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Paddleboard Cost: Why Some Boards Cost Much More Than Others

Paddle boarding is a very exciting sport, especially during the summer. As a beginner, the pricing of paddle boards is sure to puzzle you. It is because of the absurd variations in the pricing.

It’s essential to know how much do paddle boards cost and the reasons behind the pricing to get the perfect board for yourself.

In many online marketplaces, you can find paddle boards for as cheap as 200 dollars. High-end paddle boards cost around 2000 dollars. You must spend about 700 to 800 dollars to get a good quality unit. There are different varieties of paddle boards. The price depends on the type too.

In this article, I will discuss the price of two major types of paddle boards. I will talk about the price of low-end to high-end boards and explain the factors why the prices vary.

Many people wonder why rigid boards cost more than inflatable ones, so I will touch on that topic too.

Lastly, I will explain some common factors that play a role in pricing in this industry.

Costs Of Different Types of Paddle Boards

Here, I will discuss the price of different paddle boards in the two major categories. Both these categories incorporate paddle boards from low-end to high-end, which iRocker or Red Paddle can provide.

I will touch each of those. Let’s start:

Rigid Boards

A variety of materials make rigid paddle boards. The materials can range from foam, wood, and plastic to fiberglass and even carbon fiber.

As you may have already realized, fiberglass and carbon fiber boards are of top-notch quality, hence on the expensive side.

Wooden and foam paddle boards are cheaper. It is because of both the low cost of the materials and the manufacturing procedure. They are also less durable and of low quality.

I will explain the price of foam, wooden, and fiberglass paddle boards. Let’s go:

Foam Paddle Boards

Foam paddle boards are also called soft top paddle boards. It is incredibly cheap and less durable, making it suitable for beginners. It is made of foam-based ethylene polystyrene core.

The top and bottom are usually deck pad or wooden stringer. Wooden stringer paddle boards are slightly more durable.

Foam paddle boards cost as low as 200 but not more than 500 dollars. Don’t let the price tag fool you because the quality and durability are also cheap.

If you are a novice and want to learn paddle boarding, you can buy these types of paddle boards.

Wooden Paddle Boards

Wooden paddle boards are pricier than foam ones but are not considered the king of the hill. They hold the mid-range portion of the price spectrum.

Wooden paddle boards contain a hollow core within a wooden frame. Then cyder, cypress, or other types of woods are glued on top of the bottom to complete the board.

Lastly, a coating of water-proof material is added to the entire surface. Wooden paddle boards’ price is around 1000 dollars. The price can also go a lot higher depending on the quality of the materials.

Wooden boards are, most of the time, custom-made so that the price may vary.

Fiberglass Paddle Boards

This type of paddle board is similar to foam paddle boards in construction. The core of these boards is made from ethylene polystyrene foam.

A fiberglass shell covers the core, making the body of the paddle board. Epoxy resin holds the fiberglass shell together.

The quality of the inner EPS core and the fiberglass determines the weight and durability of the paddle board.

There are various fiberglass paddle board construction methods, like the wood sandwich method, advanced sandwich method, etc. The price varies depending on the material’s quality and the technique.

A good quality fiberglass paddle board can cost between 1500 to 2000 dollars. It’s worth knowing that fiberglass paddle boards have an alternate alias, epoxy boards.

Inflatable Boards

Manufacturers use a common technique known as drop stitching to make inflatable paddle boards like these excellent options on iRocker.

The pricing differs due to different iterations of the technique, but the central theme remains the same.

In Drop stitch knitting, thousands of threads connect two layers of fabric, and then an airtight material joins the two edges.

When it is inflated, the threads within restrict the expansion of the bladder like regular inflatable objects, keeping the shape board-like.

There are variations in this technology. I will discuss the three main types that contribute to the pricing. Let’s get started:

Single-layer Construction

Single-layer construction is the most basic version of inflatable paddle boards. Two layers of fabric are drop-stitched together, and airtight material joins the edges together.

Then the body of the paddle board is constructed, centering the drop stitch bladder.

They are the lightest, least durable, least rigid, and cheapest. Single-layer inflatable boards cost below 500 dollars, around the 200 dollars mark.

Double-layer Construction

Double-layer construction contains not two, but multiple layers. These additional layers make the board more rigid, and durable and add extra weight.

The bladder is constructed the same as single-layer construction.

Then it is laminated with an additional layer of PVC. After adding a layer of adhesive and woven fabric, finally, the board is constructed with PVC.

This method enhances the board’s durability and cosmetic appearance. Double-layer boards are the most expensive in the inflatable class.

This is made specifically for enthusiasts with no budget cap in mind. The price can be between 1200 to 1500 dollars.

Fusion Construction

This type of inflatable board is considered medium range. It follows the same drop-stitch knitting to make the bladder.

The difference is that each of the two layers of the inflatable bladder is constructed by permanently attaching two layers of fabric.

Then the manufacturers give a PVC coating to the outer surface before making the complete board. This technology makes the board more durable and puncture-resistant.

The difference between fusion and double-layer construction is that a double-layer paddle board has an extra layer of PVC outside, which the fusion board does not.

This type of board costs around 800 dollars.

What is the Average Cost of a Paddle Board?

If you have read this far, you sure realize there isn’t an average cost of paddle boards. The price starts from 200 dollars and can go up to 2000 dollars at the consumer level. So, we should use a price range instead of an average price.

Inflatable paddle boards range from 200 to 1500 dollars. Low-end inflatable boards can go lower than that, like 130 to 150 dollars but never exceed around 500 dollars.

These types of boards are very low quality and have below-average durability.

Medium-range inflatable boards are the ones you should go for. Their price is above 500 dollars, usually 800 dollars.

Manufacturers use high-quality PVC and advanced methods like dual-layer construction and fusion construction, as stated above. Hence both the price and quality are higher.

The average price of high-grade inflatable boards is 1000 to 1200 dollars. There isn’t much difference between medium range and high range.

So, unless you are an enthusiast, I suggest you stick to medium-range boards.

In the rigid board category, manufacturers use foams and cheap external materials to construct low-grade paddle boards.

The price is 200 dollars and they are the most widely available. I do not recommend these. I have only discussed it so you can stay clear of these boards.

Medium range rigid boards use high-quality wood or fiberglass in their construction. The price can be anywhere between 1000 to 2000 dollars depending on the quality of the materials.

Some manufacturers use carbon fiber to make the body of the board. Sometimes, the price exceeds the 2000-dollar range in this type of board.

Are Cheap Paddle Boards Any Good?

Cheaper paddle boards due to their questionable quality. Here I will talk in detail about why cheap paddle boards aren’t any good.

The followings are the reason you should always steer off cheap paddle boards:

Less Durable

Manufacturers use low-quality materials to make cheap paddle boards and this makes sense, right?

You cannot expect premium quality materials in cheap products. This reduces the durability of the board and makes it prone to damage.

Even with proper care, cheap boards do not last more than a season or two.


Some cheap boards use extra materials in a failed attempt to make the board more durable.

Manufacturers use high-quality components in expensive paddle boards that make the board sturdy without increasing the weight.

But this is not the case in cheap boards. They are usually heavy and you won’t find them comfortable.

No Versatility

Cheap boards do not possess the necessary strength to withstand high-current water. It is because of using cheap and low-quality materials.

There is no fixed place for paddle boarding. You can go to a calm lake or wavy waters with your friends. The thing is, cheap boards cannot handle rough usage.

The result is irreversible damage within a few weeks of purchase. If you only plan to use your board in still water, that’s fine and should give your board a few extra days to live.

Cheap Accessories

You will most likely buy the paddle board accessories from the same place.

If the manufacturer has constructed such a cheap and low-quality board, there is no reason that the accessories should be high quality.

I can bet you won’t buy high-quality accessories from third-party vendors either since you’ve settled for a cheap board.

The necessary accessories like the pump, carrying bag, and pedal; all are highly likely to be low quality.

This will significantly increase your expenses in terms of damage and repair.

Hard vs Inflatable Paddle Boards: Which is More Expensive?

As you may have already realized, hard paddle boards cost more than inflatable boards. There are exceptions where an inflatable paddle board costs more than hard boards, but an exception cannot be an example.

Following are the reasons why rigid paddle boards tend to cost more than inflatable boards:

Expensive Materials

High-end hard paddle boards use expensive materials. These materials include but are not limited to fiberglass and carbon fibers.

The purpose behind using these materials is to ensure a robust build while keeping the weight low and also making the board more versatile.

Rigid paddle boards also have similar quality accessories. So, the price of rigid paddle boards is on the far end of the price range.

Difficult Manufacturing Process

Hard paddle boards are almost always machine-made. It is not plug-and-play where machines do the job and you just rest and chill.

Manufacturers need to keep a close eye on the procedure. Operating such types of machinery is pretty difficult and needs expert hands.

As a result, the salaries of the operators are high. This is another contributing factor to the increased price of rigid paddle boards.

Expensive Machinery

The pieces of machinery used in the manufacturing process are quite expensive.

For the manufacturers, it’s a heavy investment that they need to break even by selling paddle boards. This is another reason why rigid boards are pricey.

Also, any malfunction in the machines requires an expensive repair. So even if the sales are going on well, the prices may fluctuate to compensate for such unexpected expenditure.

Factors that Influence the Price of Paddle Boards

Apart from the cheap units that you won’t think of buying, paddle boards show off a handsome price tag.

Besides the materials and manufacturing process, other factors play a role in the pricing.

I will discuss some associated factors below that apply to all types of paddle boards. Let’s go:

Distribution Cost

Paddle boards use a three-tier distribution process where the products first go to the wholesaler from the factory.

Then the wholesaler sells the boards to retailers. Each vendor keeps their share of profit, increasing the price at the retail level.

Also, this involves shipping costs from the factory to the wholesaler, and from the wholesaler to the retailer.

Transport costs and labor charges add up to the retail price.

Import Taxes

In some regions, the materials need to be imported from abroad. In any type of import, customs charge a fee.

This fee significantly increases if the import is for business purposes rather than personal use. To compensate for this tax, the manufacturer needs to sell the board at a higher price.

There are some countries where there is no paddle board manufacturer at all. Retailers import from abroad and sell to their customers.

Most of the time, importing a product requires more customs fees than importing the parts. This increases the price.


The associated parties increase the price for fast profits for anything that sells well and fast. Whether this is an ethical practice or not remains up for debate.

Paddle boarding is very popular and it is increasing every day.

This sport’s safe nature and equipment availability facilitate its popularity. This is the reason behind the pricing of paddleboards.

Paddleboarding gears are also cheap in countries where it’s less popular.

Build Methodology

Manufacturing paddleboards involve complicated techniques. Except for the cheap, low-quality boards, every other paddleboard undergoes a complex manufacturing process.

These processes involve designing, preparing the materials, operating the machines, etc.

All of these require expertise and that comes with a price. The maintenance of these machines is not cheap as well. This is another factor that influences pricing.

What Should be Your Budget as a Beginner Paddle Boarder?

Paddleboards have a wide range of prices. Your focus should be not going overhead and not buying cheap products either. You have to find the sweet spot in between. So, what should you get at what price point?

As a beginner, I recommend you go for inflatable paddle boards as they are cheap. But beware, don’t go for anything below 500 dollars. That will be a waste of investment.

Cheap paddleboards might get washed up even before getting a grip on paddleboarding. Your target should be between 700 to 1000 dollars as it ensures both affordability and longevity.

One strong recommendation is the Bestway Hydro-Force Oceana Inflatable. It’s pretty cheap and an absolute banger for the buck.

It comes with a complete paddleboard starter kit, making it an excellent choice for newbies. With an Amazon rating of 4.5 and over 900 reviews, I’m sure you can imagine its quality.

If you want a hard paddleboard, you can go for ISLE Cruiser Stand Up Paddle Board. It comes with an EPS core and a comfortable top.

The price might seem a bit expensive, but you can use it beyond your beginner days. Thanks to its robust build quality.


Like anything new you are getting into, knowing how much do paddle boards cost is significant before you head to buy one.

This is so that you don’t get ripped off or settle for mediocre boards. After thoroughly reading this article, I believe you can buy the right paddleboard at the right price despite being a newbie.

If you are just starting to look into paddleboarding, we have a wide selection of guides to help assist you in finding the best option to suit your needs, check them out here!

Thanks for reading till the end and have a nice day.