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Is Stand Up Paddle Boarding Expensive?

You know you want to start a new sport, but are concerned about the costs.

SUP interests you, but so does road cycling, downhill skiing, jet skiing, and wakeboarding.

For all these sports you will need some basic equipment to get started. For SUP, this is your board, paddle, and leash. But relative to the others sports on your list, is stand up paddle boarding an expensive sport? Let’s dust off our calculators and do a little math to see how the cost of SUP actually compares!

A Couple of Assumptions Before We Get Started

In doing these comparisons we are going to make a couple of assumptions:

  • You like to keep your gear in all sports nice and current, so will break down these numbers over a 3-year period (however, you can get a lot more years out of your SUP board).
  • The longer you keep the items, or the more you use the items, the cost per use will drop. However, for an even comparison, we are assuming you will do each sport 30 times per year, and keep the equipment over a 3 year period!

Lets compare each of the sports in a per use comparison that will answer the question "Is SUP expensive?"

Stand up paddle boarders on a calm lake

Stand Up Paddle Boarding

You have just ordered a brand new Cruiser SUP Dura-Maxx 10’6, and paid a total of $745 for the board, paddle, leash, and of course received free shipping from us!  You already had roof racks for your car so didn’t need to buy those, and you live pretty close to the water so don’t have a long drive to get to the water.

If you use your new SUP 30 times this summer, you are looking at $769/30 = $25 average cost per use over 1 year. 

However, if we assume that you will keep your new board for 3 years (you will keep it longer than that!), and use it 30 times per year, you are looking at $769/90 = $8.50 per use over the 3-year period. 

 Stand Up Paddle Boarding

Road Cycling

Like most sports, there is a big variance in pricing based on the quality you opt for. Going with the assumption you are getting a carbon frame with a nice group set, helmet, shoes, a couple of pairs of bib shorts and jerseys you are going to likely drop about $5000 before you are riding out of the bike shop with a nice road cycling set up.

Over the span of a year, riding 30 times, you are looking at $5,000/30 = $166 average cost per ride.

Average this out over a 3-year period and we are seeing $5,000/90 = $55 per ride


A road cyclist

Photo by @roadcyclinglove

Down Hill Skiing

With SUP and Road Cycling, once you have the basics, you don’t really see any extra costs each time you ride or paddle.  Downhill skiing is different as lift tickets enter into the budget.  And, unless you are lucky enough to live close to a hill, some gas to get there and back, and likely hotels!  But, for this comparison we are going to assume you live close, and are just going to day trip.

For a good set up of skis and bindings, boots, poles, helmet, googles, and clothing you are going to part with at least $1500.  Spend a day at Jay Peak in Vermont and you are going to part with $84 for a full day lift ticket.

By the numbers you are going to be $1,500/30 = $50 + $84 (lift ticket) =$134 per day on the slopes over 1 year

Over a 3-year span of 30 ski days per year, $1,500/90 + $84(lift ticket) = $100 per day!


A Downhill Skier

Photo @alain_blanchette

Jet Skiing

Like the other comparisons above, you are going to get a nice mid to upper level jet ski, similar to your SUP, bike, or skis.  A nicely set up SeaDoo is going to likely set you back about $10,000.  Instead of lift tickets in skiing, you are going to have your daily cost of gas, which on a common 16-gallon tank, at $2.50/gallon would be about $40 per day.

Break this down over a year, and you are $10,000/30 = $333 + $40 gas = $373 per trip to the lake to jet sk.i

Run the numbers over a 3-year period of using your jet ski 30 times per year and we are talking $10000/90+ $40 = $151 per day!




If you are going to be a serious wakeboarder, you need a serious wakeboarding boat.  If you do some shopping around, you can likely find some nice deals, but even on sale, something like a wakeboard ready Mastercraft is still going to run you about $70,000!

Then, you need a wakeboard, tow line, and life jacket, so count on about $1000 for that. With your boat and all your gear, you are sitting at about $71000!

And, you can’t wakeboard behind a boat without putting gas in it.  Run a wakeboard boat for a day and you will likely go through a full 45-gallon tank of fuel, which will set you back 45 x $2.50 per gallon (the average price of gas in the US on the day of writing) = $112.

If we do the math over a single year, $71000/30 = $2366 per day + $112 fuel = $2478 per day.

Over a 3-year period $71000/90 = $788 + $112 = $900 per day if you use wakeboard 30 times per year over 3 years!


A Wake Boarder Performing a Flip

Photo @wakeboardingmag


Is Stand Up Paddle Board Actually an Expensive Sport?

The numbers don’t lie, and at $8.50 compared road biking at $55, downhill skiing at $100, jet skiing at $151, and wake boarding at $900 per day, SUP is actually a very inexpensive sport. Plus, it is great exercise, a great way to explore, and the best way you could spend $8.50!

 Think we overlooked something in our comparisons? Just let us know at








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