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ISLE Pioneer 2.0 iSUP Review – 2022

ISLE Pioneer 2.0 Inflatable Paddleboard

9.7

Overall Rating:

9.7/10

Pros

  • Super stable for SUP newcomers, and at a reasonable price point
  • Lighter construction makes it less tiring to paddle than heavier built larger SUPs
  • Comfortable, uncluttered deck space for SUP yogis
  • Surprising level of speed, despite its wider shape
  • More maneuverable than expected

Cons

  • Not quite as rigid for heavier paddlers
  • We would have appreciated a SUP backpack with wheels

ISLE Pioneer iSUP Review 2022

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The ISLE Pioneer 2.0 is one board that I almost always see on the water any given day that I go out to paddle. As such, I’ve been wanting to get my hands on this SUP to review for a long time. This board is wildly popular, and each time I’d see it being paraded down the beach by an eager paddler, I couldn’t help but wonder what the hype was about for this seemingly minimalistic board – and If you’re reading this, you’re probably wondering the same thing.

What I’ve learned while testing this SUP is that while outwardly minimalistic, the Pioneer serves a limitless number of audiences. It’s a phenomenal SUP for beginners because of its accommodating stability, but it’s also a great option for more experienced paddlers that want to haul a load of gear, or bring along a passenger.

At 34″ wide, it’s well-suited for SUP yoga or would provide a stable fishing platform, and at 24 lbs it’s light enough that paddlers can get up a bit more speed than they would be able to on some similarly sized SUPs on the market. There’s just not many people that this board wouldn’t work for, whether as a stable addition to their arsenal or as a solo ‘do anything’ all-around, which is likely why it’s beloved by so many paddlers of varying sizes and experience levels. It also comes with a decent kit of included accessories for a reasonable price.

All in all, the Pioneer 2.0 is a SUP industry staple that will continue to serve a wide range of paddlers as the sport progresses.

We think the ISLE Pioneer 2.0 would be great for paddlers who:

  • Want a stability focused SUP that’s lightweight
  • Prefer a cleaner deck space with plenty of standing space for pets, passengers, or gear
  • Need a higher weight capacity than a smaller, more classic all-around could offer
  • Frequently venture into a variety of environments: flatwater, slow moving rivers, ocean paddling, etc.

ISLE Pioneer 2.0: Spec Sheet

  • Main Category: All-Around, Inflatable
  • Board Dimensions: 10’6 x 34” x 6”
  • Listed Board Weight: 24 lbs
  • Listed Max Capacity: 285 lbs
  • Recommended PSI: 13-17 PSI
  • Fins: 2+1; I removable center fin w/ 2 fixed side fins
  • Paddle: 3-piece carbon hybrid
  • Materials: Dual layer fusion w/ cross-dropstitch
  • Price Range: Low – mid
  • Warranty: 2 year – Limited

Performance Review of the ISLE Pioneer 2.0 Stand Up Paddle Board

ISLE Pioneer iSUP Review 2022
At just 24lbs, the Pioneer 2.0 paddles easily and doesn’t feel cumbersome
ISLE Pioneer iSUP Review 2022
Showcasing a surprising level of maneuverability for a SUP of this size, the Pioneer’s stability makes for fun and easy pivot turns.
ISLE Pioneer iSUP Review 2022
The Pioneer 2.0’s lighter build also makes it easier to use sweeping turns to change direction than we’ve found on heavier SUPs of similar dimensions.

Overall Score: 9.7/10

  • Stability: 9.8/10
  • Speed: 9.1/10
  • Tracking: 8.9/10
  • Maneuverability: 8.9/10
  • Construction Quality: 8.8/10
  • Features/Accessories: 9.0/10

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Stability Rating: 9.8/10

Being 10’6 long and 34” wide, the ISLE Pioneer 2.0 is clearly a high volume, stability focused SUP – and its performance in our stability test held true to that expectation.

As a smaller paddler, the ISLE Pioneer 2.0 felt similar in the stability department to the Blackfin Model X (its closest size comparison), though did not feel quite as stiff. This may be something for heavier paddlers to consider, as the ISLE Pioneer 2.0 does have a slightly lower than anticipated recommended weight capacity – though we do still need to do some testing to determine the weight at which the SUP begins to lose stability.

For now though, this SUP is exceptionally stable and would make a great choice for a more apprehensive SUP newbie, paddlers looking for a sturdy yoga SUP, paddlers bringing along dogs or small children, and paddlers looking to bring along a bit of gear (a few drybags, small cooler, etc.).

Speed Test: 9.1/10

ISLE Pioneer iSUP Review 2022
The Pioneer 2.0 finished our sprint test about 6 seconds faster than the Similarly sized Blackfin Model X and about 8 seconds faster than the longer, narrower Nixy Monterey.
ISLE Pioneer iSUP Review 2022
In our casual paddle test, the Pioneer felt comfortable to paddle and held it’s pace relatively well for a SUP of this size.

While the high volume dimensions and wide/rounded shape of the ISLE Pioneer 2.0 make it an ultra-stable platform, it’s not built for speed.

That being said, the Pioneer is relatively light (compared to other iSUPs of similar sizes), so it doesn’t feel notably cumbersome to paddle. It came across the line quicker than we expected during our sprint test, and while not a rocket by any means, the Pioneer will not have you struggling or breaking a sweat to keep up with your friends.

Tracking: 8.9/10

ISLE Pioneer iSUP Review 2022
The large center fin on the Pioneer 2.0 seems to help a lot with tracking on this larger SUP.
ISLE Pioneer iSUP Review 2022
Being 34” wide, the Pioneer 2.0 requires a bit more reach to keep 100% perfect form, but it still tracks reasonably well with more casual paddling.

As with speed, the ISLE Pioneer 2.0 performed better than expected in the tracking category.

Given the fixed flexible side fins, I didn’t have high hopes for the Pioneer, but the long hatchet-dolphin hybrid center fin enabled this SUP to keep its path fairly naturally, even when I relaxed my form a bit.

On the topic of form though, it is worth noting that because this SUP is 34” wide, shorter/smaller paddlers will have to reach more to get their paddle vertical as it enters the water. If you’re a real stickler for form, this may bother you, but given that the Pioneer is more a casual SUP, we don’t see it as an issue at all.

Its better-than-expected tracking capabilities also played into this SUPs surprising speed capability, as I had to switch sides less often during the sprint than I have with other wide stanced boards.

Maneuverability: 8.9/10

ISLE Pioneer iSUP Review 2022
The ISLE Pioneer 2.0 is super stable, so walking back to the tail for pivot turn is fun and easy. SUP newcomers could have a blast learning on this board.
ISLE Pioneer iSUP Review 2022
Likely due to its lighter build and fin set-up, the Pioneer 2.0 responds well to sweeping turns.

Being 34” wide x 10’6 SUP, I was not expecting the ISLE Pioneer 2.0 to behave like a sportier 10’6 all-around, but I still had no trouble making reasonably quick turns with this board.

Again crediting the Pioneer’s comparatively lighter build, it doesn’t require a ton of effort to turn or alter your course even if you have a bit of momentum going. We think the fin set-up is coming into play here as well, as the short flex side fins enable this SUP to behave more like a single fin board and make it a bit quicker in the 360 turns than most standard 2+1 fin all-arounds with longer, more effective side fins.

Construction Quality: 8.8/10

ISLE Pioneer iSUP Review 2022
All accessories and D-rings look to be well attached, though we are interested to see how the plastic D-rings hold up to heavier, long term use.
ISLE Pioneer iSUP Review 2022
The ISLE Pioneer 2.0 is constructed with dual layered rails, as is evident by the demarcation line located under and over the ISLE logo.
ISLE Pioneer iSUP Review 2022
ISLE builds the Pioneer 2.0 around a cross dropstitch, which can be seen in the X-pattern of the dropstitch dimples.

The ISLE Pioneer 2.0 is constructed around a cross-dropstitch core and utilizes what ISLE has coined as ‘Air-Tech Fusion’.

In this process, the drop stitch threads that span from the deck to the bottom of the board, and maintain its shape, are oriented in X-patterns. The idea behind this is that it creates more structural rigidity with less materials or weight than would be needed with linear dropstitch. While the prior is difficult for us to completely verify, we can say that the Pioneer is exceptionally light for its size.

These dropstitch threads are anchored into a knitted fabric, which is then encased in ISLE’s first layer of PVC using a glue adhesive. The second layer of PVC is then bonded to the first using heat. Once completed on the deck and bottom of the SUP, the Pioneer’s dual PVC rails are applied SUP with glue.

Board Stiffness:

Thurso Surf Expedition 138 Touring iSUP Review - 2022
The ISLE Pioneer 2.0 before we placed 150 lbs at its midpoint.
Thurso Surf Expedition 138 Touring iSUP Review - 2022
The ISLE Pioneer 2.0 bent slightly over an inch under 150 lbs.

Stiffness Test: 1 1/16 ” Bend

Our bend test is completed by placing the SUP on top of two sawhorses spaced 7’ apart. We then load the board up with 150 lbs at its midpoint and measure how much it bends under the weight. Obviously, this is not replicative of the board’s performance on the water, but it helps us quantify and compare how certain construction processes contribute to stiffness.

The Pioneer performed well in this test with only a bit more than 1” of bend. It’s not the stiffest SUP we’ve ever seen, but considering it’s only 24 lbs and is without some ‘stiffening agents’ that other brands use such as carbon fiber rails, PVC stringers, etc, we’re pretty happy with its result.

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Features/Accessory Review: 9.0/10

The ISLE Pioneer 2.0 keeps its accessories fairly minimalistic, without losing functionality.

ISLE Pioneer iSUP Review 2022
From tail to nose, the Pioneer 2.0 sports a tail carry handle with 2 extra D-rings, a metal leash D-ring, it’s inflation valve, a 4-point bungee cargo area, center carry handle, velcro paddle holders, 2 kayak seat attachment loops, 6-point cargo area, and a nose carry handle with a pair of D-rings.
ISLE Pioneer iSUP Review 2022
The Pioneer 2.0’s front cargo area is spacious enough to take on overnight gear and SUP camping supplies.
ISLE Pioneer iSUP Review 2022
The rear cargo area is slightly smaller, but still capable of storing a few drybags.

Equipped with large front and rear cargo areas, the Pioneer has space to load up with gear for an overnight paddling trip or a SUP camping weekend.

ISLE Pioneer iSUP Review 2022
ISLE’s velcro paddle holders help to free up your hands and secure your paddle during the walk to the water or if you go for a swim.
ISLE Pioneer iSUP Review 2022
The fabric loops located on the deckpad, just in front of the standing area, provide anchor points for an attachable kayak seat, but are also softer to step on than metal D-rings that are more commonly used.

It sports 3 carry handles at the nose, tail, and center for easier transport into and out of the water, as well as a velcro paddle holder on the rail to free up your hands as you walk down the beach or secure your paddle while you go for a swim. The Pioneer 2.0 also has a set of nylon loops (one pictured above), to allow you to attach a compatible kayak seat.

ISLE Pioneer iSUP Review 2022
ISLE’s brushed EVA deckpad is plenty comfortable, but it’s not super grippy if you’re a person that likes to move around on your SUP.
ISLE Pioneer iSUP Review 2022
The fixed flex fins on the Pioneer 2.0 don’t seem to cause any benefit or detriment to its performance, though it does make this SUP a little harder to roll up.

The smooth brushed-finish deckpad on the Pioneer is super comfortable while doing SUP yoga, or even if you’re just laying out on your SUP to catch some rays, though it doesn’t have the most grip as you’re moving around the board.

Closing out this section with the fins, we’ve never been fans of fixed flex fins on any SUP. For the Pioneer specifically, we haven’t found that they add or detract anything from this SUP’s performance. It’d be our recommendation for ISLE to either remove them all together and go with a single fin set-up for the Pioneer, or replace them with a set of longer, removable side fins.

Included Accessories:

ISLE Pioneer iSUP Review 2022
Accessories as seen from left to right: single chamber hand pump, SUP backpack, 8’ coiled leash.
ISLE Pioneer iSUP Review 2022
ISLE’s kit paddle is much nicer than we anticipated. We like the carbon fiber blend, the extra grip on the handle, and the anti-twist notch on the interior of the middle section to keep your handle and blade parallel.
ISLE Pioneer iSUP Review 2022
We like the shape of ISLE’s removable center fin a lot, as it seems to contribute to better tracking without causing a drop in maneuverability. We’d just recommend swapping out their ‘Superbolt’ for a standard tool less screw.

With your ISLE Pioneer 2.0, you’ll receive the following accessories:

  • 8’ coiled leash
  • Nylon removable center fin (US Fin Box – Screw Plate)
  • 3 piece carbon hybrid paddle
  • Single chamber hand pump
  • SUP backpack

Given the price of this SUP, the accessory list seems fair, but we still would like to see ISLE make some upgrades in the future.

Starting with the positives, we were pleasantly surprised by ISLE’s kit paddle. Their carbon fiber blend feels light and sturdy, and I really like the extra grip on the handle. And while I’m not usually a fan of scoop blade paddles, it’s perfectly functional for this type of casual board.

Now for our suggested improvements. We’d like to see ISLE include a longer leash. Generally, you’ll want your leash to be fairly close to the length of your SUP. At 8’ long, ISLE’s leash slightly limits your mobility on the board. We’d also like to see ISLE move towards a roller SUP bag to make treks to the car or through the beach parking lot significantly easier. Ending with the fin, I’m not a huge fan of ISLE’s tool-less ‘Superbolt’. It’s easy enough to use when your hands are dry, but when they’re wet the circular bolt gets pretty slippery, especially if you have any sunscreen residue on your hands. We’ve swapped ours out for a standard tool less screw and it’s made setting and packing up just a little bit easier.

Summary Review of the ISLE Pioneer 2.0

In short, the ISLE Pioneer 2.0 exceeded and met most of our expectations. It’s exceptionally stable on the water, making it a great choice for SUP novices or gear-heavy paddlers alike.

Taking this stability into account, we were surprised by the Pioneer’s capacity for speed as well as its ability to track and maneuver reasonably well for a SUP of this size.

Lastly, we’re impressed with ISLE’s accessory quality given the affordable price of this board. This is an area where we’ve seen other ‘budget-friendly’ brands cut corners, and were glad to see that this isn’t the case with ISLE. The included carbon hybrid paddle is lightweight and rigid, while the included center fin is a great shape to balance tracking and maneuverability.

In short, the ISLE Pioneer 2.0 left us pleasantly surprised, and though on the mid-lower end of the price spectrum, the quality of the Pioneer speaks for itself.

As always, we hope you’ve found this review helpful, but make sure to reach out in the comments if you have any questions or feel that there’s anything we’ve missed.

In the meantime, happy paddling!

P.S. ISLE has the older model of the Pioneer available at a heavily discounted price here.

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SupBoardGuide

Heyo! At SupBoardGuide.com we are a team who love the water, the outdoors, and are more than grateful that our full-time job allows us to review stand up paddle boards. We paddle year round (it helps that we are just about 2 hours outside of Las Vegas), and we bring in a wide range of paddlers with the goal of providing our readers with the best, most in-depth, and accurate stand up paddle board reviews.

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