Running a Stand-Up Paddleboard (SUP) rental or tour business is different from other watersport businesses. Whether you’re just launching a new watersport business, are considering adding SUP’s to your inventory, or maybe you already rent SUP’s and are looking for new ideas, you stopped at the right place. In this blog, we cover some tricks and tips that will help ensure your SUP rentals provide the paddleboard experience vacationers are looking for.
Table of Contents
- What Makes SUP Rentals & Tours Different from Other Watersports
- #1: Vacationers on Budget
- #2: Different Customer Experience
- #3: Various Ways of Delivering Experience
- #4: Leash and Paddle Types
- #5: Variety of Accessories
- Important Things to Bear in Mind about SUP’s
- How TripShock Can Help to Promote Your SUP Rentals & Tours
What Makes SUP Rentals & Tours Different from Other Watersports
5 pointers suggest that customers looking to rent SUP’s look for an experiential turn experience that other watersports wouldn’t offer; let’s take a look at them.
#1: Vacationers on Budget
SUP’s, just like kayaks and canoes, are a non-motorized type of watersport equipment; therefore, they provide tour operators with flexibility in equipment maintenance, unlike jet skis and coats, which require winterization. SUP’s are also more affordable for operators to purchase and can be rented at lower price rates to tourists and vacationers looking for cheaper attraction experiences.
#2: Different Customer Experience
Paddling through the river or lake can provide a much different experience than staying on shore, that’s why tour operators renting SUP’s should promote the following 5 selling points:
- Recreational Activity: Enjoy the calm waters and relax as you paddle and explore the sites
- Get your Experience in Multiple Ways: Although the acronym SUP stands for Stand-Up Paddleboard, it doesn’t require you to do so, as you can just sit or kneel on the board if you don’t feel comfortable standing.
- More Social-Friendly: Are your customers coming in a group? SUP’s provide an excellent opportunity to be social on the water! A group of friends or family members can still chat with each other because of the slow-paced and laid back nature of the activity
- Great Way to Join the Club of Watersport Fans: SUP’s are probably one of the most accessible watersports types to learn. The surge of domestic travelers in the U.S. in 2021 has proved that it’s an excellent opportunity for you to start your watersport business today.
- No Need to Get a Boating Examination: Some states like Florida require anyone born on or after January 1, 1988, to complete either an approved boating education course or pass an equivalent course or temporary certificate examination to operate a watercraft. SUP’s are a great option for those looking to skip taking the test, but still want out on the water. It’s also great for most age groups!
#3: Various Ways of Delivering Experience
To make your customer experience more enjoyable and build on the experiential turn, consider offering SUP rentals in different ways. Take a look at examples of SUP rental packages TripShock partners offer.
Coaching Lessons for Rookies
Because of the surge of domestic travelers in the U.S. in 2021, many vacationers are likely to try watersports for the first time ever. Offering a lesson on how to paddle safely, and teaching some tips and tricks, can make a perfect SUP rental offering for beginners and even intermediate SUP fans. See what Pure Aloha Adventures include in their SUP package lessons.
Suppose senior citizens or anyone who likes to be focused on recreational activities are your target markets. In that case, offering yoga classes for SUP rentals is something to consider! WET offers private yoga lessons when renting paddleboards and promotes it as an activity for mastering paddleboarding skills; how cool is that?
Does your location have rich flora and fauna? Paddleboarding is a perfect way to explore nature via SUP eco-tours! PADDLE! the Florida Keys, Inc. offers to experience the unique environment and lets their professional guides tell their customers about the trees, birds, and sea life. It is such an excellent way to attract vacationers on budget.
Paddleboarding with Dogs
Very few tour operators go above and beyond in developing SUP rental packages like SUP PUP Fort Lauderdale did. The company’s owner, Natasha Baker Williams, and her fury partner Mr. Beaches offer paddleboarding to both dogs and their owners. It’s a perfect opportunity to serve the massive dog lovers market and, if you also own a dog, it can be a great salesperson.
#4: Leash and Paddle Types
Leashes & paddles play a key role in SUP rental and tour experiences, which is why it’s crucial to be selective when choosing which ones to purchase. We’ve identified some pointers operators should pay attention to; take a look below.
It’s essential to bear in mind that leashes are mandatory for you and your customers’ safety when paddleboarding. However, there are a variety of types of SUP leashes available to choose from:
|Types of Attachment||Way of Attaching||Best SUP Activity|
Eco-Tours with White Water
Coaching Lessons for practicing racing skills
Yoga Classes and Paddleboarding with Dogs on flat water
The second crucial thing to offering SUP rentals and tour are paddles. Just like Leashes, paddles come in variety of sizes and styles, and we summarized all the aspects you should pay attention to when purchasing paddles for your SUP’s:
Consider obtaining adjustable-length paddles as opposed to fixed-length paddles. Although the latter tends to be lighter than the former, your customers won’t have to worry about being too short or too tall. As a rule of thumb, the paddle should be 8-12 inches longer than the SUP rider’s height.
The type of material used to produce a paddle will determine its weight. It doesn’t have to be your top concern if you are paddling great distances. However, if they come for an eco-tour or coaching lessons where they will travel a substantial distance, they might appreciate getting their hands on lighter paddles.
Typically, you will see 3 sizes of blades:
- Small/medium body types (less than 150 lbs.): 80–90 sq. in.
- Medium/large body types (150 – 200 lbs.): 90–100 sq. in.
- Large/X large body type (200+ lbs.): 100–120 sq. in.
We’d recommend you get several of each type for different types of customers and extra ones in case they get lost or broken. The larger the blades, the more powerful they are, thus, suitable for activities like yoga classes and paddleboarding with dogs. The smaller the blades, the more efficient they are and help to preserve the energy for long-haul paddling trips like coaching lessons and eco-tours.
Blade shape impacts how the paddle moves through the water and how powerful the blade is. The performance differences between blade shapes can be indistinct, but the main ones to choose from are tear-drop and rectangular. Get the tear-drop blades for powerful strokes needed for SUP coaching lessons & yoga classes, and rectangular blades for eco-tours & paddleboarding with dogs.
The final aspect you want to factor in when determining the paddle you need to get is its offset. Just like blade shape, the difference between each is barely noticeable; nonetheless, the general recommendations suggest the following:
For SUP surfing: approximately 7 degrees
For all-around paddling/mixed-use (e.g., eco-tours): approximately 10 degrees
For SUP racing (e.g., coaching lessons): approximately 12 degrees
#5: Variety of Accessories
Like other watersports activities, here are many accessories that Stand-Up Paddleboard operators can offer as add-ons for rentals and tours; take a look at the top 5 SUP accessories you can charge your customers extra for.
A paddleboard anchor is perfect for customers who like to be stationary for some time; it can be used for multiple purposes, such as:
- While practicing paddleboard yoga
- While resting/relaxing and enjoying the drink on the water
- If your customers learn how to ride a SUP
Your customers will not regret getting it, especially if they are new to watersports, a great add-on option.
If you deliver paddleboards to your customers for renting, or a beach is distant from the booking booth, a paddleboard carrier is a perfect accessory to help your customers. Because riding a SUP can be exhausting, it’s essential to preserve the energy for paddling, especially for activities like eco-tours, so consider it to be a good business investment for your customer experience.
A great accessory to include in SUP rental or SUP tour package is cooler. Whether you offer this water-based activity on a hot or cold day out, vacationers will always find themselves thirsty at some point during the trip. For that reason, coolers become a pretty handy accessory that every operator should have in their inventory.
Vacationers looking to take their belongings with them on the water will enjoy having a paddleboard dry bag during the ride. This bag is essential, whether it’s a phone, clothes, or accessories needed for paddleboarding with dogs. In addition, it’s very affordable and will not eat up too much of your SUP rental business cost.
Finally, if your customers are new to paddleboarding or they are older, they might enjoy having a seat as an add-on option to their SUP experience. Since SUP does not require a rider to stand throughout the experience, having a seat can be more comfortable than sitting on the board. All you have to do is attach the seat to the D-rings that are on almost every paddleboard, and, voila, it turns into Sit-Down Paddleboard. 🙂
Important Things to Bear in Mind about SUP’s
Before we let you go, there are a few more things to consider.
First of all, keep in mind that SUP’s are still considered a vessel in some states, so be sure to check the boating regulations in your state as you may need to go through the regular procedures you would typically go through with other watercrafts. For example, Minnesota, South Dakota, and Iowa require registering Paddleboards depending on their length. In almost all states, a life jacket will be required for each person on the board.
Also, be sure to listen to what experts say about SUP rentals and tours details; as Kevin, from the Awkward Watersports Guys podcast says: “90% of running a watersport business is about the right marketing!”
How TripShock Can Help to Promote Your SUP Rentals & Tours
Paddleboarding is a very bonding water-based activity. Many vacationers see it as a way to get connected with nature or their loved ones, and some operators see it as an opportunity to offer SUP rentals & tours or to include paddleboarding add-on options other operators wouldn’t. If you already have some or most of these aspects included in your offering, we can make sure you reach more customers by highlighting this experience. TripShock has over a decade of experience promoting waterport businesses and helping them reach new customers, including SUP rentals & tours. If you are interested in learning more about how we can help your SUP rental and tour business grow, drop us a line, and we will be happy to assist you.