Is Paddle Boarding Expensive To Learn? (Cost breakdown)


Paddleboarding, a popular water sport, is often considered an expensive hobby. The costs associated with equipment and lessons can give potential newcomers pause. But is paddleboarding really as costly as it seems? How long does it take to master this exhilarating sport? 

paddle boarding can be moderately expensive, with beginner lessons ranging from £20-£35 per hour in the UK, depending on location. The cost of a paddle board setup typically ranges from £180 to over £800 for some boards. However, it’s important to note that inflatable paddle boards can offer a more affordable option. 

In this article, I will delve into the average costs associated with paddle boarding, how long it typically takes to become proficient, and whether it’s possible to master this sport without professional lessons.

a woman paddle boards on a cost effective board

 Is Paddle Boarding Expensive To Learn?

To determine if paddle boarding is expensive to learn, it’s essential to consider the factors contributing to the overall cost. As mentioned, beginner lessons typically cost between £20-£35 per hour. Most instructors recommend at least 3-5 hours of professional instruction to grasp the basics. Therefore, you’re looking at an initial cost of £60-£175 for tuition, assuming you struggle with the basics.

From my experience of joining many beginner paddle board lessons, most people can start paddle boarding on their first lesson. Many are happy with the basics (getting into the water, falling off safely, getting back on their board and turning). After their first lesson, they are happy with their basic knowledge and then hire paddle boards as they perfect the basics. 

For those more interested in perfecting technique, then more advanced lessons or simply another beginner lesson with an instructor is a good way to get positive feedback from an expert. 

The cost of equipment can vary significantly depending on the type and quality. If you choose an inflatable paddle board—an affordable yet reliable option—you could spend anywhere from £180 to £500. Then, there are additional costs for essential gear such as a wetsuit and life vest.

But the costs don’t stop there. You’ll also need to consider maintenance expenses for your gear and travel costs to your preferred paddleboarding locations.

So, is paddleboarding expensive to learn? The answer is subjective and largely depends on your budget and commitment to the sport. However, it’s safe to say that while paddleboarding does require a certain monetary investment, the rewards—physical fitness, mental well-being, and sheer fun—often outweigh the costs.

What Is The Average Cost Of A Paddleboarding Lesson?

The average cost of a paddleboarding lesson can vary widely based on location, the instructor’s experience, and the lesson’s length. 

Generally, in the UK, you can expect to pay between £20-£35 per hour for a group lesson. Private lessons offer a more personalized experience and are understandably pricier – often ranging from £40 to £70 per hour. 

Paddle Boarding SessionLesson LengthCost Per Person
Individual2 Hours£70 – £85
Group2 Hour£40 – £45
This Table Gives The Average Cost Of A Paddle Boarding Lesson In The UK

These lessons typically include the paddle board rental, safety equipment, and professional instruction. It’s important to note that package deals for multiple lessons or for small groups can sometimes offer value for money, reducing the cost per lesson. 

Personally, I love joining a small group of strangers as they are usually like-minded people, and you can have a lot of fun.

However, the cost will ultimately depend on your specific needs and the options available in your area.

How Long Does It Take To Learn Paddle Boarding?

The time it takes to learn paddleboarding can vary greatly, depending on factors like your balance, core strength, and comfort in the water. 

Most beginners can get the hang of the basics – like mounting the board, standing up, and paddling – in one to two hours of instruction. However, building up the confidence and skills to tackle more challenging water conditions can take several sessions. 

Another factor to consider is the learning method. Many people find that they progress faster by taking a few structured lessons from a certified instructor. Others prefer the trial-and-error approach of self-learning, which may take longer. 

From my personal experience, it took me around three one-hour sessions to feel confident paddleboarding on calm water. However, mastering techniques such as turning, stopping quickly, and paddleboarding in waves took additional practice. 

Paddle boarding in the sea feels very different from paddle boarding in a lake, and I always recommend lessons for those who want to paddle board in the sea for the first time. Safety is critical, and a new paddle boarder who does not appreciate the power of off-shore winds can quickly find themselves a long way from shore. 

Just remember, everyone learns at their own pace, so it’s important to be patient with yourself.

Can You Paddle Board Without Lessons?

It’s certainly possible to learn paddle boarding without professional lessons. Many individuals are self-taught, acquiring skills through trial and error or by watching instructional videos online. The key factors here are balance, determination, and a willingness to get wet! 

However, it’s important to note that while self-teaching can be an affordable alternative, there are certain advantages to taking lessons from a certified instructor. A professional can provide useful feedback on your technique, help you avoid common beginner mistakes, and ensure that you’re maintaining safety procedures on the water. 

From my personal experience, my first time on a paddle board was without any instruction. While I did manage to stand and paddle without falling, my technique was poor, leading to unnecessary effort and energy expenditure. Once I took a couple of lessons, my technique and confidence greatly improved, helping me truly enjoy the paddleboarding experience. 

So, while it’s possible to paddleboard without lessons, beginners may find it beneficial and safer to invest in at least a few hours of professional instruction.

As mentioned previously, if you are planning to paddle board in the sea, then I 100% recommend beginner paddle boarding lessons so you can learn the safety requirements needed when venturing into the sea. 

Is Owning A Paddleboard Expensive?

Owning a paddleboard does come with its own set of expenses, but whether it’s considered costly greatly depends on one’s perspective. The initial price of a paddleboard can range from £180 to over £1000, depending on the quality and type of board. Inflatable paddleboards tend to be on the more affordable end of the spectrum, whereas rigid, high-performance boards can be quite pricey. 

Aside from the board itself, there’s also additional gear to consider. This includes a paddle, which can cost between £30 to £200 if it is not included with your board, a wetsuit, and a personal flotation device or life vest (around £30 to £100). 

Paddle Board GearCostComments
Paddle Board£180 – £800The cost of your board will depend on the quality and skill level you need.
Paddle£30 – £200Most paddle boards come with the paddle included but you can pick up a cheap yet good paddle for around £30.
Leash£10 – £40Leashes are usually included with your board but over time will need to be replaced due to wear and tear.
Wetsuit£60 – £250Wetsuits vary in price depending on the quality and amount of warmth needed
Flotation Device£40 – £200The cost of a buoyancy aid varies dramatically. Take advice when purchasing a buoyancy aid to ensure it can support your weight and needs.
Maintenance & Repair£60 +If you damage your board, it can be expensive to fix, depending on the level of damage. Most repairs start at around £60.
Clothing Accessories£100From swim suits to wet bags to drying robes and wetsuit gloves, you can spend a lot of extra money on the periphery items needed to keep you warm and comfortable while getting to or on the water.
The Table Is A Detailed Breakdown Of General Paddle Board Ownership Costs

There are also costs related to maintenance and storage of the paddleboard. Depending on how often you use your board and the conditions you use it in, you may need to budget for repairs. If you’re using an inflatable board, you may need to replace the pump occasionally. 

Storing a paddleboard can also be a challenge, especially for larger, rigid boards. You may need to invest in a suitable storage solution at home or possibly rent a storage space if you live in an apartment or do not have sufficient space at home. 

Finally, travel costs to and from your paddling location can add up over time, especially if you don’t live near a body of water. 

That being said, it’s important to weigh the costs against the benefits. Owning your own board gives you the freedom to paddle whenever you want, and in the long run, it can be cheaper than renting, especially if you paddleboard frequently. And let’s not forget the fitness benefits and the sheer joy of being out on the water.

Is Paddleboarding Hard The First Time?

Attempting any new sport or activity for the first time can be a challenging endeavour. Paddleboarding is no exception. The experience of stepping onto a paddle board for the first time can be both exhilarating and daunting. 

Balancing on the board and propelling yourself forward with the paddle might seem difficult initially, as it requires a certain level of coordination and balance. Many first-timers may even find themselves falling into the water multiple times before they get the hang of it. 

However, it’s important to remember that falling is part of the learning process. Usually, after a bit of practice, most people can stand up and paddle in gentle, calm water conditions. It’s also worth noting that paddleboarding is generally easier on flat, calm water – making a lake or a calm sea ideal for beginners. 

From my personal experience, the first time was definitely a challenge, but it was also a lot of fun. Concentrating on balance, learning to steer, and taking in the surroundings was a fantastic experience. Despite several falls, the sense of achievement from being able to finally stand and paddle was unmatched. 

So, is paddleboarding hard the first time? Yes, it can be. But with a little patience, practice, and a sense of adventure, you’ll soon find yourself effortlessly gliding across the water.

Is It Hard To Balance On A Paddleboard?

Balancing on a paddleboard can be tricky at first, particularly for beginners. The board’s movement with the flow of water, combined with the requirement to stand upright and use the paddle, necessitates good core strength and a sense of balance. However, these challenges are not insurmountable, and with time and practice, most individuals can learn to balance comfortably on a paddleboard. 

The wider and longer the board, the easier balance tends to be. Starting on a larger, more stable board can be beneficial for beginners to get a feel for the activity before moving on to smaller, more manoeuvrable models. 

From my personal experience, the initial wobbliness soon gave way to a sense of stability as I got more comfortable on the board and learned how to distribute my weight effectively. Remember, the key is to keep your feet parallel and hip-width apart in the centre of the board. Always look towards the horizon and not downwards. 

Therefore, while it may seem hard to balance on a paddleboard initially, consistent practice and proper technique can quickly turn this challenge into an enjoyable part of the paddleboarding experience.

What Hidden Costs Might Be Involved In Learning To Paddleboard? 

When considering the cost of learning to paddleboard, there are a few potential hidden costs that should be factored in. One such cost is the price of lessons. While it’s possible to learn by yourself, professional instruction can significantly speed up your learning curve and increase your safety on the water. The cost of lessons can vary greatly depending on the location and the level of instruction, ranging from £20 to £100 per hour.

Moreover, if you’re practising in a public waterway, there may be usage fees or permits required. These costs vary depending on the location, so it’s worth checking local regulations. 

Transportation to and from your paddling spot can also be an overlooked cost. Depending on the distance and whether you own a vehicle capable of transporting a paddleboard, you might need to invest in a car rack or even rent a larger vehicle.

Lastly, don’t forget about the cost of appropriate clothing and safety gear. While some of these items, like a wetsuit or a personal flotation device, may be one-time purchases, others, like sunscreen or water shoes, might be ongoing expenses. 

It is important to remember that while these costs can add up, they are an investment in a healthy and exciting hobby that brings you closer to nature.

Final Thoughts

Getting into paddleboarding might seem costly initially, with expenses for the board, wetsuit, flotation device, and potential storage and transportation needs. The potential hidden costs, such as lessons, permits, and ongoing costs for gear and protection, should also be taken into account. 

However, the benefits one stands to gain, including health, freedom, adventure, and closeness to nature, significantly outweigh these costs.

 The initial investment may seem substantial, but if you’re paddling frequently, it can be economical in the long run. Moreover, the thrill and enjoyment of paddleboarding, coupled with its fitness benefits, make it a worthwhile pursuit. 

So don’t let the costs deter you; with a bit of research and smart choices, paddleboarding can be an accessible, enjoyable, and rewarding pastime.

Emma Moore

Hi, I am Emma, and I am obsessed with all watersports, from swimming to surfing and everything in between. I spend my free time in the water or preparing for my next water travel adventure.

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