In this Isle Pioneer SUP Review, we go through the newest re-creation of the Pioneer paddle board. Isle’s most popular inflatable stand-up paddle board option!
We go through what we liked about the board, and didn’t like as well as inform you what kind of paddlers should and shouldn’t use this SUP.
We also go through all of the board’s features with a fine-toothed comb and compare it to similar SUPs in similar price ranges.
Ready? Let’s Get into the review!
Isle Pioneer SUP Review Ratings
Below is how I rated the isle Pioneer 2.0. Click the following links in the rating table below to jump to each section.
Total Score: 8/10 (Accumulation of Below Scores)
- On-Water Performance – 8
- Stability 9
- Tracking 7.5
- Speed 7.5
- Maneuverability 8
- SUP Construction – 8
- Board Features – 7.8
- Deck Pad 8
- D Rings 7
- Deck Bungees 8
- Handles 8
- Accessories – 8
- Backpack 8
- Paddle 9
- Pump 7.5
- Fins 7.5
- Set-Up/ Take Down – 8
- It’s a great board for beginner Paddlers
- Boards shape acts as a platform which makes it very stable
- Minimalist design
- Made with extra reinforced layering on the sides
- A great board for SUP Yogis
- Carbon Hybrid Paddle that comes with Board is a good value accessory
- 5 rows of bungee tie-downs are handy for day paddles
- Isle is one of the more customer-centric paddle board brands out there
- You can use most kayak seats with this SUP
- Solid SUP to bring your dogs with you
- We wished the maximum capacity was bigger
- More pockets on the bag would have been handy
- 20% restocking fee if you return the board
- We wish the deck pad has a striped or diamond-grooved section
Who Should Be Using the Isle Pioneer 2.0?
The Pioneer 2.0 is a wider SUP than most introductory paddle boards. Meaning it is a great board to get started on and use for activities that desire stability throughout.
The Isle Pioneer 2.0 paddle board has a wider profile from nose to tail. In terms of SUP width, you should not only look at the “measured width” BUT look at the design of the board. Is it more tapered towards the nose and tail or is it mostly wide throughout?
In Pioneer 2.0’s case, the extra width on the tail and nose allows the board to feel more like you are standing on a platform in the water.
As a result, this SUP is best for environments such as flat water lakes, calm coastal conditions as well as slower-moving rivers. The board is pretty maneuverable so tighter areas like mangroves and winding rivers may not be a bad place for this board.
What SUP Activities Can the Isle Pioneer 2.0 be Used For?
The Pioneer 2.0 can be used for most SUP activities that require overall stability. Things such as…
The Isle Pioneer 2.0 can tackle a wide array of different waterways. It can also help the paddler stay balanced when they come across some chop or wake from boats.
These boards can be used by many different skill levels but definitely favor some of the newer paddlers trying to get their water feet under them.
Paddle Board Hybrid
One of the improvements that Isle 2.0 has over its predecessor is the fact that the Pioneer 2.0 has fabric lashes attached to the front deck pad. This allows you to add a kayak seat to the SUP.
Admittedly it won’t be the best kayak-paddle board hybrid in the Isle lineup. That designation goes to the Isle Switch which has been specially designed to paddle well both as a kayak and a paddle board without having to compromise.
The Pioneer 2.0 will not track as well as some of the longer SUPs that also feature lashes/ D rings for the kayak seat. This is due to the SUP’s wide width and shorter length which does not do the SUP any favors tracking-wise.
Out of all of the Isle paddle boards, I would say this is the best pick for yoga and pilates. The deck pad is very clean and does not have things that get in the way. The wider width also gives the board a more stable platform to have the confidence to try some of those more tricky poses.
This would be an ideal platform for smaller SUP yogis. As soon as you get to over 170 lbs the platform does not feel as stable doing some of those more balance-challenged poses as someone who is 110 lbs.
Bigger SUP Yogis may be interested in the longer and wider Isle Switch SUP.
This would not be my first pick out of the Isle lineup. In my opinion, it’s the 3rd, behind the Sportsman and Switch SUPs. The Pioneer 2.0 definitely has the width to do the job but its length will not allow it to be as stable as the other aforementioned SUPs.
But if you are wanting to just keep a rod on the side of the board while paddling this Pioneer 2.0 will be able to do the job.
SUP Pup Approved
With the Pioneer 2.0 you can also bring along your SUP PUP as the board will be stable enough to hold them. In an ideal world, your pup should be in the small to medium range.
What also makes this board a decent SUP Pup board is the fact that its deck pad covers about ⅔’s of the board.
Isle Pioneer 2.0 Stats Deconstructed
- Type of Board: Recreational Use
- Length: 10’6″
- Width: 34″
- Thickness: 6″
- Volume: 326 L
- Weight: 24 Lbs
- Maximum Capacity: 285 Lbs
The Isle Pioneer 2.0 has slightly strengthened the materials over its predecessor with an extra layer of PVC covering the side rails. Overall though the SUP is still made of dual-layer fusion laminate PVC which is fast becoming the standard in the Inflatable SUP industry.
The Pioneer also uses Air-Tech Fusion which makes a wicker or “X” pattern that helps strengthen the drop stitch core while providing the SUP with more rigidity and more strength which will in turn make the SUP last longer.
Despite doing this Process the Pioneer maintains the same weight as its year-old predecessor.
Isle Pioneer 2.0 SUP Profile
The Isle Pioneer 2.0 is sticking to the original rounded nose ISUP design which makes it a stability-focused board.
This SUP is not the most hydrodynamic paddle board you will come across, but it certainly is pleasant to paddle for a few hours on flat water excursions.
For an Isle board with a more hydrodynamic profile check out our Isle Explorer Paddle Board Review.
Its minimalist deck set-up coupled with its wider width makes this a good board to move your feet around along the deck. That extra 2” width really helps keep your confidence when you have to shuffle around or do activities that require lots of clean space like SUP Yoga.
What’s On Deck
The Pioneer 2.0 has a very clean look about it. Unlike a lot of other SUP companies Isle has gone the minimalist route when designing their boards. Especially when compared to SUP companies like iRocker, Nixy, and Gili who all have placed action mounts and extra D rings on their boards.
Minimalism is sometimes a great thing for a paddleboard! As we go into some more of the features below.
Isle has opted to keep its clean deck pad design of being a smooth deck. Which has its advantages and disadvantages.
I personally like the extra grip that striped and diamond grooved deck pads provide as the grooves help give your feet better traction.
But for people like SUP Yogis, I can see how they would prefer a consistent texture throughout the deck as it’s a texture that resembles their yoga mat.
The deck pad takes up about 2/3rds of the board which gives you a good amount of standing room. With this wider SUP, you can also try and venture to the back and try pivot turns as you get more advanced.
Paddle boards with wider tails and traction pads make pivot turning much easier compared to boards with thinner tails and no grip (like the iRocker All Around 11 Ultra).
Pioneer 2.0 D rings
The Pioneer SUP gives you most of what you need when it comes to D rings. The Pioneer comes with 15 D rings.
- 6 D rings for the front bungees
- 4 D rings for the rear bungees
- 2 free D rings at the front handle
- 2 Free D rings at the rear handle
- 1 D ring for the Ankle Leash
Isle has gone about its free D rings rather uniquely. Usually, SUP companies have a setup of a D ring on the front and bottom of the nose. But for some reason, Isle decided to give the handles 2 D rings each. We are not entirely sure why they placed them like this but I will get clarification in the future.
Isle also has fabric lashes that act as D rings at the front of the deck pad. These are for kayak hybrid seats that you can purchase from Isle or other brands on Amazon. I personally recommend the higher kayak seat from Isle as it puts less strain on your back.
Pioneer Deck Bungees
The Pioneer offers 5 rows of bungee deck storage which is about the median in terms of ISUP production these days.
“I personally like the way Isle has placed these as they put more storage room in the front which is gear that you want to easily get to. Things like backpacks, dry bags, and soft coolers would be a good fit here.
For the rear, there are 2 rows of bungee deck webbing that are great for smaller items. I personally like to attach things that I don’t use as much in the rear of the SUP like speakers. sandals etc.“– Editors Notes
Isle offers 3 carrying points for their SUP which is usually what you need from a recreational ISUP. The vast majority of the time you will be carrying it from the center handle, which offers some cushioning. Although we would like to see this handle be made of neoprene materials in my opinion this is the most comfortable material.
The front and rear handles are just made of nylon webbing materials which can be a bit rough on your hands. We recommend only using these handles when two people are carrying the board or when you are guiding it in the water.
I definitely don’t recommend dragging the sup along rocks and sand from the front or rear handles as this will cause more wear and tear to the PVC.
Isle comes with two velcro straps on the right-hand side of the board that acts as a paddle holder. This is a great accessory for those who want to do SUP yoga without worrying about stepping or knocking off the paddle from the board.
I personally like the area where they put this paddle holder as it’s easy to get to, especially when you are kneeling.
Isle Accessories Explained
Below are some of the accessories that the Isle Pioneer 2.0 comes with. In my opinion, the most noteworthy is the paddle that the package comes with, but we will get into that more below.
The Isle bag is certainly not the best ISUP bag I’ve seen, but it’s also not the worst( Looking at you Serenelife!). It’s about what you would expect for a SUP of the Pioneers price point.
The bag has a big opening that is wide enough to put your board back in, even if the fold is less than perfect. I personally prefer my ISUP bags to be more baggy than compact because this means less time wrestling the bag like you are Steve Irwin wrestling a croc.
We do wish that the inside the bag there were loops and compartments like the Nixy bag which makes it easier to store your fin, paddle, etc.
The bag has a main pocket at the front that you can store the fin in and mesh pockets on the side for other accessories you may want to put in like a repair kit, water bottle, etc.
The straps of the bag are cushioned and comfortable. They offer a chest and waist strap that allows you to secure the bag while you are walking to the water.
Isle Carbon Hybrid Paddle
In my opinion, this is the highlight of the accessory package that Isle offers. A lot of SUPs within the Pioneers price range will include either a fiberglass or aluminum paddle. But Isle has stepped their efforts up and included a carbon/ nylon hybrid paddle that would retail for about $165.
The paddle’s composition is 70% fiberglass and 30% carbon and weighs 2.3 lbs approximately. They are very similar to the package that Nixy Sports offers in their packages.
I personally like these styles of paddles as they usually feel comfortable to paddle and you can paddle for a longer time period with them compared to heavier aluminum paddles.
The Paddle itself adjusts from 67 to 83” in height and has a blade surface area of just over 92” which gives you a good amount of power you can use per stroke. Which is especially useful for powering a wider-than-average ISUP like the Pioneer.
The Isle package comes with a single chamber dual action hand pump with a PSI gauge. Meaning the pump features two settings that control the velocity of the air. One setting pumps air on both the up and down pump, while the other only pumps air on the down pump.
When pumping the pioneer you want to start at the setting that gets the most air out first which will be the first setting. The pumping will usually get more difficult at the 5 PSI range so when you switch to the second setting which pumps air on the down stroke.
One of the good things about this pump is the fact that it does not take up a lot of space in the bag. The legs fold which also helps with the portability factor of this pump.
““I personally have sworn off manual pumps and now use only electric pumps. I understand wanting to be budget conscious when it comes to add-ons but electric pumps are game changers. Especially if you plan on paddling more than 10 times every year.”“– Editors Notes
Isle has recently added their own pump to the mix. The only issue I have with it though is that it does not deflate, it only inflates. I personally use the Outdoor Master Shark II electric pump for pumping up my boards.
Isle Center Fin
There are a few things I like and don’t like about the fins that are included with the Isle Pioneer.
“I do like that the fin is US fin box spec which allows you to add just about any fin that you want. The fin that comes with the Pioneer 2.0 package is a touring spec fin which gives you better tracking but less maneuverability compared to the more common dolphin fins you find with SUP packages. I personally agree with this center fin choice as it you need as much tracking as you can get with a SUP that has a shorter and stockier 10’6” by 34” wide frame.”– Editors Notes
What I’m not a fan of are the side bite fins. In my opinion, they are pretty useless and only take up space in the rolling process. In fact, I’ve tested a longer and thinner board with just side bite fins and it paddled like a dog. The board fishtailed like crazy, I couldn’t go far with that setup.
Side bite fins can also get bent out of shape which can only be fixed using heat to mold them back to shape.
The Isle SUP features an 8’ coiled leash with the package. The leash is comfortable to wear and swivels on both the ankle and attachment parts. I won’t go too in-depth with this as most SUP companies have a leash that is of the same design.
Isle Pioneer 2.0 On-Water Performance
Isle tends to focus on making their boards more stability-focused compared to a lot of other brands. Below we go into the specifics of this and other on-water metrics.
As I’ve stated at the beginning of this article this SUP was made with the beginner paddler in mind. This is thanks to it’s 34” width which is about 2” wider than what most introductory paddle boards are.
As a result you can have more confidence getting your water legs in and having less falls in the process. As you get more experienced you can also start stepping on different parts of the board and testing its limits.
The Pioneer 2.0 does hold its edge pretty well and if you were to rock it from side to side in a controlled motion, you would feel mostly in control of the board. This is also a pretty good board for beginners to learn some secondary stability from when they come across waves, chop and wake from boats.
The Pioneer’s shape does not offer the best solution in the way of the board’s tracking ability. However, Isle did include a touring fin with the package that does aid in this aspect.
Wider and shorter SUPs tend to want to fishtail more than boards that are 11’ and 32” wide. Which can make it a bit awkward for smaller paddlers to try to put in good strokes close to the board.
Still, in the case of the Pioneer 2.0, it was in about the same zone as boards with similar dimensions like the Nixy Venice, although the slight edge goes to the Venice due to its longer removable fins.
You can get about 5-7 strokes per side before having to switch sides if you have good paddling form.
If you are looking for a quick SUP that you can take on long SUP excursions you should probably look elsewhere. The 34” width coupled with its shorter height does not make this a fast board by any means. Its wider-than-average nose and tail also add more drag while paddling.
One thing that does help this SUP in terms of speed is its lighter-weight frame. Many boards with the Pioneer’s dimensions will be a few pounds heavier. So for those paddling with friends that have skinnier all-around boards could be enough to keep up with them. Or if they are paddling too fast for you just get new friends ;).
Another area where Pioneer 2.0 will shine is maneuverability. This is usually the case with stockier and wider all-around boards. If you want to make the board even more maneuverable you can add a dolphin fin for paddling in those tighter areas. The dolphin spec fin has less surface area compared to the touring fin that the Pioneer 2.0 comes with.
The Pioneer 2.0 responds well to corrective maneuvers and turns quite well when paddling and suddenly placing the paddle in the water to stop the momentum. This is actually a pretty underrated feature to have, especially for beginners who want to make evasive strokes quickly!
The 2” side-bite fins certainly help with the board’s maneuverability, especially when compared to paddle boards that have longer 5” removable side fins whose design keeps the board on rails tracking-wise but make it more difficult to get swift turns in.
About Isle Surf and SUP
Isle is one of the first movers in the inflatable SUP industry and have been around since 2004. So you can bet they have learned a thing or two about inflatable paddle boards within that time period!
Isle was founded in 2004 by two San Diego surfers, Doug Pate and Marc Miller who only had a storage unit and a passion for paddle boarding.
Isle designs its inflatable boards to be stability focused. Meaning they want to put you on a board that makes you comfortable standing on the water, no matter what your height, weight or size is.
They have recently designed some pretty innovations lately like the Isle Switch, kayak and SUP hybrid board which has won several paddling awards. You can see our full Isle Paddle Boards Review Lineup here.
Warranty and Returns
Isle features a 2-year warranty on the Pioneer 2.0 as well as the rest of their inflatable SUP line. Their return period is a 60 day trial or money back guarantee. The 2 years is about the standard in the ISUP industry while the 60-day return period is above average.
One thing that you should not though is that Isle charges a 20% restocking fee per item which they mention in the returns section of their website. So keep this in mind before purchasing. Some ISUP manufacturers have this same restocking fee while others don’t.
What Customers Think
From a lot of the ISUP companies I’ve reviewed, I’ve noticed that the Ise brand has some of the highest ratings from 3rd party platforms I’ve encountered. And a lot of those are about the Pioneer SUP as it is Isle’s most popular ISUP model.
“I have the 10’ 6” pioneer and a 12’ 6” explorer (previous years they had 2 explorer sizes), I’m a 5’ 7” male.
I prefer my explorer. I can fit more stuff on it, it tracks better. I don’t need the extra 2 inches of width the pioneer has, I balance fine on the explorer. Now if you have bad balance and are worried about lateral stability then you might prefer the pioneer (at your height I don’t know if that extra 2 inches is necessary).
I do slightly prefer the deck of the pioneer, I don’t think the grooves in the explorer do anything for traction.
I got the pioneer for friends as it has the extra width to make it easier to balance.
And like you said the explorer does cost more, it really depends on your budget.”– Duck8Quack Reddit
“A common descision SUP owners who are interested in Isle boards usually get stuck on the Pioneer vs Explorer debate. You can see our opinion in our Isle Explorer Review here.
I absolutely love this thing! I was nervous about getting an inflatable because of quality and stability but this thing is great. It is very stable and super fun. I have already taken it out several times. I don’t feel like it is sinking or can’t support me. It is super easy to inflate and transport as well. Just inflate it to recommended PSI and Read more about review stating Love my sup!its good to go. I’m considering getting another one to bring friends and family out with me 😀”– Elizabeth E (Isle Verified Customer)
For those of you who are new to paddle boarding and want some beginner opinions on how customers liked their paddle boards.
Where to Buy The Isle Pioneer 2.0
There are two places you can get the Isle Pioneer 2.0. Usually, the best is through the Isle website. At the end of the season, it’s also a good idea to check the Isle clearance section on their website as sometimes they have great deals on that year’s models.
You can also look on Amazon for the Isle Pioneer 2.0 as Isle features their own storefront.
Isle has shipping and distribution to the USA, Canada, UK, and Europe currently.
Below are boards that people look at when looking for Pioneer alternatives.
Atoll 11 SUP
The Atoll 11 is featured at a similar price point as the Isle Pioneer. In my experience with the Atoll 11, its stand-out feature is stability. The Atoll 11 feature more D rings to do your own rigging which makes it a better board for paddling longer distances. It will also be a better tracking board as it is 6” longer and 2” narrower.
Nautical 10’6” Paddle Board
The Nautical is iRocker’s introductory SUP. This board is 2 inches narrower and made of a dual-layer construction which requires more glue compared to the Pioneer 2.0’s dual-layer fusion which is two pieces of PVC machine pressed together. The Nautical also comes in 2 different sizes, the 11’6” for bigger folks and the 10’6” for smaller to medium-sized paddlers.