Best Touring Paddle Boards – 2021

Best Touring Paddle Boards – 2021

Not all paddle boards are created equal, so when it comes down to what board best suits, there are a whole bunch of considerations you need to take into account. Your size, paddling experience and general level of fitness. The type of paddling you plan on doing and the water and weather conditions you’ll be paddling in. How long will you be spending on the water, what sort of external board features are you after or how much versatility are you looking to get out of your board? How deep are your pockets?

Brilliant exercise and a great way to decompress and engage with nature, for the more experienced SUPers, paddle board touring and paddling over longer distances for extended periods of time is what it is all about.

Many of the better quality all-round paddle boards on the market will likely do the trick for the vast majority of recreational paddlers. For those looking to take their paddling to the next level however, purpose built touring SUPs or boards designed that specifically cater for longer distance paddling, can turn a good day out on the water into a great one.

Below we cover off the key considerations that you should factor in when determining what touring board will best suit your needs.

Best Touring Paddle Boards

What is a Touring Paddle Board

A lot of what you may see on the water these days are typically best classed as all round SUPs. That is, they are suitable for all round conditions and as such cater to the majority of recreational paddle boarders who are looking for a nice balanced ride that offers versatility in different water conditions.

While all round boards can be used for longer distances and touring, for the more experienced paddles who are looking for more, purpose built touring paddle boards are designed with performance in mind.

Longer in length (as much as 14’), a touring SUP will typically be narrower through the body of the board with a more aggressive sleek design. The nose and sometimes tail of the board is sharper which reduces drag making it easier to cut through the water.

Coupled with a large centre fin, their longer length and sleeker design enables touring SUPs to get up greater speed and glide across the water as well as promoting better straight line tracking. Catering to experienced paddlers, they are more efficient through the water which helps reduce fatigue when paddling over longer distances.

The larger surface area also means that they have a greater weight carrying capacity making them well suited for multi-day touring excursions, SUP fishing or camping.

SUP Loaded with Camping Accessories
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Inflatable or Hard Board?

More than likely the first base that you will want to cover off. What will best suit my needs – an inflatable or a hard / epoxy board? Both options have their own unique traits. Understanding the key differences and benefits will better help you hone in on what direction to take.

Inflatable

? far easier to transport and store given their portability
? lighter in weight both in and out of the water
? more durable than a hard board and less prone to chips, dents, cracks and scratches
? offer greater stability with a significantly higher weight carrying capacity
? ride higher in the water for greater buoyancy and a drier deck surface
? not as expensive as hard boards with a broader range of pricing brackets
? cheaper shipping costs and longer manufacturers warranty coverage
? greater ability to configure from an external board features perspective
? more cushioned deck surface which helps with paddling fatigue over longer distances

Hard / Epoxy

? perform better in adverse weather conditions (choppier waters or high winds)
? higher level of performance in terms of speed, glide and straight line tracking
? no need for unpacking and pumping so quick and easy to get on the water
? can be easier to repair locally as opposed to returning to the manufacturer

Male Paddler on SUP Tour with Cargo

What Board is Right for You?

Satisfy yourself based on the following and you’re likely on the right track:

? Paddling Experience – how comfortable are you on the water? Do you consider yourself a novice or are you a seasoned paddler who has clocked up the miles? This will likely govern the performance oriented features you are looking for as well as answering the above – the inflatable vs hard board question?

? Quality – as is quite often the case, you definitely get what you pay for when it comes to paddle boards. As touring typically means spending more time on the water, travelling over longer distances and in varying water conditions, you really don’t want to be cutting too many corners. Probably best that you stay away from entry-level boards and focus on a quality product from a reputable manufacturer.

Pay particular attention to the manufacturers capabilities and standing within the industry. Do they dabble in a whole host of sports or are they a dedicated paddle board or water sports manufacturer? Get a feel for their design, materials and construction methodology. Are they a Chinese based mass board producer or an in country focused specialist manufacturer? Do they offer a genuine manufacturers warranty with customer service, support and importantly, spare parts?

? Performance – if high performance is a key factor, then a hard board that is longer in length with a more focused sleeker design will likely make the most sense. Longer boards will track better through the water and normally have a greater weight carrying capacity. If you are not particularly experienced, a slightly wider iSUP will offer greater stability although will not be as efficient in terms of speed, glide and tracking. iSUPs do of course also have a greater weight carrying capacity so are well suited for heavier paddlers or for carrying more kit.

? Features – a single only centre fin that is longer in length is optimal for straight line tracking and paddling efficiency while a tri-fin configuration will make the board easier to manoeuvre and turn as well as aiding performance and control in more adverse water and weather conditions.

All paddle boards should have either a brushed or grooved EVA foam deck traction padding for both grip and comfort while paddling. Owing to their softer deck, iSUPs offer more comfort which is better again while paddling over distance or for doing stationary board exercises or even SUP fishing. A bungee cargo area is a must have for distance paddling but if you are looking to further accessorise the board, then iSUPs again will offer options in terms of multiple D-rings and/or action mounts.

Male Paddler on Epoxy Touring SUP

Preparation, Tips and Safety

◽️Safety First – experienced or otherwise, you’ll be on the water for an extended period of time so your safety should always be a priority. Wearing your Personal Flotation Device (PFD) and paddle board leash should become second nature. Carrying a whistle, waterproof flash light and first aid kit in your dry bag is also a great idea.

◽️Have a Float Plan – check the weather; know the waterways; speak with the locals or read up on recent blog posts and communicate your travel plans with others. You can never over plan so make sure you cover this base.

◽️Pack Light / Pack Smart – a lot will depend on the amount of time you will be spending on the water and whether you’ll be doing a multi-day trip. Think about; food and water; sun protection; a cooler for drinks; dry bag; repair kit; weather proofing clothing; portable battery charger and other. Our post on Paddle Board Camping – the Complete Beginners Guide covers off all of these essentials and much more.

Outdoor Master Shark Electric SUP Pump

Recommended Touring SUPs

Glide 02 Quest Inflatable Touring iSUP

▪️Length: 12’6” (381 cm)
▪️Width: 30” (76 cm)
▪️Thickness: 6” (15 cm)
▪️Volume: 320 litres
▪️Weight: 23 lbs (10.4 kgs)
▪️Capacity: 400 lbs (181 lbs)

Glide 02 Quest Inflatable Touring SUP
Highlights

☑️ Ultra durable fusion construction
☑️ Built for speed and straight line tracking
☑️ Significant weight carrying capacity
☑️ Designed to maximise glide and stability
☑️ Ample volume for greater buoyancy

☑️ Non-slip brushed EVA deck traction pad
☑️ Lightweight at 23 lbs
☑️ 9” centre fin / USA-style fin box
☑️ Quality accessories package
☑️ 2 year manufacturers warranty

Summary

Arguably the most eco-friendly manufacturer out there, Glide utilise their own proprietary construction technology in the production of both their rigid and inflatable paddle boards. The 02 Quest iSUP is made from layers of fuse laminated military-grade PVC for optimal rigidity and durability. The high pressure heat pressed rails envelope the boards perimeter to further enhance rigidity creating a durable structure that can withstand extreme pressure once fully inflated.

At 12’6” long and 30” wide with an aggressive and sleek aerodynamic design, the Quest builds up plenty of speed particularly across flat waters. More suited to experienced paddlers, the board has a significant weight carrying capacity ideal for heavier riders or for tackling longer distances with additional kit. The single 9” centre fin helps optimise tracking or directional paddling while the flat bottom deck maximises glide and supports better stability for rider comfort.


Atoll Paddle Boards 11′ iSUP

▪️Length: 11’ (335 cm)
▪️Width: 32” (81 cm)
▪️Thickness: 6” (15 cm)
▪️Volume: 238 litres
▪️Weight: 21 lbs (9.5 kgs)
▪️Capacity: 400 lbs (181 kgs)

Atoll Paddle Boards 11’ iSUP
Highlights

☑️ Extremely durable and stable
☑️ Sleek design to enhance performance
☑️ Significant rider weight capacity
☑️ Lightweight for greater responsiveness
☑️ Diamond grooved deck traction padding

☑️ Highly versatile all-round paddling
☑️ Tri-fin set-up for better manoeuvrability
☑️ Includes carbon fibreglass paddle
☑️ All inclusive accessories package
☑️ 2 years manufacturers warranty

Summary

At 11’ in length, the Atoll iSUP closely mimics a typical all round paddle boards characteristics and as such offers greater overall paddling versatility. Constructed using Korean Drop-stitch Technology, Atoll have produced a very light-weight iSUP that still offers a high degree of stiffness and rigidity. In fact at only 21 lbs and a recommended rider capacity of 400 lbs (manufacturer tested to 700 lbs), there isn’t a great deal that this paddle board can’t handle.

While not as aggressively designed as some of the other recommended boards, Atoll boards are well suited for those newer to paddle boarding in that they are quite stable and offer plenty of buoyancy. With a tapered nose and tail as well as a mild front rocker, the board tracks nicely through the water. Aided by its rigidity, the tri-fin configuration and flat bottom design makes the board quite agile and more manoeuvrable than a single centre fin only set-up.


Aquaplanet Stinger iSUP

▪️Length: 12’6” (381 cm)
▪️Width: 29” (74 cm)
▪️Thickness: 6” (15 cm)
▪️Volume: Not Available
▪️Weight: 31 lbs (14 kgs)
▪️Capacity: 353 lbs (160 kgs)

Aquaplanet 12’6” Stinger iSUP
Highlights

☑️ Highly durable fuse laminate construction
☑️ Quality straight line paddling performance
☑️ Sleek design for greater speed
☑️ Ample rider weight capacity
☑️ 2 bungees for greater storage

☑️ EVA diamond cut deck traction padding
☑️ Suitable for experienced paddlers
☑️ US fin box for greater configurability
☑️ Quality accessories package
☑️ 12 month manufacturers warranty

Summary

You only need to look at the Stinger to work out that this board is built for speed. Measuring 12’6” long with an ultra-sleek design, the Stinger is a purpose built touring and racing paddle board. With a significant weight carrying capacity, moderate board mid-section and sharp nose with mild front rocker, the Stinger offers significant straight line speed and tracking which is enhanced yet again by the 8” detachable dolphin centre fin.

More targeted to the experienced paddler, the Stinger performs well in both flat water conditions as well as moderate swell in choppier seas making it ideally suited for touring or paddling over longer distances. The composite laminate fusion construction technology offers unrivaled stiffness and rigidity and with significant weight carrying capacity and two separate bungee systems, there is ample storage for those longer days on the water.


South Bay Board Co. Hippocamp iSUP

▪️Length: 11’6” (350 cm)
▪️Width: 32” (81 cm)
▪️Thickness: 6” (15 cm)
▪️Volume: 340 litres
▪️Weight: 21 lbs (9.5 kgs)
▪️Capacity: 450 lbs (204 kgs)

South Bay Board Co. 11’6” Hippocamp iSUP Package
Highlights

☑️ Proprietary technology and build quality
☑️ Plenty of volume for greater buoyancy
☑️ Lightweight for enhanced manoeuvrability
☑️ Huge weight carrying capacity
☑️ Tapered nose and tail for better glide

☑️ Comfortable textured deck padding
☑️ Tri-fin configuration for added versatility
☑️ Feature packed external board inclusions
☑️ Unrivaled accessories package
☑️ Ideal for touring, fishing and camping

Summary

If features are what you are after, then we would challenge you to find an iSUP that is more comprehensive than the Hippocamp. South Bay Board Co. are amongst our favourite water sports manufacturers with a presence on both the West Coast and East Coast as well as a strong online global distribution network. Known for producing high quality custom designed boards, they enjoy strong customer support and are one of the go to SUP manufacturers in the market.

Constructed using Dual Axis Drop-stitch technology, the Hippocamp is a highly durable rigid paddle board that is well suited to varied water conditions. With an extensive accessories package and external board features, the Hippocamp is ideal for fishing and camping making it a great option for longer distance paddling and multi-day tours. Beginner friendly and highly versatile, this is an ideal SUP for those that are looking to get more out of their board in the long term.


GILI Adventure Inflatable Paddle Board

▪️Length: 12’ (366 cm)
▪️Width: 32” (81 cm)
▪️Thickness: 6” (15 cm)
▪️Volume: 272 litres
▪️Weight: 23 lbs (10.4 kgs)
▪️Capacity: 330 lbs (150 kgs)

GILI Adventure 12’ Inflatable Paddle Board
Highlights

☑️ Quality fusion technology construction
☑️ High degree of rigidity and stability
☑️ Designed to optimise paddling performance
☑️ Tri-fin configuration for added versatility
☑️ Plenty of rider weight capacity

☑️ Ample storage capacity
☑️ Lightweight and easily manoeuvrable
☑️ Available in 4 fresh colour schemes
☑️ Complete accessories package
☑️ 2 year manufacturers warranty

Summary

The 2021 GILI Adventure iSUP has been completed re-designed to better optimise paddling performance in varied water conditions. The inclusion of additional board features like the 3 action mounts; paddle holder; removable side handles; rear kick pad and more, simply add to what was already a quality all round inflatable. Known for their build quality, the Adventure is made using dual layer fusion technology to both reduce weight as well as increase rigidity and durability.

Still classed as an all-rounder allowing for greater versatility, the Adventure has a sharper nose and increased rocker to aid glide and overall paddling performance while the tri-fin set-up helps maximise manoeuvrability and responsiveness through the water. Pleasingly, GILI do not drop the ball when it comes to the accessories package with their backpack and hybrid carbon fibre paddle amongst the best within the all-inclusive iSUP market.


NIXY Manhattan G4 iSUP

▪️Length: 12’6” (381 cm)
▪️Width: 28” (71 cm)
▪️Thickness: 6” (15 cm)
▪️Volume: 335 litres
▪️Weight: 23 lbs (10.4 kgs)
▪️Capacity: 350 lbs (159 kgs)

NIXY Manhattan G4 12’6” iSUP
Highlights

☑️ Advanced fusion technology construction
☑️ Designed to optimise speed and tracking
☑️ Significant weight carrying capacity
☑️ Suitable for advanced paddlers
☑️ Plenty of volume for increased buoyancy

☑️ 5 x action mounts for accessories
☑️ Non-slip EVA deck traction padding
☑️ Includes carbon fibre hybrid paddle
☑️ High quality iSUP accessories package
☑️ 2 year manufacturers warranty

Summary

The Manhattan is a purpose built performance paddle board designed for long distance paddling with increased rigidity, stability and speed. Ideally suited for experienced paddlers, its aggressive design and flat bottom deck coupled with the mild front rocker, helps optimise glide and overall paddling performance. The 9” tool-less single centre fin is US/FCS compatible so can be changed out with other after market fins to suit paddling preferences.

The board itself is built using NIXY’s advanced fusion technology for greater strength and durability. The centre, top and bottom carbon fibre stringers and reinforced side rails further enhance stiffness and rigidity providing a more robust paddling surface for enhanced performance. With its quality accessories package, the Manhattan is a highly durable paddle board that performs well in varied conditions making it ideal for longer distances or touring in open waters.


Female Paddler on Touring iSUP
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You will note that the above recommendations are all inflatable paddle boards. This is not to say that hard boards are not perfectly fine when it comes to distance paddling. Unless you are participating in a race or have a genuine focus on speed or performance, we typically lean towards iSUPs owing to their greater stability, durability and weight carrying capacity. Very much a personal choice that will ultimately come down to what you’re looking for in your next ride.

Do you already own a touring SUP or are you looking to take your paddling to the next level? We’d love to hear from you so please feel free to leave a comment below and we will get back to you.

Until then, stay safe and get wet.

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