The Insider Picks team writes about stuff we think you’ll like. Business Insider has affiliate partnerships, so we get a share of the revenue from your purchase. Over the last decade, stand-up paddle-boarding has exploded in popularity. What began as an oceanic pursuit for a handful of surfers that included Laird Hamilton, Oahu’s aquatic stuntman Brian Keaulana, and a few old-school surf instructors from Waikiki, has today become globally ubiquitous from beach breaks to harbors to lakes and hidden angling spots. Today’s market has evolved into a dizzying array of boards for fishing, racing, river running, flat water, and yes, surfing. Constructions run the gamut, too, from exotic epoxies, carbon, and fiberglass to incredibly durable foam and inflatable models. For a beginner especially, the choices can be overwhelming, and that’s’ where this guide comes in. Because of these different genres and construction types, we decided to break paddle boards down into four categories: inflatable, soft, hard (surfing), and fishing — taking the beginner and first-time buyer into account. The picks that follow are the result of hours of time spent on screen and o...