The purchase of an SUP is an investment. You want the right stand up
paddleboard the first time you buy. Not only can the right board last you many
years, it can make the difference between embracing this sport for the rest of
your life, and wanting to sell your board after a few times out with it.
Almost inevitably, those people who told you they tried SUP'ing and didn't like
it, got up on the wrong board, had the wrong paddle, or had the wrong people
helping them that first time out.
An SUP could be wrong for you for many reasons including:
SUP DECK. Buy a board without a good top deck and you will soon know why you need one. It's the difference between sliding off and staying on.
SUP LENGTH. Too short a board can make it difficult to move through flat water easily and exhaust you before you have barely begun. Too long a board can make manouvering difficult and can be so heavy you can't get it to the water. There is no right or wrong length, you need one that fits you and unless you are already an expert, you need advice to make that determination.
SUP WIDTH. Too wide a board can reduce speed on flat water and can also make tracking in a straight line more difficult. Too narrow a board reduces stability significantly and can make it difficult to maintain your balance until you have some proficiency. For yoga or sightseeing, etc. a wide board may be all you every want. For distance and racing you might need to sacrifice stability for tracking and speed.
SUP DEPTH. The depth of an SUP is significant throughout it's length, affecting things like stability, nosing into chop and waves, and gliding.
SUP MATERIAL. The material your SUP is made from is important for many reasons. An example: an inflatable SUP may be great for whitewater because it is less apt to be damaged by rocks, but isn't the best choice for flatwater or waves. Material affects weight, durability, speed and performance. With so many factors involved, again, you need an expert to help you choose so that you get the ride you need to convince you this is a sport you will enjoy for a lifetime.