These are the 5 most important considerations for buying a paddleboard:

1. What else does the shop sell?
Look for stores that are truly focused on paddleboards, and not just looking to cash in on the latest craze. You wouldn’t buy a motorcycle from a car dealer or vice versa, because usually one has so little knowledge about the other. You want someone who can guide you through the options.

2. Do the shop owner and employees go out paddling for fun or compete in races?
The paddleboarding enthusiasts will be actively participating in and supporting the sport –- promoting races and other events — to insure that it has a future. They can tell you all about their boards and the other ones they’ve tested and owned. They’ll know how the board behaves in different conditions, for different paddlers, and whether it’s good for other activities like fishing or yoga.

3. What is the overall feeling you get at the shop?
Knowledgeable and courteous owners and employees will appreciate you and your business, and will be looking to get you to come back again and again. They won’t be one and done, resting on their laurels after they’ve earned your first purchase. Stellar service should of course be matched by a great selection of brands and styles to choose from. And they should allow you to try the paddleboard before you buy it.

4. How is the paddleboard constructed?
All paddleboards are not built alike, and some are barely built to last. That low priced “good deal” board might not be around very long. Your salesperson should be familiar with the different layups of the boards they offer.

5. How well do you know the board’s history?
Buying a used board might seem like a good idea, but you’ll need to check it over very carefully. You are going to have that paddleboard a long time, and you will be taking way better care of it than the people who rented it did. Just like buying a used car, sometimes you are buying someone else’s problems. Look at how many patches it has. Pick it up to see if it feels heavy. Rental paddleboards can take a heavy beating, and some of them take on water before they get patched.

Get the best advice and high quality paddleboards from the professionals dedicated to getting — and keeping — you out on the water at PADDLE! the Florida Keys.