If you’ve been into Stand Up Paddleboarding for a while now — preferring the serene waters of the bay or lake over ocean waves, but still riding a traditional surfboard shaped SUP — it might be time to graduate to a race or touring board. With a nose shaped more like a kayak, called a “displacement hull”, these sleek and streamlined boards are designed to go fast and straight, cutting though choppy waters and gliding with ease.
Touring boards are generally more stable and are wider than race boards, designed for recreational paddlers, while race boards tend to be narrower, designed for more advanced and competitive paddlers. Touring boards come in a variety of different lengths, while race boards are either 12’6 or 14 ft.
As we kick off the second half of the summer and head into those beautiful fall months ahead, here are 6 of our favorite race and touring boards to take your paddling to the next level.
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FROM LEFT: BARK CONTENDER LITE PRO ELITE 12’6. Joe Bark is one of the most respected paddleboard designers, and more races have been won on Bark boards than any other brand. The new Bark Contender Lite is a reflection of the shift in design towards lower-volume, narrower boards. It’s fast and responsive, and the ideal choice for the experienced paddler looking for the playfulness of a lower-volume 12’6″ board that can handle any variety of conditions.
STARBOARD ALL STAR CARBON 2017. The Starboard All Star has long dominated the racing scene. Available in 12’6 or 14′ and a variety of widths, it offers performance, comfort and stability with its recessed deck and tri-concave bottom. The All Star comes in a more expensive lightweight carbon sandwich construction that flexes with each stroke, or a hybrid carbon that’s slightly heavier, but more durable. Flat water, choppy, or in the surf, it’s a versatile favorite in any condition.
SURFTECH SABER 2017. The all-new Saber Coretech Stand Up Paddleboard is the next step in the evolution of touring SUP Boards. The surf-inspired shape and rocker make it easy to catch small waves, but still has enough volume to cruise flat-water with ease. Featuring a concave deck area, 3/4 deck pad, and 4 forward tie downs to hold all your gear, it’s the perfect SUP for those looking to cruise down the river, explore the lakes, or paddle up the coast. Available in 11’6 and 12’6.
JP SPORTSTER. The super-efficient and comfortable design of the Sportster boards has given them the name of recreational race boards. The race rocker lines combined with wider outlines make them fun for fitness paddling and touring, with bungee tie downs for all your “carry-ons”. The Sportster comes in classic Wood Edition, AST, as well as in full carbon wrap technology, and are available in 4 lengths with varying widths from 11’4 x 29″ to 14′ x 28″.
SIC MAUI X 12’6 SCC/TWC . If you want a fast all around fitness/race board that has a bit more width for added stability, this is your board. The wave piercing bow and dual zone rocker offer low drag in calm waters with the stability needed in choppier conditions. Sharp rails at the tail shear water to maximize speed. Available in lightweight Single Carbon Composite (SCC) or more durable Tuff Wood Carbon (TWC).
IMAGINE ROCKET. Designed by world renowned waterman, Dave Kalama, the Rocket is a thoroughbred race board that combines speed with stability. The Rocket takes the principle that stability generates power and gives it an efficient platform. It has a 28″ wide recessed deck, and displacement nose with just a touch of rocker. The light and stiff construction makes the Rocket a fast and explosive board that glides with a powerful ease.