Although the popularity of paddle boards has been steadily increasing for the last few decades, the summer of 2020 saw a huge spike in the number of people purchasing paddle boards as a way to get out of the house during the coronavirus lockdowns. The summer of 2021 brought an additional boom in the popularity of paddle boarding with the majority of paddle board manufacturers being caught off guard and being unable to keep up with the demand from their rapidly growing consumer base.
This has resulted in an increase in the price for paddle boards and paddle board accessories all around the world with a number of people asking why paddle boards are so expensive in recent months. Although this is partly due to the issue of supply and demand with the sudden spike in the popularity of paddle boarding seemingly coming out of nowhere and the import issues with the required materials to manufacturer paddle boards due to coronavirus adding additional problems, paddle boards are somewhat expensive when compared to other water based activities.
There are actually a number of additional factors that come into play when looking at the price of a paddle board ranging from its length, width, build quality, and materials used in its construction that all come into play. In this article, we will be going over a number of these different factors in an attempt to help our readers understand why their paddle board is so expensive and to try and help you understand what paddle board you should be going with to meet your needs.
- Cheap Vs Expensive Paddle Boards!
- Why Are Paddle Boards So Expensive?
- Why Are Some Paddle Boards More Expensive?
- Are Cheap Paddle Boards Any Good?
- Are Paddle Boards Worth The Money?
- How Much Should I Pay For A Paddle Board?
Cheap Vs Expensive Paddle Boards!
Although an expensive paddle board does offer better performance and reliability than a cheap paddle board, you have to factor in your needs, budget, and how often you will actually be using your paddle board to workout if going with one of the more expensive boards is even worth it. Although the cheap paddle board market is littered with low quality paddle boards that underperform, there are excellent boards that offer excellent performance for their price point.
If you are a total beginner then we would highly recommend that you consider this Goosehill Paddle Board as it offers excellent performance for its price point in the market and is one of the better entry level, cheaper boards available right now. The Goosehill range of boards is a very popular option for beginners or anyone on a tight budget and the range has an excellent reputation amongst the paddle boarding community.
If you are an intermediate or more experienced paddle boarder then we would highly recommend something from the Red Paddle Co range. The Red Ride MSL boards are thought to be the most popular boards in the world right now with the demand for them being so strong that they often sell out within weeks of new stock being released. They offer excellent performance with the best materials and technology being used to offer you the best experience possible but they definitely have the price tag to match.
Why Are Paddle Boards So Expensive?
Even an entry level paddle board will often set you back between $200 and $300 minimum due to the time and effort that it takes to correctly construct a paddle board. Intermediate paddleboards will usually range from around $800 to $1200 with higher end paddle boards being well above that. A resin paddleboard will usually also be between $300 and $500 more than its inflatable paddle board counterpart at the same skill level due to the additional costs associated with resin paddleboards.
The majority of people tend to get started with a regular inflatable paddle board due to the cheaper price tag, ease of storage, and ease of transportation usually making it a better option than a resin based hard board. Something like the entry level Goosehill Paddle Board will be the perfect option for most beginners and offer everything you need while retailing at between $250 and $400 depending on the supply and demand of paddle boards at that time.
The lower quality materials in the entry level Goosehill paddleboards help to keep the costs as low as possible but the actual construction of the boards is usually at a similar level to the intermediate boards offering most people a great deal. With the board being 10 foot 6 inches long and 32 inches wide, it should be able to meet the needs of the majority of people too without you having to factor in your height and weight.
Why Are Some Paddle Boards More Expensive?
The more established paddle board brands tend to put a large amount of time, effort and resources into the development of their boards to try and maintain a competitive advantage over their competition. This results in new and improved systems for the paddle boards deck, fins, pump, inlet valve, and paddle pushing the costs up and thus, resulting in an increase in price. On top of this, intermediate and professional level paddle boards will usually be made of superior materials too helping to ensure that your paddle board is as robust and tough as possible.
Depending on where you plan to paddle board, this may not be a major problem for you as rivers and lakes tend to offer smooth paddling with plenty of visibility to potential obstacles in the water. If you are planning to paddle board in the sea or ocean then the tougher materials really can be a benefit as it will protect your paddle board against rocks and heavy waves. The standard plastic fins that usually come with the entry level paddle boards can break easily when being thrown around in the waves when entering or exiting the sea or when hitting rocks under the waterline where as the higher end finds can usually flex to take the blow without any real damage.
As the majority of beginners to paddle boarding start off with cheap paddle boards, they tend not to have access with these higher end materials and it is common for their fins to break when paddle boarding in the sea or ocean. On top of this, the more expensive paddle boards have a much better grip board on the deck of the paddle board helping you maintain your grow even if your feet and your board are wet. This helps to improve the control of your board and reduce the chances of your falling off when paddling over waves or in heavy wind.
Why Are Inflatable Paddle Boards So Expensive?
Inflatable paddle boards required a surprisingly high amount of time and effort in their construction to fit their inlet valve and air containters within the main construction of the board that allows the board to stay rigid when filled with air. Beginners tend to think that a paddle board is more like a balloon but the air that you pump into the board is stored in a number of air containers that stretch the length of the board to spread the air evenly and prevent certain areas of the board from bubbling up.
Even the cheapest inflatable paddle board packs on the market use this system pushing their prices up when compared to something like an inflatable kayak. It can also be difficult to correctly mount the inlet valve for the paddle board to its plastic body to prevent air leaks further pushing the prices up of the higher quality boards. Unfortunately, it is common for the cheaper boards to develop leaks with their inlet valves resulting in the actual valve giving way and releasing air or the threading around the valve coming loose and letting the air in the paddleboard slowly leak out.
With intermediate paddleboards and professional level paddle boards often being used out at sea, additional steps to prevent this from happening are taken to ensure that your board will not deflate on you pushing their prices up. Some of the higher end intermediate boards and most of the professional level boards also come with a reinforced central column that will keep its air locked in a protected container so if there is an issue with your inlet valve of a puncture while out on the water, the central container will remain inflated allowing you to paddle back to safety while still having some control over your board but these increase the price tag of the paddle board even further.
Why Are Rigid Paddle Boards So Expensive?
Although rigid paddle boards are not as popular as their inflatable counterparts, they still have their place in the market but their epoxy resin construction does result in higher price tags. Some paddle boarding brands also offer hand carven paddleboards from a single piece of wood with a huge price tag due to number of hours that go into creating each board while still offering the highest quality grip plate, handle, and lead D-ring attachments.
The fanatic brand has taken off recently and pushed ahead of their competition to become one of the best manufacturers of rigid paddleboards with their Fanatic fly eco boards being a very popular option for anyone looking for a rigid paddle board. The materials used for their rigid boards and the time and effort put into ensuring that their build quality is second to none really does speak volumes and are why the Fanatic brand and their fly eco board range has such an excellent reputation amongst paddle boarders all around the world.
In addition to the higher costs of materials and construction for a rigid paddle board, the various brands that make them tend to use the highest quality grip plates too. This ensures that you should always be able to get a firm grip between the board and your feet in water of all temperatures helping you stay on the board while paddling. Rigid paddle boards often tend to be longer and wider to offer increased stability for the rider too meaning they require more resin or wood for their construction making them even more expensive.
Why Are Red Paddle Boards So Expensive?
Red Paddle Co really are in a league of their own when it comes to inflatable paddle boards and everything from their materials, construction, and technology in the boards push their prices up while ensuring that their customers get one of the best boards possible for their money. Although they are expensive, Red Paddle Boards have managed to earn one of the best reputations in the world for inflatable paddle boards and are commonly used by water sports activity centres as rental boards due to their superior quality.
Each year, Red Paddle Co release their updated range of boards often having new features to help keep their competitive edge over their competition. The Red Ride MSL is the most popular paddle board from their range due to it being an excellent all round board that performs well in rivers or lakes as well as when out on the sea or ocean. The shape of the Red Ride range of boards also ensures that the board can be used for touring, racing, and general paddle boarding making it a jack of all trades that offers performance similar to a specialist board without having to purchase a specialist board for the various types of paddle boarding.
Some of the more recent innovations to the Red Paddle Co range include their new iFin system allowing you to paddle in a straight line with two smaller fins, their new horizontal strop system offering better protection for any equipment stropped to the board while out in heavy waves, and their new grip plate design offering superior grip and comfort in the standing, kneeling, and sitting position. Innovation takes time and resources to develop and Red Paddle Co price their paddle boards accordingly knowing that the various innovations that they offer to their customers keep their paddle boards ahead of the pack and the fact that their paddle boards often sell out within weeks of being released speaks volumes for their reputation despite their high price tags.
Are Cheap Paddle Boards Any Good?
Cheap paddle boards are surprisingly good relative to their price points in the market and should not be overlooked. If you are a beginner, they offer everything that you need to get started with the sport and allow you to develop your skills with as low of a financial investment as possible. Although there are a large number of cheap, entry level paddle boards that underperform, there are some absolute gems that are well worth their money.
One of the best cheap paddle boards on the market right now has to be the Goosehill Paddle Board with it having an excellent reputation amongst the paddle boarding community and a price tag under $400 depending on the vendor and the supply and demand at the price of purchase. The board is able to support a weight of around 200kg when fully inflated allowing you to carry food and drink or your pet dog with you on your paddle board when out touring if needed while offering a great, all-around shape making the board ideal for most types of paddle boarding.
As you may expect from the low price tag, the Goosehill paddle board range does use lower quality materials but their actual construction is excellent relative to their price tag. The main drawback of the range is that the included paddle with their bundle does not have a central ridge volume to keep all three pieces of the paddle aligned when paddling causing the handgrip and paddle to rotate around the central column. Although this may not be an issue for beginners, it can become annoying and cause some discomfort in the wrist but you can usually fine a better paddle for your setup for less than $150 on sites such as ebay.
Are Paddle Boards Worth The Money?
Paddle boarding is a great hobby that can get you out of the house and offer a fun way to exercise. The paddle boarding community is very friendly too and it is not uncommon to make new friends out on the water each time you go paddle boarding helping to expand your social circle too. Although the entry level boards can be a large investment, you can often rent a paddle board for the day for around $30-$50 from a water activities centre to give it a try before buying your first board.
Although there are paddle boards on the market for between $200 and $300, they tend to underperform when compared to something like the Goosehill Paddle Board that is usually sold at a slightly higher price point but offers considerably better performance. Due to the popularity of paddle boarding and many paddle boarders hoarding their paddle boards as they upgrade, some of your friends may have a spare, old paddle board that you are able to try and then potentially buy at a much lower price point than you would be able to with a brand new board helping to keep the costs down.
At the end of the day though, only you are able to decide if purchasing a paddle board is worth the money or not as the financial situation for each person is totally different. Beginners to paddle boarding often see renting a paddle board for the day as a cheap way to get involved in the sport but if you do the calculations, renting a paddle board ten times throughout the summer at $30 per day will often cost you the same as just purchasing your first paddle board.
This is why we usually recommend that you rent a paddle board for a day, wait a week until the following weekend and then rent a paddle board for a day again and then decide if you want to purchase a paddle board or not. It usually tends to offer you plenty of time to decide if you enjoy paddle boarding while keeping your costs as low as possible too.
As we touched on earlier, many paddle boarders will upgrade from their beginner paddle boards to an intermediate or professional level paddle board but keep their older paddle boards as a way to let their friends try the sport without them having to buy their own paddle boarding setup. Due to the lack of supply on the re-sale market for paddle boards, this has created a seller’s market for second hand paddle boards meaning if you do purchase a paddle board and don’t enjoy the sport, you should easily be able to re-sell the board without taking much of a financial loss too.
Although we did speak about the Fanatic and Red Paddle Co board ranges earlier in the article, we would not recommend them for a beginner as they are expensive paddle boards designed for people who know that they will be sticking with the sport for many years to come. Both Fanatic and Red Paddle Co paddle boards do hold their value well, you will still see a loss on the resale market so going with something like the Goosehill Paddle Board for your first paddle board is usually a much better option.
How Much Should I Pay For A Paddle Board?
We would recommend that you try to avoid the paddle boards that are under $250 as they tend to under perform for their price point whereas the $250 to $400 price range tends to offer some great boards that should offer everything you need as a beginner paddle boarder. Opting to purchase a paddle board that has an all-around shape tends to be better for beginners too as it lets you try the various types of paddle board with a single board too.
The majority of paddle board companies will have a handy tool similar to this one from Red Paddle Co that can help you choose the ideal board for your needs. Although these tools are very helpful, they only tend to be available for the more established paddle board companies whose paddle boards are designed for the intermediate paddler rather than a beginner.
This is why something like the Goosehill Paddle Board is such a great option as it has a low price tag, is suitable for all-round paddle boarding, has an excellent reputation amongst the community, and comes with all of the required accessories in its bundle to help you get started. Due to being such a great board, the Gooshill Paddle Board range are often out of stock due to usually selling out within weeks of new deliveries but if you are able to find them available for sale, they make an excellent first paddle board.
Factor In The Accessories That Come With Your Paddle Board!
All paddle board bundles come with the required accessories to get started with paddle boarding that people often overlook the initial costs of but purchasing them in a bundle can push the total price up but actually works out much cheaper per item in the bundle. This is another reason that paddle boards seem so expensive when you just look at the price tag rather than what you are actually getting for your money.
Although it is an intermediate level paddle board company, all bundles from Red Paddle Co come with the market leading Red Paddle Co Titan II manual pump that will usually cost you around $125-$150 as a stand alone purchase. The entry level paddles from Red Paddle Co will usually cost upwards of $125 too with the board leash and waterproof smartphone cases coming in at around $20 each. When you purchase a paddle board bundle from Red Paddle Co, all of these are included with the price and bring the individual cost of the accessories included and the actual board down by 20%-30%.
So many beginners to paddle boarding overlook this but it can help to keep your initial costs as low as possible as you can’t paddle board without a paddle and although you can purchase electric aftermarket pumps that are very popular, most beginners do start with a manual pump. The actual leash and smartphone case are not essential but are recommended and buying each of these individually will push the overall costs of your first paddle board up but buying a bundle, even for a great entry level paddle board like the Goosehill Paddle Board does help to keep your costs down.
That brings our article going over why paddle boards are so expensive to an end. We have tried to explain why so many of the high end paddle boards on the market right now are so expensive as well as offer recommendations on how you can keep your costs as low as possible. Paddle boarding really is an excellent sport that is well worth trying but most people will probably be better off trying paddle boarding for a day at their local water activities centre than purchasing a beginner board right off the bat. From there, most people tend to upgrade to an intermediate or professional level paddle board pushing their costs up.