Having tested a number of O’Shea’s inflatables we kind of had an idea what to expect. A well manufactured product, with distinct livery, and attention to engineering detail is once again evident with the brand’s 9.4ft (nicknamed ‘the Pea’) offering. Produced in Dropstitch Mylor it’s a standard procedure to inflate. We have to mention O’Shea’s simple screw and go fin system which is super quick and efficient. After all, who wants to be faffing with ‘bits’ when the water is calling?
The Pea is stable on the flat but demonstrates a playful feel to keep pilots interested, whatever the on water conditions. Riding high above chop and flotsam we initially worried about the nose burying as there’s not huge amounts of rocker up front. Having paddled the O’Shea in some pretty choppy sea states this isn’t the case, however. The board glides over obstacles and keeps its composure intact.
Scooting around on flat water is fun although for even better flat water performance check out the brand’s 11.2ft GT offering we reviewed in a previous issue (http://standuppaddlemag.co.uk/2015/07/06/built-to-tour-oshea-gran-tourer-isup/). Heading into waves though and it’s a pretty good performer. While not actually specifically designed for this purpose you can have great fun picking up frothy/mushy waves and it’s a great SUP for learning the basics of paddle surfing. Pivoting effectively off the tail it’s possible to get the feeling of proper top turns.
The 9.4ft is possibly a tad on the small side for bigger boned individuals, in which case we’d suggest getting hold of the O’Shea 10.2ft which will float larger paddlers better – http://standuppaddlemag.co.uk/2015/05/19/blow-n-go-oshea-10-2ft-inflatable/ – and deliver a better all round experience. That said, with perseverance and skill, most paddlers will be able to pilot the 9.4ft and achieve that all important stoke.
Another quality product from the North Wales based O’Shea their 9.4ft inflatable Pea would be a worthy addition to any paddlers kit box – either as a ‘blow ‘n’ go’ travel toy, flat water fun SUP for groms and teens or mellow wave rider for those with a bit of skill. It’s a good tutor for paddlers looking to step up their SUP game – a trait familiar across the whole O’Shea range. Rather than being overly elitist Farrel and his team have got their eye firmly on the recreational paddler’s wants and needs – something which should be commended.