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We rarely call out specific sale items, but this one is worth your attention: ISLE’s best-selling inflatable SUP, the Pioneer, is on sale for 50% off. This brings the Pioneer iSUP package — which comes with a paddle, pump, bag and ankle leash — to just under $400, which is outstanding.
Why is the ISLE Pioneer inflatable paddle board package on such a big sale?
ISLE is clearing out inventory in favor of its new ISLE Pioneer 2.0.
How is the Pioneer 2.0 different from the Pioneer?
There is not much difference. The same basic specs remain in common between the two versions. The biggest difference is that the new Pioneer 2.0 comes in new color options.
To sweeten the regular priced Pioneer 2.0, which comes in at a still very fair $795, ISLE includes a 12v Electric iSUP Pump in addition to the manual high-pressure pump.
If you’re a beginner iSUP paddler or are looking for a great all-around iSUP, here are the key specs that we look for:
In an all-around iSUP, we like relatively wide boards — 34″ is a great stable width. I also like relatively thick boards — 5-to-6″ thick. This helps ensure that you have a lot of float in your board. You’ll want this float for larger paddlers, of course. In addition, thicker iSUPs give you better performance when your kids or water dogs join you on a board.
Finally, we look for iSUPs that are 10-11′ long. At 10’6″ the Pioneer is long enough to be stable and track reasonably well while being short enough to turn while playing on the lake.
Weight capacities and their recommendations can vary widely among brands, even when the volume of air inside the iSUP is quite different. For instance, ISLE recommends a 285 lb weight capacity for the 326-liter Pioneer while O’Brien lists a maximum recommended capacity of 350 lbs for a 270-liter board. Meanwhile, iRocker lists a weight capacity of 400 lbs for a 234-liter iSUP. Board shape and construction comes into play here, but really it comes down to this key point when we’re considering quality iSUPs: Bigger, heavier people will tend to do better on larger, high-quality iSUPs with more volume.
Why choose an ISLE iSUP?
ISLE is based out of San Diego, CA and has been producing great iSUPs and hardboards for years. ISLE’s iSUPs in particular use a double layer drop-stitch construction that results in a lightweight board. At just 24 lbs, the ISLE Pioneer is easy to carry.
In addition, ISLE is a respected iSUP manufacturer. While you can find cheap iSUPs all over these days, they tend to be more, well, cheaply made and aren’t worth the risk. We believe that it’s hard enough to find time to get outside and play, and there’s nothing worse than a blown weekend because your gear failed.
ISLE, by the way, offers a competitive 60-day trial period guarantee from the date of purchase. Plus, ISLE offers a two-year warranty on its iSUPs, which is again, very good. Manufacturers of cheaper boards tend to not compete with this level of quality and customer service.
Under $500 iSUP Competition & Options
While you can find very cheap iSUPs, we recommend that you stick with businesses you know and trust. So our competitive iSUP outlook here reflects that. If you’re interested in the ISLE Pioneer, you might also consider these options:
Body Glove Peformer 11′ iSUP — The 2021 version is on sale for less than $400 at Body Glove, and we’re big fans for the price-to-value ratio — read our 2021 Performer review here. Compared to the ISLE Pioneer, the Body Glove Performer 11′ has a more narrow nose and is slightly less thick at 5.4″. The biggest drawback is the lack of removable fins, but we felt tracking and control was surprisingly good anyway.
O’Brien Kona Inflatable Stand-up Paddleboard Package — At 10’6″ x 32″ x 5″ the O’Brien Kona Inflatable SUP package offers a compelling price point of around $429. The Kona is slightly narrower than the ISLE Pioneer, but maintains that width well through the length of the board. One drawback is the single removable fin while the Pioneer has a removable fin and two smaller non-removable fins.
iRocker Nautical 10’6′ — While iRocker offers many inflatable iSUP packages, the beginner-friendly Nautical 10’6″ is now on sale for just under $400. At 10’6″ long, 32″ wide and 6″ thick with a 240 lbs rated weight capacity, the Nautical 10’6 is a versatile iSUP. iRocker includes 3 removable fins, which is less common in this price range. For a jump up in recommended capacity, consider the popular iRocker Cruiser 10’6″ which features a wider tail than many competing boards (which can help boost stability for beginners.)