Should I buy a cheap ISUP? (inflatable stand up paddleboard)
There are so many (ISUPs) inflatable stand up paddleboards out there to choose from - where the heck do you start?
My first bit of advice is spend as much as you can afford. There are some lower priced boards - and some of them are good - but it's really worth having a good think about. Ask yourself "what do I want my board for?"
As a rule of thumb, as a beginner, you will want to look at boards ranging from 9 feet to 13 feet, 4" or 6" thick
If you want a board to take out on calm, flat days to just have a muck about on with the kids then a very cheap board will probably do you (by 'very cheap I am taking about under £300). A glorified lilo if you like. But what about the great reviews you've read? Please, take these reviews with a pinch of salt. Most of them have been paid, in one way or another, to get the ad placed there. This blog sums it up...
If you want a board that you can play on, which is stable in a light wind, which is a pleasure to ride on long distances then read on - these are my top three affordable ISUP brands:
These boards are, in my opinion, the best value for money on the market. They are made by paddleboarders for paddleboarders. They have used similar materials to brands such as Red Paddle Co and Starboard and they really care about the quality of their products. Their 10'6 or 10'8, 6" thick, are good entry level boards, and they come with a fibre glass paddle, a coiled leash, front bungees, a wheeled rucksack, Bravo pump and a repair kit. They offer excellent after care and customer service. At present these are in the sale at £480 - £495.
Jobe are a Dutch company. They were founded in 1974 and supplied skis. In 2008 they were sold to a sports company and began selling a wider range of goods. The Jobe Lika 9'8, 4" thick, is, while a little short for touring, a good value board. The package includes an aluminium paddle, a straight leash, a simple rucksack (looks a bit like a dry bag) and a simple double action pump. At present on sale for £599.
Slingshot are an American company. Boardworx in Whitstable (https://www.board-worx.com) are selling their 2017 Crossbreed Airtech Inflatable 11', 6" thick, in the sale. The package includes a simple double action pump, front and rear bungees, a simple rucksack (looks a bit like a dry bag) and a repair kit. Note, no paddle included. At present in the sale at £599.
So, I hope I've helped you to make up your mind. It's as the saying goes - 'you get what you pay for'. If you love the sport you will wish you'd paid a little bit more and bought that little bit better. In an ideal world it's best to try a board out before you buy it but, of course, that just isn't always practical. And, if you've never paddled before and want to buy a board - try and hang on. Have a lesson or two. You'll be really glad you did!
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