How Much Do Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Boards Cost? (2023)
Usually inflatable paddle boards are sold as a package that cost anywhere from $100 to $1800 or more.
And there you have it. But what’s the difference?
What Makes One Inflatable Paddle Board Cost More Than Another?
Among other reasons, I’d mention just a few:
- size (more/less materials),
- type (specialized are costlier),
- quality (materials, quality control),
- added value (accessory items, customer support).
Granted, the pricing of inflatable SUP boards doesn’t follow any pattern or rules set in stone, so it’s still up to you to determine its true value for yourself, but you can’t ignore what the market dictates…
1. The Size Of The Inflatable Board
It’s simple correlation: bigger board means more materials means more expensive.
The bigger the board the more it tends to cost. It goes the other way as well: the bigger the cheaper board, the more they skimmed on materials.
So, for example, long-distance racing and touring boards are made much longer (around 12-14ft and up) than your average all-around boards (10-11ft), and that’s already one of the reasons as to why they cost more. But the reasons go deeper than just that.
2. The Specialization Of The Inflatable Board
Most Common: All-Around
It’s a rather obvious observation: all-around type of iSUPs ($$$) are the easiest to make by now and are most abundant.
The manufacturing lines have optimized the process and just keep pumping them out because the demand is always there for those typical cheaper all-arounds you see everywhere. As demand is there, more of those factories spring up, same thing with new brands who buy those boards and try to sell them, competition gets more fierce, and so every year they all have to improve the quality standards in order to stand a chance on the market.
More Rare: Specialized
And then we have those specialized boards ($$$$) that very few buy in comparison. These are boards meant for full-on touring, surfing, whitewater river riding, etc, not jacks of all trades like all-arounds, those masters of none.
It’s the people who are way past their beginner phase using an all-around that are looking for these more specialized boards. They now know what they want from paddle boarding, their expectations are higher in terms of quality, and they more or less know exactly what to look out for. So the quality has to be top notch even though the demand is way lower than for those all-around boards that most of the manufacturing lines are configured for. So, now they have to reconfigure or create whole new processing lines just to manufacture those few specialized boards. The labor involved alone makes the cost higher.
3. The Quality Of The Inflatable Board
Be it specialized or not, the inflatable stand up paddle boards can be of different quality.
All inflatable iSUPs are made of PVC, a rubber-like plastic material, and drop-stitch material at the core
Some boards may have extra layers of that PVC and thicker, stronger drop-stitch material. Another thing is that they may have used PVC glue to patch them together, some may have used fusion technology instead (analogous to welding something together vs gluing it). So, there’s a lot that goes into the quality of construction.
For example, cheaper boards tend to have just 1 layer of PVC along with some reinforcing layers of other materials and for drop stitch whatever the standard is, which is good enough for casual recreational paddling, don’t get me wrong. And then you have the expensive boards that may have multiple layers of PVC, thicker and stronger drop-stitch material, and fusion technology or very quality driven gluing process.
In this way, you get inflatable stand up paddle boards that have either good attributes (lightweight, break down less, last longer, can take more rough handling, and so on), or boards with lesser attributes (which is still good enough, just not the innovative top level quality).
Now imagine if you’re making an expensive board with all the materials and labor costs involved. You’re going to want to make sure it’s the best it can be with little to no room for defects. You’re going have somebody down there at the manufacturing line just standing there (their work involves a lot more, of course) and making sure things are up to standard at all times. Labor costs on top of labor costs even though sales volume is much lower, so of course you’re going to want to increase the price to cover all those costs.
Now granted, even the high quality boards might run into problems and they will NOT last forever if you did NOT care for them properly. And something can always happen during delivery regardless of high quality standards up to that point. And from there, things transition into after-service costs, quality assurance.
4. Added Value
Every board package has their price upped by the addition of accessory items (paddle, backpack, pump, leash, etc).
Among those accessory items, usually the most costly piece would be the paddle. If you’re getting into this sport more seriously, you should look into buying one separately tailored just for you. Learn more about SUP paddles here.
Another thing is warranty and customer support that can only add to the price but also for your certainty in the product. Cheaper ones’ warranty can go up to 2 years, more expensive ones even up to 5 years.
(Links open in a new tab)
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