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March 14, 2022 7 min read

Buying a Used SUP

Gili inflatable paddle boards near the beach

Buying a brand new paddle board is a large investment that needs to be thought about and budgeted for. The good news is, stand up paddle boards vary in price, but this also means they vary in quality. 

So, if you’re wondering, how can I get the best of both worlds? A high-quality SUP that isn’t going to break the bank? Well, buying a used SUP could be just the answer. 

Like with many second-hand items, buying a used paddle board has its pros and cons and we are going to answer the question of “should I buy a used inflatable paddle board?” and if it’s really worth it.

If you want to find out the benefits, drawbacks, and things to look out for when buying a used stand up paddle board, then keep on reading! 

Benefits and Drawbacks of Buying a Used SUP

Before we get into the things you need to look out for when purchasing a used SUP, we’re going to discuss the benefits and drawbacks that come with buying second-hand. 

Pros

It’s More Affordable

Brand new paddle boards (depending on their quality) can range from the low hundreds to thousands of dollars and, like with most things, they lose some of their value once they have been taken out of their packaging and used out on the water. 

Buying used paddle boards might save you a few hundred dollars depending on the length of time the previous owner has used them for, the condition the boards are in, and how desperately the seller needs the money. 

It Can Get You Out on the Water Quicker

If you’re saving up to purchase your SUP, the lower price point of a second-hand paddle board will make it easier for you to reach your savings goal and could potentially get you out on the water a month or two quicker than if you were to buy brand new. 

You Won’t Be as Scared to Damage It

If you’re anything like us, having a brand new expensive item like a SUP can be daunting to ride on because you’re too scared to damage it. It’s like buying shiny white shoes and not wanting to wear them out of the house in case they get dirty. 

Buying a used board cuts out this issue because the board isn’t new anymore and most likely will have a scuff mark or two, therefore, it doesn’t matter if or when you add another. 

Cons

GILI inflatable paddle boards and accessories

No Warranty

Depending on where you buy your used SUP board from, it may not come with a warranty. 

Buying off independent sellers who used their boards for recreational purposes will most likely have used up the warranty period that they purchased the board in, leaving you with nothing. 

This isn’t to say that buying second-hand leaves you without a warranty, some retailers, like GILI, offer warranties with their pre-owned or closeout boards. We update our used and closeout boards throughout the year so it’s a great idea to bookmark the tab so you can snag a high-quality board, with a warranty, for a great price. 

It May Need to Replace It Sooner

Depending on the type of paddle boarding you do, it can wear down your board over time. 

SUP boards, if taken proper care of, can last anywhere up to 5 years, and buying second-hand reduces this time frame for you specifically. 

If the seller previously used to board for 2 years, you may only have 2-3 years left with it before you need to replace it with a new board. 

It May Not Come With All Accessories

Used boards may not come with all the accessories like a new board would. 

A new board would usually come in a package with a paddle, leash, fins, and other accessories, and depending on the seller, buying a second hand board may not come with these. 

How to Buy a Used SUP

GILI Meno inflatable paddle boards

If you’re sold on purchasing a pre-owned SUP, here are some crucial things you need to consider and look out for. 

Decide the Type of Board You Want

Even if you’re buying a brand new board, you need to consider the type of board you want based on what you’ll be using it for. 

Paddle boards come in a range of shapes and sizes and all are used for different purposes. 

If you’re a beginner or you want to use your board for SUP yoga, or SUP fishing, a board with a wider deck and a planing hull will provide more balance and a larger deck pad area for additional gear. 

For the SUP tourers and racers, a narrower board with a longer length and a displacement hull will make it easier for you to glide through the water at faster speeds. 

SUP surfers, on the other hand, should opt for a shorter board that’ll help them cut through the waves and make paddling out easier. 

We’ve covered more information on choosing a paddle board and board types in our articles Guide to Buying Your First Stand Up Paddle Board and 3 Different Types of Paddle Boards You Need to Know.

Determine Your Budget

Budget plays a huge part in any purchase and it’s important to decide on a reasonable budget before setting out looking for a board. 

Create a set budget in your head and look for boards below or around that number. If there is a particular board that you fall in love with that is over your budget, it may be beneficial to hold out and save a little more so you aren’t putting yourself in debt. 

As we mentioned before, though, paddle boards come in a range of prices and you’ll be sure to find a great paddle board that comfortably fits into your budget. 

Research SUP Brands

High-quality boards from reputable brands are built to withstand a beating and are made to last for years. 

Before searching for a used board, do some research into respected brands by searching online or asking other local stand up paddle boarders in your area. 

Try and Buy From a Reputable Source

We mentioned before about warranties and how buying from an independent seller will most likely mean you won’t have one. Well, not only does buying from a reputable source increase your chances of having a warranty, but it is also a lot safer and you won’t be sold a faulty board for an unreasonable price. 

Many online and in-store paddle boarding shops may sell demo boards, ex-rental boards, or the previous season's boards for a discounted price. 

Check out our pre-owned and closeout boards for a quality, preowned board that won't break the bank.. 

Try the Board Before Purchasing

Woman paddling with GILI inflatable paddle board

Always try before you buy! 

The board may look fantastic and in great shape, but taking it out on the water can show its defaults and give you a better idea of the board’s durability. 

You could also find you don’t like how the board feels or tracks, so taking it out for a test run will solidify your opinion before purchasing. 

Ask Questions

If you’re purchasing a board online, it is important to ask questions before heading over to check it out. There is no point driving an hour or longer to view a board that isn’t the right size, shape, or price that you want. 

Some important questions to ask:

  • How long is the board?
  • How old is the board?
  • Is there any damage?
  • Where has it been stored?
  • What accessories does it come with?
  • Is there a reason you’re selling it? 

Check the Board Over

Whether you’re buying an inflatable board or a hard board, it is crucial to check it over for any damage. Here are some things to look out for:

  • Dings, scratches, or scrapes - Dings are easily repaired, but you need to ensure the board hasn’t absorbed any water.
  • Check the deck pad- The deck pad should be properly glued down and in good shape. 
  • Fin box - The fins need to be straight otherwise the box could be damaged internally. 
  • Seams - For inflatable boards, focus on the seams and make sure they’re all in good condition. 
  • Check for any air leakage - Fully inflate the board and see if any air leaks from small holes. 
  • Sun damage/fading - Sun damage means it has been left out in the sun which is a no-no for SUPs.

FAQ’S

🏆 Are inflatable paddle boards worth the money?

Inflatable paddle boards are becoming increasingly popular due to their versatility and how easy they are to store. Huge heavy boards that needed adequate storage solutions have been replaced with boards that can be deflated and packed into a small backpack or duffel bag. 

Inflatable boards range in price and some can be extremely adorable, but like most things, the higher price you pay, the better quality board you will receive. 

An Inflatable SUP is an investment that will last you for years to come and provide you with hours upon hours of endless fun out on the water. 


👍 What Is the lifespan of an inflatable paddle board?

Inflatable SUPs can last for 3-5 years depending on how you care for them. Some boards can last even longer if the owner follows storage and care guidelines and doesn’t use the board for reckless activities. 

We’ve gone into more detail about storage and care guidelines in our articles How to Store a Paddle Board the Right Way and How to Care For Your Stand Up Paddle Board Gear.


🏝️ What should I look for in a used inflatable paddle board?

When looking at used inflatable SUPs, ensure the board can fully inflate to the recommended PSI and also pay close attention to if any air is leaking. 

Make sure to check all seams to confirm they’re in good working condition and look out for any scratches or rips in the material. The air vents need to be working properly and the fin box should be straight and uncracked. 


❓ Are inflatable paddle boards good for beginners?

Inflatable paddle boards are great for beginners because of their increased deck width, which aids in balance. Stand up paddle boarding requires a great deal of balance, so having the wider deck provides the paddler with just that. 

Inflatable boards are also a lot more comfortable to ride on and if the paddler happened to fall, falling onto a soft squishy deck is a lot safer than if they were to fall on a hard top board. 

Inflatable SUPs are incredibly durable, and any bumps into rocks or hard objects in the water are most likely going to cause little to no damage to the board. 

For more reasons on why choosing an inflatable SUP is a good idea, check out 9 Reasons Why You Should Choose a Blow Up Paddle Board and if you’re ready to purchase a board, we’ve covered The Best Paddle Boards for Beginners.

Megan Bryant
Megan Bryant

Based in Bali, her favorite SUP spot is the GILI Islands themselves. Travel is another passion of hers - she dreams to see the entire world one day.


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