Is It Still A Good Idea To Shop Brick And Mortar? | Perfect Paddles

In Fresh Content, Learning, SUP Gear Recommendations by Daniel

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Wondering if shopping at brick and mortar shops for SUP is still a good idea? In this article, we discuss the positives to doing so, and why it might be the best thing to do for paddle boarding.



Do you shop online?

For most of you, the answer is yes. With the rise of eCommerce stores and retail giants like Amazon, it’s never been easier to click a button and have what you need to be delivered right to your door.

But did you know recent statistics suggest online shopping has grown so much that…

“As it stands in 2021, the number of digital buyers is at 2.14 billion. That makes up 27.6 percent of the 7.74 billion people in the world. In other words, more than one out of every four people you see around you is an online shopper.”

1 out of every 4!

Is this something to celebrate? In a way, yes! Online shopping is a great way to take advantage of the convenience of the modern age.

But we also want to make clear, that while buying online is a great option, a little guidance goes a long way when you make a purchase.

Especially when it comes to SUP.

In these instances, it might be a better idea to try a different option...

Today, we’re going to break down why shopping at brick-and-mortar shops for SUP might be your best option and why this key reason can be the difference between you enjoying the activity or quitting early on…

Starting first, with our number 1 reason...

brick and mortar

1. Talk With A Paddling Pro

If there’s one thing paddling professionals know it’s paddling.

But that’s no small feat. Nor is it something to ignore. Especially if you’re new to SUP.

While you might be thinking it’s best to avoid brick-and-mortar paddling shops so you won’t “get sold to” what most paddling pros are actually there for is to talk SUP with potential customers.

And more specifically, they provide their knowledge of the sport to beginners.

This means, with one single glance in your direction, most paddling pros are able to size you up and match you with the right board.

What does this mean?

Put simply, not every board is built for every body type. Bigger people need bigger boards.

People who don’t have natural athletic abilities need wider boards. Smaller people might be able to stand on any board on the water, but when it comes to carrying it on land, it can turn into a terribly difficult task.

By talking with a paddling pro, they’ll be able to match you with the right size board on your first day and this makes a HUGE difference between whether you’re successful on the water or not.

As opposed to picking one online and hoping that it works.

In addition, paddling pros will likely discuss what you want to do with your board.

This means if you want to SUP surf, practice yoga, SUP fish, cruise, race, or all of the above...

They’ll again be able to match you up with the right vessel on your first try.

As well as offer guidance on what to look for in the future if you want to branch out into different activities.

And last, you might have noticed by now how different boards have different shapes. This is due to the activities they’re designed for.

Once a paddling pro knows what you want to do on the water, they can match you up with the right size board, but also the right shape.

Again, this increases the likelihood that you’ll be successful right away.

For these reasons alone, it’s important to shop for your first SUP at a brick-and-mortar place.

But that’s not all…

2. Try Before You Buy

Picking out your first SUP shouldn’t be a shot in the dark. Meaning…

The first time you pick your board up shouldn’t be when it arrives at your door. Instead, it’s important to see the gear firsthand.


So that you can experience what it’s like to carry it on land. Load it onto (or into) your vehicle. And so you can feel the difference between an aluminum paddle, a fiberglass paddle, and a 100% carbon fiber paddle.

By understanding what the board and the paddle is like out of the water, you’ll be better prepared to handle them on the water.


Some shops offer a “try before you buy” deal where you can test out the gear before you make your purchase.

This is the best way to ensure the board you’re buying is right for your size and athletic abilities.

Of course, this is something you cannot do with online shopping. Sure, you might be able to return your board if it’s not the right fit, but good luck dealing with customer service!

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3. Transport Your Board

An additional (and often overlooked) reason why it’s important to shop at a brick-and-mortar store is the quick lessons you’ll learn as soon as you leave the shop.

What are we referring to?

Strapping down and transporting your board (so it doesn’t break).

It’s a common occurrence for beginners to strap their boards down onto their vehicles in ways that might damage the board or the other drivers on the road.

By purchasing from a paddling pro, they’ll give you an important lesson on how to load your board onto your car racks (or instruct you on the best car or truck racks to buy if you don’t have any!)...

How to strap it down so it’s secure but doesn’t damage the board...

And how to unload it so it’s not cumbersome or so you’re not in danger of dropping it on any hard surfaces and causing any cracks (yikes!).

These early lessons go a long way in understanding how to handle and take care of your investment.

brick and mortar

4. Support Small, Support Local

And the last reason why it’s essential to shop brick and mortar places is that you are supporting local, small businesses…

Which are a dying breed these days!

By doing so you’ll:

  • Show support for your community
  • Continue to support and give people jobs
  • And you’ll experience WAY better customer service

All of which will go a long way for the business and your experience in the paddling community.

Because shopping locally is a great way to inject yourself into the local paddling scene, make friends, and go on epic paddling adventures worldwide.

What more could you ask for?

To find great outfitters, shops, and paddling pros in your area to talk SUP, boards, and more, head to our SUP Search tab on Perfect Paddles...

Of course, if you have any questions, or want to talk to our team members about making a purchase, where to go, and when it might be okay to purchase online...

Give us a shout! Our inbox is always open.

Until then...

Remember to stay stoked!

-The Perfect Paddles Team

About the Author


Daniel is a travelling author with a passion for exploring new waterways and sharing his experiences with the world.

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