Getting into SUP Touring

Whether you're looking at hard touring paddle boards like the Glide Quest or the inflatable O2 Quest, our touring design has been modified over time to be the best distillation of what we think a tourer should be. Both versions are ultra-durable, and will last indefinitely with proper care. Start your touring adventure off with the best SUP for the job.

SUP Touring is a growing activity across the wider scope of standup paddle boarding. Touring paddleboards have been specially crafted for exploration, adventure, and long-distance travel. A touring paddleboard is made to be more capable of covering greater distances quickly, with less effort, and transporting a modest amount of gear. As in any watersport, gathering the right gear, and developing sufficient knowledge and endurance, are the key to eventually being able to go for long distances.

What is a Touring SUP?


Design elements

A touring paddle board is primarily designed for speed, straight tracking, and a smoother glide than a traditional surf-shaped paddle board. Touring paddle boards and racing boards are very similar with some key differences. Both are longer and narrower than traditional SUP paddle boards.


Why the long face?

A touring paddle board is usually at least 12' long and usually longer. This is because they still need to have nearly the same volume as regular paddle boards in order to float a paddler plus their gear. Touring boards may have the same surface area (or more!) as an all-around stand up paddle board, but because it's stretched out and narrower, they have a much lower drag coefficient.


Displacement hull


Displacement hull and construction

They usually have a displacement hull for efficient glide and better straight line tracking. Most SUPs have planing hulls- wider, flatter shapes meant to ride on top of the water and provide good stability. Displacement hulls have more of the V-shape typical in sailboats, in order to slice through the water more quickly. They do tend to be less stable (tippy) but when you're paddling for speed/distance, stability improves as the touring SUP moves through the water.

Racing boards nearly always have carbon fiber side rails, while a touring SUP may or may not have carbon fiber construction. Like racing paddle boards, a touring SUP is made to be as lightweight as possible, while remaining durable enough for normal wear and tear. They are either fiberglass or carbon fiber wrapped over EPS foam. There are also inflatable touring paddle boards, made from mil-spec PVC.

Glide Inflatable Quest Construction


Touring SUPs are designed to float a paddler and carry gear (at least a daypack), while racing boards are usually stripped down to be as light as possible and typically don't have gear holders. Touring boards usually have a premium deck pad compared to a more sparse racing SUP.


Single center fin box

Single Fin



















Side thrusters in a multiple fin setup are for improving stability on a wave while surfing and actually create drag in normal, long distance paddling situations- a touring sup designed for long distance paddling only needs a single fin setup for straight tracking and smooth glide.


Choosing the best touring paddle for your touring SUP

SUP paddles

After a good, Coast Guard approved life jacket, the most important piece of equipment to complement your touring SUP is the paddle. If you get serious about touring, you'll want to invest in the best touring paddle you can. Adjustable paddles are very handy, but not that lightweight. You'll want to get a fixed paddle, the length cut to fit you specifically. The most expensive paddle isn't necessarily the best touring paddle.

Take time to do your homework and decide which type of paddle best fits your budget and needs. A carbon fiber paddle is going to be strong and ultra-lightweight, but a fiberglass paddle can be just as strong if not quite as light. Paddles come in many shapes and variations- try to demo as many as you can, to find the best touring paddle for you.


Inflatable paddle boards

Inflatable Quest in the wild

Inflatable paddle boards have come a long way. They're much more rigid than when they were first introduced. Due to its bulbous shape and flat bottom, an inflatable touring paddle board can't quite match the performance of a rigid touring paddle board.

They do have the same tapered, needle shape and similar dimensions as their rigid counterparts, so they're definitely the quickest inflatables on the water, and an experienced paddler can still outperform a non-touring shaped rigid SUP.

Inflatable paddle boards have a couple of advantages- unlike a solid touring board, they're not fragile at all, and they'll float more weight than a comparable sized hard touring paddle board. An inflatable touring paddle board is less expensive and much easier to transport as well.


What to bring on a touring paddle board?

Touring gear










Whether you're paddle boarding for a half hour or going for several miles, you'realways going to need water, sun screen, and a life jacket (PFD). Even on cloudy days, you'll get burned after a stint on your touring paddle board. A good sun hat is a nice accessory.

A water bottle with a clip to attach to your touring paddle board is a must. Most people like to take pics while touring, so a water-proof phone bag that you can wear around your neck or throw in a pack is useful; some even let you take photos without taking the phone out of the bag.

Another useful accessory is a paddle holder. These let you clip the paddle to your stand up paddle board so you don't have to hang on to it when you're resting. The paddle holder can either be mounted on the deck or the side of your touring paddle board.

Since a backpack easily fits on a touring paddle board, it's easy to bring a decent amount of touring gear with you, just choose what you want to bring after all the necessities are packed.


Where to go for long touring adventures:

One great thing about touring boards is that you can work on technique and endurance on nearly any body of water. Even calm rivers without rapids can be great for touring- just start out going upriver so you don't end up exhausted and far from the takeout.

Lakes, calm seas, any flat water, really; you can tour anywhere, even if you're just paddling back and forth across a pond. It's nice to always be seeing something new, but it's not always necessary to have a huge body of water to take your touring paddle board across.


See the world on a SUP!


Learning to paddle distances quickly: how to get faster

If you're serious about building endurance and being able to take your touring paddle board further, you're going to want to get faster. When starting out, it's better to focus on maintaining good form at all times, even when you're tired, so that you don't develop any bad paddling habits. There are plenty of good paddling tutorials online.

You'll want to use an app like Strava or some other GPS app to track your distance and speed. Going with a friend or family member really helps you keep a faster pace as well. By keeping track of your pace on touring boards, you can stay focused on beating your personal bests, which is the fastest way to get quicker.


Caring for touring boards

Caring for your SUP



















Touring boards aren't that different from other paddle boards. Keep them out of the sun as much as possible when not in use. They are long and a little more fragile than regular boards; just take your time when moving/transporting them. Rinse them off when you're finished and putting them away. Don't stand on them when they're on shore. That's about it.


Can you surf a touring board?


Sort of- after paddling on an ocean and returning to the beach, you can catch small waves while stroking in and ride the surf in much like an ocean kayak does. Just don't try to shred the gnar or send it, and you'll be ok.


The Glide Quest is an excellent touring board

Whether you're looking at hard touring paddle boards like the Glide Quest or the inflatable O2 Quest, our touring design has been modified over time to be the best distillation of what we think a tourer should be. Both versions are ultra-durable, and will last indefinitely with proper care. Start your touring adventure off with the best SUP for the job.


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