Not having the right board for your skill, size, and conditions is the difference between having a great time on your SUP, and not. Buying a new stand up paddle board is a pretty major investment and it is best do get it right the first time. This way, you have a top quality board that will give you easy learning and years of progression. These few tips will help you avoid making a buying decision you may regret down the road!
DO NOT Consider Length Only
Very often we get a call from a customer and they are sure they want an 11’ board. They don’t know why, but someone told them they should get an 11’ board. What they don’t realize is that not all 11’ boards are created equal. What does this actually mean?
When we look at board dimensions we usually talk about length, width, and thickness. All of these combine to give a measure of a boards volume, or the amount of water a board will displace. Volume is closely tied to how stable a board will be for your body size. You could have one 11’ board that has a volume of 200L and suitable for riders up to 200lbs, and another that is 11’ that is narrower and thinner and only have a volume of 140L and only suitable for riders up to 150lbs. Same length board, but dramatically different volumes. If you were 195lbs and bought the 11’ that was only 140L board based on wanting an 11’ board, you would have a board that is far too small and likely to make learning tough.
Pro Tip – Don’t shop by length only, instead consider the overall volume and weight capacity of the board. When in doubt, ask us!
DO NOT Overlook Warranty
Warranty is designed to protect you in the event of a problem down the road caused by a manufacturing issue. Warranties are a good thing, and the longer the better!
However, another way to look at warranty is as a measure of how confident a manufacturer is in their product. Personally, when I see a product with a very short warranty, I instantly assume it likely isn’t well made and will give me problems down the road. Nearly all of our boards carry a 2-year warranty, which in stand up paddle boarding is a warranty level that is reserved for only the highest quality of boards by the most reputed brands. If you had the choice between a new car with a 40,000 mile warranty or a 500 mile warranty, which would you chose? There are a lot of boards on the market that carry no warranty, or something in the 30 to 90-day range which to me indicates that the brand doesn’t have much faith in their construction if they are not going to commit to their quality past 90 days! Think of a warranty as a brand commitment to your worry free enjoyment of their product, and a short warranty isn’t much of a commitment.
Pro Tip – A board with a short warranty is going to be problems down the road. If a brand is only giving a 30, 60, or 90-day warranty on their workmanship, that workmanship is not high quality and best to be avoided.
DO NOT Shop by Price Only
Like in almost everything, the expression “You get what you pay for” applies to SUP as well. Can a lightweight, great performing, high quality stand up paddle board be $299? Simply, no it can’t be.
From a board manufacturing point of view, the only way to get costs low is to remove quality. We have been approached by big box retailers in hopes of Cruiser SUP supplying their boards. However, said big box stores will then give a figure of what they want their costs to be, which to attain, means stripping out nearly every step of the construction process that ensures quality, durability, and performance. Since we refuse to compromise on the quality of anything that beards the Cruiser SUP logo, we pass.
In the example of an inflatable, that might be using low quality drop stitch material that only handles an inflation rating of 12psi. Standing on an inflatable stand up paddle board that that only inflates to 12psi is like standing on an air mattress – soft, flimsy, tippy, and with no performance characteristics. Or, in the example of a non inflatable paddle boards, it may just be using only a foam core with a deck pad applied directly over the core without any structural reinforcements like stringers, or fiberglass. Sadly, these boards exist and for the unfortunate customers who get them, find that even after a season of use they have broken!
Pro Tip: Seeing a board for $399 at a big box store and think it is too good to be true? It is.
DO NOT Overlook Customer Service
I am constantly amazed, that in 2018, all businesses have not figured out that the only way to have customers is to offer customer service. For us customer service starts the second you contact us, and never ends. From helping you select the right board, to shipping, to technique or set up tips after the board arrives, we are here to help you every step of the way. Need our help 3 years down the road, no problem. If you buy a used board (see more about that further down), you can forget about any after sales questions. Or, try getting advice about paddle boards from someone that works in housewares section of the big box store that is selling cheap boards.
Pro Tip: Service before, during, and after your purchase is key. You worked too hard to afford your new board to be treated poorly!
DO NOT Shop by Graphics Only
I fully support the buying of things that look good. If I am going to spend $800 on a new board, it can’t be something I don’t like the looks of. However, narrow your selection down first by boards that are suitable for you, and then pick the graphics after. If you see a great looking 8’5” surf specific board that you fall in love with, and then realize once you get it home that it only supports up to 120lbs of rider while you weight 200lbs is a scenario best avoided.
Pro Tip: Pick your new board first based on what will work for you, then pick graphics. You don’t buy a shirt that doesn’t fit because it looks good. Buying a SUP is no different!
DO NOT Forget to Consider the Style Board You Need
If you want to do SUP Yoga, don’t buy a race board. If you want to tour, do not buy a surf board. The examples are endless, but making sure you get the right style board for you is key. Look at where you will use the board most, or the style of paddling you will do, and decide from there. All around boards are very popular as they will do a little bit of everything and often the best place to start out in the sport.
Pro Tip: Spend your money on a board that will work in the conditions you SUP in most. If you live on a lake and paddle 99% of the time on the lake, but might go to the beach to try surfing at some point, don’t buy a surf specific board as it won’t work for you 99% of the time!
DO NOT Buy a Board from Someone Who Does Not Paddle Board
You don’t take medical advice from someone who isn’t a doctor, do you? The only way that someone can possible give effective advice on picking a board is if they paddle board themselves. At Cruiser SUP, if you don’t SUP, you don’t work here. Simple as that.
If you ask us for advice on a board, you are talking to someone that has ridden every single board in the board range. And not just our own boards, but we spend a great deal of time and effort making sure we have paddle many, if not all boards from other brands on the market. Maybe you will even be talking to one of the designers of the board you are looking at! All our staff wear a lot of different hats, but all are paddlers.
Pro Tip: Ask “do you paddle?”, or “have you used this board?”. If the answer is no to either of those, keep shopping.
DO NOT Buy Used
If you are buying your first board, and not really sure what you need, avoid used! The person with the used board has one goal, and that is to sell their board regardless of it is best for you. If you are just starting out in the sport, you likely won’t know what to look for in terms of the condition of the board, signs of damage, repairs, or other problems. The history of the board in terms of how it was used and cared for (or not cared for) and sometimes visible just by looking at the board. Not to mention that you might be looking at a board that is totally not suitable for you and committing any number of the mistakes that we have talked about above.
Pro Tip: Buy new. Used is buyer beware.
DO NOT Buy Before Talking to Us!
We want to help you pick the right board. That is what we do, and over the years have gotten really good at it if we don’t say so ourselves. We design the boards, and we all use them excessively. As well, spend a lot of time testing other brands so that we can give a true and honest comparison. Ask us all the questions you need to feel comfortable in your purchase, I guarantee we have the answers.
Pro Tip: Call, email or Live Chat with us before you purchase your new SUP board. We are super easy to reach!
Please Do Not Make These Stand Up Paddle Boarding Buying Mistakes!
These are just a few of the mistakes that new stand up paddle boarders make, and we want to help you avoid every single one of them. The right gear ensures that SUP is easy and fun, the wrong gear is just a recipe for frustration.
Did we miss something, or want to talk to us about what is best for you? All our contact details are at the top of the page!