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Roll up roll up, get your cheap SUPs here! – Band wagon jumping ahead of 2021’s stand up paddle boarding season.

Rewind the clock about 10 years and inflatable SUP technology was just starting to take off. At first a blow up board was pooh poohed by many. But it soon became apparent air filled platforms you propel via paddle power had legs. Pretty soon many brands were producing their own inflatable SUPs and this only continued to increase. iSUP sales increased and suddenly, overnight, the market became flooded – from well known companies selling premium blow ups, mid-tier brands doing a roaring trade and also a whole host of subpar SUP peddlers chucking out low grade equipment for a mere snip (mostly found on the auction and one click ecommerce sites).

Move things forward a tad and price became the factor. Why would a punter spend £600 when they can get a set up for around £200? To the newbie it didn’t make sense what you pay the extra for –  no matter how loudly brands screamed ‘higher quality’ the layman didn’t get it. And if you tried to make a point in any of the public forums we’ve become so reliant upon then you were labelled as elitist, even though education was the only goal in mind.

The ‘noise’ did die down for a while and many of those fly by night, quick buck inflatable SUP brands disappeared. A core industry was left. Granted, prices were still broad, depending on which company you were looking at, but (mostly) quality gear could be owned.

Then 2020 hit, boom!

SUP exploded again once Lockdown 1.0 restrictions were lifted and (as we’ve talked about many times in past articles) stand up paddle boarding has been experiencing unprecedented growth. Arguably a faster uptick than when SUP was first hailed as ‘the fastest growing watersport’ back pre-2010.

As we head into 2021, with seemingly not much slow down in uptake of stand up, there’re once again a raft of so called brands offering cheap gear with little thought to how this will affect the end user. In some cases the cheap element is rock bottom, in every sense of the word, with kit being made from low grade materials that are primed to fail with very little notice. At the most extreme end of the scale we’ve also seen out and out scam brands who’re after nothing more than your harden earned Dollar with you, the end user, nothing to show for what you’ve spent.

McConks’s Go Race V 14′ premium SUP in action.

Tech has a lot to answer for. McConks invests time and energy into making our website work and perform as well as it can. Without getting jargon heavy there are some out there that have a very good understanding of how the internet works and can manipulate things for their own ill-gotten ends. Spotting these is tricky if you’re not aux fait with digital practises. Needless to say there’ll be a few succumbing to these pitfalls over the coming weeks and months, thinking they’ve got a deal.

So how to not get ripped off?

Simply you should be looking a reputable brand offering good quality SUP products with commendable customer service and after sales care. We’re not suggesting McConks is the be all and end here (although the aforementioned description is us in a nutshell). There are, of course, alternative SUP companies out there that are equally reputable and above board. And it’s us and them who you should be aiming for when looking to make a stand up paddle board, paddle or SUP accessory purchase.

If you spot a deal that’s almost too good to be true then it probably is. Do your research beforehand and hopefully you’ll get the right gear for your situation, supplied by a decent company. Feel free to ask us any questions you have. You mightn’t buy from McConks, which is fine. But we will try and help you as best we can. Ultimately we want everyone to be on the water, having fun safely, with as a good a set up as they can afford.

If you do want to get in touch then do so via the usual McConks comms channels.

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