9 Best Touring SUP Boards of 2018

best touring sup board of 2018

Stand up paddleboarding has gained a lot of love among the people. So many SUP variations have come up making the sport even more exciting. One such variation is SUP touring. It basically involves taking a tour on your SUP.

Choosing a SUP board specifically for touring can be difficult because there are things you must take into consideration like speed and width. Luckily for you, there are boards that are built purposely for SUP cruising. They are usually longer for speed and a little wide for your gear and balance. The following are nine of the best touring paddleboards if you want to make your cruise a special one.

Best Touring SUP Comparison Table

Touring SUP Board
Length x Width
Height
Weight
Capacity
My rating
ISLE Airtech 11' Explorer
11' x 32"
6"
19.1 lbs
275 lbs
(4.8 / 5)
ISLE Airtech 12'6
12'6 x 30"
6"
20.5 lbs
275 lbs
(4.6 / 5)
Tower Xplorer
14' x 32"
8"
42 lbs
700 lbs
(4.4 / 5)
Aqua Marina Race
14' x 28"
6"
23.5 lbs
243 lbs
(4.2 / 5)
Boardworks Shubu Raven Inflatable
12'6 x 30"
6"
25 lbs
190 lbs
(4.2 / 5)
NIXY Touring SUP
12'6 x 30"
6"
19 lbs
300 lbs
(4 / 5)
Driftsun Touring
11'8 x 31"
6"
28 lbs
300 lbs
(4 / 5)
Vilano Touring
12' x 29"
6"
30 lbs
350 lbs
(3.9 / 5)
Ten Toes Jetsetter
14' x 30"
6"
31 lbs
250 lbs
(3.8 / 5)

1. ISLE Airtech 11’ Explorer

isle airtech explorer touring sup board

The Airtech 11’ is a product of ISLE, a family of water enthusiasts from California. They are known for creating premium water products. This inflatable paddleboard is designed for the adventurous SUPer. It has 14 individual D-rings and bungee systems to help you strap your gear efficiently.

The nose is ultra durable, just in case you bump into something. ISLE are awesome and they offer you a complete package. In the box there is a carry backpack, an adjustable aluminum paddle, a high pressure pump that inflates to 15 PSI and a removable travel fin.

The technology used to make the ISLE Airtech is high-end and the result is a lightweight, stiff and tough inflatable SUP touring board.

Features and Specifications

  • Made from military grade PVC for extra durability
  • Comes with accessories in package; carry bag, pump, paddle and fin
  • Built with Airtech Fusion-Lite construction making it -30% lighter
  • Has 14 D-rings
  • Tail carry handles and bungee systems for easy moving
  • Three piece aluminum adjustable (65” to 86”) paddle
  • Dimensions: 11’ x 32” x 6”
  • Weight: 19.1 lbs
  • Capacity: 275 lbs
  • My rating: (4.8 / 5)

Pros & Cons

  • Stiff and stable
  • Ultra durable
  • Easy to inflate and deflate
  • Great maneuverability
  • Multiple tie-downs
  • Does not include leash in package

Customer Feedback

Customers seem to agree that this is a pretty good touring board. It tracks well and is super stable. Users have noticed (with appreciation) the multiple tie-downs on the ISLE Inflatable Explorer. Any touring SUPer knows that those are super important. Another great quality is that the touring iSUP is very durable.

2. ISLE Airtech 12’6

isle airtech touring paddle board

The Airtech 12’6 is the ultimate touring board. The length is great for speed and distance.  Moreover, it is bow-shaped at the nose to help you glide with ease.

The ISLE Airtech has a fantastic bungee system to help you tie down all your gear for that long SUP expedition. The nose has a mounted carry handle for you to carry the iSUP across the beach with ease. The manufacturer cares enough about your user experience to include a carry bag, pump, paddle and removable fin in the box.

This touring paddleboard is made with military grade PVC which makes it highly durable to stand extreme conditions. It has been made with the Airtech Fusion-Lite construction making it -30% lighter that the average inflatable paddleboard.

Features and Specifications

  • Includes carry bag, pump, paddle and removable fin in box
  • Made with military PVC material and Airtech construction
  • Great bungee system for your gear
  • Wide nose and tail outline for stability
  • Suitable for SUP Yoga too
  • Aluminum paddle adjustable 65” to 86”
  • Dimensions: 12’6” x 30” x 6”
  • Weight: 20.5 lbs
  • Capacity: 275 lbs
  • My rating: (4.6 / 5)

Pros & Cons

  • Comes with accessories
  • Very stable
  • Durable
  • Lightweight
  • Does not come with a leash

Customer Feedback

Users say that the board is lightweight, just as advertised. It is stable and even beginners are comfortable riding on it. Except for the fact that pumping it is real work, the Airtech 12’6” is an amazing board.

3. Tower Xplorer

tower xplorer inflatable touring sup board

Designed for the SUPer who loves to push their limits, the Tower Xplorer iSUP has fantastic technical specifications. With unmatched speed and durability, your SUP trips are never going to be the same again.

The Tower Xplorer is 14’ long and 32” wide to give enough surface area and stability. It is the first ever 8” thick board to be made. With this dimensions, you can strap most of your gear for an extra long SUP tour. Two people can comfortably ride on this board since it has a capacity of 700 lbs.

The board comes with a three-piece adjustable paddle and a high pressure pump.

Features and Specifications

  • Has a wide surface area
  • Comes with a pump and a paddle
  • Has the rigidity of a fiberglass board
  • Very high capacity
  • Easy to store and transport
  • Dimensions: 14’ x 32” x 8”
  • Capacity: 700 lbs
  • My rating: (4.4 / 5)

Pros & Cons

  • Tracks well
  • Suitable for heavier people
  • Large surface area
  • Rigid and stable
  • Does not come with carry bag
  • Difficult to pump

Customer Feedback

The customers are thrilled. This board seems great. It is thick and wide offering stability. Despite the weight, it tracks really well and can even accommodate two people on it due to its capacity. The only downside is that you might have to pay extra on a plane.

4. Aqua Marina Touring/Race

aqua marina touring race paddle board

Do you love speed and long distance touring? The Aqua Marina Race Inflatable paddleboard is meant to help you have the ultimate touring experience. Its speed is unmatched and its balance commendable. SUPers who love very long trips will find this board perfect. Besides, you can use it for racing too.

The Aqua Marina is extremely durable and rigid. You do not need to worry about dints and dents—it is actually better than a fiberglass board, thanks to the Dropstitch technology. Its maximum capacity is 243 lbs.

The signature olive shape gives the board a sleek look. The Aqua Marina Race inflatable comes with a bag and a high pressure pump.

Features and Specifications

  • Signature olive shape
  • Durable 6” double wall Dropstitch core material
  • Comes with a backpack and high pressure pump with a gauge
  • Slide-in center fin
  • Additional layers of post-inflation lamination
  • Stainless steel D-ring attached to nose for leash
  • EVA deck for extra durability and maximum traction
  • Comfortable center carry handle
  • Dimensions: 14’0” x 28” x 6”
  • Weight: 26 lbs
  • Capacity: 243lbs
  • My rating: (4.4 / 5)

Pros & Cons

  • Great speed
  • Tracks really well
  • Stable
  • Sleek look
  • Too narrow for beginners
  • Does not come with paddle

Customer Feedback

Riders absolutely love the Aqua Marina. It has great speed and glides smoothly in the water. For intermediate and experienced paddlers, it is quite stable. The iSUP is high quality and they pack it well. What the users do not like is the cheaply made pump hose.

5. Boardworks Shubu Raven Inflatable

boardworks shubu raven inflatable touring board

Boardworks is a famous board company, well-known for making some of the best boards. The Shubu Raven inflatable is more of an all-round SUP. It is made with top-notch construction to make it durable and stiff. Unlike cheaply made inflatables, this one is not soft and bouncy when inflated. The Boardworks Raven offers speed, stability and glide for the enthusiastic rider.

There is an efficient tie-down bungee system to help secure your gear. The premium diamond grove pad has a tail kick and arch bar for support and stability. Moreover, the board comes as a complete paddleboarding package with a wrap backpack, pressure gauge, high pressure pump, patch kit and a center fin and screw.

Features and Specifications

  • Inflates to 14-18 PSI
  • Includes bag, high-pressure pump, pressure gauge, patch kit, center fin and screw
  • Hull specially designed for glide, stability and speed
  • Tie-down bungee system for gear
  • Premium diamond groove pad
  • High density Dropstitch construction
  • Dimensions: 12’6” x 30” x 6”
  • Weight: 33 lbs
  • Capacity: beginner – 265 lbs, intermediate – 290 lbs, pro – 305 lbs
  • My rating: (4.2 / 5)

Pros & Cons

  • Fast
  • Stable
  • Excellent quality
  • Easy to inflate and deflate
  • Does not come with a paddle

Customer Feedback

Boardworks do not disappoint. Going by the users’ reviews the Shubu Raven is a high quality board with great speed. It is stable and very stiff when fully inflated. It is easy to inflate and deflate.

There are no negative reviews about this board.

6. NIXY Manhattan Inflatable Touring SUP

nixy inflatable touring paddle board

The NIXY Manhattan Touring inflatable is manufactured by the California-based company NIXY Sports. This excellent board has been made with advanced Fusion Laminated Dropstitch technology and durable, high-end materials. The result is a lightweight board with commendable stiffness and performance.

The NIXY Touring SUP comes with a two-stage high pressure pump, hybrid ankle leash, a three wheel traveling bag and an adjustable aluminum paddle. The bag is heavy duty and has straps for easy transport. There is also a large removable center fin and eight D-rings for your cargo.

Features and Specifications

  • Inflates to 20 PSI
  • Made with Fusion Laminated Dropstitch technology and durable materials
  • Includes large removable center fin and 8 D-rings
  • Package includes inflatable board, bag, adjustable paddle, leash and pump
  • Optional kayak seat
  • The bag is heavy duty with straps
  • Paddle adjustable 67” to 82”
  • Large deck pad
  • Dimensions: 12’6” x 30” x 6”
  • Weight: 19 lbs
  • Capacity: 300 lbs
  • My rating: (4 / 5)

Pros & Cons

  • Comes as complete paddling package
  • Stiff and tracks well
  • Durable
  • High quality bag

Customer Feedback

NIXY always make great boards and this one is no different. Users say that it is well-made. Its stability is worth writing home about. The bag is great—as advertised and so are the other accessories. There are no negative reviews.

7. Driftsun Touring SUP

driftsun touring sup board

The Driftsun touring SUP is meant for intermediate and advanced paddlers. Besides being a touring board, it is perfect for racing and fitness paddling. Designed and manufactured by professional paddlers, the performance of this inflatable iSUP is unbeatable.

The board has a displacement hull and pointed nose to efficiently cut through the water. This volatile 11’8” iSUP has a textured EVA deck pad to secure your footing and keep you from slipping. There is a bungee system to tie down your cargo. The package includes an iSUP, a backpack with wheels, a high pressure pump, an adjustable aluminum paddle, a leash, removable fin and repair kit.

When fully inflated, you can easily mistake this inflatable for an epoxy board, except it is way lighter. The rugged military grade PVC that makes it allows you to be rough and adventurous without leaving dents and dings on the board.

Features and Specifications

  • Offers a complete paddling package
  • Built with rugged military grade PVC material for stiffness and durability
  • Ideal for touring, training, racing and fitness paddling
  • Has a displacement hull and pointed nose
  • Virtually indestructible
  • Paddle adjustable from 65” to 85”
  • Dimensions: 11’8” x 31” x 6”
  • Weight: 28 lbs
  • Capacity: 300 lbs
  • My rating: (4 / 5)

Pros & Cons

  • Offers all paddling accessories
  • Bag has straps and travel wheels
  • Lightweight and stiff
  • Fast
  • A bit short for a touring board

Customer Feedback

The Driftsun is a fantastic board. It is lightweight and easy to carry around. The bag is high quality as is the adjustable paddle. It is a stable board and can hold more than one rider. There are no negative reviews on the Driftsun.

8. Vilano Touring Paddle Board

vilano touring paddle board

The Vilano inflatable touring SUP is one of the most durable boards in the market. It is made from high grade PVC material using the Korean Dropstitch technology and will endure extreme conditions with no trouble. This touring SUP is very stiff and offers maximum speed for an adventurous experience.

The diamond grove traction pad ensures grip and comfort. The Vilano SUP touring package includes an inflatable board, a paddle, a pressure pump with a gauge, a carry bag, removable fin and a shoulder strap. The board is not heavy and folds compact to make traveling easy for you.

Features and Specifications

  • Diamond grove traction pad for grip and stability
  • Made with Korean Dropstitch technology
  • Comes as a complete package
  • Only one foot in diameter when folded
  • Has carry strap for easy transport
  • Dimensions: 12’ x 28” x 6”
  • Capacity: 350 lbs
  • My rating: (3.9 / 5)

Pros & Cons

  • Rigid
  • Highly portable
  • Complete package
  • Durable
  • Cheaply made pump
  • Does not include leash

Customer Feedback

The Vilano touring board has proven to be great. It is well made and has amazing speed—going by what the reviews are saying. It has a great look and one user says it looks better than the picture. Another good thing about the Vilano is that the provided paddle is adjustable.

The only downside to this board seems to be the fact that it is not that stable. Beginners may not be comfortable on it.

9. Ten Toes Jetsetter Inflatable Touring SUP Board

The Ten Toes Jetsetter is 14’ long and has a tapered nose making it the best for speed. It smoothly chops through the water while its 6” width helps you maintain stability.

It is built with military grade PVC using the trusted Dropstitch technology, making it virtually indestructible. The EVA traction pad keeps you from slipping while enjoying your nice tour out in the water. There is a middle carry handle to help you carry the board across the beach with ease. Moreover, it has a bungee system and four stainless steel D-rings for your equipment.

The package includes a Black Manual high pressure pump, three removable nylon fins, a repair kit and an adjustable three piece aluminum paddle; its full length is about 9’.

Features and Specifications

  • Built from military grade PVC and is virtually indestructible
  • Bundle comes with 3 removable nylon fins, manual pump, repair kit, adjustable three piece pump and board
  • Has a middle carry handle
  • Tie-down system and 4 stainless steel D-rings
  • Tapered nose for fast tracking
  • Dimensions: 14’ x 30” x 6”
  • Capacity: 250 lbs
  • My rating: (3.8 / 5)

Pros & Cons

  • Complete paddling package
  • Paddle is adjustable
  • Glides smoothly in water
  • Does not come with carry bag

Customer Feedback

A majority of the users would recommend this board. It is well made, cuts smoothly through the water and is really fast. The Jetsetter is a little heavy though.

Conclusion

This review should help you narrow down your options and make a more informed decision. Your SUP tour does not have to be frustrating just because you could not get the right board. Even better, most of the above boards are all-round and suitable for all skill levels; which is awesome if you will be sharing your board. Pick the touring SUP board that wins your heart and have yourself a fantastic experience.

choose a touring paddle board

How To Get Started With SUP Touring

SUP touring is one of the best experiences that you can ever have. It helps you clear your head and rejuvenate your soul, making you feel fresh and alive. Moreover, the health benefits of stand up paddleboarding are something you might not want to miss out on. It has been termed one of the best workouts.

Getting started with SUP touring may seem easy—throw a few essentials on your board and just go. However, it is more complicated than that. There are a few things that you need to know and have before you go out into the water, whether it is during the day or night. In this article you will find the gear that you need, necessary precautions and basic tips for your first SUP expedition.

SUP Touring Gear

Getting The Best Touring SUP Board

Choosing an expedition SUP board is the most vital decision you will make in your planning—especially if you are entirely new to standup paddleboarding. Lucky for you, there are boards designed specifically for SUP touring, unless you want to use your board for other things like SUP yoga. In this case, you might consider an all-round paddle board. This one does not have a displacement hull and might be limiting in terms of speed.

Cruising standup paddle boards are usually longer (ranging from 12 to 14 feet). Some even have a displacement hull for fast, straight tracking and a smoother glide in the water.  Ensure that you get a board that has bungee cords for strapping your gear; this will come in handy.

Another important aspect is the width and the capacity of the board. Remember SUP touring may mean being out in the water for long. You need a board that can handle your weight and that of all your gear. Manufacturers always indicate the board capacity, pay attention. It should also be wide enough for there to be room for your essentials and for balance.

Whether to buy an epoxy touring paddleboard or an inflatable touring SUP largely depends on where you will be paddling. For white water paddling you better get an inflatable cruising SUP board. Renting a board is always a good idea so you can make a decision from experience.

Getting The Best SUP Touring Paddle

Stand up paddles are made of different materials. The lighter ones will be easy on your arms (especially if you will be paddling for long) but they are more expensive and can barely endure tough conditions. Heavier ones are cheaper and more durable. You need to consider your budget, the water conditions and the length of your trip here.

As for the paddle length, it should be around 4 to 7 inches taller than you. Adjustable paddles are the best since you can vary the length depending on conditions.

Other Essentials

Dry Bags

All your gear will be strapped on your board. The chances of water getting on it are very high—actually, getting water on your gear is inevitable because your board is more than likely to capsize. Dry bags may not be the cheapest thing in the market but they are well worth their price. Some things like phones, cameras and electronics are way more costly and should they get damaged, you will be counting your losses all through the year.

The perfect idea would be to be to buy two dry bags (or more if you have the money). Have a larger one for everything; clothes, a sleeping bag, etc and a smaller one for electronics, snacks, sunscreen and other small essentials.

Tools

You may be wondering what tools have to do with anything here. Well, you will be out in the water, it may be a long trip and you will be probably be alone. You can never predict what will happen. Must have tools include a GPS and a compass. If you will camp somewhere, remember to bring cooking material, tools for fixing stuff and safety tools. Be armed and prepared—you can never be too prepared.

SUP Touring Tips and Precautions

  1. Do Your Research

Researching before your SUP expedition is something you cannot fail to do. It is always great to know what to expect and be familiar with your route. Internet is one of the best things that ever happened to mankind; make use of it. If you have not picked a particular river yet, go online and search for navigable rivers in the area.  Better still, see if someone has toured the river before and get in touch to ask questions.

After picking out a river find out if it is seasonal and make sure the rapids and waterfalls are something you can handle on a touring SUP. There is a lot of mapping software that you can use to get even the smallest details about your route.

  1. Safety First

Your safety cannot be emphasized enough. This is the one thing you should consider above all others. Never embark on a SUP cruise without a leash, a PFD, a whistle and a first aid kit. With a leash, you can never be separated from your board when you fall in, more so in a deep section.

When things get rough you can count on your board to help you stay afloat; so you better make sure you can reach it. For extremely harsh weather, experts recommend two leashes, or a rope around your waist. If you brought so much on board, the leashes might give up the struggle.

Even if you have planned a short trip, have an emergency kit and a float plan. Know how to use the kit; otherwise it will be just useless. Leave your float plan to someone you can rely on,either a friend or your family.

  1. Have A Means Of Communication

As you research about your touring area, do enough research to know about the mobile/data coverage. It will be very unfortunate when you want help but cannot get it because there is no coverage. It is also very disappointing and frustrating when you are unable to share your journey on social media.

Even with good coverage, a dead phone is of no use; know how you are going to charge your phone while out there. Buy a solar charged power bank if you have to.

  1. Know When To Bring A SUP Touring Buddy

Usually, many people want to go on a SUP cruise to be alone with their thoughts. This is totally okay if it is a short day trip at a safe place. A night expedition, however, can be dangerous and in other instances your imagination will start working against you. It is comforting to know that someone else is watching your back in times like these.

For a long day trip, it is also wise to have company. Sometimes the body just won’t cooperate and fatigue may kick in while you are in the middle of nowhere. What if you pass out? It is scary but it is a possibility you cannot ignore.

  1. Do Not Forget To Create An Exit Strategy

You see, the thing with life is that we make plans knowing very well things might not turn out as expected. SUP touring is no different. Never forget that things may go south. You do not have much control; so have a backup plan.

The key to making a good plan B is to carefully go over your original plan and figure out what might go wrong and where you might end up. Then come up with a scheme on how to get out of that situation safely. When you have a backup plan you will feel safe and prepared. With less panicking and more confidence, you can deal with the situation better.

  1. Pack Light

Even if your board is wide, stable and with a great capacity, do not get ahead of yourself. Before you throw anything in the bag ask yourself if it is really necessary; and even that which is necessary should be light and compact. Remember you are not moving, it is just a SUP trip—you will be back.

  1. Engage The Locals

It is good to talk to the people who live around your chosen route. They know things that you cannot find on the internet. Be nice to them and they will reciprocate. Ask them for more details about the area; the best spots, where to avoid, what to look out for and whatever else you want to know. They could turn out to be of great help.

Taking a SUP tour is doing yourself a huge favor. Whether long or short, it is a great way to connect with nature and take your mind off things for a while. The best thing about it is that you do not need a lot to go on a SUP expedition. As long as you have a board, paddle, leash, PFD and a few necessities, you are good to go.

Just make sure you do enough research, have a means of communication and bring a friend if you think it is important. Do not bring too much, have a plan B and pack light. Wherever you are going, be nice and friendly to the locals. Remember that your safety is your first priority. Finally, have fun and take lots of pictures!