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Paddle boarding is among the most popular water sports at the moment. The primary reason is the variety of experiences it provides. It can be relaxing if you want it to, or it could be competitive and fast-paced.
It all depends on the kind of paddleboard you own. So many people new to paddle boarding are unsure about what they should buy.
Before buying one, you need to know what activities you want to do with your paddle board. The type of board may vary depending on what you want to use it for. You might also need to decide between inflatable and non-inflatable options.
There’s also another aspect of paddleboards that bugs people. Why are paddle boards so expensive? Is there much difference between a cheap and expensive one?
I’ll discuss everything you need to know about these topics, so stay tuned.
What Type of Paddle Board Should You Get?
When you first plan on getting into paddle boarding, you must choose the type of paddle board that suits your needs. Each paddle board comes with unique features and riding conditions.
You could choose a specialized paddleboard for something exclusive or a generalized board that acts as a jack of all trades.
All the paddle boards come in two primary types: Inflatable and non-inflatable. Non-inflatable ones are made of plastic, epoxy carbon fiber, and other similar materials.
With that said, let’s get into more in-depth about the various types of paddle boards based on activity:
A generalized paddleboard is a standard paddleboard with no exclusive features. They cannot perform very well in various specialized conditions like the other paddleboards. However, they can work in all situations at a base level.
These are not limited to specific riding styles, so they are versatile. If you are a beginner and do not plan on doing anything too demanding, these might be the best choice.
These boards are more stable than most other paddleboards and are easier to control. They can handle small waves and light weather conditions. However, they are too stiff, so you shouldn’t expect them to do any kind of tricky maneuvering.
These paddle boards are slower than most others, so they aren’t a good choice for racing. Strictly speaking, these are best for beginners learning how to paddle boarding works.
Touring boards are similar to flatwater paddle boards in size and body shape. However, these focus more on consistent speed than maneuverability, so you can hardly make sharp turns on them.
Touring boards are harder to navigate through narrow spaces but fantastic for long-distance, open-space travels.
These boards can smash through small waves with nary a problem. Their narrow front allows them to slice through choppy waters without losing speed.
They are probably the best choice for consistent speed.
The narrowness of these boards makes handling much harder than other boards. There is also a sharp drop of stability every time one tries to change directions on this thing.
Bad maneuverability means it requires a skilled individual to maintain. That means it is not a beginner-level paddleboard and must be avoided by new people.
I would also advise beginners not to use this type for training. That will make you unconsciously focus on balance rather than control.
It will eventually lead to bad posture and habits while significantly increasing your learning time.
Flatwater Paddle Boards
Flatwater paddle boards are exactly what they sound like, boards for flat and unmoving water.
These boards have a unique constitution of being much slimmer than other paddleboards. They also have most other paddle boards beat in terms of total overall length.
They are a great option for campers near small streams or lakes. These boards can offer you a ton of fun time on the water on a camping trip.
The length and narrowness of the board do not affect its stability, which allows it to carry extra gears.
You can put additional holding accessories to increase its storage capacity. Campers who use these boards can store their entire camping supplies on these things while they travel on water.
These are faster than all-around paddle boards but slower than other paddleboards specialized for speed.
Paddleboards for Fishing
Fishing on a paddleboard is a new kind of relaxation. It also counts as a sort of exercise because you need to keep a stable footing while reeling in.
These boards have large canvas space, so; you can store plenty of fishing gear on them.
These boards do not focus on speed and are amongst the slowest paddleboards of all types. Its speed is only slow compared to paddleboards, though.
Generally, a fishing paddle board is much faster than a regular fishing kayak or canoe.
You can put additional accessories on these boards to make more room for fishing gears. On the market, you can also find rod holders and fish tanks for paddle boards. These accessories generally come as separate purchases.
Fishing on a fishing paddle board is by no means easy. It is not a sport for beginners, as they will spend most of their time finding a stable footing.
But for veteran paddleboarders, board fishing is a fantastic recreational activity.
Paddleboards have become immensely popular among yogis in the past couple of decades. Regular yoga becomes dull after continuously practicing it for a few years.
Paddleboarding adds a near perfect twist to make yoga a fun challenge!
Yoga paddleboards disregard speed and maneuverability for stability. It acts as a floating yoga mat for all intent and purpose. Practicing yoga on a paddleboard is a lot more challenging than yoga on solid ground.
You could use any paddleboard for yoga if your balancing skill is good enough. Most people tend to buy flat, large-sized paddle boards with superior stability.
There are also a few yoga-specific paddleboards on the market that require no customization before use.
Most people add traction pads over their yoga paddleboards. Traction pads make the board less slippery during yoga.
Surf wax is an alternative to traction pads that have nearly identical effects. However, it is a lot messier compared to the former.
Performance paddle boards are a mix of surfboards and paddleboards. You could call them surfboards with paddles.
These are slightly larger, more stable than surfboards, and much easier to maneuver than the former.
These are slightly larger than regular paddleboards. They are great at maintaining stability in strong waves, but their speed is mediocre.
You might need to cover it with a traction pad layer to increase the grip. Otherwise, it might feel slippery when surfing.
Surf Paddle Boards need an elaborate fin setup to cut waves. That is something you need to check while buying them. Do not mistake a surf paddleboard for a yoga paddleboard.
Most paddleboarders spend a decent amount of time getting used to standing on regular waves. They tackle the larger waves only once they have enough balance and stability.
Surfing on a paddleboard requires a bit more skill than regular paddling. You would need to match your strokes with the waves.
How Much Do Paddle Boards Cost?
On average, Paddleboards cost anywhere from half a grand to two grand. That only includes the basic accessories, not the additional ones you might need to customize later. Most of the cost goes into the material and manufacturing process. But a portion of it is also due to high demand.
That is an exceedingly high price for something that looks so simple. That’s why most people who ask how much are paddle boards gasp after getting an answer.
In truth, many factors play significant roles in inflating the price of paddleboards. I’ll explain the various aspects of a good paddleboard so; you understand where the money goes.
The reasons are:
Paddleboard materials are strikingly similar to surfboards. They all use high-end materials known for their toughness and flexibility.
Manufacturers cannot be stingy with the quality of these materials because they directly relate to the board’s durability.
Paddleboards need to be strong enough to cut through waves and choppy waters. They need to be shockingly durable.
The craftsmanship must also be impeccable since many people use paddleboards to carry others.
Epoxy, extruded polystyrene, and carbon fiber are some of the most common materials for paddle boards.
They are by no means cheap, and a single board uses a significant number of layers of these materials.
Standard low-end paddleboards primarily use carbon fiber, plastic, and regular polystyrene. The high-end ones are strengthened polymer, fiberglass, extruded polystyrene, and expensive wood.
- Manufacturing Process
Most high-end paddleboards do not come from manufacturing plants. Some experienced craftsmen make custom surfboards and paddleboards.
Making one of them takes a lot of effort, so the cost and quality are higher than on manufactured boards.
Larger boards are more expensive as they need larger molds to make. Manufactured boards are still expensive because of the operation costs and other expenses.
- Paddleboard Performance
Performance means the base type of paddleboards. Depending on their type, some boards need additional durability, maneuverability, and stability.
This strengthening requires more material and work, so they are naturally more expensive.
Surf paddle boards are the most expensive kind. They constantly go against stronger waves, making them more durable and stable than others.
Racing Surfboards are more for speed, so they need a unique mold.
These different upgrades are the reason why they cost a pretty penny. The cost is even greater if you need one custom-made according to your body weight and activity requirement.
There’s another reason why these paddle boards cost so much, and that’s their overwhelming popularity.
There is not enough supply for paddleboards and an incessant demand. It is also a vacation item, so most people buying a paddleboard are well-off.
The manufacturers know that point well and exploit the high demand by increasing prices slightly. The Yoga paddleboards are probably the weakest boards on the market.
They do not go too fast, aren’t strong enough to cut through larger waves, and cost a lot more than general paddleboards.
That’s because the demand for yoga paddleboards is much higher than regular ones. So even though they are made of relatively inferior material, the price is still a bit more.
Are More Expensive Paddle Boards Worth It?
Paddleboards are one of those things that you should not buy too often. You need to buy one that lasts longer. That is why cheaper paddle boards are not a good option, in my opinion. The cost of buying multiple cheaper ones is far higher than buying a good quality one at once.
I mean, they look the same, feel the same. So how can paddle boards that look almost identical have such a large gulf in quality?
Many people aren’t convinced, so here I’ll talk about what you can expect when buying cheap paddle boards and how premium boards do it better.
Interior Construction Method
Most inflatable paddle boards are sewn together in a drop stitch. A single-layer drop stitch will prove a paddleboard with its desired shape. However, it will lack the required stiffness and durability to tackle larger waves.
Multiple layers of material make a much stronger paddleboard. But that also requires more material composition. There is also the quality of the adhesives and resin to consider. All of these things add up to increase the price.
Cheaper paddleboards are inferior in terms of material. These boards cannot reach the same level of durability.
They break off much sooner than more expensive ones. These also don’t perform nearly as well as the expensive boards.
A standard, entry-level paddle board, will keep you busy till you master the basics. After that, you will naturally want to do more with your board.
High-end paddleboards can go beyond their intended purpose and allow you to experience other fun paddleboard activities.
Cheaper ones, however, do not have that ability. You cannot customize them with additional gears or use them for any tricks.
They can hardly do the basic operations, which limits their durability. If you try testing them any further, you will likely come home with a broken paddleboard.
Cheap paddle boards don’t only give you an inferior mainboard, but the quality of the accessories is also abysmal.
The manufacturers who make the cheap price their main selling point will do everything they can to reduce the cost. So, the quality of accessories naturally suffers.
Now you may argue that you do not need all the accessories, or you may buy them separately. But most accessories are relatively important.
The ones that come with a high-end paddleboard are higher quality and cheaper. While if you try buying those separately, the cost will be much higher.
Storage gears, in particular, need to be far more durable than the boards themselves. You will be using these to carry the boards and your other gears.
They need to be durable. That is something a cheaper option won’t give you.
Transporting A Paddleboard
Non-inflatable paddle boards are very large. Their size makes them awkward to move long distances. You can shove them on your truck and drive away, which might damage your board.
Securing a paddleboard safely is the first step of transporting one. Here are some guidelines for transporting a paddle board safely:
- Grab the base handle and place the board under your armpit if you walk. Be careful about the wind. It might feel stronger than you would imagine.
- If you are transporting by an SUV or a Family Van, place it on the crossbar at the top. Put a layer of padding so that the board does not come into contact with metal. Now, secure it with cam straps.
- So, what do you do if your car does not have a roof rack? You may try using a soft rack. Soft racks are perfect for carrying canoes, paddleboards, and surfboards safely. A fair warning thorough, soft racks are notorious during rain.
- You can try using a trailer if you do not have the main rack and do not want to use a soft rack. It might be a bit more cumbersome, but at least it will get your job done.
Now you know what all the different types of paddle boards are. You don’t need to feel too much pressure about choosing if you buy a high-end one. You can always customize them with external accessories to try different things.
I assume you are also clear about why are paddle boards so expensive. There’s a big difference in quality between a cheap and high-end paddleboard.
In the end, a cheaper one will end up costing you more. So, investing in a good one from the start is better.