ISLE Pioneer 10’6” Paddle Board – a Detailed Review
If you are yet to make the investment but are ready to claim your share of floating real estate, the ISLE Pioneer 10’6” iSUP is definitely a very good place to start. The Pioneer offers an abundance of versatility for all-round paddling and is well suited for those new to stand up paddle boarding owing to its increased width and stability. As ISLE’s best-selling board, it would be remiss of us to not delve a little deeper.
Length: 10′6″ (320 cm)
Width: 34″ (86 cm)
Thickness/Depth: 6″ (15 cm)
Construction: AiRTECH FUSION Dual Layer Technology
Weight: 24 lbs (10.9 kg)
User Weight: 285 lbs (129 kg)
Inflation PSI: recommended 15 psi
Volume: 326 litres
D-rings: 15 (includes leash point and bungee net)
Paddle: 3-Piece Adjustable Carbon Hybrid
Fin: 2+1 Detachable Nylon Touring Centre Fin
Pump: Single Chamber Dual Action Manual Pump
Leash: 8’ Dual Swivel Coiled Ankle
Warranty: 2 Years
Based in San Diego California and established in 2004 by founders Marc Miller & Doug Pate, ISLE are a well reputed paddle board manufacturer that produces high quality epoxy and inflatable boards and accessories. With an international distribution network and strong online presence, the ISLE range of all-round recreational and multi-disciple boards cater for paddlers of all skill levels. Till this day, ISLE remain true to their ethos of developing purpose designed high-quality, value-driven products with a view to introducing paddle boarding to as many people as possible.
Why Paddle Board
As a recreational activity, paddle boarding offers some tremendous health and fitness benefits ranging from a full body workout engaging many of the core muscles albeit in a low impact way, through to improved balance, improvements in endurance and stamina, injury rehabilitation, weight loss and improving our cardiovascular health. It’s an exciting way to unwind and decompress whilst at the same time engaging with nature. As one of the fastest growing water sports globally, if you have access to water then its definitely worth giving it a go.
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At a Glance
☑️ One of the best selling and customer rated paddle board packages on the market
☑️ AiRTECH FUSION Dual Layer Technology
☑️ Extra width for added stability
☑️ Available in 3 fresh colour schemes
☑️ Great all-round board well suited for multi-discipline paddling
☑️ Beginner friendly owing to added buoyancy and stability
☑️ Generous forward and rear bungee netting
☑️ Multiple grab handles
☑️ Secure Velcro paddle holder
☑️ Updated brushed and grooved EVA deck traction padding
☑️ Quality all-inclusive accessories package
☑️ 2 year warranty
– Hand pump is basic although does the job (recommend upgrading to electric pump option)
With dimensions of 10′6″ / 34″ / 6″, the Pioneer is best described as a classic all-round inflatable SUP that offers the ideal balance between stability and overall performance. While inflatable boards are not as spirited as their epoxy counterparts, a quality constructed iSUP is typically superior to a rigid board in terms of versatility, buoyancy and stability albeit they are circa. 10% slower through the water. With their ease of storage and transportability however, they are fast becoming the board of choice as the sport continues to grow rapidly.
Construction – using their patented proprietary AiRTECH FUSION technology, the Pioneer is constructed with a dense drop-stitch inner core which is enveloped by a laminated fabric. The drop-stitch core consists of thousands of polyester threads that are intertwined together to form a highly rigid base that ensures that the board will maintain its shape under extreme pressure once fully inflated. Drop-stitch technology has been used in the aquatic and aviation industries for many years and has become the accepted baseline that all quality inflatable products are made from.
Attaching to this inner core is a sealed bonding layer which is then fused with a military-grade high density PVC laminate to form the boards outer skin. This water resistant layer forms the durable and lightweight skin that is able to withstand heavy impacts with submerged objects, floating debris or if accidentally dropped.
Performance / Suitability
If you’re a newbie to paddle boarding and still trying to find your feet, then stability will likely be your number one priority. At 34” wide and with 6’ in depth, the Pioneer is capable of carrying an impressive 285 lbs which will cater for the vast majority of adults with accessories. While it is not a particularly long board, it is still very buoyant so heavier and taller riders should not find it difficult to find their centre and settle into a comfortable paddling stroke.
As is the case with all boards (wind surfing, surf, paddle boards), the fin system is a crucial element when it comes to maintaining control and manoeuvrability. Tri-fin configurations are a somewhat standard paddle board configuration as they offer a nice balance between straight line tracking (the centre fin being the hero here) and manoeuvrability which is where the side fins (or side-bites) come into play. While the side fins on the Pioneer are non-detachable, they are made out of a heavy-duty plastic and are quite resistant to damage. The large centre fin can easily be detached from the board for both storage purposes or in the event you are paddling through shallower waters, albeit this will have an adverse impact on your ability to turn and manoeuvre the board.
To aid performance, the Pioneer also has a slight front rocker (upward turned nose) enabling it to better glide through the water which is a nice feature when there is a mild swell. While it is a purpose built all-rounder, unless you are looking for a high performance board where speed is a key feature, the Pioneer offers a great deal of versatility for paddlers of all skill levels and is well suited for recreational flat water paddling, mild surf, fishing, yoga and more.
External Board Features
Quality and performance aside, aesthetics and features are still a big purchasing motivator.
Deck Traction Pad – the updated deck traction padding on the Pioneer features a soft brushed EVA foam which is quite comfortable under foot making it ideal for paddling over longer distances. Its grooved finish also assists with allowing excess surface water to escape which again better aids grip and stability.
Paddle Holder – the two Velcro paddle straps along the right rail of the board come in handy when you are stationary or not in motion e.g. fishing, yoga etc.
Bungee System – allowing for optimal storage, the expandable and detachable 6-point forward and 4-point rear bungee cargo nets provide ample room to securely store all of your accessories (water bottle, towel, dry bag etc.).
Grab Handles – the reinforced forward and rear carry handles come in handy for dragging the board through shallow waters as well as acting as tie down or towing points. They also aid transportation if being carried by two people. The new rounded centre handle features a cushioned neoprene grip for better comfort and grip when wet.
Inflation Valve – the all important high-pressure inflation valve rated to 17 psi can be secured in both the locked and open position allowing for quick inflation and deflation.
Paddle – the 3-piece paddle is fully adjustable so it will cater for paddlers of all heights. Its carbon fibre shaft makes it far lighter than a typical aluminium paddle enabling more energy efficient and powerful strokes through the water. With a heavy-duty nylon blade, a carbon fibre paddle is a key accessory that you should be looking for when considering which SUP package to buy.
Carry Bag – the Pioneers carry bag is nothing out of the ordinary but it does do what it says on the tin. The large U-shaped front zipper opens to a single centre compartment which has ample room to securely fit the deflated board and accessories. The adjustable padded shoulder straps are reasonably comfortable when the bag is fully loaded which are aided by the front and side adjustable straps to better secure the load. The bag also features a rear I.D window as well as top and side grab handles.
Pump – the Pioneer comes with a single cylinder dual action pump which securely fits to the boards inflation valve by the supplied inflation hose. If you don’t mind a pre-paddling workout, with a bit of effort the board can be fully inflated in a little less than 10 minutes. If you are however looking to take to the water on a more regular basis, we would always recommend investing in an electric pump. To learn more about some of the key ‘need to know’ electric pump vital signs, take a read of our article on our Top 5 Electric Pump picks. Some great options and all with universal attachments that will nicely compliment the full range of ISLE inflatable boards.
Leash – outside of your PFD (Personal Flotation Device), your paddle board leash is the next most critical safety item that should be worn at all times. Ensuring that you and your board do not get separated in the event of a fall in the water, the 8′ ankle (or calf) leash comes with dual swivels which ensures that it will not get tangled around your ankle. Coiled in design to reduce drag in the water, the polyurethane cord attaches to your ankle by the multilayered logo embossed neoprene cuff for added comfort and security.
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A consumer favourite, the ISLE Pioneer 10’6” iSUP offers a great value well-balance ride that is suitable to paddlers of all levels. As a genuine all-rounder, it is highly versatility in varied paddling conditions so is definitely one for your short list. We have no reservations in recommending the Pioneer or indeed the broader range of stand up paddle boards that ISLE have brought to the market.
We hope you found this review of benefit and as always would welcome your thoughts or feedback. Please feel free to leave your comments below and we will get back to you.
Until then, stay safe and get wet.