Ultimate Review of The Best Touring Paddle Boards in 2020

Most first-time paddlers are satisfied with the well-balanced and slow-moving design of the all-around SUPs.

However, there are always a few wanderlusts who always want to take their paddle boarding to the next level.

If you’re an adventure-minded individual, open to speedy or long-distance paddling experience, there’s no better paddle option than a touring paddleboard.

Touring paddle boards are lengthy and feature water-cutting hulling and tracking-approved noses, resembling the small boats. As such, their tracking and gliding abilities are by far better than traditional SUPs.

While they might not have a wide deck for stability, the touring paddle boards offer an unmatched blend of speed, stability, and maximum glide performance.

If you’re interested in learning more about touring SUP or need to discover superior touring boards before making your next purchase, then read along.

Our text is a comprehensive review of the best touring paddleboards in the market, along with a practical and informative buying guide.

Table of Contents

Quick Comparison Table!

Bluefin Sprint Touring SUP

4.8

4.8/5
Boardworks Raven

4.6

4.6/5
Bote Traveller Aero Inflatable

4.5

4.5/5
Tower Xplorer Paddleboard

4.3

4.3/5
Peak Expedition Paddle Board

4.0

4/5

The Best Touring Paddle Boards For The Money

Best Touring Paddle Boards for the money

#1 Bluefin Sprint Touring SUP - EDITOR'S CHOICE

4.7/5
4.2/5
4.8/5

The Bluefin Sprint 14′, as its name suggests, is designed specifically for racing and higher speed paddling.

With a streamlined shape and design, the Bluefin cuts through the water with relative ease while maintaining stability.

What’s more?

It has many D-rings (19) and a generous carrying capacity of 353 pounds, which ensures you can also take a lot of gear if you need to go for a longer trip or even camping session.

But is it the right touring board for you?

Features and Benefits

Build Quality

Bluefin paddle boards are some of the market’s toughest boards, and the Bluefin Sprint is no different.

The military-grade PVC composite, along with a drop-stitch core, makes this paddleboard difficult to damage.

To give you an idea of the Bluefin’s durability, it’s possible to cruise through the swamps, explore the rock jetties, and hit just about everything on the way, and yet, the board remains tough as all gets out.

Bluefin has also made sure to apply a UV-resistant HQ coating, which besides adding to the aesthetics, ensures you can use the board all day in the sun without worrying about UV damage.

Design

Bluefin Sprint is quite long, stiff & with a shorter width. It offers a whole new experience, especially if you’ve been accustomed to an all-around paddleboard.

Of course, with a shorter width, the board offers less stability, and that’s why I wouldn’t recommend it for beginners.

But for the advanced paddlers who aren’t wobbly in their balance will find the Bluefin Sprint a delight to use, especially if they need more speed.=

The streamlined shape of the board ensures paddlers can easily achieve higher levels of speed.

Performance

The paddling performance for the Bluefin Sprint is fantastic, with the size and shape making it easier to build up quite a lot of speed.

While you shouldn’t expect to be leagues ahead of your peers, expect more speed out of the board over time. And once you gain momentum and get into the paddling rhythm, the Sprint racks ups some miles.

The combination of the length, pointy nose, and triplefin system also make it really easy to rapidly float over the water with the least resistance or friction.

Tracking for the Sprint is also a delight, and while it’s a battle paddling into a stiff headwind, the narrow nose and good amount of rocker ensures you stay on course.

For a board of this size, it’s easier to think about turning is a nightmare. Surprisingly, the kick pad allows the paddler to lean back slightly and lift the front of the board to make the sharper turns. This way, you can easily avoid obstacles on the waterway or even collision with other boards.

Rigidity

 Despite the monstrous length, the Sprint offers wonderful rigidity.

While it takes extra elbow grease to inflate the board, the Sprint gets really stiff when fully inflated, and this is crucial when holding two persons or working your way through choppy waters.

It doesn’t bend or flex and will keep you floating.

Pros

Cons

#2 Boardworks Shubu Raven

4.6/5
4.3/5
4.6/5

Boardworks Raven is a great choice for experienced users who need a speedy board for touring and racing.

While it’s not the most stable or beginner-friendly option, it stokes the experienced paddlers looking to optimize their glide over all else.

But beyond glide and speed, what else does this paddleboard have in store for us?

Features and Benefits

Build Quality

The Shubu Raven is our go-to board for adventures where the waters, beaches, and portages make it less ideal for bringing a paddleboard. 

This board comes with a dual fusion laminate, combining high-density drop-stitch and PVC tarpaulin bottom to ensure it doesn’t get scratched, damaged, or worn during the rigorous transit, poor storage, or even paddling in the rough waters.

Design

Shubu’s design is pretty simple, but at the same time, elegant. It’s the perfect option for those who need a colorful and minimalistic design.

Now, into the meat and potatoes of Shubu’s design, this board is long, but the width is a bit shorter, so stability isn’t its strongest point. It’s not suitable for beginners.

It’s narrower than most touring boards, making it somewhat unsuitable for carrying extra passengers or significant cargo.

However, the streamlined shape, consisting of a narrow nose and length board, performs best on long-distance touring and open water conditions.

The board also features a single fin at the bottom to help with stability, but bear in mind three fins get a better experience.

Overall, Shubu will handle well in the rough waters when moving, but its stability drastically decreases when stationary.

Performance

For a long, sleek, and streamlined paddle board, we weren’t surprised by Shubu’s gliding performance.

The board cuts through the water with relative ease, offering the least friction or resistance, and might be a great option for the longer paddling sessions or marathon tours.

Speed is also decent, and while it can’t match that of a racing board, it can’t be compared to the leisure boards or the all-around boards.

Tracking performance is also great, and for such a longboard, we were glad at how it easily makes sharp U-turns, ensuring you can evade the obstacles on the waterways with ease.

The greatest draw against the Shubu’s performance was stability. It’s terribly unstable, and even advanced paddlers should be wary about taking the board into the rougher and windy conditions. Otherwise, you might take unexpected swims when a wake rocks you.

Accessories

Like any other value purchase, Shube comes complete with a host of accessories to make every moment spent with the board a delight.

From the travel paddle, carry bag, pressure pump, and gauge to the repair kit, Shubu is an all-around package, and you won’t need to make any other extra purchase to get rolling into the water.

We particularly love the carbon paddles, which are considerably lighter than the aluminum or fiberglass paddles. The paddles are effortless to use and won’t fatigue you even when paddling for extended periods.

Pros

Cons

#3 Bote Traveller Aero Inflatable - Best for Stability

4.4/5
4.5/5
4.5/5

Bote is well-known for producing beautiful and practical inflatable paddle boards, and the Traveller Aero continues to build on that reputation.

The Traveller Aero, a highly versatile board, works well for flatwater cruising, overnight SUP expeditions, and long-distance paddling.

It’s also a spacious inflatable, and beyond adding to the stability, it can also haul a serious amount of gear.

But is it the right touring board for you?

Features and Benefits

Build Quality

Traveler Aero is built with durability in mind, with the military-grade PVC and composite drop-stitch fibers transforming the inflatable into a rock-solid rigid platform that can take anything you throw at it.

From the accidental scratches against the hard surface, towing on a rocky beach to contact with sharp objects, the Traveler Aero remains indestructible, showing no signs of weakness.

The greatest draw against the board is the presence of a stiff, fixed fin beneath the tail, which catches on rocks and other obstacles in the shallow waters.

Design

Traveler Aero, with its fairly high widths to length ratio, makes it quite stable.

Not that it can match the stability of a cruiser or yoga paddleboard, but the somewhat squat shaped design, combined with a nose rocker and 6-inch thickness, increases the overall stability even when floating high and turning.

With the stability, the Traveler Aero makes a great choice for beginners who are still wobbly on their balance.

But does the shape come at the expense of speed?

Performance

Aero’s design prioritizes stability and maneuverability over speed, but it’s not a surprise given the board’s somewhat flat design.

The board suffers paddling long distances, especially against current or headwind. It’s not a problem, though, for the experienced paddlers, especially if the removable fin is attached and has your paddle strokes practiced.

Maneuvering the board through the flooded swamps isn’t a problem, and the tracking performance is exceptional. While it takes work to move the board forward than a touring board, it’s more agile, and we love how easy it is to make sharp U-Turns to avoid obstacles and collisions.

The board is heavy (30 pounds), but it feels super rigid when fully inflated, which is a plus in the choppy waters or when carrying a heavy load.

Convenience

A detachable paddle sheath provides an excellent feature for going hands-free and is great to have on the bayous, where fishing and photography were a priority.

Like all our previously reviewed options, the board comes with a lot of accessories, including a paddle, leash, pump, and packing bag.

Pros

Cons

#4 Tower Xplorer Paddleboard - Heavy Duty Option

4.3/5
4.5/5
4.3/5

The Tower Xplorer is built to be different.

You can feel and experience the uniqueness of the board once you set your eyes on it.

Standing at 14 feet, this SUP has a “Tower” ing presence and gives off a true monster’s vibe when unleashed on the water.

Features and Benefits

Build Quality

The Tower Xplorer gives the impression of a tough, fearsome beast.

Sporting a military-grade PVC construction, this board is marketed as indestructible, and I agree in this regard.

This board doesn’t disappoint when it comes to durability, and we love how it survives the bumps and bruises without any signs of wear on the surface.

It’s a tough board that can even be used in white water rapids without the need for replacement or even paddled onto rocky shores without tearing.

Design

Tower Xplorer is a huge paddleboard, and with a length of 14 feet and 34 inches, it’s probably among the biggest options in the market.

How do the large dimensions influence the overall stability?

Well, the Xplorer is one hell of a stable board. It’s perfect for beginners who are still working on their wobbly balance.

And given that it has an enormous weight capacity of 800 pounds, it’s even possible to bring your fidgety dog with you without worrying about taking an unexpected swim.

What about the speed and glide?

Performance

You would expect sacrifices on the speed and gliding performance for such a stable board, but not the Xplorer.

First, the nose is long, sleek, and with a certain amount of character to it. The slightly tapered front sets the Xploerre up for some great speed and performance.

Gliding performance is fabulous, and unlike other boards that take a bit of more paddling action, Xplorer glides through the turns with a lot less effort.

It’s extra responsive too, and maneuvering the board via the leg movement requires less effort than other boards.

Of course, with such a humongous size, paddling the board into tighter space is difficult at the least and makes it more difficult to turn on a dime.

While both the glide performance and maneuverability tick the right boxes, the overall size makes the board less responsive to paddle movements.

Storage

With the large size, folding the board for storage takes extra elbow grease.

And even when folded, it’s still a bulky option for portability.

Pros

Cons

#5 Peak Expedition Paddle Board - Portable Option

4.2/5
4.6/5
4/5

The Peak 11 Expedition SUP is a high-quality board, perfect for extended stays in the waters.

Described as the ultimate touring board, Peak Expedition gives you top-level comfort and performance.

The expedition is also a highly versatile board, and in addition to touring, the board can also be used for other activities such as fishing, recreation, and yoga.

Features and Benefits

Build Quality

One of the draws with this board is lightness.

At only 19.5 pounds, this board lets you pack and carry it wherever your adventures take you.

But don’t let the modest weight trick you into thinking it’s a flimsy board.

With a high-grade PVC construction, Peak is virtually an indestructible paddleboard that will stand up to the abuse of rough water paddling, including dragging on a rocky beach, contact with a sharp object, and accidental scratches against the hard surfaces.

Also, the many rolling and unrolling of the board do little harm to the board, and apart from the inconsequential creases, it doesn’t wear out or show the need for a replacement.

Design

Design-wise, Expedition is certainly among the most functional boards within this price range.

The dimensions run shorter, especially compared to the traditional touring boards. Still, it’s a good thing since they add to the overall stability, helping beginner riders pick up the basic stand-up paddle boarding techniques in no time.

Expedition’s stability is further promoted by the 6-inch thickness, offering a super-stiff board and leaving no room for flex once you attain the max weight limit.

The board remains super sturdy and easy-going, responding to the paddle movement even if there’s more than a single rider on the board.

Comfort is also a priority on the Expedition, with the EVA foam on the deck pad offering a comfortable place to rest your feet. The foam pad also adds stability to your board while preventing slippage even when the deck gets wet.

Performance

The rolling performance for this board is awesome and not wobbly at all.

It tracks wonderfully in flat water thanks to the neat navigation system consisting of a triple fin system. It’s also a responsive and maneuverable board, so you won’t have any trouble controlling it.

While it can’t match some of our premium touring boards’ speed, it perfectly blends the stability, tracking performance, and maneuverability.

Accessories

For its price, we were surprised that the Expedition came with plenty of accessories, including detachable fins, leash, paddle, and an inflation pump.

Pros

Cons

Best Touring Paddle Boards Buying Guide

Best Touring Paddle Boards buying guide

The paddle board market is filled with plenty of options, and finding the right touring board that fits your needs can feel daunting.

Fortunately, we’re here to help, and in this guide. We look at the critical factors to consider when making your next paddle board for touring purchase.

Factors to Consider When Selecting a Paddle Board for Touring

Tracking

Tracking refers to how well a paddle board follows a straight path when paddling.

Generally, longer paddle boards have better tracking capabilities, and the straighter they go in the water.

Of course, your paddling technique and the alignment & number of fins also influence your board’s direction on the water.

And while you will never achieve a true straight line when paddling, most touring boards maintain a steady direction, even with novice paddlers.

Glide

Glide refers to how a board floats on water, which is influenced by the type of hull.

Touring paddle boards come with a displacement hull, meant to cut through the water rather than riding on top and over it.

The longer and thinner noses on the touring boards also help maneuver through the still waters, providing a smooth and noiseless glide.

While the fatter, wider noses excel at the choppy and wavy waters, touring boards aren’t meant to be used in such severe conditions.

Speed

Speed refers to how fast a board can go over water, and generally, touring boards are faster than most other SUPS, save the racing boards.

The thickness of a touring board determines its speed, and the thinner the SUP, the faster it is.

Hardboards are also faster than inflatables of similar dimensions.

Some of the touring boards also feature dedicated racing fins that help to bolster the overall speed.

Stability

Stability should be a critical factor for beginners as it determines how easy it’s to learn with a touring paddle board.

While the touring SUP isn’t inherently built with stability in mind, their large size contributes to their overall stability.

Inflatables, in particular, offer greater stability and weight support than similarly-shaped hardboards.

Also, inflatables with a tri-fin setup boost the overall stability of the board.

Durability

Both the hardboards and inflatables are built with durability in mind and rarely break.

Inflatables are more durable than the hardboard as they can withstand the most common rigorous of paddling, including crashes, drops, and other accidents.

Hardboards are resilient, too, and while they may suffer minor chippings from common accidents, this should cause minimal to no loss of performance.

Versatility

Due to their larger size, touring SUP boards have greater adaptability and can serve other activities depending on their shape and build.

For instance, SUP boards with a large, comfortable, and soft deck can be a great choice for yoga practice.

Boards with the right accessory slots can be used for fishing, while those with a tri-fin system can be used for a casual ride, even in choppy waters.

Hybrids

Due to the touring board’s long length, most of these boards aren’t very maneuverable and will rarely turn with agility as the racing boards do.

However, if you still need something easier to handle, you can opt for a hybrid version.

While they’re not necessarily tailored for speed and agility, there is an all-around option, offering the perfect blend of speed, comfort, and easy handling.

The hybrid boards also tend to offer larger accessory compatibility than the performance-based touring boards, a plus for the casual riders.

Price

Touring boards are available at different prices, and like most purchases, you get what you pay for.

The high-end touring boards are expensive, but in return, they offer more performance benefits, including greater speed, more comfort, and better tracking/gliding, compared to the cheaper options.

Wrap Up: Our Choice

wrap up

Our lists of the best touring paddle boards consist of some pretty amazing options.

However, we feel the Bluefin Sprint Touring SUP stands out from the rest for several reasons.

First, it’s made from military-grade PVC, so it can stand up to the abuses of paddling in the rough waters and rocky beaches.

It is also a generous weight capacity; though not the highest, it can comfortably support two adults, with the 6 inches thick, ensuring it doesn’t flex.

The greatest draw as a true touring paddle is the streamlined shape, ensuring you won’t have a problem paddling for longer distances with greater speeds.

While it might not be the most stable option for beginners, it blends ease of use, better gliding performance, and better tracking abilities. 

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