Why Are Paddle Boards So Expensive? 5 Reasons Explained.

“Why are paddle boards so expensive?” It doesn’t seem like there’s much to them until you start digging deeper.

This article will explore the various elements that contribute to their price. From materials and construction methods to labour-intensive manufacturing processes and shipping expenses.

Join me as I uncover all aspects and thoroughly answer the question, “Why are paddle boards so expensive?

why are paddle boards so expensive featured image a monkey scratching his head confused standing by a paddle board

Why Are Paddle Boards So Expensive? For These 5 Reasons.

1. Size Matters

Paddle boards can cost more than surfboards due to their larger size, which requires more materials and labour-intensive work during manufacturing.

More Labor, More Cost

Experienced craftsmen must spend more time shaping, sanding, and finishing each paddle board than they would with smaller surfboards, resulting in higher production costs.

Comparing Sizes

  • Surfboard: Shortboards are around 6 feet long by 18 inches wide, while longboards can be 8-10 feet long by about 22 inches wide.
  • Paddle Board: Entry level boards start at around 9 feet in length and can go up to over 14 feet for racing or touring models; widths range from approximately 30 inches for beginner-friendly designs up to nearly three-and-a-half-feet-wide (42 inches) for specialized yoga or fishing platforms.
girls standing next to paddle board and surfboard to show size difference

2. Shipping Costs for Paddle Boards

Due to their substantial size and mass, transporting and packaging paddle boards can be expensive.

Challenges in Shipping Large Inflatable Boards

Inflatable paddle boards are often larger and heavier than other water sports equipment, leading to higher shipping costs and requiring special handling and packaging materials.

Comparison with Other Water Sports Equipment Shipping Costs

  • Kayaks: Although longer than inflatable paddle boards, kayaks are narrower and easier to handle during transportation, resulting in lower shipping costs.
  • Wakeboards: Wakeboards have a smaller surface area than inflatable paddle boards, taking up less space during transit and resulting in lower shipping fees.
  • Surfboards: Most surfboards maintain a relatively compact shape, making them cheaper to ship compared to wider board designs found on some stand-up paddle options.

To save money on your next paddle board purchase, consider looking for retailers that offer free shipping deals or discounted rates based on order thresholds.

You can also search for local retailers with the desired paddle board in stock, allowing you to avoid shipping costs altogether by picking up your new board in person.

3. Distribution Model Impact on Pricing

One factor that significantly impacts why are paddle boards so expensive is the distribution model used by manufacturers and retailers.

Paddle boards are typically sold through a traditional three-level retail-wholesale-factory distribution system, with each party adding their markup along the way.

The average consumer will buy a board from a local surf shop or outdoor retailer that adds around 40% markup on top of wholesale and factory costs.

Traditional Distribution Channels for Selling Paddle Boards

In this three-tier system, products pass through several hands before reaching consumers, which can lead to higher prices due to multiple markups.

First, paddle board manufacturers sell their products to wholesalers at an increased price compared to production costs.

Then, wholesalers distribute these boards to retailers who add another layer of markup before selling them in stores or online platforms like Amazon.

Markup Percentages Added by Retailers

  • Retailer Markup: Local surf shops and outdoor retailers usually add around 40% markup on top of wholesale prices when selling paddleboards.
  • Online Platform Fees: When purchasing from e-commerce websites like Amazon or eBay, additional fees may be included in the final price tag due to platform charges imposed on sellers.
manufacturer to wholesaler to retailer to consumer markup up to 40%

To save money without compromising quality when shopping for a new paddleboard, consider exploring alternative sales channels such as direct-to-consumer brands (DTC) or factory outlets.

These options often offer lower prices by eliminating middlemen and reducing distribution costs, allowing you to get a quality board at a more affordable price point.

4. Specialized Board Styles & Accessories

Paddle boarding has become very popular over the years. There are various specialized boards designed for specific activities and preferences.

These unique styles often come with additional accessories that enhance the overall experience but may also contribute to more expensive boards.

Racing Paddleboards for Speed Enthusiasts

Racing paddleboards are perfect for experienced paddle boarders looking for speed, but the carbon fibre materials used in high-end paddleboards can drive up the cost.

Yoga Paddleboards for Relaxation & Exercise

Yoga paddleboards cater to those who want a relaxing workout on the water, but additional features like resistance band attachment points can increase costs.

Paddle Boards For Fishing

These boards have features such as bungee tie-downs, rod holders, and cooler mounts, which make it easier to carry fishing gear and keep your catch fresh, but also come with an extra cost.

fishing on a paddle board

5. Demand is High

Demand has been (and remains) high for these versatile watercraft. According to Statista, “In 2021, the number of participants (aged six years and above) in stand-up paddling amounted to approximately 3.74 million.

That’s a lot of people and the demand is still growing. More demand is always met with higher prices.

Additional Accessories Affecting Board Prices

  • Paddles: High-quality paddles made of lightweight yet durable materials such as carbon fibre can significantly impact your budget when purchasing a new board setup.
  • Bags: Custom-made bags designed to protect your investment during transport can add to the overall cost.
  • Attachments: Fishing enthusiasts may opt for boards with built-in rod holders or other fishing attachments that increase both functionality and price.

In summary, specialized paddleboards cater to various interests and activities but often come at a higher cost due to their unique features and additional accessories.

Affordable Paddle Board Options: How to Save Money Without Sacrificing Quality

Don’t let the high cost of paddleboards keep you from enjoying this fun water activity – there are plenty of affordable options available.

Inflatable vs. Hard Paddle Boards: Which is Cheaper?

Inflatable paddleboards are generally cheaper than solid ones due to their simpler manufacturing process and lighter materials.

This article from REI goes over all of the pros and cons of each type of board.

inflatable vs hard paddle board coasts which is cheaper

Drop-Stitching vs. Hand-Shaped Construction: Which is More Cost-Effective?

Single-layer drop-stitching is a more cost-effective construction method used in most inflatable boards under $600.

Unfortunately, because of their construction, these cheaper boards are more prone to puncture and leakage.

Dual layer boards however are built to the highest standards. These paddleboards require premium materials and skilled labor which results in higher production costs.

Feel free to explore the distinctions between these techniques further (it’s too much for me to get into here.)

Warranties: Protecting Your Investment

  • Look for good warranty coverage offered by manufacturers against defects arising out of normal wear-and-tear conditions.
  • Read the warranty terms carefully before making your purchase.
  • Beware of extremely cheap models with no warranty support – they might not last long and end up costing you more in the long run.

Are Paddle Boards Really That Expensive

When you consider the value that they provide, are paddle boards really that expensive? The memories that I have made with different people in different places on my paddleboard are invaluable.

They offer a unique way to experience new places, whether you’re paddling on a lake, river, or ocean. And also provide an amazing workout, especially if you use them for other activities such as racing or yoga. 

Additionally, even if you buy a cheaper model, with proper care they can provide years of enjoyment and unforgettable memories.

When you compare them to other pieces of recreational water equipment, such as boats or jet skis, paddle boards are relatively affordable. These items can come with a huge price tag and be very expensive to fix and maintain.

With so many options available, it’s possible to find a good paddle board without paying the high cost of high-end paddleboards.

paddle boarding at sunset is an unforgettable memory that is worth the price of a paddle board

The Cost Of Renting a Paddle Board

Another point to consider is the cost of renting paddle boards. If you’re someone who enjoys paddle boarding frequently, the cost of renting can add up quickly

In the long run, investing in a paddle board can actually save you money. Additionally, owning your own paddle board gives you the freedom to explore new bodies of water and paddle at your own pace, without the constraints of rental hours or availability

Finally, many paddle board manufacturers offer warranties and customer support, which can provide peace of mind and help protect your investment.

FAQs in Relation to Why Are Paddle Boards So Expensive

Why Do Paddle Boards Cost So Much?

Paddleboards are expensive due to their high-quality materials, construction methods, and specialized designs. Additionally, shipping costs for large inflatable boards and retailer markups contribute to the overall price.

Is it Worth Getting an Expensive Paddle Board?

Whether or not it is worth getting an expensive paddle board depends on your personal needs and preferences. Expensive boards are made from higher-quality, expensive materials and will last longer. HIgh-end paddleboards made of wood veneer for example will last you a lifetime.

Why Not Buy a Cheap Paddle Board?

Cheaper boards come at a lower price point because they are made of cheap materials. They will not last as long as high-end boards but, if you’re on a tight budget, they will do.

Are Inflatable Boards More Expensive?

In general, no, traditional hard boards are more expensive than inflatable boards. However, prices vary greatly, and there are some very expensive inflatable boards on the market.

What is the Difference Between a Cheap and Expensive Paddle Board?

The main difference between cheap and expensive paddle boards is the quality of the materials used in their construction. Expensive paddle boards are often made with higher-quality materials. Cheaper paddle boards, on the other hand, may be made with lower-quality materials and lack important features.

Do Cheap Paddle Boards Work?

Yes, cheap paddleboards can work for those on a budget. However, they may not be as durable or perform as well in the water as more expensive options. Generally, a higher price means higher quality.

How Many Years Will a Paddle Board Last?

A well-maintained paddle board can last anywhere from 5-10 years depending on usage frequency, storage conditions, material quality and proper care practices such as rinsing off salt water after use.

Why are Red Paddle Co Boards So Expensive?

Red Paddle Co boards are known for their high quality and durability. They are made with high-end materials and techniques, which makes them more expensive than their competitors.

Before You Go…

I hope that gave you some clarity to the question, “Why are paddle boards so expensive?” I think you will enjoy my next article about paddleboarding, check it out below!

Is Paddleboarding Hard or Easy?