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Best Touring/Race Stand Up Paddle Board Review 2016
When most people think of stand up paddle boarding, they think of standing on a long board, casually tooling around, getting a tan and relaxing. Now, this may be true but there is more fun to be had. All you need is a good touring or race SUP board to take it to that next level. Cross training, recreational racing, long distance journeys and exploration paddling are all great ways to get more out of the sport and the right board can make all the difference.
In the simplest terms, a touring or race SUP board is going to have a pointed nose, also known as a displacement hull, just like the front of a boat. This design allows the board to slice through the water and gives the a smooth glide and faster overall performance. Touring boards may not have the most defined displacement hull and they are generally a little wider, making them highly stable and great for long distances, exploring or even fishing. Race boards will be much more narrow and will have a more aggressive displacement hull making the board lighter and faster.
Very often, we hear customers say “I don’t need a board like that, I’m just a beginner”. What they don’t realize is that some of these boards are just as easy to learn on but will be much more fun down the road when you become more comfortable on your board. We put together a list of some of our favorite touring and race SUP boards. So whether it’s your first board ever or you are looking to jump into racing, we’ve got a board on this list that will work for you!
Riviera Voyager Classic
With a timeless look and high quality construction, the Riviera Voyager Classic SUP Board is at the top of our touring list. It has a bamboo / fiberglass build which makes this board lightweight and durable. An exposed wood topsheet gives the Classic it’s signature look and the 12 gear tie town plugs give you a ton of space for all your gear on longer journeys. The Voyager’s versatile shape allows paddlers of any skill level to enjoy the ride. It’s wide body is super stable and easy to balance on while the displacement hull generates a fast, smooth glide on every stroke. Since it is a little on the wider side, we wouldn’t recommend it as a serious race board but for recreational racing, touring, long distance journeys or just cruising around your local lake, the Riviera Voyager Classic would definitely get the job done.
With the same benefits and shape as the Classic we mentioned above, the Riviera Voyager SUP Board is a less expensive way to get on this amazing board. Using Riviera’s EPS core construction, this version of the Voyager is still lightweight, highly durable and great looking at a fraction of the price of the Classic. We refer to the Riviera Voyager as the “RV” of the lineup. From the wide, sturdy deck shape to the 12 gear tie downs, there is almost room for the whole family! Over 5″ thick and 32 inches wide, the Voyager also has the most stable platform of any board on this list making it almost impossible to NOT be able to balance on this board. Even first timers could step on the Voyager and paddle with confidence in no time. The displacement hull and narrow nose allows this board to slice through the water making it a great board for cross training, longer distance treks and recreational races.
Starboard Elite Touring
Fast, lightweight, stable and shaped to get you there in style, the Starboard Elite Touring SUP Board is one of the best touring paddleboards out there. Highly stable as a race board, fast and smooth for touring and built to handle flat water and chop quite well. With a sleek, pronounced nose, the hull will cut through the water with power, giving the rider a smooth and fast glide in almost any condition. Two bungee areas allow for extra room for gear and four FCS inserts give you ample options for your Go Pro, GPS or night lights. When you are ready to step up your paddle game, look to the Starboard Elite Touring board.
Starboard Pocket Touring
Just like the name says, the Pocket Touring SUP board is a touring board that gets the job done at a fraction of the length. Available in both 9’6 and 10’6 sizes, this ride is lean, mean and perfect for cross training. Very fast considering it’s short size, the Pocket has added stability thanks to the recessed deck pad. Add to that the deep V concave in the tail that channels the water perfectly for a smooth exit. Whether you are looking to cross train for your next race or you are just looking for a fast board without all the extra length, the Starboard Pocket is a great choice.
C4 Mongoose Speed 12’6
Surf races, downwinders and serious coastal cruising is what the C4 Mongoose Speed SUP Board is all about. This narrow, sleek, mean machine is a beast in the water and perfect for the paddler who is ready to start doing some serious racing. With a slim 26″ width, this board is lightweight and stable even in chop or windy conditions due to the low profile nose and recessed cockpit. The semi-flat displacement hull slices the water without catching the wind, making the Mongoose easier to turn and maneuver around tight corner and buoys. Equipped with C4’s FeatherCore construction for a lightweight, highly durable build that can handle the wear and tear of being a high performance paddle board.
The ultimate when it comes to cruising, touring and racing is the 2015 Naish Glide SUP Board. Available in several sizes, the Glide can satisfy both the casual touring style and race enthusiast. The smaller touring sizes have wide, stable bodies and the larger race lengths narrow out and get a more pronounced displacement hull. For those looking to enter the SUP race scene, you may want to check out the 12’6 while the more seasoned race crowd can head to the 14’0. Regardless of the size, the displacement hull slices through almost any conditions while a double concave bottom helps channel the water for an overall smooth, stable feeling glide. All sizes come in the GS construction but note that the widths and overall weight does change based on the size. Take a look at the sizes below to get the specific specs. Added bonus for 2015, the Glide is also now available as an inflatable!
Naish Javelin X28 GX
It’s pretty clear we’ve saved the best for last when it comes to the Naish Javelin X28 GX SUP Board. Suitable for professional racing and equipped with every bell and whistle you need to take your speed and precision to the next level, the Naish Javelin is as good as it gets. The 2015 Javelin features a state of the art rocker and newly developed deck and bottom shape for the ultimate in speed acceleration and power in any condition. An advanced dihedral nose splits the water away from the board instead of pushing it towards the riders feet so you get more distance out of each stroke and the double concave bottom channels the water out offering maximum stability and glide. If it’s good enough for the world-class Naish team then it’s probably good enough for the rest of us. The Naish Javelin X28 GX is here to win.
This article should give you a great place to start shopping for your next SUP board. Time to start training for your next SUP race or plan out that long distance tour!