O’SHEA WIND+SUP 11’0″ 2019 REVIEW
Primarily designed with windsurfing in mind with a bonus all-round iSUP appeal. Incorporates a central stabilizing fin and complete rig package, all packing down to bite-size pieces. A true family favourite for the aspiring waterman in all of us.
The Wind+SUP is one of O’Shea’s bestselling boards and remains unchanged in the lineup for 2019, sitting alongside the Wind 90 and 100 (depicted by their lengths, in feet). Tested back in 2017, this largest sibling impressed us with its build and performance, feeling durable and sturdy enough to withstand even the considerable abuse experienced at watersports schools. A large reason for this is the Premium Heavy Duty (HD) material employed to construct the Wind+SUP, using Korean Mirasol drop-stitch (widely regarded as some of the best available), which is then wrapped twice in thick 1000D PVC layers. Developed and approved using CAD by the brand’s main man himself, the focus is to make the board as practical as possible, capable of being used at lower pressures (13-15 psi), so that it is easy to achieve by “any mortal” using the high volume pump supplied. The reason for this is the thick drop stitch is said to ensure the board’s structure, both longitudinally and in torsion (mitigating any twist), allowing the design to get away with less pressure and hull thickness. Fixings on the O’Shea are built to last as well, with large D-rings used for the towing eye on the nose and leash fixture on the tail; two minimalist carry handles on the centre and rear and durable PE fins to fit into the 10” US boxes. Visually bold in yellow and supplied with the brand’s Pro backpack, it can be bought separately or as part of a package, with O’Shea delivering three options: the soft sail Grom/Wind in sizes 1.0m to 5.5m; the inflatable iWind sail (1.0m to 4.0m) or the fully battened Team sail in 2.5m to 4.5m. At 34.5” wide, the Wind+SUP is incredibly stable and easy to use, even for the nervous or heavier rider. With its long parallel rails and low shoulders, it has plenty of waterline, feeling planted and dependable at all times. In stand up paddling mode it’s very comfortable for cruising for long periods of use, and whilst it may lose some of the glide compared to the lighter 6” thick models in the group, its grounded stance becomes a significant benefit should the wind increase, experiencing less windage and retaining directional control. Plug in a windsurfing rig and the same qualities of stability and comfort remain, the board feeling balanced and practical. It is a great tutor for the uninitiated, tracking in a straight line easily and capable of pointing upwind superbly whilst trimmed flat. The geometry of the board works very well, with the deck plate position, larger central fin, tail fin and volume distribution all striking the right balance between directional stability and steering response when required. As the wind increases, the flex and twist in the board is negligible, allowing the rider to stand further back confidently and drive the rig’s extra power into the board. And whilst it may not release onto the plane like a hard board, its smooth response and easy dependable nature mean it can take a rider right up to planing technique, learning skills such as the beach start and harness work with the comfort an inflatable platform provides. At £799.00 the Wind+SUP comes in at a good price for a reassuringly durable contender.
Other boards in this test:
THE LINE UP