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Paddleboarding – Is it best to buy or hire?
Paddleboarding is a great sport that everyone can get involved in, as such we have all seen the great growth and interest over the past couple of summers. However, many of us do face a decision over whether to invest and buy a complete SUP package or to hire a SUP when we feel like it. The Poole Harbour team want to help highlight the key aspects for and against either option from our experience in the field, so you can realize what may be the best option for you right now.
Paddleboard Schools and Hire Centres are dotted all around the country in spots that are great for paddleboarding, whether that be beach front, harbours, rivers or lakes. The accessibility into hiring and getting into paddleboarding is now much easier for everyone.
When it comes to any sport, we think it is best to try it out first to make sure SUPing is for you before you go head-first and purchase everything to find out you might not like it that much! Hiring a paddleboard for a day or even for a couple of times, can ensure you that you like it enough to want to go out and do it leisurely by yourself or with friends and therefore purchase one at a later date.
Hiring also can provide a better sense of safety and security whilst out because as a customer on a SUP you can focus more on enjoying yourself and the company you hire from can take care and responsibility to the external factors you may not be aware of. Firstly, they will only let you go out on the water in sensible SUPing conditions; the area they allow you to go will most likely be a safe area to paddle in too (much like Poole Harbour), and they also can keep an eye on you. This enables your time out paddling to be more relaxing as factors that you may not be clued up on are sorted by professionals, and you can just have fun!
Space. Even though inflatable paddleboards can pack up pretty small nowadays, they still are a large rucksack and at least 10kg of weight to carry and store. Sometimes, in your home or your car when travelling, you just don’t have that space available and as a result, hiring can be a lot easier and simpler. When hiring, the board is already pumped up (the hard work done!) and you don’t have to tidy away the sandy paddleboard into your car or house as you can leave it with the hiring company and happily walk away!
A massive thought behind this decision is also the cost. A one-off purchase buying your own SUP is more likely to be better value-for-money and overall cost-efficient. With the average cost of a paddleboard, you would only need to hire a board for 30hours to meet the cost. This may not seem too bad, but bear in mind that a paddleboard can last you at least 5 years, and this is a rate of only 30hours of time actually on the water per person! That time does not include having the paddleboard with you on a beach day which can easily be a 5 hour day; a long excursion up a river and back can easily be two hours as well, and if you are a family and you all want to try one your hourly price is multiplying! We think one can easily get their worth out of a paddleboard in a single year!
Alternatively, thinking about the long-run may not be suitable for you right now, a SUP is still a large payment required up front. When it comes to it, most people may not maximize the use of their board throughout the year, and as such the effort of owning one (transporting, storing, inflating, cleaning) may not compare to the £15 spent here and there, mainly throughout the summer.
On the other hand, having your own paddleboard allows for a lot more freedom and choice.
We would say the main bonus of having your own board is the fact that you aren’t restricted to any of a company’s hiring terms. You can paddle at any time that suits you and for any length of time. 9-5 doesn’t work with most people unless they are on holiday or it is the weekend, so the flexibility of being able to go before/ after work is the best bit about it. In fact, sunrise and sunsets paddleboarding are one of the best times we think to go!
As well as the timing of the day, the time you can go out for is a lot more flexible and as such, more cost -efficient. Hiring by the hour, allows for little time to venture anywhere and it can go by really fast. Sometimes the best days paddling are when you keep popping out on it during a beach day, or when you take a picnic and venture up and down a river or to a landmark for some adventuring and discovering.
Choosing where you want to go paddleboarding is also a major deal breaker for many. Being restricted to a certain paddling spot when hiring, doesn’t quite provide the full paddleboarding experience. You may want to go where they don’t hire any boards nearby, or they may not allow you to take them a further distance. Paddleboarding can be great to discover new places, many common spots even locally to us that you can’t hire a paddleboard to would be around Brownsea island, over to Old harry Rocks or up and down the local rivers – but these are amazing paddle spots and there are plenty of amazing hidden paddle spots up and down the country! This flexibility factor is what really makes the difference when you purchase your SUP board.
Nevertheless, no purchase means no commitment. Hiring is a great solution for those that want to do paddleboarding as something to do and have fun with, but aren’t 100% on the sport. As mentioned before, after hiring for some time, you can always purchase a board at a later date if it works out for you.
The convenience of having your own board also will bring other benefits. After spending money on the product, you will be more inclined to use it to get your money’s worth. In turn, being encouraged to go out paddleboarding is a great result as it still is an activity and great exercise that gets you outside, on the water and socializing!
Hiring a paddleboard can also inhibit your growth in the sport, the limitations surrounding how long you can go out for and where to go when hiring a board, can result in your progress and confidence in paddleboarding increasing at a slower rate. If you were more inclined to go paddleboarding when you can fit it in after work as such, you will become a more experienced rider and get even more value out of your board and even look to upgrade as you progress in the sport.
Generally, we would suggest trying out the sport before taking the dive into buying one. This may be through hiring a SUP a couple of times, or if lucky enough even borrowing a friend’s, because not every sport is for everyone (although most people do love and enjoy paddleboarding😊).
Choosing to hire paddleboards over buying also depends on your interest and what you expect to get out of it. As previously mentioned, there is no harm in hiring SUPs for a while until you realize that you may progress more by having your own board to go to different locations and at more accessible times.
In the long run though, buying a paddleboard seems to be the most sensible option to the majority of people. Removing limitations such as hiring times and locations, normally makes your paddle more enjoyable as you can get what you want out of your paddling session/ day out.
Yet, buying a paddleboard can open up a whole new can of worms about what to SUP to buy and is right for you! If from this blog you decide you would like to purchase a SUP, but need some guidance, please check out our other blogs ‘Choosing the Right Inflatable Paddleboard for You ‘ and ‘What is a good Inflatable Paddleboard for Beginners?‘ or give us a call on 01202 700503 for a chat.
Nonetheless, we would like to highlight that you should not under-estimate the ease of the sport. When purchasing a board and going out by yourself or even with others, we suggest getting some basic knowledge on safety procedures and suitable settings for SUPing, such as wind strength and direction, tidal movements and general safety points. If you need a guide with this, check out our blog ‘SUP Safety – Weather to Know Before You Go'.
We love hearing your feed back so if you have a question, you would like us to look into in a blog, please let us know. Don’t forget that we are only a live chat, call, email or a visit away and are always happy to help you.
To Hire, take a look at our School rate here - HIRE A SUP
To Buy, take a look at our SUP range here - INFLATABLE SUPS.