NSP got its start in 2001 producing affordable, versatile, and durable, surfboards. The company was founded in Maui by life-long surfer, skater, and waterman Bruce “Buzz” Hansen. It was initially called New Surf Project or NSP for short but has since been altered to mean ‘Nature, Surfing, and Products’. This makes sense since the company now produces SUPs, foils, wings, paddles, apparel, and much more in addition to surfboards. With 24 SUP’s currently in the NSP line-up, they offer a wide range of options from inflatables and hard boards to racing boards and everything in between. In this review, we’re going to look at the O² Pioneer FS Stand Up Paddle Board which provides you with a wide range of on-water options such as river running, overnighters, fishing, or flatwater paddling, and even racing. The O² Pioneer’s versatility, stable and durable design allow it to perform well on any kind of water.
Watch the following video review to learn all about the features of the new NSP O² Pioneer FS Stand Up Paddle Board.
Ken Hoeve and the NSP team spent over two years designing the new O² Pioneer FS Stand Up Paddle Board. Their goal was to create an extra-rigid SUP that was customizable for river exploration while still being fast and stable on both flat and moving water.
While designed primarily as a river and fishing SUP, the O² Pioneer FS is 11’ long which allows it to meet the size requirements for most organized downriver races. Not only is it wide and thick it’s also long so it is as fast as it is stable. With three Scotty mounts incorporated into the deck, you can maximize the number of fishing rods you can use at once or incorporate a GPS unit or kayak seat.
At 35.5” wide, the O² Pioneer FS SUP has impressive stability on moving water and in rapids while the rocker profile in the nose allows it to surf over waves and play in holes, yet it’s low enough so that it won't slow you down on flat water. Very little taper over the length of the board provides additional stability in moving water and for pivot turns, while also adding substantial volume so that it can carry a lot of gear with ease.
The top sheet graphic pays homage to NSP’s location on the Eagle and Colorado rivers, showing off the local watershed while also serving as camouflage so that the paddle board can fit into river environments without drawing attention.
The O² Pioneer FS is the first Stand Up Paddle Board I’ve reviewed from NSP and I was surprised at how well it performed. Because of its 35.5” width, it is more stable than the average 30-33” wide SUP’s on the market and by combining this with a 6” thickness you get a very rigid board overall. This is ideal for beginners but also those that want to run low-class rapids or use the O² Pioneer for fishing or camping. The 11’ length and three fins also ensure that it tracks well on flat water which makes it a very versatile board. I enjoyed paddling it on the lake as well as down the local whitewater river and found that the subtle rocker in the nose allowed it to surf easily while the dimensions provided the added stability that is needed in rapids. While more nose rocker would have been appreciated for bigger waves and surfing holes it would slow the board down on the lake so I think NSP found a good compromise in this design.
The ability to remove the long centre fin and use just the smaller side fins helped ensure that I didn’t snag the board in shallow water and allowed me to manoeuvre it more easily in moving water. You seldom see inflatable SUP's with this combination of a long centre fin with two shorter side fins, you typically only have a long centre fin or three shorter built-in fins. This one long and two short fin combination allows the O² Pioneer to excel on both flat and moving water alike.
Other features found on the O² Pioneer SUP add to the board's versatility. While I did not make use of the three Standard Scotty mounts I can see their appeal for fishing or kayaking but I did appreciate the four heavy-duty webbing tie-downs for lashing gear to the SUP. I also made use of the centre paddle holder when transporting the O² Pioneer from my car to the water. This same feature is found on the Body Glove Performer SUP and one that more manufacturers should incorporate on their boards.
With the SUP, NSP includes what I think is one of the best packs available since it has not only the traditional backpack harness system but also roller wheels. This allows you to easily pull the board behind you rather than shouldering all the weight. The high-quality materials are durable and it’s well made with compression straps and even a generous external pocket as well.
I was disappointed, however, not to find a coil leash or paddle included with the O² Pioneer SUP, especially considering its more expensive price. Having these two items included would have given the O² Pioneer SUP full marks in the 'features category' of my rating below since it comes with so many other great options.
If you are looking for a robust and well built stand up paddle board that can track easily on flat water and still navigate moving water and surf some light rapids then the NSP O² Pioneer FS Stand Up Paddle Board is one you should consider. While its price point is a little higher than others, I found the quality and long list of included features to be well worth the money... just be sure to save a little cash for a paddle and leash.
Price: $2299CAN / $1220US
Weight: 22kg / 48.5lb
Dimensions: 335 x 90 x 15cm / 11’0” x 35.5” x 6”
Quality / Price 1.5/2
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