How to Choose a SUP Touring Board

Last updated on Apr 8, 2022 by Goosehill

Table of contents

What’s great about a touring board

What size touring board to choose?

Fin System

Deck pad

Front bungee system

Inflatable vs Hard Board: which one to choose

Conclusion

SUP touring is a great way to explore a new place. It’ll give you a whole new perspective about a city.

Touring on a paddleboard is also a great way to exercise your body. It’s a pretty good full-body workout. Not to mention you get to enjoy the great views of the outdoors while you work out.

If the SUP board you are going to buy is mainly for touring and exercising, you might want to pick one that can satisfy all your needs at the same time. It should be able to provide you with the best experience when you are going on long distance tours and cover tasks like warm-ups or stretches. 

What Board Sizes, Shapes and Features to Look For

1. Touring boards usually track well.

2.Touring boards usually have better glide performance.

3.Touring boards are fairly maneuverable if you know the trick.

4.Touring boards are typically longer than all-around boards, which gives you more room for storage or even passengers.

5.Touring boards are great for covering long distance. 

What size touring board to choose?

A commonly accepted length for a touring board is 12’6, which is also commonly used for a race board. There are also touring boards at 11’6 long.

You can tell a touring board apart from a race board by its width. But there’s no set standard for how wide a touring board and a race board should be.

A board that’s 28’’ wide or less is usually considered to be a race board. And touring boards are typically at 30’’-32’’ wide. 32 inches is the ideal width for a touring board which balances glide performance with stability perfectly.

Fin System

If you are going to be touring on flat water, then a board with a single center fin would be enough as it will have less drag. 

Look for boards with a US fin box because it’s the most common type of fin box and compatible with various kinds of fins. You will also be able to adjust the position of the fin in the fin box to tune the performance of the board.

Place the fin at the back of the fin box will help make the board track better. Place the fin further forward at the front of the fin box will make the board easier to turn. For leisure paddling, you can put the fin at the center to balance between tracking, stability and maneuverability. Tracking is important in touring. If your board tracks well, you won’t have to correct your course all the time. If you want to improve the tracking of your board, try getting a taller fin. 

There are also touring boards with a 3-fin setup. The two side fins will help make the board more maneuverable. In certain paddling conditions like when you are paddling on shallow or choppy water or on a windy day, you might need more control of your board and the two side fins will contribute to the maneuverability and tracking of the board.

Deck pad

A smooth deck pad is more comfortable to stand on, but it’s not for all paddling conditions. It’s more suited to casual touring where comfort is more important than traction. You might need more traction under certain circumstances like when you paddle on shallow or choppy water, and a diamond groove deck pad would be more suitable.

Front bungee system

Most boards would feature a bungee system at the front of the board, and it’s an important feature as it would allow you to bring along some necessary stuff like your water bottle. If you are going to be doing other things like camping in the middle of your trip, you might need to take other stuff with you like food or first aid supplies and a reliable front bungee tie down system would make it easy for you to bring along the things you need.

Inflatable vs Hard Board: which one to choose

It’s challenging to transport a touring board. Some paddlers would rule touring boards out just because it’s too difficult to manage. 

If you want to buy a touring board but are worried it’d be too troublesome to manage, consider getting an inflatable for a touring board. Transporting and storing an inflatable board is much easier compared to a hard board. You can deflate and roll the board up and just be done with it. It won’t take up your precious space on your car or your apartment. 

A hard board will have better glide performance compared to an inflatable of the same size and shape. If glide performance and speed are a priority to you and transporting a bulky long board isn’t a problem, then you should probably consider going for a hard touring board.

Many people choose to do yoga on their SUP board nowadays. If you are going to be doing yoga or stretching on your board, consider an inflatable because it has a softer surface and is more comfortable to sit on.

Conclusion

It’s not hard to decide which board to buy as long as you know what you really need. If you want better glide performance and faster speed, pick a long and narrow board. If you want a board that can give you comfort and stability, opt for a wider board.

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