There are two ways to look at these “Food” and “Big Box” stores selling stand up paddle board now days.
One argument is that the sport is extremely expensive and hard for a lot of people to get into because of the high upfront cost. People say they can get a board, paddle, and leash for under $300 and be on the water right away. That is true and I can understand for some people, who do not have a lot of expendable income, this is a great way for them to get out and enjoy the water. So that is one positive and anything that gets people on the water is a plus.
Argument two is “You get what you pay for” and this we have seen with my own eyes many of times. Boards that can be sold that cheap because the materials are cheap, we have seen boards from these places, not even a year old, De-laminating, paddles breaking, and some even ding when you look at them too hard. Ha now that is a little exaggeration about the dings but they are way more fragile than the higher quality boards and you do have to be careful with them.
Even though we can see some positives in our humble opinion we feel it’s better to pay a little more up front, not only will your board last WAY longer with a higher quality board but your also supporting your local Sup Shops. Look around at all the paddling events in MD, 99% of them are put on by small local shops. If people keep buying boards from these grocery stores or big chain shops, or even online for that matter, the local shops will struggle and may not be able to put on these great events.
If money is truly an issue you can always try and find a higher quality used board that will perform and last longer than the Food boards. We are not telling anyone how to spend their money and we understand why some people do it but we are just encouraging you to be careful. If you save a few hundred dollars on a new board but you have to buy another new one a year or two later due to it not lasting, then spending the extra couple hundred to get a quality board that will last for years and years may be the best option, especially in the SUP world where people progress very quickly, and tend to get buyer’s remorse quicker than in other sports. So the old saying for boaters “Buy your second boat first” can sometimes be true in the SUP world, “Buy your second sup first” and save yourself some time and money over the long haul!!
Check out the local shop links on the right side of our page for some of the best boards in MD!!