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Paddle Boarding Rentals

Paddle Boarding Rentals in Crested Butte, Colorado

When we were kids, one of our greatest dreams is to walk on water. Our parents keep telling us that bodies of water cannot be our playground. As time passes by, innovations embrace the world, walking on water is still impossible but Stand Up Paddle (SUP) Boarding makes standing and playing on water possible. Many companies now offer paddle boarding rentals for a soothing encounter with water.

SUP originated from Hawaii. Stand up paddle boarding uses a surf style board and an elongated paddle. It might be a little similar to canoeing and surfing, but SUP’s function is not only to catch waves but simply for you to have a closer and solemn encounter with water with your friends and family. It comes in various forms like paddling in lakes, beach and to surfing waves. You can also compete in racing and try SUP yoga.

If you are a beginner in SUP and want to gain perfectly fun experience in water, you can start by renting paddle boards. In that way, you will become familiarized with different kinds of paddle boards, and you will see what the best fit is for you. If you are nowhere to go, and looking for the best paddle boarding rentals, then, Float-Shack in Crested Butte, Colorado has great deals for you!

SUP Paddle & PFD

A woman carries inflatable board, paddle and PFD to Jenny Lake in the Grand Teton National Park.

Float-Shack offers high quality stand up paddle boards and float tubes all from NRS. This company leads the kayak industry and became popular in the past few years because of their fantastic inflatable SUP boards. NRS boards come with different sizes, functions, and styles.

Below is the list of paddle boarding rentals from NRS inflatable:

  1. NRS Adventurer –excellent choice if you want to go touring and do lots of activities. It has enough paddling efficiency and customizable board to suit the type of water you are.
  2. NRS Earl 4—suitable for an easy and fun ride in flat water, rivers, and waves. This inflatable is their most popular paddle board and quite flexible. You can choose from 4” or 6” thick versions.
  3. NRS Tyrant 4—the sportiest version of SUP boards specifically for surfing the river, ocean and catching waves. Controlling with exchangeable fins and grip deck facade is comfortable.
  4. NRS Youth Jester—this is the youth board for smaller adults that wants to engage in SUP. The capacity weight that it can hold is 135 lbs. Youth Jester is a little narrower and thinner for easy paddling.
  5. NRS Wild River Tube—perfect tube for a calm flowing stream. It offers two individual air chambers for more secured and safety trip on the water

SUP is a cardio workout and a stress-reliever activity and it also improves one’s core and overall fitness. Aside from the health benefits that we can get from SUP, the very priceless bonus is the close-up view of underwater life.


Float Shack has terrific paddle boarding rentals ideal for summer get away from your family, friends, and partners. You will surely appreciate the beauty of water and be mesmerized by it. Before, our playground is just the land, but with SUP water becomes everyone’s happy playground.


Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board for Rent

Want to try an inflatable stand up paddle board?

Come to the Float-Shack, rent a NRS inflatable stand up paddle board.  We’re not of course talking the type of cheap beach inflatable shaped like a shark or a dolphin but, a rather high quality item which is rigid enough to allow someone to stand on it, when pumped up to the recommended pressure (approx. 12-15 psi).

Inflatable SUP Construction

An inflatable stand up paddle board is capable to take on such pressure due to it’s drop stitch construction.  The process starts by joining two pieces of polyester woven support fabric with thousands of fine polyester thread lengths. This base material is made in strips from five to ten feet in width, and up to 400 needle heads may be used in the setup. Each needle sews a continuous, evenly spaced thread, back and forth between the two pieces of woven fabric, locking them together into an incredibly strong unit. These drop-stitch sewing machines are marvels of complexity. When a change is made in the spacing distance between the two pieces of woven fabric, it can take over 20 days to remove and replace the required needles.

Drop Stitch

The tens of thousands of polyester threads create a super strong inflatable material.

Pump it up!

Every inflatable stand up paddle board package comes with a hand pump.  It will take 5-7 minutes to bring each SUP to the recommended pressure.  All rental paddle boards at the Float-Shack cone fully inflated.

Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board Shapes

Just as the surf board industry has put a good deal of emphasis on shape, now this has transferred over to the inflatable stand up paddle board market.  New shapes allow for a better glide on flat water and better rocker design aids in whitewater flotation.  Long gone are the days of one size (and shape) fits all.

Reserve an Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board TODAY!

Stand Up Paddle Boards Near Me in Crested Butte

Three friends enjoy a summer float down Upper Slate River with Crested Butte towering in the background.

Inflatable SUP

Inflatable SUP or inflatable paddle boards are gaining in popularity.  This newer design has its advantages.   In fact, durability and storage are the most common advantages of the inflatable SUP.    However, an inflatable SUP is not the correct choice for long distance paddlers or most racers.  Inflatable paddle boards do not offer the same glide that the conventional foam and fiberglass rigid ones offer.

Inflatable SUP History

The design concept for the inflatable SUP might have originated from an 1871 US Patent filed by Isaac Ferris.  In his kite patent, Ferris describes connectors between the two surfaces of an air-foil wing.  “It may be necessary to connect the two walls by one or more additional connections, to prevent the kite from assuming too round of a shape.” – Circa 1871 for Ferris.

Next, an experimental airplane, the Goodyear Inflatoplane,  was constructed using an inflatable I-Beam.  This was actually a sandwich of two rubber-type materials connected by a mesh of nylon threads.  Built in 1956, with the idea that it might be used by the military as a rescue plane, the Inflatoplane was never put into production.

Inflatable SUP Construction

After getting refined many times over, this concept is now refereed to as the drop stitch.  Most drop stitch inflatable SUP boards allow for maximum air pressure north of 15 P.S.I.  Therefore, many newcomers into the sport sometimes realize upon returning their rentals, that the equipment was, in fact, inflatable sup boards.

Drop Stitch

The tens of thousands of polyester threads create a super strong inflatable material.




Why go inflatable?

So, who prefers the inflatable SUP over the classic rigid varieties?  The paddlers who are looking for space saving storage.  A typical rigid board is difficult to store, because they tend to take up a lot of room.  Whereas, an inflatable SUP is the size of a large backpack or suitcase once deflated.

Also an inflatable stand up paddle board tends to be more durable than their rigid counterparts.  The fiberglass coating on a rigid is fragile.  A simple drop or contact with a rock might crack the shell and allow water to enter the foam core.  Repair can be costly for fiberglass finishes.  The inflatable paddle board is constructed similar to a commercial river raft.  The materials are abrasion and puncture resistant.

The only downside to an inflatable paddle board is for long distance paddlers.  A rigid board has better glide, therefore is better for racing and adventure paddlers.  The inflatable variety will still work, the energy spent to paddle the same distance will be greater due to more drag.


Inflatable paddle boards have quite the history.  Starting as a kite, then moving to a plane before lending design to water sports.  The characteristics of inflatable paddle boards have grown popularity due in part to increased durability and ease of storage.

Try a Inflatable SUP

Paddle Board Rentals in Crested Butte

How to make the most out of your Paddle Board Rentals in Crested Butte

This guide will help you understand paddle board rentals in Crested Butte, Colorado.  You will learn of the Float-Shack online booking system, the types of stand up paddle boards we use for rentals and our safety gear.  The complete SUP rental experience will be discussed.   To finish, we will share our favorite SUP spots we tend to go paddle.

Booking your SUP

The Float-Shack has two convenient ways to book your stand up paddle board reservation.   The most convenient way to book is using our new online booking software. Choose between a SUP or a river float tube and then pick a date and time slot.  Its that easy.  We still take phone reservations at (970) 209-9747.

Delivery or Pick-Up

The Float-Shack now offers free delivery of paddle boards to your residence, condo or hotel.  Our staff will personally outfit your entire party with SUP, paddle and PFD.  Your group will get a short parking lot instruction and explanation of all gear.  Meanwhile, all paddle boards will be loaded onto your vehicle for travel.  Be sure to pay attention to the correct mounting, as you will be loading for your return.  We also will arrange for pick up on certain trips and occasions.

Returning the Paddle Boards

All reservations are required to be returned by designated time and place of drop off.  Please return all SUP, paddles and PFDs clean.

Stand Up Paddle Board Rentals

New for 2017 NRS inflatable Stand Up Paddle Boards and River Float Tubes.  The Float-Shack has many models and sizes to choose.  We have 4″ and 6″ size boards designed for touring, river and wave surfing and fitness paddling too.  We have a SUP for everyone.

Safety Gear

All Stand Up Paddle Board rentals come with a leash and one PFD.  The leash will be specific to the planned activity.  We have special emergency release leash designed for river floats.

Favorite SUP Locations in Crested Butte

We all have our favorite spots for paddle boarding adventures.  Here are a few of ours.

Slate River  – Crested Butte River Float

Start at the recreation path bridge on the east side of Crested Butte. Take Teocalli Ave. east past 9th St to access the Slate River Recreational Path Bridge – put in.

Take out is the HWY 135 Bridge just past Crested Butte Country Club.  Stop at the nice grassy area, its on South side of Slate River immediately before the HWY Bridge. You will find great access to parking off the highway, right by the Crested Butte Country Club signage.

This section is without any whitewater. The Slate River twists and turns many times through open ranch land right on the edge of town. The peak of Mt Crested Butte towers above offering spectacular views and amazing scenery for a summer float.

Times vary with the snow melt off and river flows. Generally speaking, expect the highest flows in June, moderate flows in July and August, and September is not recommended due to low flows and cattle entering the area. Keep in mind recent rain will change the normal flow for a day or so.

June – Highest water flow – 1.5 hours

July & August – Moderate water flow – 1.75 to 2 hours

September – Low water flow and cattle in area – NOT Recommended

Stand Up Paddle Boards Near Me in Crested Butte

Three friends enjoy a summer float down Upper Slate River with Crested Butte towering in the background.

Upper Slate River – More Challenging

Start at the Gunsight Pass Bridge located on Slate River Road. Take 6th St/ Gothic Road north out of Crested Butte. Slate River Road [734] is the first left turn. Follow this past Nicholson Lake for a total of about 2 miles. On the left you will see [739] and a sign for Gunsight Pass Bridge. High clearance vehicles may travel down to the river as there are many car swallowing pot holes on this section of road.

Two take out choices.

The Recreation Path Bridge, east of Teocalli Ave. will be the first take out.
The second option is the HWY 135 Bridge as described above, for a full day of floating fun!

Great wildlife viewing as you will pass through a wildlife sanctuary, known for Great Blue Heron, Red Tail Hawk and Bald Eagles. Plenty of stopping and viewing stops are available along the way.

This section may not be suitable for children to navigate by themselves.

Float times vary, with the snow melt and river flows.  A recent rain shower will add to the normal flow for a day or two.  Plan for the highest water flows in June, then moderate flows in July and August.  Floating the Slate River during September is not recommended due to cattle entering the area.

June – Highest water flow – 1.75 hours (Upper Slate only)

July & August – Moderate water flow – 2 to 2.5 hours (Upper Slate only)

September – Low water flow and cattle in area – NOT Recommended

Great for Full Day, ½ day and Evening adventures.

Shared SUP

A young man and his dog share a SUP for a afternoon Lake Irwin float.

Lake Irwin

Just a short drive from downtown Crested Butte, Lake Irwin is nestled among towering Rocky Mountain peaks.  Lake Irwin offers the most convenient park and float with picnic and camping areas lake side.  Fisherman will find hungry lake trout to offer plenty of fishing opportunities.  Hiking lakeside trails are sure to offer a full days exploration. Be sure to ask for directions to the chilling rope swing, if you dare…

Directions to Irwin Lake.

Take Whiterock Ave. west out of Crested Butte. Eventually, this road will change to [12].  In several miles, you will start to enter a wide open meadow (on left) and the road will make a gentle sweeping left across the entire meadow. Begin to start looking for signs and a right turn to Irwin Lake and Campground. This is also what locals refer to as the “Y.” Follow this road [12E] to Irwin Lake and Campground. The route is suitable for low clearance vehicles and is around 12 miles total one way.

Great family fun for full day, ½ day and evening adventures.

Unfortunately, The US Forest Service PROHIBITS the Float-Shack from delivering or instructing on Lake Irwin. We apologize for this strict policy.