2023 starboard best inflatable touring stand up paddle boards

Starboard 12’6″ x 28″ Touring S vs 12’6″ x 27″ All Star Airline

During this time of year, Dan find’s himself contemplating gear for the upcoming year. Actually, he’s always thinking about gear throughout the year. Today, Dan is going to compare a Starboard Touring board and Race board, both measuring 12’6″, as we take a paddle on Lake Öjaren. It’s going to be an enjoyable experience. The weather is perfect for a day of paddling, with calm and beautiful conditions. We will evaluate these 12’6″ boards, discussing the differences and how they feel during paddling.

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The Starboard Inflatable Touring board we are using has a D-ring in the front, which allows for towing. The touring board we’re using measures 12’6″ by 28″. On the other hand, the Starboard All Star Race inflatable paddle board measures 12’6″ by 27″.

When it comes to boards, some people want a single board that can do everything, just like when I played guitar. I always wanted one guitar that could handle any tuning or song. However, the question arises: can one board truly do it all, or do we need multiple boards for different conditions? Let’s start by discussing the speed of these boards. In my experience, the Tikhine board is faster to paddle with. However, overall, I find these boards to be somewhat equal. The touring board seems to float on the water, while the all-star board cuts through it. This can be observed by looking at the shape of their noses. Nevertheless, there is a bit more resistance with the touring board. When paddling at high speeds, the all-star board has more to offer and feels faster.

Now, let’s talk about tracking. I personally find the Tikhine board easier to paddle in a straight line. However, in general, both boards offer similar tracking performance. Maneuvering-wise, I find the All Star board easier to turn around with. This might be due to its larger fin compared to the touring board. When it comes to stability, both boards feel equal to me. However, the All Star board excels in initial stability, as the touring board tends to roll on top of the water, creating a sensation of going over the water’s surface. On the other hand, the All Star board cuts through the water, enhancing stability. In terms of secondary stability, the All Star board is significantly better. Its standing tray allow you to lean your feet against them, providing additional support. Additionally, the all-star board is thicker, measuring 6″, compared to the touring Tikhine board’s 4.75″.

Carrying the board, I find the All Star board more challenging due to its side walls. The touring board, on the other hand, is easier to carry, thanks to the shoulder strap. The shoulder strap is a great feature that keeps your clothes dry when you exit the water. Without the shoulder strap, the All Star boards can transfer their wetness to your clothes. As for weight, both boards are approximately 22 lbs, including the fin. The Tikhine version is 14 oz lighter than the All Star board.

Let’s discuss the handles. Personally, I prefer the handles on the All Star board. The padded center handle is comfortable, and I appreciate the option to secure the paddle in the side handle when carrying the board. However, I do prefer the flat center handle on the touring board when lying down on the board. Both boards have good bungees for storage, but the touring board also features rear bungees, which can be very useful when additional gear is needed during a tour. In terms of transport, the All Star board packs larger due to its standing tray. Therefore, the touring board wins in this category, as it is more compact.

In conclusion, for me personally, the All Star board comes out as the winner. However, I do wish it could pack as small as the touring board.

It seems that having just one board might not be sufficient for Dan’s needs!

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About the author: Julian Kidd
I have been an avid stand up paddle boarder since 2009. I retired from a decade of professional kiteboarding to focus on SUP. Green Water Sports grew from this love of all things SUP. As well as being a keen paddle boarder, I'm a football fan, closet petrol head, web tinkerer, husband and father.