Interested in purchasing a touring paddle board, but don’t know where to start? Then you’ve come to the right place, as you’ll find our top 2021 touring stand up paddle boards 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 paddle board. Our team at SupBoardGuide.com have noticed a lot 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 paddle boarding 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 paddle boarding. 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 paddle boards are very lightweight, easy to pack up, and transport. They tend to offer greater stability and weight support than hard paddle boards, and usually offer a ton of accessory options as well. Inflatable paddle boards are less expensive than hard paddle boards, and typically feature greater warranty protection besides easier shipping. Hikers, teenagers, families, and those who want an easy paddle board to learn with will all prefer inflatable paddle boards.
Hard touring paddle boards are definitely more rigid, giving you a better overall feel as you’re paddling in the water. Hard touring paddle boards also have better overall tracking and speed, which will help you paddle longer once you’re out on the water. Hard touring paddle boards 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 paddle boarding experience, consider a hard touring paddle board.
Once you have an idea whether an inflatable or hard touring paddle board is for you, be sure to read on for our favorite touring paddle boards 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. Blackfin Model V
- 2. RedPaddleCo 12’6 Sport
- 3. Sea Gods Carta Marina
- 4. Gili 12’ Adventure
- 5. Thurso Expedition
- 6. Paddle North The Portager
- 7. Atoll 11′
- 8. Sea Gods Ketos
- 9. NIXY Manhattan
Top Rated Touring SUPs Currently Out of Stock
- Hala Carbon Nass-T 14×26
1. BLACKFIN Model V (Full Review)
The more we paddle the BLACKFIN Model V, the more we like it as what we call an all around touring SUP. Basically, we rank the Model V so high because even though it is long and fast (as you want a touring SUP to be), it’s also very stable and is an excellent adventure SUP. This board was made for long touring adventures.
At 12’6 x 32″ x 6″, it’s a little bit wider than what you would expect from a dedicated touring board. We were a little worried this width would slow the board down – but that simply hasn’t been the case. The BLACKFIN Model V has consistently been one of the fastest touring iSUPs in our testing this year – especially for beginner paddlers. Do we think the board would be faster if it were 30″ wide? Yes, however, because of that extra 2″ of width you do get a higher weight capacity (485 lbs) and more stable board. That makes it so you can use the Model V for both long touring paddles across the lake, and also use it as an adventure board and load it with a ton of gear (or kids even).
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, slightly increasing rigidity and durability and giving this SUP a really nice feel on the water. 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.
Bottom line – this is the paddle board I grab for long touring adventures because I’m always bringing gear and/or kids and the Model V performs very well with that extra weight.
The RedPaddleCo 12’6’’ Sport is a top-notch touring SUP and is the fastest inflatable on this list. The overall shape of the board combined with the new speed tail technology makes this a really fun touring iSUP and is the board we recommend for those who are not limited by budget and who don’t want all the accessories you find on the Blackfin. If you are looking to paddle long distances for fitness, or just go on longer touring adventures, this is a fantastic option.
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.
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 the top of the line Titan II pump, a durable roller backpack, a repair kit, and a waterproof cell phone case.
If you are interested in a touring board that is fast, has a smooth glide, and is built for beginners and advanced paddlers alike, you will love the RedPaddleCo 12’6’’ Sport.
3. Sea Gods Carta Marina (Full Review)
We’ve only recently started to review Sea Gods paddle boards, but after trying the Carta Marina 12’ we are glad we are. This is one of the best looking touring SUPs on the market, with touring performance that matches its stellar looks.
At 12′ long, the Carta Marina is a little shorter than what you would expect from a classic touring iSUP. While you do lose a little bit of speed, it makes this a nice touring board that can also be used as a longer all-around SUP.
The 32’’ width and 6’’ thickness provide a 350 lb weight capacity, so you can take a good amount of gear with you on the longer touring paddles.
Moving onto the accessories, we’re mostly impressed by what is included with the board. The pump is the only let down, since it is a slower single-chamber pump that takes over 10 to 15 minutes to inflate the Carta Marina. However, the roller backpack is very rugged, letting you travel almost anywhere with your whole board kit fitting easily inside the oversized bag. A very lightweight carbon fiber paddle is also included, and right now it is honestly one of our favorite paddles to be included with a SUP. Just as cool is the Kumano Click In fin, taking seconds to install in the US fin box and providing greater security and customization than snap-lock fins. Oh, and how about a lifetime warranty included with every brand new board, with free repairs for defects and discounted services for accidental damage?
If looks matter just as much as performance, then the Sea Gods Carta Marina 12’ is definitely the touring SUP you will want to add to your collection.
4. Gili 12’ Adventure (Read Full Review)
For those who want a solid, good performing touring board for a great price, check out the Gili 12’ Adventure. 12’ long, 32’’ wide, and 6’’ thick, this is a stable paddle board 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 one of the less expensive boards on our top 2021 list, the Gili 12’ Adventure still packs a number of important features you’ll want to know about. With 20 D-rings, 3 action mounts, and 2 Scotty mounts, accessory junkies and fishers alike will both have a blast using the 12’ Adventure. The 3 carry handles make lifting this lighter board a breeze and also makes launching the board easy. The extended EVA foam traction pad is both comfortable and grippy, and even comes with a raised diamond-grove kick pad. The 12’ Adventure offers additional customization with its four unique color options, available in blue, teal, orange, and yellow. GILI Sports also donates a portion 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 23 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 really nice hybrid carbon fiber/nylon blade paddle, single-chamber pump, 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!
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 paddle board 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 nice speed and feel of the boards on the water.
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 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 carbon fiber side rails for enhanced 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 shorter touring board that’s a bit easier to handle, go with the Thurso Surf Expedition 138.
6. Paddle North The Portager (Full Review)
The Portager from Paddle North makes it’s debut on our best touring iSUPs list for 2021! This is the first year we’ve tested the Portager, and have been pretty impressed so far. At 11’6 x 33″, the Portager falls closely to the Thurso Expedition as one of the shorter touring iSUPs on this list, and it’s looks reminds us a little of the Atoll 11 iSUP.
Performance wise, the Portager is not quite as fast as the longer and thinner 12’6 iSUPs, which is to be expected. However, the the shorter length makes this a light weight board that can also be used in the all-around category, and the extra thickness makes the board more stable than some other touring iSUPs.
The Portager is also what we like to call a ‘minimalist SUP’. It has a very clean deck pad that isn’t cluttered by tons of features/actions mounts. You get 2 cargo bungee areas (front and rear), 2 carry handles (middle and rear), and a split deckpad that has great feel and grip. In other words – it’s not the most feature-rich SUP when it comes to action mounts, cup holders, ect. – but there is something nice about a classic, clean SUP deck. If that’s what your looking for, along with a more mountain-lake vibe vs beach vibe, then you will love the 11’6 Portager from Paddle North.
7. 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 paddle board 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 paddle board 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 paddle board. 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 paddle board?
The 2021 Atoll 11’ SUP is made with machine laminated dual-layer PVC construction, maximizing durability while reducing overall paddle board weight. The Atoll 11’ weighs just 21 lbs while having an impressive 400 lbs recommended weight capacity (just note that as you approach that weight capacity you do lose performance). 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 2021 Atoll 11’ SUP!
The Sea Gods Ketos 14′ Touring/Racing SUP has been one of the most impressive 14′ inflatable boards we have tested. The 14′ length offers excellent tracking but that tracking ability improves even more once you account for the integrated hull and long touring Kumano fin that also comes with this board. The integrated hull in the front of the board helps you sail across the water with minimal effort slicing through any chop and keeping you on a straight path. Also, the ultralight design of this board, weighing in at 22lbs, is also impressive as Sea Gods utilized their ULF Fusion Construction to create a rigid and fast board that you can hike anywhere to start your journey on.
Other features on the Sea Gods Ketos Inflatable SUP that we like include the very grippy diamond grooved deck pad, the 2 cargo sections (1 in front, 1 in back), and the stellar artwork on this board designed by a local artisan. The meaning behind this board as stated on the Ketos product page is very accurate in terms of what this board is intended for: “To the ancient Greeks whales were sea monsters. Whales were Ketos.
The Ketos. A monster. A racer. It will take you across the sea as fast as your imagination will conjure up dreams of the deep.”
Sea Gods also includes some of the best accessories that we have seen included with a stand up paddle board kit. The carbon fiber paddle is one of our favorite included paddles to date, the heavy duty roller back pack you can tell is very high quality and one of the most comfortable packs as well. Included is also a single chamber pump that is perfect for hiking to your destination, a leash, repair kit, and a sheet of stickers. We have been very pleased with this set up as it is everything you need to get out on the water.
This Race/Touring Inflatable SUP Board is perfect for those looking to easily glide across the water for hours on end on a stylish board that is more than likely to draw the eyes of other paddlers as well.
9. 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’’.
Best Touring Stand Up Paddle Boards Currently Out of Stock
6. 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 paddle board, 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.
Best Hard Touring SUPs
1. Starboard 14’ Waterline Carbon
The first hard paddle board on our list, the Starboard 14’ Waterline is a touring board that is fast and smooth in the water, providing a truly awesome paddle boarding 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 paddle board. If you are sticking to calm water environments, this is one of our favorite touring paddle boards 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 paddle board, 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 paddle board. 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 paddle board. This is also the least expensive hard paddle board 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 paddle board 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 paddle boards 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 paddle boards for themselves. Below, you will find the key criteria we used to determine our list of 2021 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 paddle board, 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 paddle boards offer greater stability and weight support than similarly shaped hardboards, often by one to two hundred lbs. Paddle boards 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 paddle boards are built to last, and when made well are very hard to break. Inflatables are more durable than hard paddle boards, 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 paddle board: is it better to go with an inflatable or hard paddle board? The short answer is that the two are similar enough that you will have a great time paddle boarding 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 boards:
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 paddle boards, 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 paddle board, 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 paddle boards 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 paddle boards 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 paddle boards, 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 paddle boarding.
Thank you for reading, and we hope our Best Touring Paddle boards of 2021 has been helpful to you. Want to know more about one of these boards, or have a question about some other paddle board you found while exploring the web? We love to answer questions, and are happy to help you figure out the best paddle board for you. We also update our list as we receive and try out new paddle boards, 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!