Whilst it can be very tempting to opt for a cheaper Stand Up paddle board at the lower end of the market, in this article we’re going to look at exactly why not all Inflatable Paddle Boards are made equal.

1. Construction and Technology
The majority of paddle boards at the lower end of the market use either single or double layer “dropstitch”, which refers to how the material that forms the top and bottom skin of the board is connected by threads, giving the board it’s shape and structure. Single layer dropstitch construction produces a flimsy board with very little stiffness that is unable to be inflated to higher pressures. Double layer dropstitch is more durable and stiffer but with the disadvantage of being much heavier, harder to roll up when deflated and prone to cosmetic blemishes. In contrast, Starboard uses linear or woven dropstitch technology to provide unrivalled stiffness, responsiveness, lightness and performance, for a truly authentic paddling experience.

2. Durability
The majority of paddle boards at the lower end of the market use either single or double layer “dropstitch”, which refers to how the material that forms the top and bottom skin of the board is connected by threads, giving the board it’s shape and structure. Single layer dropstitch construction produces a flimsy board with very little stiffness that is unable to be inflated to higher pressures. Double layer dropstitch is more durable and stiffer but with the disadvantage of being much heavier, harder to roll up when deflated and prone to cosmetic blemishes. In contrast, Starboard uses linear or woven dropstitch technology to provide unrivalled stiffness, responsiveness, lightness and performance, for a truly authentic paddling experience.

3. Resale Value
Splashing out on a more expensive inflatable paddle board might seem extravagant, but over time (and assuming you look after it) you’ll find it will maintain its value far better than a cheaper alternative. With their poor quality construction and lower levels of durability, cheap paddleboards will not only devalue at a faster rate but will also be harder to sell, as and when you decide it’s time for an upgrade.

4. Lack of Versatility
Whilst you might initially buy a paddle board for a bit of fun down the beach or at your local lake, it’s inevitable that you’ll end up wanting to do more with your board. Whether that’s a longer trip, a spot of Yoga, a little bit of racing with friends or maybe trying it out in the waves, you’ll need a board that is up to the task. And sadly, that’s where a lot of cheap alternatives come a cropper. Without the required strength, stiffness and durability many of them just simpler can’t be used for anything other than some basic paddling on flat water. Buying a higher quality board will enable you to “grow into” all the other things paddleboarding has to offer – as and when you’re ready.

5. Low Quality Paddle and Accessories
If you’re looking to buy a cheap, low quality paddle board, it’s likely you’ll also find that it’s not just the board that falls into this bracket. To keep the price point as low as possible the manufacturer will probably have also opted for the low quality option when it comes to everything else, such as the bag you put it in, the paddle and the pump. As with the boards themselves, items such as a low quality bag or pump won’t withstand the test of time and, sooner or later, you’ll find yourself in need of a replacement. Again, buy cheap, buy twice. Take the bag for example, whether it’s in the garage, being loaded in and out of the car, on a flight or being left on the beach while you paddle, these bags go through a lot and endure all sorts of conditions. If it’s not up to scratch you could soon find it falling apart, not only looking poor but also not fit for purpose. When it comes to the pump, a lot of cheap boards will provide a pump with one single, wide chamber. These do not allow boards to be inflated to high pressure. Also usually these Cheap Boards come with cheap Paddles with Fibre-Glass Shafts and dated Paddle Blade Designs. These Paddles Bend and Flex whilst paddling, therefore hurting your paddling experience.

Before considering a Cheap Inflatable SUP, which effectively is an over priced lilo, consider trying a high-end brand like Starboard and avoid buying twice.