Every stand up paddle board is not the same. There are important differences in stand up paddle boards that can make SUP easier or more difficult. So choosing the right one is important.
Basically, there are three types of stand up paddle boards: surf specific, touring boards, and all-around boards. Surf specific boards are for advanced stand up paddle boarders and are designed to be used in the surf, to double as surf boards. They are shorter and narrower, so they are more maneuverable but less stable in the water. Touring boards are longer, often with a pointy nose, designed specifically for flat water paddling. They are extremely stable in the water and so are the best choice for beginners. All-around boards are versatile. They can be used for surfing or flat water paddling. They are thicker, wider and longer than surf specific boards but not so long and wide as touring boards.
Traditional stand up paddle boards are usually made of glass-reinforced plastic with a polyurethane core, making them light weight and easy to carry. As an alternative, inflatable stand up paddle boards are growing in popularity because it’s so easy to transport them. When fully inflated inflatable stand up boards are nearly as rigid as traditional boards.
The paddles used in stand up paddle boarding are usually made of carbon, fiberglass or wood. Stand up paddle board paddles are longer than canoe paddles. Unlike a canoe paddle, the blade of a stand up paddle has a banana peel shape with a slight keel on the back, which means that, unlike a canoe paddle, there is definitely a front and a back to it, so using it correctly is important in getting good results.
As a general rule, the longer, wider and thicker a board is the more stable it is in the water. For beginners stability is the first concern. As the user becomes more skilled she may want to upgrade to an all-around board, and when she becomes competent in the surf, she may want to try a surf specific board for its increased maneuverability.
All stand up paddle boards are not the same. Choosing the right one is important as you advance in your stand up paddle boarding experience.