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What Type Of SUP Board To Buy As A Gift For A Beginning Paddler

A SUP board is a fantastic paddling vessel to own. They offer endless entertainment, great exercise, are often highly packable, and are easy to store compared to kayaks and canoes. This also makes them an incredible gift for someone you care about. Giving the gift of SUP boarding can be the ultimate holiday gift, but finding the ideal SUP board for a beginner is not always a simple task.

When purchasing a SUP board for a beginner as a gift, it is usually better to choose an inflatable SUP board over a hard board. Inflatable boards are easier to transport and store. Buy the most stable and durable board within your budget to ensure it is an easy board to learn and balance on. Select a board that is versatile in its uses, and seriously consider adding an electric pump to the gift package.

Purchasing a SUP board as a gift can be an incredible idea, and might be the best gift your loved one receives all holiday season. But SUP boards aren’t cheap, especially compared to a holiday sweater or a scented candle. So if you want to buy this showstopper of a gift, you need to put some serious thought and consideration into what makes the perfect SUP board for a beginner. After all, if you spend a good chunk of money on a SUP board as a gift then you want to ensure it is used often and cherished by its recipient.

Attributes To Look For When Buying A SUP Board For A Beginner

1. Size

One of the most important attributes to think about when shopping for a SUP board as a gift for a beginner is the board’s size. SUP boards are not one size fits all. Instead, the ideal board for a beginner will often depend on the person’s height and weight.

In addition to factoring in the appropriate sized board based on height, you should also think about going a bit wider and longer. Bigger, wider boards tend to be easier to balance for beginners. Narrow boards offer speed, but a wider and larger board offers a wider variety of SUP boarding activities, including tandem paddling and SUP yoga.

2. Stability

Size affects balance, but it is not the only factor. The SUP board’s stability is an incredibly important factor to think about when buying a SUP board for a beginner. You want as much stability as possible when buying a beginner his or her first SUP board. This is because an unstable and tippy SUP board is the easiest way to discourage a new paddler and completely turn newbies off from the sport.

Several factors impact a board’s stability, especially when purchasing an iSUP. The board’s materials, thickness and buoyancy, rigidity, and width all impact how stable it is. Read reviews and pay particular attention to how well a prospective board ranks in the stability category.

3. Hard Board Vs. Inflatable (iSUP)

The biggest first question you need to answer is whether to purchase the beginner paddler in your life a hard SUP board or an inflatable SUP board as a gift. In general, it is almost always a better idea to purchase an iSUP as a gift over a hard board for a beginner paddler.

For one, you are more likely to get a solid value from an inflatable board, while a hard board will either be very expensive or made of styrofoam or something equally cheap. This is because hard boards are made of very expensive materials.

But the main reason inflatable boards are a better option is that they are overall easier for beginners. They are forgiving on rocky surfaces, come in wider designs, and can be stuffed into a backpack at the end of the day. Inflatable boards also tend to come with all the gear you need to get started, like a leash and paddle.

4. Durability

You also want a board that is durable. Buying a SUP board for a beginner means you need to understand this vessel is going to get bumped and scratched. That is, after all, part of learning how to SUP board.

Inflatable boards are made of various materials, and in turn, they have differing degrees of durability. Some companies specialize in strong and durable materials that are built to last. Look for boards with reinforced rails, and several layers of material where it counts. Companies known for quality hardware design are also good to look out for. The key is finding a durable board that isn’t so heavy that it becomes cumbersome to carry.

5. Ease Of Transport

Even if you buy the perfect SUP board for a beginner paddler as a gift, the odds are it won’t get used much if it is a pain to carry to and from the water. This is a major reason why it is great to opt for an inflatable board over a hard board. Not everyone has a car, and even fewer people have cars that can transport a big SUP board.

Not all iSUPs are equally easy to carry either. Some are heavier than others, and some provide fantastic well-made backpacks, and others do not. When searching for a SUP board as a gift, opt for a board that has a well-designed carrying case that makes it easy to carry the board to and from the water, regardless of the mode of transportation.

6. Storage And Packability

One important thing to note when buying a SUP board as a gift is the space it takes up. Hard boards can be particularly challenging to properly store, especially in smaller homes and apartments. Therefore it is important to make sure there is a place for the gift you are giving. After all, you wouldn’t give a friend a sectional couch if they live in a small studio.

Even when purchasing an iSUP you need to think about storage and packability. Make sure you choose a board that is easy to store and pack up. This ensures the board lasts longer. Also, make sure the storage process is not so tedious as to turn a beginner off paddling.

7. Price

In the end, price may be the ultimate deciding factor when choosing the perfect SUP board to buy a beginner as a gift. SUP boards are not cheap. The good news is technology has come a long way, especially in the realm of inflatable boards. This means that while it is hard to get a decent board for less than $200, you can find something of decent or even good quality for $200, and something great for closer to $300.

So understand that buying a beginner an inflatable SUP board should have a budget near $200 (you may find a good black Friday or holiday deal even cheaper), but you don’t need to spend much more than that. The key is finding a board a person can learn on, that doesn’t need to break to bank.

Buy A SUP Board With All The Accessories A Beginner Needs

Something to remember about buying a SUP board for a beginner is also includes all the equipment the person will need to take his or her first paddling voyage. While the SUP board is certainly the largest and most expensive piece of equipment, it is not the only object a person needs to SUP board. The good news is many boards now come as a complete (or mostly complete) set, especially inflatable boards in the beginner categories. Below is a list of accessories you should try to include with a SUP board to ensure it is used safely.

  • Leash: A SUP leash is an essential accessory that comes with most beginner boards. Coil leashes work well at preventing drag. The key is finding a leash that secures comfortably to the ankle. Some cheap leashes can be a bit uncomfortable and irritating to wear, so be mindful of this when reading reviews.

  • Adjustable Paddle: Without a paddle, the recipient of your gift won’t be doing any paddling. The good news is many beginner boards come with a paddle included. Make sure the paddle is adjustable so it can be adjusted to the perfect length of the paddler. When searching for a great SUP paddle, opt for durability and lightweight paddle options for beginners.

  • PFD: Safety is always critical on the water, but it is even more important when someone is just learning how to paddle. The odds are he or she will fall into the water more than once, and sometimes even by surprise. This can be dangerous without a life jacket of some kind. These are rarely included in SUP board packages, but make a good supplemental gift to show you care about the recipient’s safety.

  • A Pump For Inflatable Boards: If you purchase an inflatable paddle board as a gift, remember that it doesn’t pump itself up. You need to ensure you have a reliable pump for the board. Ideally, the pump will fit into the board’s carrying bag, making it easy to transport and pack.

Consider Adding An Electric Pump To The Purchase

You might also want to think about adding an electrical pump to the gift or giving one as a separate gift. The reason is that while pumping an inflatable board up usually takes less than 20 minutes, the process can be very tiring and even irritating, especially for a beginner. Manual pumping can even tire out your arms before even getting into the water, which can make SUP boarding as a beginner more challenging than necessary.

An electrical pump is a great way to make pumping up the board fast and effortless. This way there is more time and energy spent on the water, and less getting ready by the water. Including an electric pump in the SUP board gift set for a beginner is a great way to ensure the recipient will fall in love with SUP boarding. In the end, that is the goal.

Shop for the best electric paddle board pumps of 2023.

Find The Most Versatile Board You Can

Another aspect about SUP boarding to remember when shopping for a SUP board as a gift for a beginner is that there is not just one way to SUP board. People use methods to have fun on SUP boards. From sunbathing and SUP yoga to fishing, kayaking, and more, there are so many different activities one can enjoy on a SUP board. However, not all SUP boards are capable of all these activities. This is why choosing a versatile board shape and design is ideal for a beginner.

Buy a board that is large enough for SUP yoga and sunbathing (more than 10’ long and 32” wide), and ideally one that has lots of D-rings to add accessories like a kayak seat. Buying the most versatile board makes it possible for the recipient of this amazing gift to find the type of SUP boarding he or she loves best.

Wrapping Up What Kind Of SUP Board To Gift A Beginner

Giving the gift of SUP boarding is one of the best holiday or birthday presents you can offer to a friend or loved one. A SUP board is a ticket to adventure, exercise, and a new hobby with endless potential. But the type of SUP board you purchase as a gift can have a profound impact on how often it gets used, and how much it is loved by the recipient.
Remember to choose a board that is easy to balance on and paddle, and just as easy to store when not in use. In general, inflatable SUP boards are both cheaper and better options for gifts, as they are easy to transport, often cheaper, and tend to be more versatile. Look for durability, rigidity, and stability when buying a SUP board for beginners. Since beginners are unlikely to have any SUP gear, it helps to buy a SUP that is loaded with accessories, like a leash, adjustable paddle, and a carrying backpack.

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