How to “Vet” a SUP Shop

If you’re reading this there is a good chance you linked over from the Stand Up Paddling – Need to Know post which walks readers through the whole process of getting started in SUP.  But this post is about one thing and one thing only; How can you tell if you’re dealing with a business that is well versed in the SUP industry and will give you a fair and honest introduction to the SUP market.

Let’s start with a short list of “Red Flags”:

  1. Almost every Costco, West Marine, Etc. has started carrying paddleboards.  – Don’t, just don’t.  I’ve taught thousands of people how to paddleboard, if your first experience is terrible the odds are likely that you won’t want to ever try it again.  Most individuals working at these large national chain businesses are not avid paddlers, therefore they shouldn’t be telling you what you do or don’t want to buy.  Also most of the boards sold at these stores are not high quality and will deteriorate within a couple of years, whereas the right board will last over 10 years easily.
  2. Watch out for your standard “Surf Shop” too.  Again usually what you will find when you walk into a surf shop is a bunch of surfers, not paddleboarders. That doesn’t mean you won’t occasionally find a paddler in a surf shop, it’s just more likely they will care a lot more about surfing than paddling and will try to sell you what’s on their shelf or in stock… Not necessarily what you need.
  3. Craigslist – This one I can’t emphasize enough, just because it’s cheap on Craigslist doesn’t mean you need to buy it, check the boards carefully for dings and research the brand to ensure a quality manufacturing process.  So many people are getting “pop-outs” made overseas so cheaply that they can afford to sell them for under $700 and it will likely be in the trash within a year.


To Be Continued…