What Is a Touring SUP?

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Numerous types of paddle boards exist that all serve different purposes. If you want to race, you will get a racing paddle board, but if you’re going to tour, you will get a touring SUP. I want to focus on touring stand-up paddle boards in this article. What are they? What makes them touring paddle boards? What does it all mean? And why does it matter?

We’ve got a lot to cover, so let’s not delay and dive right in instead!

What Is a Touring SUP? A Basic Explanation

Touring paddle board

Touring stand up paddle boards are boards specifically designed for touring. These types of boards need to be able to perform well in a variety of conditions such as longer distances, bigger ripples, small currents, wind, etc. Beyond that, they need to be able to carry more weight such as gear, camping equipment, and more.

It’s important to note that not all touring paddle boards are the same by any means. Their purpose, however, is similar regardless. For example, a touring SUP usually allows for longer and smoother slides on the water. Touring boards have a specific goal in mind: make it easier to paddle longer distances. Thanks to the ability to move through the water more efficiently, you’re meant to get less tired than you might otherwise.

What Is a SUP Tour?

A SUP tour can be just about anything. Think of long-distance paddle boarding that takes up most of the day and potentially into the evening. This is an excellent activity if you’re camping, taking expeditions on the water during vacation days in the sun.

What Are Touring SUPs Best At Achieving?

Thanks to the shape of touring stand up paddle boards, they’re great for achieving long expeditions, coastal cruises, speed, and light racing. These boards are the adventurer’s paddle board. They’re designed for some rugged adventure in the beautiful wilderness. As a result, they’ve become the go-to paddle boards for camping.

When Is a Touring SUP The Right Paddle Board For You?

Touring paddleboard

Suppose you’re a recreational paddler who’s looking for some leisurely cruises on the water. In that case, a touring paddle board is for you. Additionally, if you’re getting more serious about paddle boarding, investing in a touring SUP is the way to go.

Touring paddle boards are great because they’re overall multipurpose. Similar to all-around boards, they can facilitate fishing, yoga, cruising, etc. However, their design makes them better equipped for longer usage and distances, which all-around boards usually aren’t designed for.

What Does a Touring SUP Look Like?

Touring paddle boards are usually quite lengthy. These slender boards will have slender-shaped noses, which aid the paddle board in cutting through waves on the surface of the water. Additionally, they provide better stability. These factors combined make for a straight slide, sustained momentum, and the ability to maintain a great tempo throughout.

What Characteristics Do Touring SUPs Have?

Specific characteristics of touring stand up paddle boards make them uniquely able to handle activities that all-around SUP and other kinds simply cannot manage. Let’s take a look at how touring SUPs are in various aspects of a paddle board construction:


The standard length of a touring paddle board is 12’6”. The length of a touring SUP is what determines how the paddle board tracks and glides on the water. A touring paddle board’s design means you don’t have to worry too much about going off track when doing a single forceful paddle stroke. Shorter boards often suggest having to quickly maneuver through a series of mini-strokes to get back in the correct direction. With touring boards, their length means the slide is longer and makes this not as much of an issue.


The best width for a touring paddle board is 32”. A touring board’s width determines how stable your SUP will be. The unfortunate fact is that while more width means better stability, it comes at the sacrifice of speed. Because of this sacrifice, I refer to 32” as being almost the sweet spot for width. You need a good ratio of length to width. 32” provides a reasonable ratio when combined with the standard touring SUP length of 12’6”.


The norm for the thickness of inflatable touring stand up paddle boards is about 6 inches. When the board gets thicker than 6 inches, it can become overly stiff, which for some people is not what they want in their boards.

Nose & Tail

The nose and tail are easily one of the most critical aspects of a touring paddle board. However, it can also vary wildly from board to board. You can get a touring SUP with a tail and nose, which is overly similar, all the way to the other end of the extreme, which is a needle nose and squared tail. You don’t want to go too far into either extreme. Instead, you want a more down-the-middle approach.

You’d want to avoid either extreme because a narrower shape improves the speed of your board as it’s easier to cut through water in the front while less susceptible to dragging in the back. However, narrower boards mean less stability. When the board is too rounded, it causes the board to not be as fast as a paddler would like for this type of board. A more rounded board also veers off course far easier. The best way to go is with a narrow nose and a rounded square tail!

Explaining The Fin Setup of a Touring SUP

The fins are one of the most crucial aspects of a touring SUP next to its shape. For touring, you pretty much only need one larger fin for flatwater conditions. Now, most boards come with two smaller side fins included. You won’t always need to use them, but sometimes they can come in handy.

Fins are responsible for tracking; they help to keep your SUP moving in a straight line while you’re paddling. They also help with stability, and for these reasons, in flatwater conditions, a single larger fin is perfect in flatwater conditions.

You’re going to find yourself in situations where the body of water, let’s say a river, is curvy and more narrow with shallow waters that can be turbulent and swelling. In this case, you need to consider one of your fin setup options.

  1. Some paddle boards have a fin box which allows for moving the fin backward or forwards, which can help tremendously with maneuvering in the water.
  2. A more prominent fin and two smaller side fins can help in choppier waters by giving your board added control in the water.
  3. Detachable fins mean you can swap out fins for different circumstances.
  4. A simple single big fin is best used for general touring.

Touring Vs. All-Around SUP

One of the comparisons I’ve alluded to once or twice in this article is between touring paddle boards and all-around paddle boards. This isn’t about pros and cons; these boards shouldn’t be compared at face value. Instead, we need to acknowledge that their purpose is completely different there, for pointing out their strengths and weaknesses make little sense.

Instead, let’s understand why they’re different. The most significant difference between a touring and an all-around paddle board is its purpose and how it is designed to meet their specific needs. A touring SUP is shaped in a way to make it easier to cut through the water and move with ease. All-around paddle boards are designed to be used for general paddle boarding and various other paddle boarding activities.

You can indeed tour lightly on an all-around SUP, but they’re not suitable for long distances. This is because they’re more difficult to maneuver. However, both boards can facilitate fishing, yoga, and other general activities. If you’re looking for speed, you’ll find the touring SUP has more to offer in that department.

Why Are Touring SUPs So Popular?

Touring paddleboard

Touring stand up paddle boards are extremely popular with more experienced paddlers, adventurous paddlers, and tourists. As a result, famous tourist destinations have started implementing touring paddle boards into their long line of amenities. Their goal is to allow their guests to take advantage of beautiful tropical surroundings by going out and exploring on a hotel touring SUP.

Famous holiday destinations like Hawaii, Phuket, New Zealand, the Florida Keys, Costa Rica, Mexico, Canada, and numerous other locations have these options provided to guests. Most of these places offer picturesque landscapes and waterways to explore on a paddle board. It’s the ultimate holiday activity.


Touring stand up paddle boards are popular for a reason, and they’re only going to continue gaining popularity. They’re one of the best kinds of paddle boards and offer the ability for paddlers to explore longer distances with greater ease.

If you want to get yourself a killer touring stand up paddle board, then check out this article on the top 5 touring boards! So for all the adventurous paddlers out there, the time is now to get your touring SUP and hit the open waters to explore serene natural hot spots worthy of adventure.


Paddleboarding has been one of the few activities that's allowed me to take a mental break from life and just be in the moment. Whether you're looking for an outlet, a method for physical fitness, or even just a way to meet new people, paddle boarding can put you on a path to achieving all these goals. Every article I post on this site is made with the intention to spread sup love and get more people to stand up and paddle!

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