Paddle Board Touring: A Comprehensive Guide

Paddle board touring is a fabulous way to explore waterways around the globe.


Paddle board touring is an increasingly popular activity that combines the joy of stand up paddle boarding (SUP) with the adventure of exploring new destinations. This guide will provide you with everything you need to know about paddle board touring, from essential gear to safety tips and top touring locations. We'll also incorporate helpful links to ensure you have all the information you need for a successful and enjoyable journey.

Why a Touring Paddle Board?

touring boards

Touring SUP is the practice of embarking on extended journeys or expeditions on a stand up paddle board. These adventures can range from day trips to multi-day excursions, covering various distances and exploring diverse waterways such as lakes, rivers, and coastlines.

Either a solid inflatable touring board works well for SUP touring.

Benefits of Touring SUPs

  • Exploration: Discover new locations and appreciate the natural beauty of your surroundings.

  • Fitness: Improve your physical fitness with an enjoyable, low-impact full-body workout.

  • Mental Health: Experience the calming and stress-relieving effects of being on the water and connecting with nature.

  • Social Interaction: Share the experience with friends or meet fellow paddlers along the way.

Choosing the Right Touring Board

best touring paddle boards

Types of Paddle boards

When selecting the perfect paddle board for touring, it's essential to consider factors such as board size, shape, and construction. There are two main types of paddle boards: hard boards and inflatable paddle boards (iSUPs). Read our guide on whether to choose an inflatable or hard board to help you decide which is best for your needs.

Features of a Touring Paddle board

Touring paddle boards typically have specific design features to enhance their performance and stability for long journeys. These may include:

  • A pointed nose and a sleek, streamlined shape for improved speed and glide

  • A higher volume and weight capacity to accommodate additional gear

  • Integrated bungee systems or attachment points for securing your belongings

Essential Gear for Touring SUP


Choosing the right paddle is crucial for a comfortable and efficient touring experience. Our guide on how to choose the right size paddle can help you find the perfect paddle for your needs.

Personal Flotation Device (PFD)

A PFD is a must-have for safety on the water. Familiarize yourself with the SUP safety requirements mandated by law in the US and ensure you have the appropriate gear for your adventure.


A leash is vital for keeping you connected to your paddle board in case you fall or encounter rough conditions. Select a leash suitable for the type of water you'll be exploring, such as a coiled leash for flat water or a straight leash for open water and surf.

Dry Bags

Protect your belongings from water damage by using dry bags. These waterproof bags will keep your gear dry and secure during your journey.

Navigation Equipment

Depending on the location and duration of your tour, it's essential to have reliable navigation equipment such as maps, a compass, or a GPS device. This will help you stay on course and ensure you're aware of your surroundings.

Emergency and Safety Gear

Prepare for potential emergencies by carrying a well-stocked first aid kit, a whistle, a flashlight, and a multi-tool. It's also a good idea to have a communication device like a mobile phone or VHF radio to stay connected and call for help if needed.

Food and Water

Pack sufficient food and water for your journey, considering factors such as the duration of your trip and the availability of resources along the way. Hydration is crucial, so bring a reusable water bottle or hydration pack to stay refreshed.

Clothing and Sun Protection

Wear appropriate clothing for the weather conditions and bring extra layers if needed. Don't forget sun protection, such as sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat, to shield yourself from harmful UV rays.

Planning Your Paddle board Touring Adventure

touring sup board and paddle holder

Training and Fitness

Before embarking on a touring adventure, ensure you have a solid foundation in stand up paddle boarding. Familiarize yourself with the beginner's guide to understanding SUP basics and practice your skills in various conditions. Gradually increase your fitness level by incorporating off-season workouts for SUP and improving your fitness with SUP.

Route Planning

Research and plan your route, taking into account factors such as distance, water conditions, weather, and available resources like camping spots and rest areas. Check out these resources for inspiration:

Safety and Etiquette

Familiarize yourself with SUP safety tips and paddle surfing etiquette to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for both you and other water users.

Tips for a Successful Paddle board Touring Adventure

Pacing and Endurance

Paddle at a comfortable pace and take breaks as needed. Remember that touring is about enjoying the journey and exploring new destinations, so don't rush through your adventure.

Technique and Efficiency

Improve your paddle stroke efficiency by practicing proper paddling techniques for stand up paddle boarding. This will help conserve energy and reduce fatigue during your tour.

Staying Prepared

Monitor weather conditions and be prepared to adjust your plans if necessary. Always keep safety as your top priority and be ready to adapt to changing circumstances.

Paddle board touring offers endless opportunities for exploration, fitness, and connection with nature. By equipping yourself with the right gear, knowledge, and skills, you'll be well-prepared to embark on a memorable and rewarding touring adventure.

Paddle board Touring with Friends and Family

Benefits of Group Paddle boarding

Paddle board touring with friends or family members can provide additional benefits such as camaraderie, shared experiences, and increased safety. Sharing the adventure with others can create lasting memories and strengthen bonds.

Tips for Group Paddle boarding

  1. Communicate your plans and expectations clearly with your group members. Ensure everyone is on the same page regarding the route, pace, and goals of the trip.

  2. Assess the skill levels of all participants and plan a route that is appropriate for the group. Make sure everyone is comfortable with the chosen route and conditions.

  3. Consider organizing group training sessions or workshops to help everyone improve their SUP skills, such as improving your SUP paddle stroke or preventing paddle boarding injuries.

  4. Establish a buddy system within the group, so everyone is accountable for a partner. This can help ensure safety and provide support during the tour.

  5. Be prepared to adapt your plans or route to accommodate the needs and abilities of the group.

Touring Paddle Boarding with Your Dog

For those who enjoy spending time on the water with their furry friends, paddle board touring can be an excellent opportunity to share the experience. Before setting off on a tour with your dog, consider these tips:

  1. Introduce your dog to paddle boarding in a calm and controlled environment. Start with short sessions and gradually increase the duration as your dog becomes more comfortable.

  2. Make sure your dog has a lifejacket specifically designed for pets. This will provide additional safety and help them stay afloat if they accidentally fall into the water.

  3. Bring a comfortable and non-slip mat or pad for your dog to sit or lie on while on the paddle board. This can help them feel more secure and reduce the risk of slipping.

  4. Keep your dog on a leash or tether while on the paddle board, especially in areas with boat traffic or strong currents.

  5. Pack extra water and treats for your dog, and take breaks to allow them to rest and rehydrate.

Paddle board touring can be a fantastic way to bond with your dog while exploring new waterways. With proper preparation and consideration for their needs, you can both enjoy a safe and enjoyable adventure together.

The Future of SUP Touring

inflatable paddle board

With the growing popularity of stand up paddle boarding, the possibilities for touring paddleboards continue to expand. New innovations in paddle board design and technology, such as Glide inflatables, are making it easier for paddlers to access remote locations and embark on longer tours.

As the paddle boarding community grows and explores new destinations, there's no doubt that paddle board touring will continue to evolve and offer new and exciting opportunities for adventure seekers. Embrace the spirit of exploration, challenge yourself, and discover the joys of paddle board touring!