A Costco paddleboard may be a good option if you’re looking for a family-friendly, cheap paddleboard. Costco’s sporting goods department offers a limited selection for beginner-friendly, recreational paddleboards—whether you’re shopping in the United States or Canada, in store or online. However, it’s important to note that Costco paddleboards should only be used in sheltered, calm water conditions with minimal exposure to wind and waves.
Costco paddleboards work well for occasional paddlers looking for a fun watersport to try at the beach or cottage. But remember, there’s a tradeoff between value and performance; consider shopping at a general sporting goods store (or, better yet, a specialized paddling shop) if you’re looking to invest in standup paddleboarding. Costco cannot match specialized retailers’ broader selection of paddleboard shapes and sizes and higher performance SUPs that offer dedicated users better—and safer—experiences on the water.
Costco is a good choice if you’re looking for a budget-friendly paddleboard. You’ll find a mix of inflatable (blow-up) paddleboards and soft-top (foam) paddleboards at Costco, often for less than $500. Costco blow-up paddleboards are good for those with limited storage space or if you’re looking for a paddleboard that’s easy to transport in any sized vehicle. Foam paddleboards offer a more rigid platform for greater performance on the water.
Like other cheap paddleboards, Costco products often lack the speed and handling characteristics of more advanced or specialized paddleboards. And don’t expect much expertise from Costco sales associates when you’re shopping in store. Do your research, be honest with your expectations, and make sure you’re also prepared to purchase the necessary safety accessories, including a personal flotation device and leash. Our review of Costco paddleboards will provide you with the essential knowledge to find the best model for your needs.
Top picks: Best Costco paddleboards for 2024
The following Costco paddleboards have received the highest star ratings by reviewers in our Paddling Buyer’s Guide. See and review all Costco paddleboards here.
Shop for Costco paddleboards
Costco is certainly a great place to buy food, clothing and household items—but its selection of paddleboards is relatively slim compared to some other box stores and sporting goods outlets. This means less selection if you’re looking for a specific paddleboard. On the other hand, it could make your decision less overwhelming—especially if you’re just looking for a basic, general purpose board. One major drawback of buying a paddleboard at Costco is that sales associates generally lack knowledge in paddlesports, so shopping can be a do-it-yourself experience.
Selection varies by location and whether you’re shopping in-store or online, but in general Costco paddleboards fall into two categories: inflatable, which can be deflated for easy storage and transport, and solid, higher performance soft-top (foam) paddleboards.
Costco paddleboard buying guide
The best tip we can offer in choosing the right paddleboard is to try before you buy. Admittedly, this advice is difficult to apply if you’re shopping for a Costco paddleboard, since these massive stores are typically located in urban areas, far from the water. Instead, ask your friends if they have any Costco paddleboards you could take out on the water. On-the-water experience will not only give you a sense of what’s available, it will also allow you to appreciate how the specific attributes of different paddleboard construction (such as inflatable versus soft-top) and design elements (especially different combinations of length and width) perform.
Buying options for Costco paddleboards vary between stores and online. The selection of paddleboards is often based on a store’s geographical location, with wholesalers in coastal, resort or cottage areas usually carrying a wider range of options and accessories. Buying online affords far more selection and convenient delivery, however you won’t be able to touch and inspect the different options before you buy. It’s also important to bear in mind that Costco’s paddleboard selection is different in the United States and Canada, so make sure you select your shopping location accordingly.
Costco sells relatively cheap, entry-level paddleboards. You get what you pay for in terms of quality. Costco standup paddleboards are not made for heavy use, so durability is far less than what you’d get in a more expensive board. In terms of blow-up paddleboards, Costco’s options are highly portable and easy to store. Setup is usually quite easy as well. The best inflatable paddleboards at Costco come with a manual pump and can be blown up and ready to paddle in 10 minutes or less. There’s a wide range of performance between inflatable paddleboards; Costco’s cheaper options lack the stiffness of more advanced, expensive models.
Costco’s rigid foam (soft-top) paddleboard lineup offers a bit more stiffness and performance at the expense of transportability (you’ll need a roof rack to move them around). Once again, the relatively cheap price of Costco foam paddleboards is often reflected in less attention to detail in terms of design and durability. Be sure you store your paddleboard out of direct sunlight to maximize its lifespan.
It is critical to make sure your paddleboard comes with the necessary outfitting accessories, including a pump (for blow-up paddleboards), a fin (usually removable) to keep you tracking straight on the water, and a leash (a tether to keep you attached to the board if you fall off). Leashes are an essential safety item to ensure you don’t lose your paddleboard in the wind if you fall off. A personal flotation device (PFD) is another mandatory safety accessory. You’ll likely have to buy a PFD separately. Try on a variety of models for fit; comfort is key—a PFD only works if you’re wearing it, so choose wisely and invest in your safety on the water. Some Costco paddleboards come with an adjustable paddle, but if not, you’ll have to buy one. Adjustable length is great to accommodate multiple people. Fixed length paddles are also available if you’re going to be the board’s only user.
Like all box stores, Costco sells entry-level paddleboards. This can be ideal for occasional paddlers looking for an economical choice. You must recognize, however, that Costco paddleboards are only safe to use in sheltered water with minimal exposure to wind and waves. Choose your paddling locations accordingly and make sure you always check the weather forecast and tide conditions before heading out.
If you’re serious about paddling and want to develop your skills with a higher performance paddleboard, you are better off avoiding Costco in favor of a dedicated paddling or outdoor shop. It’s worth it to make a more substantial investment in a specialized paddleboard that will support your skill development and offer better performance in a variety of conditions.
Costco paddleboard Q&A
Still have questions? Here are expert answers to some of the most common questions about Costco paddleboards.
Does Costco sell paddleboards?
If you’ve read this article, you’ll know that Costco does sell paddleboards. Selection varies from store to store, depending on proximity to paddling areas and local demand. Shop online for better selection.
Are Costco paddleboards any good?
Whether Costco paddleboards are any good depends entirely on your application. Costco paddleboards are an excellent choice for light-duty, calm water use at the beach or cottage—especially for families and other recreational paddlers. However, if you’re looking to invest in paddleboarding we suggest you shop elsewhere to find a better selection of higher performance SUPs, and plan on spending a little more on a specialized board.
Why not to buy a Costco paddleboard
A lack of high-performance options is a good reason not to buy a Costco paddleboard. This big box retailer caters to entry-level, recreational users. If you want to develop your paddleboard skills and spend more time on the water, you’re better off shopping at a dedicated paddle shop. On the other hand, if you’re only looking to dabble in standup paddleboards, Costco can be an excellent option. Of course, you’ll want to keep track of Costco paddleboard recalls—but rest assured that these situations are rare.
How much are paddleboards at Costco?
You will find relatively cheap paddleboards at Costco. Prices range from $250 to $650, depending on the model. Canadian shoppers can anticipate spending $600 for a solid beginner blow-up paddleboard at Costco, complete with pump, fin, storage bag and adjustable paddle. The same package sells for around $400 at Costco in the United States.
Are foam paddleboards good?
Foam paddleboards at Costco offer a bit better performance than inflatable models. That’s because foam (also known as “soft top”) boards are stiffer and move more efficiently in the water. Bear in mind the foam paddleboards at Costco are still entry-level boards, meant for beginners and occasional use. For higher performance foam paddleboards, shop at a dedicated paddlesports retailer.
When does Costco sell paddleboards?
Paddleboards are a seasonal in-store item at Costco. In general, paddleboards are sold during the paddling season, which varies based on your location. Shopping in May or June guarantees the greatest selection—and also means you’ll have the rest of the summer to enjoy your new purchase. You can buy a paddleboard online at Costco year-round, though selection may be more limited during the off-season (winter).
When do Costco paddleboards go on sale?
Costco products rarely go on sale. However, you may find overstock items at clearance prices in late August and September. Bear in mind that Costco kayaks on sale offer limited selection in terms of models and styles. More practically, buying late in the season also limits your time on the water.
Does Costco have paddleboards in store?
Yes, Costco carries paddleboards in store during the summer months. But selection varies from store to store, depending on a store’s proximity to paddling areas and local demand. Shop online for better selection.
Costco paddleboard reviews
The best way to choose the right paddleboard for your intended use is to try before you buy. Failing that, look for the honest assessments of real-life paddlers. You’ll find our expert reviews below.
Feature photo: Marcus Reubenstein/Unsplash