Even though it still takes time to master, the learning curve on using a SUP is a lot less steep than learning how to surf. Admittedly, you would be best to learn to ride a SUP on flat water initially; it will definitely not take very long to get in the ocean surf, should that be what you're wanting to do.
But where do you begin with regards to deciding on a stand up paddle board? Well, it really is dependent on what sort of paddling you wish to do. You'll want to think SUP about where you are likely to be using your stand up paddle board. If you live close to a lake, it'd be the better choice to buy a flat water SUP. Likewise, if you are living near to the ocean, a surfing SUP would be a little more ideal for you.
This SUP buyer's guide will provide you with an insight into the different types of boards, which should lets you make a much better decision on which SUP would be ideal for you.
SUP buyer's guide - Types of stand up paddle boards
These type of boards are great for those who are just starting out on a SUP, or who are in need of a board that will surf both small waves and paddle across flat water (such as lakes). They usually come in lengths of 10 foot 6 inches (10'6") to twelve foot (12'). Widths range from thirty inches (30") to thirty six inches (36"). For those who are looking primarily to paddle across lakes, then go as wide and long as is possible, as this will provide you with the best stability. If you're looking to hit the surf, you'll need a shorter board that isn't as wide.
Remember, these sorts of boards are not designed for extreme flat water racing, or large waves - they're built so its possible to get the best of both worlds.
If you're looking to purely surf waves with your SUP, you then want to go shorter in length (anything less than 10 foot - 10' - is a great starting point). If you are coming off a surfboard, then choosing a narrow board should be perfectly fine, but for those only starting out, you want a good width to help you with stability. Thirty-thirty two inch (30"-32") is an ideal starting point.
These boards are often based off their surfboard cousins when it comes to design - lots of rocker (the curvature of the board toward the nose), narrow tails, and various fin configurations.
For anyone looking to get into stand up paddle board yoga (SUP Yoga), you are looking for a wide board for plenty of stability. Ideally you need a fairly flat board with minimal rocker, as well as a comfortable deck pad. Some Yoga SUPs have quite a square look - this will make them very stable within the water, but keep in mind it's not made to paddle much more than out to a suitable spot just offshore to practice your yoga.
Another good option for SUP Yoga is to use an inflatable paddle stand up paddle board.