Paddle Boarding Basics: Rental or Guided Tour, Which Is Better?
Let’s first choose the scenario. Are you a beginner paddler or have you paddle boarded numerous times in the past? This will determine if a guided tour is a need or a want.
Beginner: In the first place, I personally will not rent a paddle board to someone unless they say they have paddle boarded before. Of course, I can only go by what people tell me, but I tend to be a trusting person. Customers have understandably been upset at times due to my strict rule about this, however all in all, most have understood why I feel this way.
Not to mention, at least twice a week there will be someone telling me that they have been on a paddle board before but they could not figure out how to stand up, or they felt too unstable. Usually it is due to situations such as this where someone has decided paddle boarding was just a sport they could not master. Both of those statements are a huge problem for me! All it takes is the proper instruction and guidance for the customer to feel comfortable on the board within minutes.
Overall, you are understandably nervous trying a new activity. It helps to have an instructor there with you, to see what you are doing that could cause you to fall. You might not be standing in the correct stability spot on the board. You could be looking down as you try to stand up, which is the #1 reason why people fall the first time they try to stand on a paddle board. It is the little things like this that are normally addressed during a guided tour. You have an instructor there with you the entire time. Instructors can help you feel more comfortable and thus enjoy this amazing sport.
Novice thru Advanced: If you consider yourself to be in this category, you may already have your own board or you feel as if you do not need an instructor by your side. For the most part, this could be very true. However, all things considered, most of the time people who have taken a guided tours will choose the guide tour again and again.
Most of our repeat customers would rather go out with an experienced paddler. That way they don’t have to worry about anything. A good tour guide will bring waters for the group, supply all the equipment necessary AND possibly take photos. You don’t want to worry about bringing your phone/camera out on the water with you. Let the tour guide do it. Your tour guide will know the area and what you could possibly be looking for as far as wildlife or hidden tree branches in shallow water.
Last, but not least, it is always more fun to go out in a group!
Its All About the Experience! Check out your local SUP companies. Find a company that helps you enjoy the activity to the fullest. Make yourself a checklist including what you are looking for in your guided tour: photos? minimum age of rider? time frame of tour? team-building activities? limited group number? Take the time to think of all these little details when you are planning your adventure. A good company will assist you in having the best time possible.
Most likely a guided tour is not that much more expensive than a rental. Check out their Social Media and/or website for reviews and photos from past tours. When looking for a company available for either rentals or guided tours it is equally important to take into consideration the areas/locations they service. Do they utilize only one area, or multiple areas? Weather conditions as well as water quality play a big part in your experience. Does the company you are looking to do business with take the time to check water conditions/quality? Additionally, what board service do they offer? Do they offer a board delivery and pick-up service?
Find a company with the answers that you feel comfortable with because in the long run, these activities can provide awesome memories for you and your loved ones.
Photos were provided by Zeke’s Surf, Skate and Paddle from past tours & events they have experienced with their own customers.