We’re not shy about shouting about our great kit at McConks. We know that you can’t get premium quality SUP at our prices anywhere else in the western world. You can get kit at the same price, but not at premium quality. Or you can get premium kit at a few hundred pounds more than our RRP. But no-one else offers the same quality at the same price. Fact.
But we REALLY LOVE IT when one of our amazing customers emails us a review like this. And for a sentimental old sod like me, getting a review like this brought a tear to my eyes. To know we have made such a difference to one person is awesome!
Thanks Funky – we love this review, and keep on living the dream!
Why buy a McConks paddleboard?
I don’t normally write reviews or words of thanks but for this company I really wanted to. Ok so I wanted to buy a paddle board last yr 2016 , as a complete beginner and because I never buy on a whim I wanted to find out as much as possible about then and what paddle boarding was all about. I had only seen pics or short video clip. So I searched the web found out loads about all the different boards and what the companies were offering or why they thought there boards were the best or better than some other companies boards out there. I had decided a Pump up board was the way for me to go as this would work better for me and my needs as I wanted it for traveling to Spain and for storage over the winter months.
The info out there was a bit patchy but this company McConks kept coming up when I started googling Qs about paddle boards, as offering advice on what type of paddle board or more about the different type of boards and what may or may not suit my needs as a complete beginner.
I emailed a magazine that done a big review on all the boards out there, and they told me they had heard good things about McConks and their boards, but had not yet done a full feature yet (It turns out that McConks had refused to pay for the review, and everyone else included in the review had paid for the ‘independent’ review!)
And I emailed McConks a ton of questions over a period of around two months; they were always helpful answered ever Q politely and honestly. I could tell Andy was passionate about not only his company but paddle boarding as a whole.
Time ticked on and, although I didn’t commit, I had more or less made my mind up to buy a McConks board. But McConks said that they were bringing out another longer touring type board in late 2016. I was interested is this type of board more as I would be mainly using it for the big lake near where we holiday in Spain. I felt bad not committing but wanted to wait, so unless a great deal came up on Ebay etc I wasn’t sure. But the cheap ebay deals never happened, and the ones for sale were cheap and had rubbish reviews or the “ Second hand boards from ‘named brands’ were just as much if not more than McConks brand new ones ???
Time rolled on to 2017. The new McConks touring board was out and had some great reviews (like all their boards). I contacted the company again inquiring more and asking even more Qs , once again he was so helpful and never pressured me just offered open honest advice.
I took the plunge and brought a McConks board early 2017 , It arrived in a great bag really big and loads bigger than I expected you could easily get a lot of extra gear in there if this is the only bag you wanted to take on holiday. Booked the bag on to the flight as a sports bag, all easy.
Now the review on the McConks board: It did take a fair bit of time to pump it up to the pressure required not ages but you still knew you were pumping it up. This was not a problem and the pump was really good and solid feel to it just took a bit of time; once up it felt really solid. Now being a complete beginner I have nothing to compare it to and I have never been that great with balancing stuff. It felt a bit unstable first of and paddled a bit on my knees , the carbon paddle felt really solid and strong and I’m glad I upgraded to this.
After a few minutes I felt ready to stand up; the lake I’m on is big and deep and there is a fair bit of current from the wind. Yes I did fall in a few times but managed to get back on it without having to swim to the edge. When I got used to it a bit more, I have to say I felt great on it and I am so so happy I went for a McConks board , it seemed to glide really nicely and I’m sure once I get better at it will feel so at ease on it.
Like I say I don’t have any experience on any other board but what I do know is that when I was out on that lake for the first time, I felt so happy that I had chosen to buy this board from this company. Andy had always made me feel like a customer and just wanted to make sure I got the right board for me and what I wanted it for. He never gave me hard sell, yet was sure I would love his boards whatever one I went for. I am sure that as I improve with practice, I will love this board even more than I do now, but to know in my heart how happy I was out there on the water completely at peace and free was worth every penny.
So to sum up I just wanted to say thank you, you never pressured me but you delivered on a product that I’m sure will give me hrs and hrs and yrs of fun and happiness.
Thousands of people search for ‘inflatable SUP’ on Google every day. Many of you are probably looking for advice on the best inflatable SUP to buy. Some common google queries are: What size SUP do you need? Should you get an inflatable SUP or a hard SUP? What are the best inflatable SUP brands? What’s the best SUP for beginners? What’s the best SUP shop?
When you search for these terms, most of the first page of results are review sites, which, at first glance appear authoritative and independent. And there are many more sponsored links on google that are also review sites.
The big question is can you trust online reviews?
Here are the top three tricks websites use to trick and influence you. Hopefully armed with the knowledge in this article you won’t spend lots of money on a stinker. Or even worse, a sinker!
1. They’re only there to promote the target board.
There are a number of sites like this, whose sole purpose is to promote a single inflatable SUP board. They can be well written, seem authoritative, and because they review the target board against a number of different well-known brands and makes, seem genuine. The modus operandi is to surround the target board with high quality well known brands (decoys). The target board gets glowing reviews, much better than the decoys. And because the decoys are selected from the higher end of the price bracket, the target board appears to be much better value.
How to spot them: Any SUP review website that concludes with an unknown brand as the star buy, surrounded by lots of well known SUP names is likely to fall into this category. Although since we first published this article in January 2017, a number of sites like this now also include a number of additional small no name brands to counter this claim. Often they’re sponsored ads rather than appearing in the organic search results. But they do often make it into the organic search results because the content seems authoritative and is well written.
Also, check who the author is. If they don’t tell you who they are and what their credentials are, then treat them with caution. In one example, the domain is registered to an address which has over 500 registered companies operating from it. Nothing dodgy about that is there?
2. They’re paid for clicks or sales by the retailer.
There are a number of review websites that only exist to attract you to their site based on their ‘impartial reviews’, and then direct you to the seller’s site. Amazon, for example, pay review websites handsomely for directing potential buyers to their site. In the Amazon example, these sites will only review inflatable paddleboards sold on Amazon.com, and are therefore not selecting which boards to review on performance or quality, but based on what’s for sale on Amazon. There’s not necessarily anything wrong with this if it’s declared up front, and if the review is declared as a review of boards available on Amazon. Sadly, our experience is that most don’t declare the conflict of interest.
These sites typically use ‘scrape and spin’ techniques to scrape the content for their review from the product webpage, and then respin them so that they’re not identical to the original text (which is viewed negatively by google and so affects whether they appear in google searches). This is normally an automated process, or carried out by cheap labour in Asia, and can often be identified by the bad writing.
Hot to spot them: Are all reviewed products available for sale on the same website? Are they badly written?
And the other way you can spot them, is if they are being open about the fact that the review site makes money from referrals. The text below is taken from one such example. But not all review sites are this honest!
3. Magazine reviews with strings attached
You would think you can trust a magazine review right? Well, maybe. Some mags prioritise kit from the brands that advertise with them. Again, it’s all about money. The brands that spend the most money on advertising get the most reviews in some magazines, and also get editorial or advertorial content on how good their kit is. At McConks we’ve had numerous contacts from magazines offering reviews for our iSUP and SUP paddles to be reviewed in ‘free, independent review articles’. The only catch? We must take out advertising with the magazine ‘to be fair to those brands who do pay for advertising’. Now we’re not claiming that the review articles themselves are not objective when they’re published – they might be. But they are incomplete. If the article only reviews boards from big brands who can afford many thousands of pounds in advertising over a year, they are not a review of the best boards available.
One SUP magazine we can guarantee that does not do this is standup paddle mag uk. We’re not saying they’re the only one, but SUP mag uk contacted McConks when we were just starting out, and wanted to try our kit for a truly independent review. All the other magazines that have contacted McConks, or that we have contacted asking for a review, have only offered reviews as part of an advertising package.
Standup paddle boarding is the fastest growing sport in the world right now, and there are many people trying to cash in and make a quick buck on the back of dodgy tactics. We don’t think that’s right, and like to call it out when we see it.
Hopefully now that you’ve read this article you’ll be a little less likely to fall for the dirty tricks used by some.
If you want a truly independent review you can trust, head over to the review section of Stand up paddle mag UK: https://standuppaddlemag.co.uk/category/sup-kit-reviews/
SUPhubUK did a facebook poll of its more than 3,000 group members to find out what SUP Boards they wished they had bought when they were beginners just starting out. You can find the results here, but very satisfyingly for us, McConks came in the top three!
And if you want to get paddlers views on their favourite boards then head over to the facebook paddleboard community on https://facebook.com/groups/suphacks