I've been hooked on SUP ever since I tried it for the first time two years ago. This summer I'm thinking about buying my first SUP ( stand up paddleboard ).
With the sport growing in popularity, there are a lot of companies, brands, types/shapes of boards to choose from. For somebody who has never done any board sports before, one might get a bit frustrated and overwhelmed with all these choices ( just like it was for me to choose my first snowboard ).
In short, choosing a SUP depends on just two major factors: your body type ( weight/height) and what you want to do with your SUP ( fitness/recreation; cruising/exploring; surfing; racing ).
Personally for me, the most important factor is the price. Thanks to the abundance of choices the prices for " general use SUP's" are slowly going down. It's common to see a SUP for sale on Craigslist for $500-700.
Many folks ( including me ) use old windsurfers for SUPing ( which honestly didn't work out well for me). Because many SUP's are huge and take a lot of space to store, some people opt for popular ( and cheap ! $300+ ) inflatable SUP's or hybrid stand-up-sit-on-top paddleboards like Nalu ( $549 ) or Emotion Kayak Traverse Paddle Board ( $371 ).
If you are a brand new beginner, my advice - try it before buying. Many shops during summer time offer free demos.
Here is Brian Szymanksi, a lifelong shaper and waterman, gives his thoughts about picking the right SUP for you:
And in cace you missed it, here is the expert's advice from REI to read more on the subject and watch a cool beginner's video.