A few years back, Scott Allen was on a family vacation in San Diego, California, with plans to do some stand up paddleboarding on Mission Bay. The experience he had on that vacation left him unsatisfied with his board rental experience and spawned a great idea that developed into a successful local business.
“The boards we rented were large fiberglass boards that we really couldn’t transport from beach to beach with standard rental cars,” says Allen. “They also were expensive to rent given that we could really only use them one time before having to return them.”
So in July of 2015, Allen, with help of business partner Eric Lindstrom, launched SUP Rents, a company specializing in stand up paddleboard rentals. SUP Rents is unique in that they ship boards either to your home or vacation destination ahead of time. The boards are inflatable, which allows them to be shipped and transported easily. Once on vacation, the user unpacks the box and inflates the board using easy to follow instructions. This offers the consumer a transportable SUP set-up that they can use for multiple days, in multiple locations, for one competitive price. SUP Rents has enjoyed steady growth and now has three warehouses, Spokane, Bend, and northern California, that serve customers vacationing anywhere in the United States. “We offer 10’, 10’ 4”, 11’, and 12’ 6” boards for every size and ability level of paddler. If you’re not sure what you need, you can always call us and we can advise you on what board is best,” adds Allen.
I wanted to experience first-hand what it’s like to use SUP Rents to give an honest assessment of the value of the service. Scott gladly sent us over a board for a quick day trip to Priest Lake. Weighing in at an average 30 pounds, the board, paddle and pump, made by ISLE boards, are packaged together in a sturdy backpack that can be adjusted to fit most body types. The kit was easy to haul to our destination at Priest Lake, taking up no more room than an average duffel bag. Once we arrived at the beach, the board was inflated and ready to go after about 10 minutes of moderately-paced pumping. The two-piece paddle locked together with one click and the fins snapped in easy. The instructions inside were clear and easy to follow, and soon we were ready to roll.
On the water, our board (the 11-foot model) was stable and easy to paddle. Heavy paddlers, or more advanced paddlers might opt for the 12’ 6” model. Although it’s slightly larger and heavier for transport, the extra length creates a faster, better tracking board for long distance touring. Keep in mind that inflatable boards are a bit of a compromise. You won’t quite get the top-end performance that you get out of a fiberglass board but, for most paddlers, the convenience of being able to pack and haul your board around without damaging it is well worth it.
SUP Rents could be an ideal set up for hiking into a remote lake you’ve always wanted to paddle or as a package that’s easy to travel with to any of our region’s lakes for a weekend. If paddleboarding is not quite your cup of tea, SUP Rents also offers 12’ foldable touring kayaks by ORU. PFDs are also available for rent at an additional cost. Check them out at Suprents.com, or you can give Allen a call at 509-979-2981. “So far, we’ve had nothing but 5 star reviews,” he says. “We love that we are getting lots of positive feedback from our customers.”//
Brad Naccarato wrote about fly fishing in the May issue.