When we first had the idea of a webapp questionnaire to simplify the complex issue of picking the best inflatable paddle board, we thought it was going to be easy.
Oh how wrong we were!
We knew we couldn’t have more than three questions because, well, modern attention spam (1).
Amazing. I’d spent so long prevaricating. This was just what I needed to pick the right paddle board for mea relieved and happy customer
However distilling something as complex as selecting the right shape SUP or the best volume paddle board down to just three questions given the massive variety of what people want out of a paddle board was our first challenge.
Although we already had our own preconceived ideas about what the most important factors in picking the right paddle board are, we didn’t just want to rely on our own years of expertise. Because everyone’s different right? Different people want different things from their paddle board. Some want to go on paddle board adventures, some want to use their board for yoga, others just want to float around on their paddle oars with friends and family. So we spoke to the team, the experts, and some recent customers to understand what questions they asked when trying to pick the perfect inflatable paddle board, and looked for common themes.
The first most important factor is
- Total weight – what is the total amount of weight that the board will support. For our boards, this relates almost entirely to volume. The greater the volume, the greater the weight the board can carry. It also relates to ability as well. Because someone with years of experience can manage a closer ratio of weight to volume than a beginner. But we’ve kept it simple in our Board Selector tool and related it just to volume. And because of the technology we use in our paddle boards, max rider weight is the same as total max weight, therefore we could ignore rider weight entirely (2)
- The second most important factor was the paddle board rider ability or experience. I mean, it might be fun to recommend a narrow and tippy race board to an absolute beginner, but it wouldn’t be fair would it? And recommending a whitewater board to send a total noob out down even the simplest grade 1 rapids would be downright irresponsible right? And on the flip side, recommending a beginner all round paddle board to someone with a bit of experience who’s looking for the best value and best performance paddleboard upgrade wouldn’t be helpful. So we added a second question to allow a potential customers ability to influence what paddle board is right for them based on their current level of experience.
- The third, final, and no less important factor in choosing the right inflatable paddle board is the type of environment that the rider wants to use the board for? Are they looking for an all round general purpose paddle board? Are they looking for the perfect board for family adventures? Is a the ultimate adventure and touring paddle board, that is super stable for lots of kit but that still eats up the miles just the thing, or maybe a multi person board for multiple levels of fun the ideal choice.
After each question is answered the tool gives a list of recommended paddle boards based on the questions answered up to that point. But it only spews out the perfect paddle board(s) once all three questions are answered.
And even if you don’t end up choosing a McConks board (if not, why not, we’re deeply offended!), the tool at least gives you an indication of what size and shape board is best for what you want to achieve on the water, no matter what your paddle board goals are.
So that’s it. It’s taken a bit of blood, sweat and tears to get here. And quite a lot of shouting at computers that wouldn’t play ball, or that lost hours of work, or that quite simply just said no. But we’ve done it!
We know it’s not perfect. We know from our research that there are very many other factors that some people find really important. Like how many handles the paddle board, or how many and what type of fins (3).
But we think it is the best tool out there for helping you decide which paddle board is the best paddle board for you.
Try it here and let us know why you think!
(1) We like to think our customers and potential customers are better than this. But actually who isn’t really busy these days? So we decided to keep it as concise as we could
(2) we don’t have a maximum rider weight because we don’t need one. Because our boards are made from the absolute stiffest and lightest drop stitch available (and it really is, we don’t just claim this like the marketing sales led brands – you know who they are, but drop us a DM if you want our honest opinion about the manufacturers/brands you can trust, and those who just lie), dual layer X woven fusion drop stitch, then our boards don’t bend, even when this maximum load is the same as the riser wider weight, and all of this weight is in the one place on the board.
(3) We are in the process of developing an info box on each of our product pages that has this information right in front of you.