Should you rent a stand up paddleboard before you buy one?
Many people are introduced to a SUP while on vacation. The boards rented are usually heavier epoxy boards or soft-tops that are quite heavy. But, once on the water they are usually stable so that the vacationer has a great time on the water. If you really like your experience on the board you rented on vacation then make notes about the shape, length, width, and thickness.
People come in a wide range of weights, heights and physical abilities. There are few all-around boards, so renting a board from a company that offers a variety of boards is often times the best way to find the ideal board for you. Many shops will let you apply your rental fee to the purchase of a board, even a used board. So, if you're considering buying from the place you rent make sure that they offer this possibility. Since fees are about $50 for a full day rental, this is the equivalent of 10% off a $500 board (if you can get a good one at that price)>
With the advent of on-line purchasing, a few companies are providing a money-back guarantee. You can purchase a board, have it delivered to your home, test it out for a period of time (usually one to four weeks), and return it if you're not completely satisfied.
Now, if the board you buy in an epoxy (hard board) it is often a pain to wrap it back up (manufacturers usually require the same box that it was shipped in), get to the post office, and ship it back. This is where an inflatable SUP is ideal for testing at home and returning if you're not satisfied.