What makes a great entry-level touring SUP?
A touring SUP is designed to give you a smooth glide in most flatwater conditions. A quality touring board should also provide directional stability (i.e., tracking).
Touring boards are not designed for wave riding, but they can definitely handle chop and give you the feel of surfing when heading downwind. Typically, a touring and cruising paddleboard will feature a displacement hull. They also tend to be more narrow and longer than most all-around boards and wave SUPs.
The five boards featured here are designed primarily for all-around touring and cruising. While touring and racing boards often fall into the same category, the below boards are not as suited for racing performance due to added width and stability characteristics. This allows for a more recreational and entry-level touring experience before jumping into sleeker racing models.
If your goal is to start racing at a recreational level, each of these paddleboards will give you a nice training platform so you can practice tracking, cadence, and longer paddles.
In this post, we feature the 12’6″ version of each board. In most cases, these boards are also available in longer (14′) versions for even more touring performance for larger riders.
The Rave Expedition features more advanced race and performance characteristics than most of the recreational touring boards mentioned above.
However, it was also designed with the needs of a less experienced rider in mind and will give you enough stability to get out and cut through chop and cruise downwind like a pro.
In order to make this board more user-friendly, the Rave Expedition was designed with added buoyancy in the nose and 29″ of width in the center.
The Expedition also features unique water shedding channels on the front deck that directs water off of the board keeping it light and quick while keeping gear dry. This board can handle riders up to 240 lbs.
This is a great choice if you’re looking to make the transition to a more performance oriented touring board or enter into your local SUP racing scene.
The Boardworks Raven 12’6″ is a great cruising board for fitness and adventure enthusiasts.
This board will provide the feel of a performance race SUP while offering sufficient stability for novice and recreational stand up paddling. The Raven is suitable for riders from 140 – 250 lbs.
What people love about this board is that it performs like an all-around SUP – i.e., flexible enough for rivers, chop, general cruising – but also provides the true speed of a touring and racing SUP. It also has an attractive wood veneer.
Because of its versatility and glide characteristics, we recommend the Boardworks Raven as a great choice for fitness and endurance training as well.
Riviera Voyager 12’6″
The Voyager is a very stable board for those looking to for an entry-level touring and cruising SUP.
At 32″ wide and 12’6″ long, this SUP will provide a nice platform for cruising flatwater conditions and getting in nice long paddles on a calm day.
The Riviera Voyager features a displacement hull. It also has 14 leash plugs on the nose and tail so you can tie down plenty of gear for longer journeys. The idea behind this board was to blend racing characteristics with the comforts of a beginner touring board.
Like other Riviera paddleboards, this board features simple but high-quality construction and design characteristics – stringerless EPS foam core, fiberglass layering, and a nice shiny paint job.
The Imagine Mission SUP is a great all-around cruising and adventure board.
This board has all the features of a quality touring machine: displacement hull, flat – comfortable deck pad, and sufficient length for flat-water speed. The Mission is 30″ wide, so it also gives you nice stability.
Imagine boards are designed by SUP pioneer Dave Kalama and feature high-quality epoxy construction.
The Lakeshore Heavenly SUP 12’6″ is an aptly named (just look at the all-white top side) board designed for touring and cruising. This board is also a great choice as an all-around family board due to its stability and comfort.
The Lakeshore Heavenly is best suited for lakes, bays, harbors and other calm water environments.
It features a deep displacement hull and added rail thickness. The Heavenly can hold riders up to 275 lbs and is equipped with an 11″ single fin. This all adds up to a board that can handle the needs of most flatwater recreational riders looking for something they can track well on and experience the glide of a touring SUP.