A car is just a car right?

A car made in one factory is just the same as a car made in another factory isn’t it?

So a Merc is the same as a VW, is the same as a Honda, is the same as a Daewoo right? They’re all made of metal, have engines, steering wheels and tyres, and there’s no difference in reliability, finishing or quality assurance?

So we all know that’s not true. But why the same be true for inflatable standup paddleboards?

All inflatable SUPs are the same

Some brands try very hard to make you think that all inflatable boards are the same, and that their £300 or £400 budget inflatable paddleboard is exactly the same as the £900 from a premium watersports company.

We know that’s not true, and instinctively, you probably do too. If it sounds too good to be true as they say…!

“I just want a cheap board to see if I like paddleboarding”

And that is why there are lots of cheap paddleboards never seeing the light of day in landfill or peoples garages. It’s difficult to know if you’re good at or if you like paddleboarding on board that’s not very good. We have so many customers that bought their first board from a big warehouse, or online snake oil salesman (and there are many), and within months were buying from us.

Rather than buying a cheap inflatable paddleboard that doesn’t help you develop, why not pay to hire a paddleboard for a period of time to test it, or have lessons with an instructor on decent kit?

“I’ll only use it a couple of times a year”

If you get the wrong board, you might only use it a couple of times in the first year. And then probably never again because the valve will have failed, or it’s gone mouldy. If this is your reason for not buying a decent quality board, why not hire a premium quality board instead? You can even have one delivered to your house to take on holidays with you!

The importance of five star reviews

Brands will do anything for five star reviews. They are so important for credibility. Some brands will pay for, or offer incentives for reviews. In the search for perfect reviews, some companies will only repair/replace gear under a non disclosure agreement, so they don’t get negative reviews. Some even buy reviews from magazines on online SUP board review websites. When a review is so important, everything seems to be fair game.

But we know the quality of our competitors gear, and how reliable it is. How? Because people talk. And because we have lots of instructor and business friends who like to keep us up to date.

We there are some brands that have hundreds of five star reviews that might not be perfectly legit. And some instructors/salesmen making a tidy profit from acting as referrers/influencers.

Some of the marketing claims made by these brands/instructors are outrageous. And some of their warranties seem foolhardy based on what we know. One brand offering 5 year warranties has just switched production to a very low cost factory with a known quality assurance problem. And with a cost price of under $200 for those boards one might question the business sense of a 5 year warranty for those boards.

If you want to understand more about the murky underworld of dodgy paid for magazine and ‘independent’ reviews, and why you can’t trust any reviews, check out this article.

We’re a little different

We’re different. We don’t play these games. Authenticity matters to us, so we can make the following promises to you:

  1. If someone recommends one of our boards to you (personally, on social media, via a review, in a magazine) McConks will not have paid for that recommendation.
  2. We do not use influencers. We offer trade prices to trade companies for them to buy our gear to use. But we do not give gear away to influencers. We might give product away as part of GoInspire foundation, but that is for grass roots development and charitable reasons, not purely for marketing reasons.
  3. Ethics, sustainability, principles and values underpin everything that we stand for. We don’t get everything right, but we do everything with the best intentions.

So, that’s us. We’ve built our little company on doing things the right way. Not from selling products. And we hope you can recognise the genuine desire to do things the right way that underpins our whole company ethos!

You might be able to get a cheaper inflatable paddle board which might look the same quality and which might be from a company that claims the same ethical and environmental principles. But we don’t believe that it’s possible to get reliable and repeatable quality and performance from an ethical and sustainable manufacturer at a better price than us.

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