Wanting to try out a new sport like SUP surfing will probably get you to look up the necessary gear for your new hobby. That seems simple enough, right? However, when you walk into a surf shop or go to your favorite online store, you see the price tags — $800, $900, even $1000 and up — and you realize this might not be as simple as you first thought!
The reason for the higher prices doesn’t boil down to a straightforward factor. Shape, size, and construction vary, as do materials, some of which can be quite expensive. Paddleboards also have a variety of uses, and the specific purpose you’re looking for will affect the price, in addition to all those other factors.
You can, on average, expect to pay at least $700 for a beginner’s paddleboard. Once you’ve moved on and become a more advanced paddleboarder, that price increases to $1500-$2000. So why exactly are these paddleboards so expensive?
Some boards are designed “by hand,” but nowadays, many are designed with computer programs. Depending on the costs for developing the board, especially the materials used to create it, may contribute to how much the paddleboard will sell for. Some paddleboards are made out of specific molds that have been designed for a particular brand. These molds are expensive, costing in the tens of thousands at minimum, but that price can be up in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. At the same time, larger size boards are going to be more expensive than smaller boards, simply because they require more materials and more time goes into completing them.
There is more than one option when it comes to what material is used in the construction of paddleboards. The less expensive boards, including beginners’ paddleboards, may be made from Polystyrene (PU). This material is durable enough for entry-level paddleboarding, but not as environmentally friendly, buoyant, or water-resistant as more expensive materials like Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) and Extruded Polystyrene (XPS).
Type of Layers
Paddleboards are made up of multiple layers, including layers of fiberglass wrapped around the base material — more layers equal more durability. If you want a board that is both durable and lightweight, higher quality materials like carbon fiber or kevlar need to be used. These materials can be costly, and this additional cost adds to the overall price you pay. Adding wood or PVC will also add further strength to a paddleboard while increasing the price even more.
Those paddleboards you’re finding in the $1500+ price point are more expensive because they’ve likely been finished with wood veneer. Bamboo and pine are used most often, as they are both light and durable, which helps to create a more stable paddleboard.
As you can see, depending on the type of board you’re after, as well as how it’s been designed, the materials used to create it as well as other specific details, the price of a paddleboard can vary significantly. But if you’re a beginner, you don’t have to spend so much money on your first paddleboard. It’s best to pick an all-rounder design so you can get the most out of it without dipping into your savings.