Monday, July 21, 2008

Do You Need to Demo a SUP Board?

Different industries have different protocols regarding the "try-before-you-buy" philosophy. In the surf industry the short answer to the question -- "Can I demo a board?" is "No." If a person wants to try the sport, they rent equipment or borrow something from a friend.

Purchasing a board you have no experience with can be a bit daunting. The tradition in surfing is to rely on the reputation of the shaper and to get very good advice during the sales process. Buying a board on price alone is not the best choice. In many cases, purchasing a stand up paddle board on price alone may leave you with a board all wrong for you and your experience of the sport will be off to a bad start. And, if you're near the beginner end of the spectrum, you really won't know if the SUP board is good or not when you paddle -- you don't have the experience and skills to judge the board.

So how do you decide which Stand Up Paddle Surfboard to buy? Here are some ideas:

  • Buy boards shaped by reknowned shapers like Gerry Lopez, Ron House, Donald Takayama, etc. If you buy a "generic" board, do so only on the advice of an experienced salesperson.
  • Identify the conditions in which you will most use the board and discuss them with the sales person. For example - flatwater, surf, river running, racing flatwater, combination boards, etc. Randall wrote about board size, read more.
  • Be clear about your expectations. Don't buy a gloss board if you're going to let the kids and dog play on it and you tend to freak out when you see a mess of scratches.
  • Don't buy a board for specific conditions that you'll rarely be in just because it's cool. Shorter SUP boards are designed for the short amount of time they are powered on a wave. They are inherently unstable in flat water.
  • For women, Randall wrote a list of ideas on women friendly SUP boards.
  • Read more of our gear blog suggestions at About Gear.
  • On our website we have lists of boards divided by size and gloss/soft-top categories.
You can trust Randall Barna to sell you the best board for your needs. And, we can ship most anywhere in the U.S.

If you live in Bend, Oregon, the Deschutes river a great place to SUP paddle! Get a great workout going upriver or plan a shuttle with your friends and take your time floating the gorgeous and serene sections of the Deschutes River 15 miles south of Bend, Oregon. Contact Randall at 541-389-4547 to buy a waterproof Paddle Trail Alliance Map of the Deschutes River. It's only $15.00 and full of great info about the put-in and take-out river spots, any portages around hazards like log jams and waterfalls.

If you're wondering why Randall is standing by his van with bison in the background, read more.

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