Getting into racing can be tricky. Raceboards are expensive, difficult to transport, and require plenty of space for storage. And, if you plan on traveling to races outside of your home state, getting the board to your desired location is no walk in the park. In an effort to make racing more accessible and minimize transportation and storage issues, NSP designed an inflatable raceboard: the O2 Race FSL.
The Nuts & Bolts
Designed specifically for racers with limited storage space, the NSP O2 Race FSL is constructed from premium inflatable FS technology and conveniently packs down into a backpack. The package includes a premium wheeled backpack, a 9” center race fin, and a high-pressure double-action pump, and is available in three different size options.
The board is constructed from a fusion reinforced double layer glueless pre-lamination combined with a new machine-woven dropstitch. When compared to traditional knitted dropstitch, the fibers are stiffer, allowing the fibers per square inch to be reduced, which results in a stiffer, less bouncy, and faster board. Additionally, the board features double layer rail construction with double sealing rail band, a low-profile Air7 V3 fin box system that reduces drag, rail edge for quick water release, 2” scotty mount D-rings on the trail for PFD attachement, and a grippy, thermoformed EVA deckpad.
When I first heard about the NSP 02 Race FSL I will admit that I was skeptical. An inflatable raceboard sounded a bit like an oxymoron and I doubted that the level of performance could come close to that of a traditional raceboard.
I opted to test out the 12’6” by 25” and my first impression after getting it inflated, was that it was light and fast. The board is extremely stable and when paddling on flat water, the feel is incredibly similar to any other raceboard. Once on the open ocean, the board is a little less stable than a hard board but certainly can hold its own. When it comes to buoy turns, turning on a dime on this board definitely proved to be more tricky but still manageable.
All in all, I was super impressed with this board. It comes at an affordable price point, packs down into a backpack, and is enjoyable to paddle. As someone who prefers to skip the hassle of traveling with a board and is cautious of driving long distances with one strapped to my roof, this board opens up a world of possibilities for traveling and racing. If you’re into traveling and/or flat water races and have limited storage space, this is definitely the board for you.