Interested in purchasing a touring paddleboard, but don’t know where to start? Then you’ve come to the right place, as you’ll find our top 2020 touring stand up paddleboards below! We take the time to examine, test, and read up on the latest touring boards out there, and update our list as new SUPs hit the market. We also make sure to talk to the manufacturers themselves in order to develop the best understanding of their products and how to unleash their best performance.
We do all of this in order to help you make the best informed decision you can before buying a paddleboard. Our team at SupBoardGuide.com have noticed alot of disinformation out there, relying on word of mouth and specs to write up their reviews instead of testing the boards themselves. Our goal is to take the time to learn as much as we can about not just the boards themselves, but about the paddleboarding experience.
That’s why we’ve split this page up into not only our favorite touring boards but also ways to improve your touring experience. Even if you already have a touring board, we hope you read on to learn even more about how to have a great time paddleboarding. Otherwise, we hope that our rankings and in-depth review of each board gives you the information you need to determine what the best touring style board for you is!
What Makes A Great Touring Stand Up Paddle Board (SUP)?
Touring boards are built with long distance paddling in mind. These types of SUPs tend to be longer, which will help them track straighter in the water. Touring boards also tend to have thinner decks, allowing them to be faster in the water than wider boards. Due to their large size, touring boards tend to offer great stability, though usually not as much as a family or yoga board. The other major difference is that most touring boards, especially hard boards, have a pointed displacement hull. The pointed nose allows touring boards to cut through chop and waves while maintaining speed and keeping a straighter course than fatter nosed planing hulls, though don’t handle moderate to severe weather conditions well because of it.
There are also inflatable touring boards and hard touring boards to consider as well. You’ll be able to read more about the differences between the two in the informational sections after our lists. To help you determine which list you want to look at first, consider these factors:
Inflatable touring paddleboards are very lightweight, easy to pack up, and transport. They tend to offer greater stability and weight support than hard paddleboards, and usually offer a ton of accessory options as well. Inflatable paddleboards are less expensive than hard paddleboards, and typically feature greater warranty protection besides easier shipping. Hikers, teenagers, families, and those who want an easy paddleboard to learn with will all prefer inflatable paddleboards.
Hard touring paddleboards are definitely more rigid, giving you a better overall feel as you’re paddling in the water. Hard touring paddleboards also have better overall tracking and speed, which will help you paddle longer once you’re out on the water. Hard touring paddleboards have true displacement hulls, and handle wind, waves, and chop better than inflatables. If you are someone who is performance focused and wants the best overall paddleboarding experience, consider a hard touring paddle board.
Once you have an idea whether an inflatable or hard touring paddleboard is for you, be sure to read on for our favorite touring paddleboards of the year. We review them based upon their tracking, glide, speed, stability, and overall performance. Whatever you go with, we’re sure you’ll have a great experience with them on the water!
Best Inflatable Touring SUPS
- 1. RedPaddleCo 12’6 Sport
- 2. ERS 12’6 V3
- 3. BLACKFIN Model V
- 4. Hala Carbon Nass-T 14×26
- 5. Thurso Expedition
- 6. Atoll 11′
- 7. NIXY Manhattan
- 8. Gili 12’ Adventure
The RedPaddleCo 12’6’’ Sport is an excellent touring board for those who want a fun, leisurely paddling experience. The 12’6’’ length provides great tracking, while also keeping things a little shorter for easier overall maneuverability. The 30’’ wide deck keeps the board fast in the water, but combined with the 5.9’’ thickness keep things stable for new and experienced paddlers alike. This is a very well balanced touring board, well-suited for those who want to explore every part of the lake or just cruise along the shore alike.
There are other features that improve not just performance, but the overall SUP experience as well. The drawn out nose is designed to reduce drag and improve speed of the board, while giving it the ability to tackle some light chop and waves. The board comes with two removable glass-fiber RSS Battens that increase the board rigidity by 40% when installed before paddling. The deck pad is split into two different textures, with a smooth center EVA foam section for maximum comfort and a rear diamond-grooved section for maximum traction when stepping back. 7 D-rings have been included, along with a nose bungee system, for extensive accessory options and customization. We also want to highlight how Red Paddle Co made sure to cover all three carry handles with neoprene covers, providing maximum comfort while protecting your hands against chafing.
The Red Paddle Co 12’6’’ Sport is built with their MSL Fusion technology, providing great durability while keeping the weight of the board down. The 12’6’’ Sport weighs 23.5 lbs when fully inflated, and has a recommended weight capacity of 330 lbs. You will find a single standard US fin box on the 12’6’’ Sport, with a 9’’ FCS II Connect included in the kit. Other accessories include a dual-chamber pump, a durable roller backpack, a repair kit, and a waterproof cell phone case.
If you are interested in a touring board that has a smooth glide and is built for beginners and advanced paddlers alike, you will love the RedPaddleCo 12’6’’ Sport.
2. ERS 12’6’’ V3 (Read Full Review)
Another versatile touring board, the ERS 12’6’’ V3 is a performance heavy inflatable SUP that you can really fine tune for specific SUP activities. The 32’’ wide deck and 6’’ thickness makes this one of the wider paddleboards on this list, but is one of the most stable for it. We really like how the 12’6’’ long SUP tracks though, offering a smooth glide in still water and rapids alike. You’ll have a grand time racing and adventuring with the V3, and will be able to bring another passenger along for the ride without feeling shaky in the water.
So what are the other features that help the 12’6’’ V3 stand out? The coolest inclusion is the 8-piece fin, including a US center fin box and two side click fin boxes. With these fins, you can really fine tune your performance for any water setting or sport, optimizing the 12’6’’ V3’s performance. The V3 also has an extended traction pad with raised heel support for performing tricks and step-back turns. A enhanced dynamic rail system causes the board to stiffen whenever you make turns or are in rougher water, increasing the rigidity and performance of the board when you need it. The dynamic rail system is great though because it doesn’t significantly weigh down the board like with carbon reinforcement or force you to install/remove rails like some other SUPs. There are 6 D-rings for accessory customization, and a neoprene center carry handle for transporting the SUP.
It’s also worth highlighting the ERS V3 Core construction, which further bolsters the durability of the SUP with fused layers of fabric protecting the drop-stitch core without significantly weighing down the V3. The 12’6’’ V3 weighs 28 lbs when fully inflated, and has a recommended weight capacity of 350 lbs. Outside of the great tri-fin setup we described above, the V3 comes with a 28 ounce carbon hybrid paddle, 10’ coiled leash, single chamber pump, and roller backpack.
If you want a touring board that you can tackle almost any water setting with, definitely consider the ERS 12’6’’ touring board.
3. BLACKFIN Model V (Full Review)
The BLACKFIN Model V is the best option for those who are looking for an all-around/touring board hybrid. 12’6’’ long, it keeps a straight course well and a smooth glide in the water. This is among the most stable paddleboards on this list, the 32’’ wide SUP and 6’’ thick board able to support up to 485 lbs. Nimble in the water and easy to maneuver with, you’ll be able to have fun adventuring, racing, and doing other activities like fishing and yoga with the BLACKFIN Model V.
The Model V is among the most accessory and feature heavy boards on this list. There are 8 action mounts, 20 D-rings, 2 fishing mounts, and dual cargo bungee areas that are compatible with almost any SUP accessory on the market. The Model V has built in carbon rails, significantly increasing rigidity that you’ll never have to remove like other SUPs on this list. The premium deck pad is very long, featuring a stamp pattern that increases traction along with deep grooves for tracking your feet and draining water. We also like how the Model V has a very raised rocker, making this one of the best boards to take out in calm and moderate weather conditions alike.
BLACKFIN inflatable SUPs are built with triple-layer military grade composite PVC, making them some of the most resilient paddleboards on the market. The Model V has a tri-fin setup of snap lock fins, which you can install in seconds and don’t have any loose screws or plates to deal with. When fully inflated, the Model V will weigh 30 lbs, and features an impressive 485 lbs weight capacity. Included as part of the kit is a 30 ounce carbon fiber paddle, 10’ coiled leash, dual-chamber pump, repair kit, and roller backpack.
If you want a touring board that doubles as a paddleboard you can take your kids, a pet, or another adult paddler on, you’ll want to go out on the BLACKFIN Model V.
4. Hala Carbon Nass-T 14×28 Inflatable Touring SUP
If you want a touring board that can double as a racing board, you’ll love the Hala Carbon Nass-T 14×28 Inflatable SUP. Measuring 14’ long, you barely have to do much to keep a straight course in the water, and at a very fast pace too. The 28’’ wide deck and 4.75’’ thickness keep things very performance focused, with the cabron reinforced board offering performance very similar to a hardboard despite being an inflatable. You will accelerate fast, maintain your speed, and easily stay ahead of your friends while you adventure with the Carbon Nass-T.
There are a number of other cool features that make the Carbon Nass-T stand out as well. There is a slight nose and tail rocker, which will help the inflatable tackle waves better along with the pointed displacement like nose.The deckpad beneath the center handle has been slightly removed, lowering the handle and ensuring you won’t trip on it as you paddle with the SUP. The deck pad itself covers about half the length of the paddleboard, and is built with EVA foam and a diamond grooved texture pattern for maximum comfort and traction. Lastly, there is a raised foot index and 1.5’’ stomp pad, helping you keep track of your foot placement and perform step-back turns without looking down to see where you’re standing.
The Nass-T is built with a combination of a dual-layer fusion drop-stitch core and additional carbon reinforcement. The Carbon Nass-T will weigh about 30 lbs when fully inflated, and has a recommended max weight capacity of 350 lbs. The board features a single standard US fin box and comes with a 9’’ racing fin for improved tracking and speed. Other accessories include a single-chamber pump, roller backpack, and a repair kit.
The Hala Carbon Nass-T is a very performance focused board that is well suited for moderate to advanced paddlers. If you want something that shoots across the water and tracks like an arrow, you will want to go with the Carbon Nass-T.
5. Thurso Expedition (Full Review)
If you are interested in something that offers touring like performance, fantastic speed and easier to maneuver, check out the Thurso Surf Expedition 138 touring SUP. The Expedition is only 11’6’’ long, making it the shortest and most maneuverable paddleboard on this list. The expedition is 30’’ wide and 6’’ thick, and with carbon fiber rails offers fantastic stability coupled with great speed and glide in the water. The Expedition, and Thurso Surf boards, are some of our favorite boards to paddle with due to the expertise of Thurso Surf designer and founder Shenglong You. Shenglong You, with his PhD background in fluid dynamics, has designed his boards to be sleek, reducing drag and increasing speed in the water. The result is a very fast paddleboard, which is a ton of fun to use no matter the water setting.
There are other features outside of just the basic dimensions of the board. The integrated carbon fiber rails not only add further protection to the SUP, but increase its rigidity to increase stability, feel, and overall performance as well. There are 15 D-rings, dual bungee cargo areas, and a newly added action mount to the 2020 Expedition for extensive accessory compatibility coverage. The textured deck pad covers more than half the SUP, made of soft EVA foam that is comfortable to stand on and will provide traction support for extra board grip. Outside of the three neoprene carry handles, we also think the paddle holder straps are cool little additions that can be a huge help as well.
The Expedition is made from a dual-layer fusion construction build that features triple/quad levels of PVC coating protection while minimizing overall weight. The Expedition 138 has a tri-fin setup, with two snap-lock fins and a standard US fin box center fin. Fully inflated, the board weighs 28 lbs, and has a recommended weight capacity of 330 lbs. Additional accessories that come with the kit include a 32 ounce carbon fiber paddle, dual-chamber pump, 10’ coiled leash, repair kit, and thick nylon roller backpack.
If you want a touring board that’s a bit easier to handle, especially for beginners, go with the Thurso Surf Expedition 138.
6. Atoll 11′ (Full Review)
If you are in the market for something that is a bit shorter and slower, but is also more stable and easier to handle, we would suggest checking out the Atoll inflatable SUP. 11’ long, this paddleboard is also 32’’ wide and 6’’ thick. While this is more of an all-around/touring hybrid, it’s overall performance makes it one that is very beginner friendly, though a paddleboard that won’t track as well as the other touring boards on our list.
There are a few other great features that make the Atoll 11’ worth considering if you want a shorter, all-around/touring hybrid. The fifteen D-ring and bungee cargo area setup are great for attaching accessories to, and due to the overall shape, this is one of our preferred boards for using a kayak conversion kit on. The extended diamond-groove traction pad offers great grip support, improving your stability even more as you paddle while also helping water drain quicker off of the paddleboard. The three carry handle setup is simple, but the neoprene handles do make it very easy to lift this lighter SUP to and from the water. Oh, and can we mention the great design, from the four unique colors to the awesome Atoll Buffalo that marks the nose and belly of every paddleboard?
The 2020 Atoll 11’ SUP is made with machine laminated dual-layer PVC construction, maximizing durability while reducing overall paddleboard weight. The Atoll 11’ weighs just 21 lbs while having an impressive 400 lbs recommended weight capacity, though we were able to support even more than that from our own personal testing. Atoll’s paddle board comes with two permanent plastic molded side fins and a universal US center fin box with a 9’’ fin that further improves tracking and stability. Within the kit, you will also receive a single chamber pump, a fiberglass paddle, a 10’ coiled leash, a repair kit, and a roomy, heavy duty travel backpack.
So if you are looking to save some money and want an ultra-stable all-around/touring style inflatable SUP, we would suggest looking at the 2020 Atoll 11’ SUP!
6. Nixy Manhattan G3 (Read Full Review)
The Nixy Manhattan 12’6’’ G3 is the lightest and fastest touring SUP on our list. The Manhattan is a familiar 12’6’’ length, with a 30’’ width and 6’’ thickness. This thing tracks well and will maintain a straight and steady glide, besides being stable enough to support any sized adult paddler with ease. The thing that helps the Manhattan stand out though is its very light 22 lbs weight when fully inflated and installed with the center fin. If you want to zoom with your touring board, you’ll do it on the Manhattan G3 12’6’’.
There are things you’ll like outside of the speed with the Manhattan G3. This is another board built with awesome carbon fiber side rails for enhanced rigidity and performance. If you have accessories, you’ll be able to connect them to any of the 14 D-rings or beneath the dual-bungee cargo system. The non-slip Nixy traction pad looks cool and helps paddlers maintain a steady yet comfortable grip as they paddle, draining quickly if it ever gets wet. There are three carry handles that make it easy to lift the Manhattan G3, with the main center handle having a neoprene cover for additional support. We also appreciate the carry strap you can wear over your shoulder included with the SUP, a small addition perfect for younger, shorter paddlers who might otherwise struggle to lift this board.
The Manhattan G3 12’6’’ is built with dual-layer fusion that offers great protection against most common SUP accidents while keeping the board incredibly light. When inflated to 15 PSI (the Nixy can go up to 20 PSI comfortably), the board weighs just 22 lbs, the lightest on our recommended list. The recommended weight capacity for the board is 350 lbs, which can be exceeded with additional paddler experience. There is a single standard US fin box, compatible with most common SUP fins available through third party retailers. The kit also includes a fiberglass paddle, dual-chamber pump, 10’ coiled leash, and heavy duty roller backpack.
If you want something for a younger paddler, or the easiest touring board to hike in with, definitely consider the Nixy Manhattan G3 12’6’’.
7. Gili 12’ Adventure (Read Full Review)
For those who want a solid, good performing touring board for less than $700 dollars, check out the Gili 12’ Adventure. 12’ long, 32’’ wide, and 6’’ thick, this is a stable paddleboard that beginners will be able to paddle effortlessly, maintaining a straight and nimble glide in the water. Lakes, bays, marinas, coastlines, and even slow moving rivers and friendly ocean waves can all be explored and conquered with the Gili 12’ Adventure.
While the least expensive board on our top 2020 list, the Gili 12’ Adventure still packs a number of important features you’ll want to know about. With 17 D-rings and 3 Scotty mounts, accessory junkies and fishers alike will both have a blast using the 12’ Adventure. The color coded carry handles make lifting this lighter board a breeze, especially with the neoprene center handle. The extended EVA foam traction pad is very smooth, allowing you to avoid blisters and use the SUP for a yoga session during your paddling trip. The 12’ Adventure offers additional customization with its three unique color options, available in blue, teal, and yellow. GILI Sports also donates $12 to $15 dollars of the proceeds to ocean preservation charities, so support a fantastic cause by going with the 12’ Adventure.
GILI Sports has built the 12’ Adventure with a dual-layer fusion construction methodology that finds a balance of durability, strength, and stability while decreasing overall board weight. The 12’ Adventure weighs 24 lbs fully inflated, and has a recommended weight capacity of 330 lbs. The Adventure 12’ uses a tri-fin snap lock setup, with a 9’’ center fin and dual 4.5’’ side fins. Along with the board itself, the kit includes a 34 ounce fiberglass paddle, single-chamber pump, 8’ coiled leash, repair kit, and a thick, easy to carry backpack.
If you want a touring board that is available on a budget but offers solid performance, select the Gili 12’ Adventure!
Best Hard Touring SUPs
1. Starboard 14’ Waterline Carbon
The first hard paddleboard on our list, the Starboard 14’ Waterline is a touring board that is fast and smooth in the water, providing a truly awesome paddleboarding experience. This lean SUP is 14’ long and sports a very narrow V shaped nose, displacing flat water without causing any unnecessary splashing or disturbance for the ultimate glide and straight tracking. At its widest, the Waterline is 28’’, the rest of the board narrowing out in order to maximize speed and keep up with racing boards. 7.4’’ thick, this board also provides plenty of support so that beginners and larger paddlers alike should feel very stable on the paddleboard. If you are sticking to calm water environments, this is one of our favorite touring paddleboards when it comes to performance.
The shape of the 14’ Waterline Carbon makes it great for touring, but there are a number of other important features that make it one of our favorite hard SUPs too. Outside of the curvy shape that balances speed, stability, and glide, there is a rail edge on the tail that keeps water from soaking into the deck. The cutaway tail reduces drag and increases speed in calm water environments, while also acting as a stabilizer when the water starts to become choppy. The standing area is recessed, lowering your center of gravity for greater stability, control, and performance. The front cargo bay, beneath the forward bungees, is also recessed for greater storage space, security, and improved aerodynamic shape for a faster, smoother glide. As for the deck pad itself, it is built with a familiar but reliable EVA foam, being very comfortable to stand on while improving traction and grip for a steady paddling experience.
The 14’ Waterline Carbon is built with a combination of lightweight biaxial carbon and protective fiberglass to provide a very resilient hardboard that is also easy to carry. This hardboard weighs 26 lbs, and has a recommended weight capacity of 250 lbs. The 14’ Waterline Carbon has a single standard US fin setup, with a 24’’ racing fin included with the Waterline Carbon. The kit also comes with a 2 in 1 shoulder carry strap, which you can use to carry your board or secure a paddle to the Waterline Carbon once you’re on the board.
For those who want a performance heavy hardboard that is silent, smooth, and speedy in the water, definitely consider the Starboard 14’ Waterline Carbon.
2. Pau Hana 12’ Endurance VFT
If you prefer hardboard performance but want the stability and weight capacity closer to an inflatable, you will love the Pau Hana 12’ Endurance VFT. This extremely stable touring board will keep a straight course while being extremely easy to stand on, measuring 12’ long and 32’’ wide in the midsection. Built 6.5’’ thick with vacuum foam technology, this hardboard incorporates polyester foam technology similar to an inflatable drop-stitch core for added SUP stability. Hardboards typically don’t have huge weight support, but the Endurance VFT has a recommended weight capacity of 425 lbs. This is a fantastic touring board for overnight adventures or going out with your kids, pet, or a tandem paddler.
Outside of its impressive stability and performance, there are a few other key features that help this touring hardboard stick out. The elongated nose, wide midsection, and tapered tail section work together to provide a great balance of stability, glide, maneuverability, and speed. 19 SeaMounts are fantastic for attaching a wide range of accessories and add-ons to make your paddling adventure a more enjoyable one. The self regulating vent on the tail allows air to pass through the board, reducing air drag, while also preventing water and other debris from entering the board. The air vent also greatly extends the life of the paddleboard, minimizing damage that can occur when left in extreme heat. The extra soft EVA deck pad will allow you to paddle all day and all night without irritating your feet or developing blisters. Finally, we love how there are dual neoprene handles located on the nose and tail, making it real easy to lift the Endurance along with the center handle insert.
The 12’ Endurance VFT takes its name in part from the vacuum formed technology that combines a polyester foam core with traditional hardboard epoxy for an extra stable hardboard. This hardboard weighs 34 lbs and 8 ounces, and has a recommended weight capacity of 425 lbs. The 12’ Endurance has a single standard US fin box, and comes with a 9’’ center fin.
Looking for the ultimate adventure board you can paddle day and night, or something super stable you can go out with your friends on? Go with the Pau Hana 12’ Endurance VFT.
3. BOTE 14’ Traveller SUP
Touring boards work best in calm, flat water settings, but there are those who want to explore rougher water as well. For the truly adventurous who want to challenge everything, we recommend the BOTE 14’ Traveller SUP. This is an extremely large and heavy SUP, 14’ long, 29.5’’ wide, and 7’’ thick. In total, the 14’ Traveller weighs 42 lbs, but with that weight it offers stellar performance that is only marginally impacted by moderate weather conditions. The 14’’ Traveller will keep a straight and steady course, agile but very stable, whether it be on a calm lake or through larger waves as you tour along the coast line.
We also love the 14’ Traveller due to its large number of additional features, making it well suited for yoga, fishers, and many other types of paddlers. The recessed deck will lower your center of gravity, further helping you maintain control of your SUP as you tackle rougher waters. A paddle sheath is included for storing your paddle if you want to take a swim or practice some yoga, besides a dual-bungee system for other coolers and containers. The 14’ Traveller is compatible with RAC accessory systems, allowing fishers to load up the board with seats, rod holders, and other fishing gear. The BVA multi-textured deck pad sheds water and prevents the board from getting slick, while being comfortable to stand on to reduce paddler fatigue. We also really like the comfortable center handle insert, with additional transportation compatibility through the BOTE Travelink shoulder strap and wheel RAC.
The BOTE 14’ Traveller is built with the ultra tough BOTE Gatorshell technology, protecting the board against UV rays, water damage, and most common accidents that befall a paddleboard. The 14’ Traveller weighs 42 lbs, and has a recommended weight capacity of 315 lbs. The 14’ Traveller has a single standard US fin box, and comes with a 9’’ plastic center fin. The Traveller also comes with an excellent, lightweight full carbon paddle.
If you see yourself paddling in troubled waters more often than not, you’ll be able to tackle the challenge with the BOTE 14’ Traveller.
4. Boardworks 11’6’’ Navigator
The Boardworks 11’6’’ Navigator is a touring/all-around hybrid that features traditional straight tracking and glide, but is shorter in length for increased maneuverability. Besides it’s 11’6’’ length, the Navigator has a 31’’ wide deck and a 7.2’’ thickness coupled with a wide but pointed nose for a stable but quick moving paddleboard. This is also the least expensive hard paddleboard on our touring list, providing a very smooth glide for less than $1100 dollars. With this board, you’ll not only be able to tackle calm lakes and bays, but even be able to surf friendly longboard style waves.
So what other features make the 11’6’’ Navigator worth checking out? There are 8 tie down points, which not only support the dual-bungee system but are compatible with many SUP accessories as well. The LiftSUP handle gives you something to grab to carry the board that you can also push down once you’re on the water so you won’t trip on it while paddling. The Honey Comb deck pad is extremely soft to stand on, and is slightly recessed to keep water from soaking into the board and causing you to slip. The 11’6’’ Navigator also has a self regulating vent plug, improving aerodynamic performance and protecting the board against pressure build up when used on a hot summer day.
Boardworks 11’6’’ Navigator is built with their ultra-durable Bombshell technology protecting an EPS core, integrating epoxy, kevlar, and PVC for fantastic protection. This board weighs 34 lbs, and has a recommended paddler weight of 250 lbs that can be exceeded with proper cargo placement. The 11’6’’ Navigator has a single standard US fin box with a 9’’ FCS II Connect fin, which is very easy to install and one of our favorite fins on the market.
Those interested in more maneuverable touring board that can do anything from going on long day adventures to some casual surfing will want to go with the Boardworks 11’6’’ Navigator.
5. 404 Arrow Carbon 14′ Paddle Board
For those who don’t care about a ton of extra features and just want a fast touring board with an incredible glide, we recommend the 404 Arrow Carbon 14’ touring board. 14’ long and 24’’ wide, this displacement board cuts through still water and small waves with ease, and will keep up or even out pace many racing boards as well. 7.1’’ thick, there is still plenty of stability and support with this narrow hardboard, most beginners or intermediate paddlers can use it and have a great time. The recommended weight capacity is lower than most of the boards on this list, so heavier paddlers will want to get some practice in first before going with the Arrow Carbon. Once you’re confident you know how to paddleboard though and you want something smooth and fast, definitely check out the Arrow Carbon 14’.
This is a very performance oriented board and doesn’t offer much in terms of accessory support, but there are still a few features we want to highlight. The molded SUP traction pad offers great grip support and sits in a recess to reduce the overall drag of the board. Multiple self regulating air vents can be found on the Arrow Carbon, further improving acceleration and the Arrow Carbon’s ability to maintain momentum in the water. There is a center neoprene handle that is very comfortable to grab. There is also a FCS plug, which is compatible with some SUP branded accessories like GoPro cameras and dry-bags.
The Arrow Carbon is the lightest board on our recommended list, but still has a very solid build that relies on a EPS foam core protected by a carbon-fiber shell. The Arrow Carbon 14’ weighs 23.5 lbs, and has a recommended paddler weight of 225 lbs. The Arrow Carbon 14’ is built with a standard US fin box, and comes with a 9’ touring fin.
If you don’t care about unnecessary features and just want a fast touring board with excellent tracking, the 404 Arrow Carbon 14’ is the board for you!
Touring SUP Buying Guide
Any of the above recommended paddleboards will more than likely satisfy the typical consumer interested in a top-performing touring SUP. However, there are those who might want something even more specific or are interested in evaluating paddleboards for themselves. Below, you will find the key criteria we used to determine our list of 2020 top recommended touring SUPs. We recommend evaluating any board you’re looking at with these key factors before purchasing:
- Tracking. Tracking refers to how well the SUP follows a straight path when paddling. Generally, the longer the touring board is, the straighter it will go in the water. Your paddling technique will also have a significant impact on the direction you go in the water, along with the type of center fin that you use. While you will never go perfectly straight on a paddleboard, most touring boards will maintain a steady direction, even with inexperienced paddlers.
- Glide. Glide is a general term referring to how the touring board floats in the water. Touring boards are made with displacement hulls that are meant to cut through the water instead of riding on top of and over it. Longer, thinner noses are better suited for still water, providing a very smooth and noiseless glide. Fatter, wider noses will handle chop and waves better, though touring boards generally aren’t meant to be taken out in severe weather conditions. Go with the style of nose best suited for the water settings you frequent the most!
- Speed. Speed is straightforward and refers to how fast the board will be in the water. All touring boards tend to be faster than most other SUPs, outside of dedicated racing boards. It is important to note though that the thinner a SUP is, the faster it will generally be in the water. Hardboards will also typically be 15% to 20% faster than an inflatable SUP with the same dimensions. There are also dedicated racing fins that can bolster speed as well, though they tend to be long and usable only in deep lakes and ocean paddling.
- Stability. Stability should be the most important factor for beginners, as it is a huge indicator of how easy it is to learn how to paddle with a touring SUP. While not inherently built with stability in mind, the large size of a touring SUP causes them to be very stable to use. The foremost guiding principle is that the wider and thicker a SUP is, the more stable it will be. Inflatable paddleboards offer greater stability and weight support than similarly shaped hardboards, often by one to two hundred lbs. Paddleboards with a tri-fin setup will also boost overall stability, though they tend to be touring/all-around hybrid boards.
- Durability. Both hardboard and inflatable paddleboards are built to last, and when made well are very hard to break. Inflatables are more durable than hard paddleboards, as they’ll withstand most common drops, crashes, and other SUP accidents without suffering any performance damage. Hardboards are very resilient as well, and while they suffer minor chipping from most common accidents such injuries should cause minimal to no performance loss. Typically, the thicker and heavier the SUP is, the more durable and protected it will be against SUP injuries. While it’s very unlikely you’ll ever need to get a board repaired, you’ll want to know what the board manufacturer warranty is as well.
- Versatility/Other SUP Activities. Due to their large size, touring SUPs can offer support for several other SUP activities depending on how they are built. Touring boards with soft and comfortable deck pads are great for finding inner peace with some SUP yoga. Boards built with the right accessory slots and compatibility are great for those looking for a high performance fishing SUP. If you have large longboard style waves in your area, you can take out some touring SUPs and try out some casual surfing. Touring boards are built for adventures, but go with the right board and you can have a ton of fun doing other things too!
- Other important factors. Due to their long length, most touring boards aren’t very manuverable and won’t turn on the spot like a racing or aggressive sport SUP can. However, if you do want something that is easier to handle or turn, you can go with something shorter, such as a touring/all-around hybrid SUP. Hybrid boards also tend to offer larger accessory compatibility than performance focused touring boards, which is great for more casual users. Finally, most high-end performance touring boards are very expensive, with touring/all-around SUPs being far more affordable by comparison.
Inflatable Touring Board or Hard Touring board?
This is one of the most popular questions out there when it comes to paddleboard: is it better to go with an inflatable or hard paddleboard? The short answer is that the two are similar enough that you will have a great time paddleboarding with either, though there are some key differences between the two. For those who want to tailor their SUP experience, here are the most important performance highlights and features that set apart touring inflatable and epoxy/hard paddleboards:
Benefits of Using a Inflatable Touring Board:
- Inflatable SUPs are more stable, often supporting 100 to 200 lbs more than a similarly shaped hard SUP.
- Inflatables are more durable than hard paddleboards, resistant to common drops, crashes, and other SUP accidents.
- Inflatables weigh less than similarly shaped SUPs, and often have more carrying options.
- Inflatables are easier to pack up than hard SUPs, allowing you to load it in a small car or store in an apartment.
- Inflatables are less expensive than a similarly shaped hard paddleboard, typically by several hundred dollars.
- Inflatable SUPs typically come with greater warranty coverage, and are easier to ship than hard SUPs
Benefits of Using a Hard Touring Board:
- Hard SUPs have true displacement hulls, offering a better glide that truly cuts through chop unlike inflatables that ride over it.
- Hard touring boards track straighter than inflatables, making it easier to keep a steady course.
- Hard touring SUPs are faster than inflatables of a similar size, often by 15% to 20%.
- Hard touring SUPs don’t have pumps or other extra parts you have to bring with you.
- Hard paddleboards are easier to repair at local shops compared to inflatable SUPs.
- Hard touring boards perform better in light chop, waves, and wind than similarly shaped inflatable SUPS.
Tips for Making the Most of Your Touring Board
So, once you have a touring board, you’re probably wondering what to do with it. Just paddle! You’ll quickly fall in love with how easy it is to maintain a straight course with a touring board, besides how steady and smooth it is to ride in calm water. Or, you might even be more adventurous and take it out to paddle along the bay or coast, exploring the deep blue sea. Even those brand new to the world of SUP sports will find it doesn’t take much to have a great time, though we do have a few tips to make your experience even better.
- Focus on perfecting your paddling form. Outside of the SUP itself, the biggest impact on how you track in the water is making sure you’re using a proper paddling technique. Is your paddle facing the right way? Are you making sure to plant that paddle deep enough in the water? Is your paddle the right size, and are you scraping across the side of the SUP? Keep practicing your paddling form until it feels natural, and you’ll have no trouble maintaining a straight and steady course as you explore lakes and the ocean alike.
- Master the step-back turn. You can turn a touring board on the spot and turn whichever direction you want, but it involves learning how to perform a step-back turn. Move a foot to the tail of the SUP, and push your weight down into the board. As you push your weight down, the nose of the touring board will rise into the air, and allow you to paddle and pivot on the spot. Some touring boards even feature tail arch support in order to make step-back turns easier. It’s a simple trick, but it will greatly expand your board’s maneuverability and allow you to navigate most water areas just as well as other boards.
- Prepare properly for the water. Some paddleboards come with a leash, and while that will keep your SUP close if you fall in, wearing it or not won’t help you stay afloat. Most water environments require you to have a PFD by law, but even if they don’t be sure to wear one to stay safe, even in shallow water. Touring boards are a lot of fun and great for paddling from dusk to dawn, but that’s a lot of time you’ll be spending in the sun. Apply sunscreen or wear appropriate attire before going out, and make sure you drink plenty of water as you paddle through the day. With the bungee systems on many paddleboards, you’ll have a convenient place to store water that won’t get in your way!
Want the most important tip of all when it comes to touring boards? Remember to have fun! We love touring boards for their stellar tracking, glide, and speed, perfect for zooming across the ocean or exploring the nooks and crannies of wide open lakes. Touring boards will let you out paddle your friends, while being stable enough to often support bringing kids, a pet, or a partner along. Touring SUPs are very beginner friendly, while also offering a high performance level so that experienced paddlers can use them for trying out new tricks or going on grand, multi-day adventures. Touring boards have something to offer to everyone, so try one if you want to explore a new dimension of stand-up paddleboarding.
Thank you for reading, and we hope our Best Touring Paddleboards of 2020 has been helpful to you. Want to know more about one of these boards, or have a question about some other paddleboard you found while exploring the web? We love to answer questions, and are happy to help you figure out the best paddleboard for you. We also update our list as we receive and try out new paddleboards, so be sure to check back to see our up to date recommendations. If you have any other thoughts, be sure to leave them below or shoot us an email with any questions or feedback you have for us.
We hope you have fun SUPing!