relevant when it comes to paddle boards and other water-sports-related equipment, but you might still ask yourself:
Why are these boards so expensive?
Honestly, it’s a fair question. It’s quite an investment to spend upward of a thousand dollars for a stand-up paddle board.
What makes them so expensive, then?
Here’s a rundown:
- The complex design of the SUPs (especially performance-oriented ones) requires a lot of effort, a huge team of experts, and extensive research. Designing a board that offers speed, maneuverability, and stability – while balancing the cost of materials, specialized features, and extras – is a lot of work, and the price tag typically reflects that.
- The materials used affect the prices more than anything else. While plastic is a suitable option, most professional-grade SUPs use high-quality wood reinforced with fiberglass and epoxy. And don’t get me started on Kevlar SUPs; these can cost you an arm and a leg.
- Accessories drive up the price, too. Some paddle boards come with a myriad of features and extra equipment that you would otherwise have to buy separately, which, depending on the quality of the included kit, can be a great deal.
I am not saying you MUST spend a fortune on a SUP; far from it. However, if you are looking for performance, you may want to steer clear of the cheaper boards. But as a beginner – or even an intermediate-level paddler, you could get away with choosing a cheaper SUP.
Why Are Paddle Boards More Expensive Than Kayaks?
The fact that some paddle boards cost more than kayaks might seem ridiculous to some – and I get that. Paddle boards have fewer parts – they are “just” boards, after all – so you’re essentially getting less of everything for more money.
What’s the deal?
Well, while they technically are just boards, the science behind that board’s speed, stability, and weight is far from simple.
A mid-range inflatable SUP will not cost more than a mid-range inflatable kayak. However, since there are boards built for performance, they can sometimes cost double what you’d give for, let’s say, a “regular” fishing kayak.
The truth is, it’s more complicated to get good performance out of a board – and because of that, brands need to spend more resources on research. Plus, SUP manufacturers typically use more complex – and expensive – materials, which adds to the cost.
That said, these are entirely different categories that can’t be compared.
Is It Worth It Buying A Cheap Paddle board?
Should you go ahead and buy what appears to be a bargain SUP? Or should you wait and save up a little more to get the brand name, feature-filled model?
That’s the question of the day if you ask me. The answer?
There is nothing wrong with most budget-friendly SUPs. There are even brands that deliver an insane level of quality – both in terms of materials and features – at relatively low prices.
That said, some qualities you may want in your SUP can be sacrificed in the low-budget market. “Exceptional maneuverability and speed” are not the words you will likely use to describe a $500 paddle board.
Then again, expecting that from a board in that price range isn’t realistic. So, it’s not the brand’s fault, either. Some SUP manufacturers simply specialize in budget-friendly boards.
The truth is that many cheap paddle boards still offer excellent stability, maneuverability, and durability, which is what you want in an all-around board. In other words, not all low-end SUPs are a waste of money.
So, should you go ahead and get the cheap paddle board now?
You should – as long as you do your research, that is. That applies to buying any SUP, cheap or not.
How Much Does A Paddle Board Cost – A Quick Summary
If you were hoping for a simple “You should pay this much for a paddle board” answer, I have to disappoint you. There are way too many different factors involved in the equation – and how much you are willing or can afford to pay is a decision you should make for yourself.
As for how much do paddle boards cost, here are some general price guidelines for each of the different types of SUP:
- Inflatable Paddle Boards: $200 to $1800
- Hard Paddle Boards: $700 to $2000
- All-Round Paddle Boards: $600 to $1500
- Surf Paddle Boards: $1000 to $2000
- Racing Paddle Boards: $850 to $2000
- Whitewater Paddle Boards: $700 to $1800
- Fishing Paddle Boards: $700 to $2500
- Kids Paddle Boards: $200 to $500
- Yoga Paddle Boards: $500 to $1300
- SUP Kayak Hybrid: $800 to $1200
- Family Paddle Boards: $800 to $1500
- Used SUPs: $50 to $1500