Review & pics: Tez Plavenieks
In a long line of O’Shea inflatable SUP tests the 12’6 GTS, HPX constructed, latest is yet another example of a premium air board from the (now) iconic yellow brand. HPX constriction is billed as being the lightest (20% lighter in fact) and stiffest technology you can buy. There’s no question that for a 12’6 sled it’s incredibly feather weight. There’s simply no issue with carting it about, whoever you are.
Once at the put in it’s simply a case of chucking on the water and away you go. Rigidity is certainly top drawer with all deflection being slightly behind where paddlers stand. It tracks well and glides smoothly. If there’s breeze in affect you may need a few additional strokes to keep it on track due to the light weight nature of the board and it therefore being a tad more susceptible to being blown about. That said with concentration and the hammer down it knifes through chop efficiently and gets the job done.
For anyone into racing you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how much vroom the GTS has. It responds well to propulsion without any loss of speed between strokes. But it’s not all technically aloof, instead the 12’6 has plenty of unlockable performance for the layman paddler who simply wants to cover ground with as little hassle as possible.
Manoeuvres, when you need to chuck them in, such as pivot turns are doable with the GTS forgiving of dodgy foot work. It levels off easily and doesn’t tend to buck like some, thereby throwing riders in the drink. As such it’s not a bad tutor for anyone looking to improve.
We should acknowledge the awesome three setting double chamber HPX pump that came supplied. We’ve actually reviewed this separately in another issue but it’s worthy of mention again – it’s that good. And makes light work of inflating. There’s nothing like having the correct tools for the job, which the HPX pump most certainly is.
Another example of a quality inflatable stand up paddle board that’ll elevate your SUP sessions no end. O’Shea always deliver the goods and we’re big fans of their products here at SUPM. The 12’6 GTS is super light yet remains a performance piece of paddling kit that any SUPer will appreciate. Whether you’re off on a touring mission or thinking of entering your first race – inland or coastal – O’Shea’s GTS HPX will take you there. And the HPX pump is awesome to boot!