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What are the Best Touring Paddle Boards

Introduction

Fast and far. This is what people envision when the term “touring” is mentioned. Touring paddle boards were created to deliver the fastest and smoothest rides on the water. From a distance they look like knives cutting through the water. Many of them possess a keel or hull much like a canoe, kayak or open ocean vessel. This allows touring paddle boards to displace water. Rather than riding on top of the water, these paddle boards significantly decrease contact resistance by piercing the water. Below, 5 of the best paddle boards in the world are listed which truly live up to their name as Touring boards:

Value

One can tell by their looks alone that touring boards are unlike most other paddle boards. Tourers are longer, narrower, often times thinner and lighter than other paddle board styles. Engineered for speed and to go the distance these boards were built for high performance on the water.

Displacement

Water displacement is a hallmark of a true touring paddle board. Its nose usually possesses a keel much like that of a ship and a hull runs along its belly. These two features combined serve to part the water line, decreasing surface friction and increasing the speed at which it can travel. In contrast, most cruisers and white water boards have flat bottoms, which are great for mobility and quick turns but cannot hold a light to a touring board in a race.

Performance

Plainly speaking, touring boards are high performance paddle boards. Speed, glide, track. These three elements are the result of the engineering and design of a good touring paddle board. The combination of a bullet shape, presence of a keel and lightweight materials allows a touring board to go in a straight line in the water in the smoothest manner with very little deviation from its course. It is the drag racer of lakes and oceans, without the noise of firing engines.

Durability

Some touring boards are so light that it is a wonder how they can stay put on the water and not go airborne. Several lightweight materials have been used to manufacture touring boards. Bamboo and light wood, fiberglass, carbon fiber and various blends of all three have been used to make some of the lightest paddle boards on the water. However, lightweight usually means issues with durability, which is why touring board manufacturers have gone to great lengths to reinforce their creations in key areas. Knowing how durable a board is and where it has been strengthened could mean the difference between staying afloat and catastrophically damaging a board when faced with unyielding beach rocks.

Top Touring SUP Review

BIC Sport C-TEC Tracer

Known primarily as the manufacturers of generic pens and lighters, BIC made an interesting pivot into the world of paddle boarding. Unlike their household products, the paddleboards that they do produce are anything but generic. Take the 12-foot, 6-inch BIC Sport C-TEC Tracer for instance.

This touring board practically oozes performance due to its lightweight carbon fiber weave and tapered nose whose lines run all the way through the belly of the board. The result is a board that slices through the water with great speed. Its ability to stay on track even in rough waters is thanks to its 9” fiberglass fin.

Even though it is made of lightweight material, paddlers may be surprised to note at how stiff and rigid the board can be. It can take a fair bit of punishment, but just like most other touring boards it would be best to err on the side of caution and stay clear of rocks and avoid contact with hard surfaces.

Steer clear of sizeable waves as well. Since this is a water piercer its natural tendency will be to go through the wall of water rather than over it, which will undoubtedly cause the rider to take the brunt of the wave pressure.

BIC Sport C-TEC Tracer Paddle Board

PROS

  • top of the class touring board
  • lightweight and slices through the water
  • comfortable standing platform

CONS

  • not the most agile due to length
  • not meant to be used in waters with big waves


ISLE has proven that touring paddle boards can be portable and inflatable as well as high performing. The company has taken the same care and meticulous approach it applied to its line of inflatables and applied it to the Airtech. At 12-feet, 6-inches long, the Airtech definitely looks, feels and handles like a touring board should, but it is also forgiving enough for paddlers to enjoy other activities besides long distance paddling or racing.

ISLE Airtech 12ft 6in Touring Inflatable Paddle Board

The board has a low drag profile thanks to its tapered body. Lacking a rigid keel and hull, the Airtech does not displace as much water as the other boards on this list. However, it makes up for it with its lightweight construction. ISLE has made the Airtech 30% lighter than most of its competitors which means that, for a touring board, it is an absolute dream to handle on the water. Also, that is 30% less weight that the user has to carry when moving the board.

The lightweight design, lack of a rigid hull and thinner than usual profile does mean that this may not be the best board to take out on choppy and rough conditions, and is definitely not the choice if going paddle surfing.

PROS

  • 30% lighter compared to competition
  • fast and agile on the water
  • ideal for flat waters to open oceans

CONS

  • performance decreases with bigger waves
  • not ideal for paddle surfing


For their touring board, Stand On Liquid basically took everything they knew about lightweight construction, hydrodynamics, surface drag reduction and put it all into the Revere. From the outside, the Revere looks much like any other touring board in the market. It sits 12-feet, 6-inches in length.

The body is shaped like a water-borne missile. It has a keel and hull, which displaces massive amounts of water and decreases drag. But the difference is easily noticed when the board is in the hands. Lifting and moving the board around, is no problem since it only weighs 26-pounds. The ultra-light weight allows this board to glide effortlessly through the water. Paddling for hours is also a non-issue thanks to the full carbon fiber paddle that is included with this package.

Stand On Liquid even reinforced the Revere in key points with carbon fiber to increase its durability. However, it is best to remember that it is still an ultra-light weight board that should be treated with more care than usual. Furthermore, a low and ultra-light profile means that it can cut through water, but may make it prone to being blown of course in the presence heavy winds.

Stand On Liquid Revere Bamboo Touring Paddle Board

PROS

  • lightweight
  • reinforced at key points
  • handles well in choppy water

CONS

  • lightweight components more susceptible to damage


In the world of street racing there’s a saying, there’s no replacement for displacement. Cars whose engines have a higher degree of displacement usually cross the finish line first. This phrase is never truer when it comes to Rave Sports TS126.

This 12-foot, 6-inch touring board has a very prominent nose that is reminiscent of a canoe’s, and gives the board the ability to cut through the water with medium sized waves. The water displacement this causes makes for one of the smoothest and most stable paddle boards on this list.

Rave Sports Touring Paddle Board

The fiberglass body makes for a rigid board but its sides are further reinforced to prevent damage as well as provide extra support. All in all, this turns what is already a great touring board into a versatile paddle board that can be used for casual cruising and fishing.

The only downside is the odd handle placement, which practically forces the carrier to use both arms to prevent the board from dragging or swinging about wildly. And as always, just because the board is reinforced doesn’t mean that it is immune to damage, so care is needed when handling it and paddling close to obstructions.

PROS

  • handles well even in rough conditions
  • very stable

CONS

  • odd handle placement
  • lightweight construction requires care around rocks etc

With the Flowmaster, Surftech decided to focus on ride quality and glide. This 35-pound touring board is light enough and sleek enough to explore lakes and coastline, but its attributes also make it suitable to be used as an entry level racing board. Surftech fitted the Flowmaster with a modest waterline which translates to it having one of the best glides on this list.

Furthermore, due to its design, the Flowmaster accomplishes this with minimal effort. The tradeoff is that the modest waterline does make it very vulnerable to any form of chop. Stability may easily be compromised should rough weather be encountered.

Perfect for flat water and touring, Surftech further enhanced the experience by integrating a pop-out carry handle. Touring boards are longer than your run-of-the-mill paddle boards and can sometimes be awkward to carry, this handle makes the whole process easier. Pushing the boundaries of comfort, Surftech has also padded out the entire deck pad with EVA foam. Finally, the board’s AST construction makes it one of the most durable on this list.

Surftech Flowmaster Paddle Board

PROS

  • can be used to tour, cruise and even race
  • plenty of glide
  • pop-out handle makes it easy to carry

CONS

  • not quite as stable as some


Conclusion

When it comes to touring boards, performance is the name of the game. If you’re looking to ride monster waves, best to look elsewhere. Running whitewater rivers? Not with these boards. Touring boards were born and bred for long hours of smooth and fast paddling. Their length and blade-like appearance makes them imposing boards to behold and stand on which is a stark contrast to the effortless glide they provide on the water. Which is why we feel Stand On Liquid’s Revere edged out every other touring board on this list. It balances the aspects of a touring board with great water displacement, providing top-of-the-line speed, glide and track. And even though it is one of the lightest boards on the list, its built-in reinforcements give it substantial amounts of durability. The fact that it is the only board to come with an adjustable 100% carbon fibre paddle doesn’t hurt either. If speed and distance are what you are after, then getting a touring board should be at the top of your wish list.

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