why are paddleboards so expensive

Why Are Paddle Boards So Expensive?

So you’re interested in trying out SUP and you head out to the store to buy yourself a paddle board. After seeing the price tag, you’re slapped with a sticker shock; some paddle boards go up to around $1000! But why are paddle boards so expensive? And is it worth spending the extra money? Here we’ll discuss what goes into creating a paddle-board and what drives its value out on the market.

Paddle boards are designed to be rigid, strong, and durable to handle as much weight as possible while maintaining enough volume to be stable and responsive. The materials used in making a paddle-board is what dictates its price point and paddle boards are constructed of different materials depending on how expensive it is.

Since stand up paddle boarding has many different disciplines, each board is made to tailor specifically to each use. A surf board that is intended for flatwater paddling will be different in construction than a paddle board that’s designed to be used for surfing and racing.

An average paddle-board usually costs around $700 and above. These are typically your entry-level paddle boards that are designed for beginners in mind. More expensive options range to around $1500-$2000 which is geared towards advanced users and hardcore enthusiasts. Here are several key factors that contribute to the price tag of a paddle board:

Materials used

Paddle boards are constructed of a number of different materials, mainly Polystyrene (PU), Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) or Extruded Polystyrene (XPS). Normally when you buy an entry-level paddle board, these boards are usually made of Polystyrene which is durable enough for the average user. Go up in price and you start to see paddle boards made of Expanded Polystyrene or Extruded Polystyrene. The difference is that EPS and EPS are lighter and offer more buoyancy than the standard Polystyrene.

Layers of fiberglass used

In order to make a paddle board durable, it will need several glass layers to fortify its rigidity. Using higher quality materials like carbon fiber and kevlar will not only make the board strong, but it will also weigh less overall. Some boards are also strengthened by using wood and PVC which also drives the price of the board way up.

ancheer materials


Because paddle boards are larger compared to surfboards, more materials are used into making it. The labor process is more intensive which in turn reflects on the paddle board’s price tag.

Wood veneer

Expensive paddle boards use wood veneer as a finishing layer when makers glass a paddle board. Usually, they use bamboo or pine which are light and strong to add more durability to the board and make it more structurally sound overall. Be careful because some makers apply a faux graphic paper on the board to make it appear like it has been finished with a wood veneer. If you see this on boards around the $800 mark, steer clear because it’s highly unlikely that it uses a real wood veneer.

wood veneer paddleboard

One way to save money when buying a paddle board is by scouring the internet and ordering online. Prices of stand up paddle boards online are much lower compared to the store because you’re essentially buying directly from a warehouse. Just make sure to get the correct size and take note of the paddle board’s overall volume and maximum weight capacity to ensure that it will fit your needs once you go ahead and try it.

Do I need to buy an expensive paddle-board?

Buying a sup is an investment and you truly get what you pay for. The higher the price, the better materials will be used in crafting the board which in turn leads to better performance and longevity. When buying a paddle-board, durability should first come to mind in order to make the most out of your purchase. This isn’t to say that you should splurge out your cash and buy the most expensive sup you can afford.

It all depends on how often you’ll be paddle boarding and what type of stand up paddle boarding you will do. If you’re a beginner who’s looking to join the sport of SUP, an entry-level sup will suit you just fine. Better yet, get an inflatable paddle board because not only are these cheaper than the hard epoxy ones, but it’ll also save you space since you can fold it just like a sleeping bag for convenient storage.

paddleboarding activity

Once you’ve harnessed your skills and you’re looking for more action out of your paddle board, you can sell your previous board to purchase a more expensive board that offers more control and responsiveness. How often you will be stand up paddle boarding plays an important role as well when it comes to purchasing a sup.

If you plan on paddle boarding for only a few times a year, then a budget-friendly board is your best bet since you won’t be using it quite often and it’ll maintain its condition year-round. If you are absolutely hooked and love doing SUP plenty of times, it’s better to save up some money and invest in a higher quality paddle-board that’s much durable and longer lasting because of the better quality materials used.

You can also buy pre-owned paddle boards which are dirt cheap and will save you a ton of cash if you’re just planning on doing recreational SUP. Some paddle boarders are selling their boards at a very low price so make sure to check around online or ask your store if they’re selling pre-owned boards. Just make sure that the board is in good condition before buying.

Conclusion: Why Are Paddle-Boards So Expensive?

The reason why paddle boards come with a steep price tag is that it takes a lot of time and labor to construct a high-quality board that will last for years. The more expensive a paddle-board is, the more durable it gets and the better its performance will be. We are hopeful that this “Why are paddle boards so expensive?” article was able to help you.

About the Author Thomas

I suppose you could say I came to surfing later than most. I didn't grow up by the water, but after years working the 9-5 grind I felt its draw and decided it was time to lead a slower life. These days I try and spend time in the water every day and consider the ocean as my living room: a place to relax, have fun, and just enjoy life.

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