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ISLE Explorer

ISLE Explorer

Isle Explorer 2020

Summary

Touring boards can be tricky to classify since they are typically fast yet comfortable, something that is a perfect combination if you plan to be traveling for a long period of time. With the ISLE Explorer, you have an iSUP that technically an all-around board but works great when touring as well, making it a hybrid.

Overall
4.9

Pros

  • Long, sleek shape perfect for speed
  • Cuts through calm water with ease
  • Comfortable deck
  • Includes beautiful and functional carbon fiber paddle

Cons

  • Limited color options
  • Small portion of deck is usable
  • Paddle isn’t designed to float. It may float for a little while, but water will enter the shaft.
With that in mind, how does the Explorer stack up to the competition with other brands for both all-around activities and touring?

LengthWidthThicknessWeight CapacityWeight
11'632"6"300 lbs24 lbs

Performance

Right off the bat, we’ll start by saying that this board is designed for calm water. It’s too long and has too low a rocker to really help you in choppy conditions, let alone any sort of surf. Because of that, we would recommend only using it in calmer waters like in lakes or large ponds.

That being said, it works like a dream in those conditions. The dimensions and profile are perfect for gliding and cutting through the water, making sure each stroke of the paddle is going to be as efficient as possible. Since it was obviously made for forward motion, turning can be a bit of a struggle compared to other ISLE boards. They did their best to curve that issue by having 3 fins, though it ends up just taking the edge off. Regardless, as long as you know that going in, you shouldn’t have any problems because it does exactly what it was designed to do: cover long distances quickly and comfortably.

Features

There is absolutely no shortage of storage area on this iSUP. If you look at the picture, you’ll see four points and six-point storage areas, which are becoming more common these days. However, remember that this is an extra long board, so those points are stretched out more than on other boards.

Like all their other 2020 iSUPs, ISLE made sure to include 3 grab handles: on the front, rear and center. The front and middle handles are pretty standard and help to move the board in and out of the water while having a back handle gives you the ability to drag the board on the beach without damaging the fins.

You’ll be spending a lot of time on that deck, so it’s important to know how it’s designed. The main deck area has a grooved texture to give you enough traction not to fall off while still being able to change your footing easily. It’s also very comfortable to sit or near on for long periods of time.

Lastly, the paddle holder on this board is especially important, since you typically take this board out for longer periods, even days at a time. In all that time, you may want to jump off to take a dip or store it on the shore to camp. The last thing you’d want is for a minor slipup to cost you your paddle.

Board Design

At 11’6” in length and a 32” width, the 2020 ISLE Explorer was born for forward momentum. The low rocker and V-shaped nose will get you where you want to go in no time. However, as previously mentioned, at the expense of handling in choppy waters.

There are 14 D-rings attachments in addition to attachments for an optional kayak seat. This is the trend that we’ve seen in a ton of 2020 of models we’ve reviewed so far. Since a lot of people who use these types of boards need to carry large amounts of equipment and gear, this is an extremely welcome feature.

Construction

While not the lightest board in the ISLE lineup, it still comes in at a lean 24 pounds, considering how long it is. ISLE was able to do that using a process they call AirTech Fusion Lite. They only use 2 layers of military-grade PVC compared to the 3 or 4 of similar boards. That would normally be a red flag of the cutting corners, but what they did was use extra dense material so even though it’s only dual-layer, you could hit that sucker with a hammer and you wouldn’t have a problem.


The bottom of the deck has a new 3-fin setup. They used a universal fin box for the center fin, which means that you’re free to swap out the included fin for a third-party one if you want to use go paddling in a specific type of water. The side fins are fixed but still very small, so setup and packing shouldn’t be too much of an issue.

Included Accessories

  • ISLE Manual Dual-Action iSUP Hand Pump — not the most impressive pump on the market but pretty standard
  • ISLE iSUP Travel Bag — padded straps and back which gives you maximum comfort if you find yourself traveling with it for a while
  • ISLE 3-Piece Hybrid Adjustable SUP Travel Paddle — with a carbon fiber shaft and nylon blade, you’ll be getting a major upgrade over other brands on the market
  • ISLE 8’ Coil Leash — attaches to the rear D-ring to make sure that even if you fall off the board, you won’t get abandoned


Our Verdict

ISLE is one of the OG companies in not just the iSUP game, but paddleboards in general. Even so, we’re always impressed with how they respond to customer feedback and trends. Some companies out there think they have the best product, but since this industry is always evolving and tastes change, not updating your boards for a year or two can make you look ancient.


The 2020 ISLE Explorer gives us everything we’d want to see in an all-around/touring hybrid. It’s fast and comfortable with features that make your life a lot easier. If you plan on taking out an iSUP for an extended trip, the ISLE Explorer should be on your shortlist.

CLICK HERE TO GET YOUR VERY OWN 2020 ISLE EXPLORER INFLATABLE PADDLE BOARD