All-Around vs Touring SUP Designs - Which is right for you?

[ This article is part of a collaboration between ISLE SUP and Cali Paddler to bring EPIC content to Every Paddler In California. Be sure to check out this great California based-company. You won't be disappointed in their role in the paddle community. ]

The Difference in Stand-up Paddle Board ShapesMaybe you are getting into SUP, or have a friend who is paddle-curious and wants some tips on what shape of board to get? Well this entry-level article should be a great help as we will break down two main shapes you should be aware of in the stand-up paddle world. All-Around vs. Touring SUP.

The shape of the board you go with will determine much about your water-time experience. And your experience level should play a role as well? Are you new? Wanting flat water? Nervous about falling in? Are you looking to surf or explore? Or are you looking to paddle further, faster, and want something that really pushes your comfort level as you encounter various waterways? It is important to know the difference between paddle board shapes and their pros and cons.

The first paddle board shape is called the
All Around (identified right away by its rounded nose) and the second shape is called the Touring (which will have a pointed nose). Depending on your lifestyle and needs, one shape will typically suit you better than the other. The differences between these two very popular paddle board shapes are significant so let's help you figure out which one is right for you.

Check out a great video when you finish at the the bottom.

The Difference Between Paddle Board Shapes

All Around Stand-up Paddle Board Shape

The All Around paddle board shape has a round nose, known as a planing hull, and is designed for cruising lakes, rivers and SUP surfing.

The All Around shape has a little rocker, meaning the paddle board’s nose is raised slightly out of the water. This will push water down, while lifting the nose up. This makes the All Around the perfect board to help you handle any waves or chop that come your way.

This board shape is wider than the touring which makes it easier to balance and maneuver. This is one reason the All Around shape is a great option for beginner paddle boarders. However, because of the wider, bulkier hull at the front of the board and the overall size of All Around boards, they aren’t the best choice for speed or long distance paddling.

Paddle board shapes

The all around shape is great for:

  • Recreational paddle boarding
  • SUP surfing
  • SUP yoga
  • SUP fishing
  • Lakes, bays, rivers and ocean

You’ll want an all around shape if you…

  1. Simply want a SUP to leisurely paddle with. The All Around shape is the best choice paddle board for beginners and if you only plan to use your paddle board for recreational purposes. For example, a gentle-moderate paced paddle around the lake, bay or ocean with a few friends. Another plus is that with the wider planing hull you can bring your furry friends for a ride on the water with you!
  2. Want a beginner board you can grow into. All Around shapes are great beginner boards, but are also perfect boards to advance in skill level with.
  3. Plan on using it for yoga, fishing and SUP surfing. The best thing about the All Around shape is that it’s a great option for a variety of different SUP activities. Whether you decide to do flat water paddling or take it on some rougher water with waves and bumps. Use it to paddle your local spot one day, then take it out for a peaceful yoga flow the next.

Some great all around shapes worth looking into:

Paddle board shapes

Touring Stand-up Paddle Board Shape

The Touring stand-up paddle board shape will generally have a pointed nose, like a kayak, and is designed for longer, more fast-paced flat-water paddles.

The pointed nose is known as a displacement hull. It will will provide you with a higher efficiency and performance. In other words, you can track straighter (more strokes before changing sides) and quicker (fewer strokes to achieve a smooth glide) across the water. Touring boards are best for speed, SUP racing and covering long distances.

That said, the added performance comes at a cost. Touring boards are much more difficult to balance on. In turn they are it less maneuverable and stable for someone who isn’t a serious paddler. For this reason, the Touring shaped boards are not the most ideal paddle board for beginners. They can also be challenging in rougher water.

ISLE Voyager Stand Up Paddle Board

The touring shape is great for:

  • Long expeditions and coastal cruises
  • Speed and Racing

You’ll want a touring shape if you…

  • Are an adventure seeker who plans to go on longer explorations on the water. The touring shape is the best choice for you if you want to take your paddle board on long distance paddles.
  • Want more performance out of your paddle board. If you’re a serious paddler that wants get from point A to point B more efficiently than the touring shape is right for you.
  • Want to take it to the next level. If you have mastered the balance of an all-around sup and are looking for something more challenging, a touring board is the next step, with various levels of width, volume and design features.

Two touring shapes worth checking out:

ISLE Voyager Stand Up Paddle Board

Each board design and manufacturer puts a lot of thought into what you are paddling. So as you can imagine, there are many other factors to consider when choosing a SUP board. These include:

  • The thickness of the board - helps with weight and buoyancy 
  • The width of the board - narrower is often faster, but as the cost of being.
  • Whether you prefer short, medium or long boards
  • What type of water you plan to paddle? Open ocean vs flat water. Straight courses vs. lots of turns. Calm vs. choppy.

It’s important to know about the difference between these stand-up paddle board shapes and what their pros and cons are so you can begin your journey to choosing the right SUP board for you! Thanks to ISLE for helping us get a better grasp on these choices. If anyone has questions, be sure to add them to our comments below, or contact us directly.

Cali Paddler Team Collaboration ISLE SUP

Team Collaboration ISLE SUP - Surf. Paddle. Explore. These three words define us as a company and keep us excited and inspired to start every new day on the water in our hometown backyard or across the world in a new destination. Paddling brings pure joy by channeling nature’s energy beneath our feet. Come ride with us and share our passion for riding waves and exploring the oceans and waterways of the world. The raw addictive feeling of the glide changes and inspires us for the better to respect mother nature, protect our planet’s precious resources, all while enhancing our health and overall well being. Our passion for playing on the water is our lifestyle and we hope to share this passion far and wide by designing quality boards and gear at revolutionary prices!

Founded by two San Diego surfers fresh out of college in 2004, ISLE has grown into a premiere board company and one of the largest online retailers of paddle boards and surfboards in the World. From the start, we knew if we concentrated on developing high quality, value driven products we could make it work. Our outstanding track record over the years shows just how far we’ve come. Always rider owned and operated, we are here to spread our love of surfing and paddling one happy customer at a time. | |

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  • Cali Paddler - August 22, 2020

    Aloha Dana! Give a look at While they are located in Honolulu, they might have a location in Hilo with some options. Or can maybe can steer you to some options.
    a hui hou!, ~CP

  • Dana longstreth - August 22, 2020

    I currently do most of my paddling on lakes and rivers in Montana . I have a Lakeshore paddling board , 12 ft 6. I also work / live In hilo Hi . Looking for a board for there , for mellow boarding not surfing. Any recs?

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