HOW TO GET STARTED SUP-ING:
If you are new to the Stand Up Paddling, the first thing you should do is read up about it. There are plenty of good publications out there, unfortunately some might confuse you more than help in selecting your first board, but they can give you insight into the sport and help direct you into what areas are most interesting to you. The design feature of SUP’s is one of those confusing areas. See the article Design of SUP’s for more information.
Do you need lessons? That is a good question and worth discussing. Anyone can get on a board and paddle, but why is it that someone else can paddle the same board better? They attended a lesson; someone taught them how to do it better. Paddlers over the years have developed proven techniques that improve their skill, most of which will not come naturally. Lessons are beneficial for any sport and paddling is no exception. Check with your local dealer, adult education programs or area paddling clubs for available programs. There are even “Paddling Schools” you can attend.
Fortunately, Stand Up Paddling is relatively easy to get into compared to kayaking or canoeing. Unless you want to get a job specific board, like a race board for example, paddleboards, in general, are pretty forgiving.
Your First SUP: This can be very nerve racking. Most people know very little about SUPs. It is a new sport. There are a lot of misconceptions and most preconceived ideas about SUPs prove to be mistaken. Read this entire section before looking for your first board. Some of the information may not apply to you but the better informed you are, the more likely you will be satisfied.
These are things that you should take into consideration;
1.Planning SUPs which have bows shaped like a surf board and tend to be shorter. These boards work best in conditions where surfing is an option. They make a good all purpose board for paddlers near the coasts.
The size of the paddler - SUPs are design for specific weight ranges. Even though you can put a smaller person on a board designed for someone larger there is a noticeable decrease in performance. A bigger paddler on a board designed for a smaller paddler, well that just won't work at all, but, it's really fun to watch.
Size of Paddle - As a rule of thumb, for River Run or Surf paddle boards, the length of the paddle from the ground should extend above your head by 8 inches. For Racing or Touring boards, it should extend 10”. As with other paddles, there are curved and bent shaft paddles. Try them all and choose what feels best for you.
How you plan to use your SUP - The vast majority of SUP-ers are strictly recreational but if you plan on doing the following usages I've listed a few more things to consider.
1. Yoga - doing yoga on a SUP is getting more and more popular, it really helps improve balance and core strength. An important feature for yoga is to make sure the deck mat is long enough for your yoga positions. Stability is also a major consideration for yoga, if your board is too stable you might as well not bother and if your board is too tipsy .... Splash! This is one case testing various boards can be very helpful.
As mentioned earlier, Paddleboarding is pretty forgiving, as long as you stay away from the extremes, you will most likely be very pleased with the board you purchase. Some surf better and some glide better, but they're all better than sitting on shore.