So, you’ve been bitten by the paddle boarding bug. And let me guess – that itch is getting so unbearable that you’re ready to buckle in and buy your first paddle board. After all, that’s the only way to relieve the itch. Water cures all.
But, where can you get a decent board at a decent price? There’s a ton of different boards out there, at a variety of different price points. If you’re not careful you can end up well over your budget. You’ll probably have a beautiful board to show for it of course, but your wallet will suffer. So, before you sell the farm, let’s take a look at some of the best ways to get a cheap paddle board.
How Much is a Cheap Paddle Board?
First of all, let’s define a “cheap paddle board”. Most new paddle boards range from $300 – $2,000 and up. There’s honestly very few in the $300 range, and probably worth avoiding all together if you want to enjoy the sport. If you want to get into the sport, I’d suggest a minimum purchase of $500, for a new board at least. Here are few of the best SUPs you can find online for less than $1,000.
Also, if you’re just getting into the sport, buying a board will be useless unless you have a paddle to go with it. In many cases you can purchase a paddle board package which includes the paddle, but that’s not always the case. If not, paddles can range from $50 and up. And, you’ll also need a life vest. So, as you can see, there are a few different purchasing considerations to make. For this article I’m going to consider a “cheap board” to be one that can get you into the sport for under $1,000 when you also factor in the price of a paddle and a life vest.
Okay, so let’s just say a cheap paddle board is around $800 or under. Here’s a quick snapshot of three good paddle boards that meet that criteria. Then, keep reading for some other ways to score a cheap paddle board.
3 of the Best Cheap Paddle Boards Under $800
|Paddle Board||Length||Inflatable / Solid||Rating||Price|
|Tower Adventurer 2||10'4"||Inflatable||4.7 / 5||$799.00|
|ISLE Airtech Explorer||11'||Inflatable||4.6 / 5||$695.00|
|ISLE Airtech Touring||12'6"||Inflatable||4.4 / 5||$745.00|
Don’t want something new? That’s cool.
Get a Used Paddle Board
Obviously, one of the best ways to get a cheap paddle board is to buy used. Most paddle board/surf shops will carry a few of these but the best place to find used is often on craigslist. This is particularly useful if you live in a large city, or location where paddle boarding is popular, such as San Diego. However, if you live in a smaller town Craigslist might not have the best selection. If you’re set on purchasing a used board you can always check-out ebay but because of the costs for shipping a board it’s often more economical to just purchase a new board.
If you do choose to buy a board on craigslist, make sure you do your research. I’ve certainly seen some good deals on used boards, but I’ve also seen some pretty lame ones. When I originally searched to find a board in Seattle, I noticed that craigslist was full of people selling lower end boards for a minimal price difference from a brand new one. Some rental shops will sell their boards at about $100 cheaper than the same board new. In my book, that’s not all that great of a deal. I found that I was better off getting a new board at a discount price.
If you’re really on a tight budget though, used is the way to go. And if you’re open minded you can keep an eye out for windsurf boards. People often use these as starters for paddle boarding because they can be found for $100 or less in many cases.
5 Places to Get the Best Deals on Paddle Boards
If you can’t find a good used paddle board you like, don’t worry about it. I never did either. And, there’s a number of sites where you can get discount deals on good paddle boards, especially if you’re a little bit patient.
1) Tower Paddle Boards Grab Bag Sale
If you’re patient enough, your suffering will be rewarded with one of the best discount deals out there. It’s unclear how often this happens, but at least once a year Tower Paddle Boards does a grab bag sale where they have a massive sale on all of their returned or slightly damaged paddle board packages. Last summer they were selling all of their damaged/untested inflatable SUP board returns for $350, and their tested/undamaged packages were $500. Each package included an inflatable SUP, a pump, and a paddle. So, you get everything you need to start paddle boarding. Plus, those prices are the same for all models. So you can get their top of the line race SUP for the same price as their entry level Adventurer.
Here’s the only problem. The sale is over in less than 10 minutes, so you have to act fast. If you want to take advantage of their sale, and score a cheap paddle board – get on their email list. They’ll send you the date of the sale about a week or so prior. Then on the day of the sale, be waiting to logon to the sale site, and know what you want. If you see anything you want, you can’t hesitate. I speak from experience. I tried to buy a board in last summers grab bag sale, but couldn’t decide on which one to get – then the sale was over and I was empty handed. So, act quick.
I actually just noticed that there’s an upcoming grab bag sale Tower just posted for October 13, 2015. Looks like the details are different and you don’t get a full setup – just the board. Still a good deal. Check it out here.
Backcountry tends to have some good deals on paddle boards now and then. Sometimes they don’t have any though, so you kind of have to keep an eye out for their stock to change. They often carry the previous years model of a board at a heavily discounted price. This is actually where I purchased my first paddle board, Tahoe’s Alpine Explorer for about 50%. Even if you already have a board, Backcountry can be a good place to pick up paddle board gear at a discount price. They usually have a good rotation of dry bags, PFDs, and other water gear.
Also – it’s worth mentioning that I’ve only had good experiences with Backcountry. When I originally ordered my iSUP from them the board was delivered 2 days after I ordered it. So, if you hate the wait, Backcountry’s a good place.
3) Sierra Trading Post
Sierra trading post is in much the same category as Backcountry.com. They tend to usually have several paddle boards available at a discounted price, many of them from the previous year. You can usually find a few boards here for 50% off, as is the case while I am writing this right now. I’ve noticed that they tend to carry a variety of Bic brand boards, as well as others. Backcountry typically carries a few Bics as well, so you might want to price compare a bit.
Checkout Sierra Trading Post’s board supply.
4) REI Outlet
Again, REI outlet is kind of comparable to Backcountry and Sierra Trading Post. They usually have a variety of boards, paddles, and other gear at a reduced price – typically older models. It sometimes seems like they carry more inflatable SUPs so if that’s what you’re looking for, keep on eye on their outlet page.
Technically, I wouldn’t consider Amazon.com a discount seller in the same category as the sites listed above. However, you can find some cheap paddle boards there ranging in price from $400 and up. Probably the best value is for the Tower boards they carry, where you can get an inflatable board, a paddle, and a pump for under $600.00. Not a bad way to get into the sport. And Tower’s boards have excellent reviews.
Checkout Amazon’s top inflatable SUP packages.
Have suggestions on other places to find good deals on paddle boards? Share in the comments.