Should You Get an All Around or Touring Paddle Board?
The question if you should get an All Around or Touring paddle board is a common among first time paddle board buyers. In the spirit of helping people make the best decision, let’s get the answer.
As a company that has sold hundreds of paddle boards, some of the first questions we ask is this will be the buyers first board, and what activities would they like to do?
Most people purchasing their first paddle board have decided to make the purchase after performing the activity on vacation, using a friend’s board at the cottage or after a couple of rentals. They like the activity enough to buy a board, but in reality, they have limited experience.
If this describes you, I would suggest purchasing an All-Around paddle board. All Around paddle boards are perfect for people just getting into the sport. They are well balanced, and you can do any type of SUP activity with one. Want to paddle 10 miles across the lake? An All Around can do that. Want to try paddle surfing and catch some waves the next day? An All Around can do that too.
An All-Around style is a great first board, because it performs well for all types of paddle boarding activities.
GENERAL PURPOSE VS SPECIALIZED
All Around paddle boards can be considered general purpose paddle boards. They can do virtually every type of paddling activity well, but it doesn’t shine at any single activity.
If you’re looking for a SUP that excels at one thing in particular, then you want to get a specialized board. Paddle boards styles vary for the activity. In addition to the general-purpose All-Around style, there are specialized categories known as Race, Touring, Surf/Wave and even Yoga.
Touring paddle boards are built to cut through the water and travel easily in a straight line. They will outperform an All-Around style in the 10-mile paddle across the lake, but it would be very hard to catch even the smallest wave with a Touring board.
Specialized style paddle boards are excellent, and are highly recommended as a second board. When you want to have a good cardio session, break out the Touring paddle board. When you want to play around closer to shore, the All Around will be more fun.
BENEFITS OF BOTH STYLES
There are benefits to both boards, and this is where the second question we ask customers comes into play; what activities would you like to do?
As previously explained, an All-Around paddle board enables paddlers to experience all the forms that paddle boarding has to offer. You can do it all with an All-Around paddle board!
In addition, All Around paddle boards are less expensive than their specialized counterparts, and they are also having better balance.
Touring paddle boards are far superior to All Arounds when it comes to traveling through the water with speed. Because of their shape, paddlers are capable are traveling further faster and with less effort than an All-Around style.
For paddlers wishing to travel long distances in a straight line, Touring paddle boards are the answer.
CONS OF BOTH STYLES
From the perspective of a first-time buyer, there is no downside to getting an All-Around style. Newer paddlers to the sport get to hone their skills on a stable platform that enables them to experience everything that paddle boarding has to offer.
A Touring paddle board will not be as user friendly for a newer paddler, Not only are paddlers limited from experiencing the variety of activities paddle boarding has to offer, Touring boards much narrower are often less stable than their All-Around cousins.
If you’re purchasing your first paddle board, the better decision is to go with an All-Around style. Experience everything that paddle boarding has to offer. After you’ve logged a couple of years with your All Around, get the speciality boards to meet your needs. Don’t start with one.
Is a Hard Paddle Board More Stable Than an Inflatable?
Stability is an important characteristic of almost all paddle boards, and especially so, for newer paddlers who are first time purchasers. A stable paddle board enables the inexperienced to gain experience and confidence quickly. Most importantly, stability provides enjoyment to all paddlers.
With two different paddle board technologies dominating the market, a common question of first-time buyers is if a hard paddle board is more stable than its inflatable counterparts?
PADDLE BOARD STABILITY EXPLAINED
Stability can be defined as the state or quality of being stable, or having a firmness in position.
In practical terms, a stable paddle board is one that provides good balance to the paddler on the water, so that the paddler can stand on the board in water chop while it’s moving slowly or not at all. A stable paddle board will provide a solid surface and be wide enough to allow the paddler to stand naturally balanced.
INFLATABLE PADDLE BOARD INSTABILITY
Shoppers looking for the most stable paddle board should not consider inflatables.
Inflatable paddle boards do not offer the same level of stability as hard paddle boards for two primary reasons. They support the rider with air, and they have flat bottoms.
Board stability is directly related to its rigidity. Inflatable paddle boards are essentially plastic bags that are held rigid with air pressure. If the pressure isn’t sufficient, an inflatable paddle board becomes less rigid and soft. A hard paddle board keeps its rigidity at all times. Standing on a hard paddle board is like standing on a sidewalk. Standing on an under pressured inflatable is like standing on a mattress.
Simply put, an underinflated paddle board will be less stable than a hard paddle board because it will be less stiff.
ADVANTAGES OF HARD PADDLE BOARDS
When it comes to stability, hard paddle boards have many advantages over inflatables.
Hard boards will always provide more solid footing and better balance than inflatables due to the fact that they are naturally HARD AND SOLID and will never get soft.
Hard paddle boards can also have their bottom shaped to provide better stability and flow through the water. This is something inflatables just can’t do.
Because they’re rigid, hard board bottoms can have a rocker and concaves similar to a catamaran which enables the water to flow easily past the board. Easy water flow improves glide and stability. Inflatable paddle board designers do not have the option to create rockers or contoured bottoms on their boards. The outward force of air pressure construction, makes it impossible to create concave shapes. Concave bottoms improve water flow and improve stability and perform better in choppy water.
The contoured and concaved bottoms on hard paddle boards offers better stability on choppy water and swells. The flat bottoms on inflatables just don’t perform as well in these real-world conditions.
Simply put, the concave bottoms on hard paddle boards are more stable than the flat bottoms on inflatables.
To be fair to inflatables, flat bottoms are actually very stable in calm flat waters and do provide better stability than rockered and concaved hard boards. Outside of this perfect water condition, inflatable paddle boards offer inferior stability.
Shoppers looking for the most stable type of paddle board should purchase a hard paddle board. Being a solid surface, the rigid sensation felt through your feet naturally improves your balance. Hard paddle boards last for years and the natural stability of these boards will keep you loving the sport for just as long.
What is the Difference Between a Paddle Board and SUP?
Answering the question about the difference between the terms “paddle board” and SUP” may seem like a silly topic, but it’s a common question for beginners learning about the sport.
WHAT IS “SUP”?
While most people understand what a paddle board is, the term SUP provides more confusion.
The term SUP can be used in three ways:
SUP AS AN ACTIVITY
SUP is an anacronym for Stand Up Paddleboarding, and is commonly used to describe the sport of paddle boarding.
SUP AS A DESCRIPTOR
SUP can also be used interchangeably for the term “paddle board”.
This context best applies to the original question in the article’s title. In this case, there is absolutely no difference between a Paddle Board and a SUP. They are one and the same!
SUP AS A VERB
SUP can also be used as a verb. In this context, it is usually used in the infinitive but not always.
As you can see, the term SUP can have many different uses depending on the context. However, to answer the question “What is the difference between a paddle board and a SUP?”, the simply answer is that there is no difference. SUP is shorthand for stand up paddle board. Therefore, Paddle boards and SUP are the same thing.
The Wappa Blog
Written by Wappa's founder Layne Pennell, the blog's aim is to educate and share his love of stand up paddle boarding with anyone interested in SUP.
terms of service
all prices USD
board performance explained
board care & maintenance
great for families
SUP for women
want a deal?