Is a stand up paddleboard a boat? I say yes. Unfortunately, the State of Rhode Island says "no", which meant I had to pay sales tax when I bought my Riviera 404 last August. (There is no sales tax on boats in Rhode Island.) So maybe it’s a gray area... but that doesn’t stop me from including this 10’6” long, 31” wide platform on the list of boats I love.


The Riviera 404 is a stable, easy to transport SUP that works for flat water or wave paddling. Photo: PaulCroninStudios

I purchased this “boat” on a whim, not sure how much I would really use it. I’m not usually into the latest fad, so the sudden explosion of Stand Up Paddling made me slightly suspicious. But once I paddled it for the first time I was hooked. It is fast for its length, lightweight, and easy to turn—242 liters of water-strider-fun. And when I explore outside harbor limits, it’s always challenging me to try catching that next set of waves.

Riviera has been building stand up paddleboards since 2007 and is family owned and operated. They designed my 10’6” board as an “easily transportable Stand Up board for daily use,” which is exactly what I appreciate about it. Thanks to a kayak cart with large diameter wheels, I can easily roll the board down to the end of our town dock and launch it without any help or bother. And then with the first dig of my paddle I’m off on another adventure, master and commander of my own destiny. This sail-less, engine-less craft gets me out on the water more often, in more weather, and over more months of the year than any other boat I’ve ever owned.

Simplicity is its biggest appeal. But that means there are no systems to describe, no features to point out, and no expensive upgrades to mull over through those long winter nights. Which is just fine, because with the proper gear (lifejacket, wetsuit, waterproof top) I can spend some of those short winter days out on the water.

Sometimes simple boats are the easiest to love, because they don’t get in the way of getting on the water. And whether or not the State of Rhode Island agrees, that’s why my Riviera 404 is so high on my list of boats I love. With it, I’m going to try to extend this year’s boating season all the way until it touches the next one.

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