Types of SUPs
When you start comparing and shopping for a stand up paddle board, you will probably notice pretty quickly that there are two distinct types of boards – those that are inflatable and those that are not inflatable (often called hard, rigid or solid SUPs).
Each type has its benefits and often if just boils down to whichever one you prefer using. Personally, I like taking inflatable SUPs out, but solid SUPs are fun for me too. I review both types and try to not show a bias towards the inflatables so that you get an honest opinion.
Something else that you will notice is that the boards vary in length. I’d say that 10-foot stand up paddle boards are the most common size. Of course, you can find plenty of short 9-foot SUPs. The long boards are usually 12-foot SUPs, but some manufactures make 11-foot SUPs as well.
The general rule of thumb is that the longer stand up paddle boards are better for stability when surfing, so people who want to hit the waves should definitely go with a long stand up paddle board. If you’re just planning on using it in flat water, like in a lake or river, then a short stand up paddle board will probably best meet your needs.
Another important thing about the length is that the longer boards often can support more weight, which makes them the best choice for heavier people. So, if you’re a bigger guy then start your shopping with the longer SUPs. All the boards have a weight limit, so hone in on that to determine if it can hold you or not.
The shorter boards are also usually a better choice for beginners who are just getting started with stand up paddle boarding.
Probably my top pick for the best stand up paddle board for beginners is the AAD 10'6'' inflatable SUP.