One of the first decisions you'll have to make when deciding which SUP board is right for you is the shape of the board. Breaking down a board shape in to the most basic of decisions comes down to two choices:
1) Planing Hull (Round Nose)
2) Displacement Hull (V Nose)
Boards with a planing hull tend to be 'All-around' boards that do well in a variety of conditions. They can be paddled in flat water such as lakes, rivers and ponds. They are also at home in the surf. They are described as 'planing' hulls because when used in the surf, the board is planing over the surface of the water as you ride down the face of a wave.
All-around boards are popular options because they are:
1) Stable - they are the most forgiving shape for beginner paddlers
2) Versatile - they can be loaded down with weight and still maintain stability
3) Relaxing - they are easy to paddle and easy to get on and off of, even in deep water
Below is a picture of our 11'2" All Day All-around board
Boards with a displacement hull are built to cover more ground as efficiently as possible. A displacement hull refers to the V-nose, which 'displaces' water as the board travels forward. Displacement hulls are the best choice for anyone not venturing into the surf and is primarily using the board for exercise, touring, or racing.
Displacement boards are popular options because they are:
1) Efficient - the boards has more forward glide with less effort
2) Speedy - hull design translates your effort into more speed
3) Challenging - displacement boards tend to be less stable than an equivalent sized All-around board
Below is a picture of our 11'6" Journey displacement hull board:
There is not one shape that is better than the other. It's simply a matter of matching the shape to how you'll most often be using the board. If you question what shape is right for you, find a retailer that is willing to let you test drive them both so you can experience the differences first hand.