What’s a Touring SUP?

As the name implies, it’s a type of stand up paddle board most suitable for touring.

A SUP tour itself in the other hand can be anything from simple cruising to a full-blown multiday vacation with a close group of friends, with expeditions and campings inbetween, on and off the waters with the touring stand up paddle board. On paper this may sound simple and perhaps even boring, but that only means you haven’t yet experienced all the challenges & wonders in this world. You’ll be amazed what the places you can’t otherwise reach have in store for you.

And why is a touring SUP most suited for touring?

A touring stand up paddle board has to perform well in various conditions, be it long distances, bigger ripples on the water, or small currents and even just the wind, as well as be able to carry more weight (e.g minimal camping equipment). Can’t have all that with a racing, surfing, river riding, or yoga board etc. However, not all touring paddle boards are equal.

And thus the general gist of it is that a touring paddle board allows for long and smooth slides on the flat surfaces of the water bodies like the ocean, rivers, lakes, etc. The aim here is to make you feel less tired as you have to paddle to go forward, and that in order to give you the opportunity to enjoy the touring side of it a little more.


How Does a Touring SUP Look Like & Why?

As the board is quite lengthy and the front of the board designed like a slender shaped nose that allows the board to slash through any waves on the surface of the water, along with the greater stability of these boards in general, it all makes for a straight slide providing you with the most contented ride for considerably long distances while maintaining great tempo. Which is all awesome and everything, but you’ve probably still got some questions, like how then does the touring SUP actually look like…

As one can see from the pictures, even touring stand up paddle board shapes can vary:

  • length (11′-14′),
  • width (28″-32″),
  • rounded / pointed nose (a.k.a displacement hull), or needle nose,
  • rounded / squared off tail.

The length of the board (standard is 12’6″) determines how the board tracks and thus slides on the water. With a single stronger paddle stroke, you don’t have to worry about going off track and then making more strokes just to adjust the direction. With a shorter board, you can expect to make lots of strokes not only because of having to maintain the direction but also because the length of the slide will be shorter when compared to a longer paddle board.

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The width of the board (sweet spot being 32″) on the other hand determines how stable the touring SUP board is. However, keep in mind that you do trade speed with stability the wider the board is. There needs to be a good ratio of length and width as per your own taste. The 32″ width is a good mix of speed and stability for a touring board for even more activities than just gliding through the waterways, be it yoga, fishing, etc, assuming it was coupled with the 12’6 length.

As for thickness of the board in the case of inflatables, 6 inches (6″) is the norm. Thicker inflatable stand up paddle boards simply feel stiffer. In today’s world, inflatables are usually as stiff as hardboards. They’re also easier to store & travel with.

The nose & tail of the board can vary greatly. From similarly shaped nose and tail to a needle nose and squared tail. It’s best to avoid both extremes unless you know exactly where, why and how you’re paddling, and here’s why. Narrower shape improves speed (cuts through water at the front, less drag at the back), but hinders stability by a great deal, even makes it feel wobbly unless you paddle like crazy (it becomes more stable when in motion, much like when riding a bike). Too much of a rounded shape in the other hand hinders speed, makes things feel awfully smooth to a point you wouldn’t realize you might be drifting off track a little bit when paddling too much. So then people usually end up going with the middle ground: narrower nose and a rounded square tail.

With the shape pinned down, let’s take a look at what goes on underneath the touring SUP. This is mainly to do with maneuverability, but there are other nuances as well. The fin setup.


About Touring SUP Fin Setup

Looking under a paddle board, one can find 1 or more fins. Who knew?

All you really need is one bigger fin for touring in flatwater conditions. BUT the real question is, why would you need the 2 sidefins that often come with the board as detachables. Sometimes the bigger fin can be moved around a little or even detached entirely. But why does that matter?

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As you may or may not know, fins help with tracking (that is, keeping the paddle board in a straight line as you paddle) and stability in general. So, in hindsight, a bigger fin is better than a smaller one, at least in the case of touring in flatwater conditions.

What if the river was narrow and curvy, the water shallow, turbulent or swelling. This is where all the fin setup options can come handy in helping the board perform better in various water conditions.

  • simple single bigger fin is best for calm flatwater touring
  • bigger fin + smaller sidefins help with board control in choppier waters
  • detachable bigger fin + smaller sidefins allow you to navigate shallower waters
  • finbox that allows to move the fin forward or backward can help with the board’s maneuverability.


Popularity of Touring Paddle Boards

In today’s date, touring paddle board rides are gaining popularity among adventure loving tourists. They never fail to include a destination famous for such board rides in their travelling bucket list. This newly trend sport will never let you down as it has to offer you a whole new angle to experience nature. It will, without doubt, bring to you a surreal and relaxing moment which you can only take back home and later reflect upon as one of the best time of your adventure travel trip. The experience of riding on a touring paddle board is so thrilling that it will want you to come back to it again and again. Phuket is one of such destinations where touring paddle board surfing is an emerging water sport today. In this stream, Phuket has a lot to offer you. Paddling amidst the crystal clear water and majestic vibrant coral reefs will certainly calm your mind and soothe your soul. The fresh breeze that will waft by across your will impart a divine sensation of paddling a touring board.

If you are a fan of paddle boards, here are a few other hot and happening destinations for paddle boards that you must add to your bucket list. Accomplish these destinations from around the globe:

  • Hawaii
  • New Zealand
  • Slovenia
  • Florida Keys
  • Mexico
  • The Turks and Caicos Islands
  • Canada
  • California
  • Portugal
  • Costa Rica

The picturesque natural beauty of these places will lure you to paddle through the gorgeous greenish blue lagoons and other natural water sources and you cannot afford to miss an opportunity to appreciate nature this way.


As For Example: Briefly About Camping With a Touring SUP Board

Prior to going on a paddle board camp, it is important that you take care of the few aspects as it will aid you in having a smooth experience of the camp. Organize and pre-plan what to pack, which board to choose for paddling, what are the best paddle routes and camping sites are few tips for you to concentrate on.

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Always decide upon where you are heading to. You can choose a water body that is not in a distorted condition. After deciding that check on the prevailing weather conditions of the area and move a step forward only if the conditions are favorable. The next task for you will be figuring out a quality campsite. This is important because after the day’s hard work you will need quality sleep and proper rest.


You may choose from two kinds of boards- Solid and Inflatable.

Solid boards – Solid boards are the traditional touring paddle boards, but they happen to perform fantastically in the water. They run swiftly at a great pace and you will find it easy to propel across the water in this solid board.

Inflatable boards – Inflatable boards weigh light and are foldable in nature. These qualities, therefore, prove the inflatable boards to be camping friendly as they can be carried and stored with ease and comfort. These boards can easily be inflated in water; the only thing you will require is a patch kit and a functioning pump to inflate the boards.

Next, you should focus on selecting the appropriate size touring paddle board. You may find various sizes of such paddle boards in the market. There are small sized boards for kids, medium sized boards for people who generally choose to camp and lengthy sized boards for those who love paddling long distances at great speed. The best size that will suit your purpose of camping is 10 to 12 ft. This will make your paddling expedition worthy.


Travelling light with all essential gears is the best tip for such camps, minimal is best. But you must not leave behind:

  • Straps or nets to secure your bags onto the board.
  • Foldable tent
  • Sleeping bag, travel pillows
  • Emergency light
  • Package food
  • Clean water and portable filters
  • Insect repellant
  • A multipurpose handy tool kit, first aid, survival kit and a patch kit for board
  • Towels, socks and a pair of light clothes.
  • GPS or map for direction.

Paddling will let you experience nature in the most blissful way possible. You will be able to access places on earth, which are not accessible on foot. Hope you have a great and memorable experience with these basic tips.

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