The New NSP Cheetah SUP Raceboard – from design to podium with Christian Andersen

Last year NSP SUP Racers had a big impact on the Technical and Sprint SUP Race scene with their new Cheetah board. NSP Superstar Christian Andersen was part of the design team that took the idea for this new SUP Race board from concept to the water and now he takes us at TotalSUP through that process, from design to podium

Hej Christian! Welcome back to TotalSUP. Let’s get straight to it, you have a new board  

Hi TotalSUP team! Yes, the NSP Cheetah Pro Carbon and I love this board! I am happy to tell you all about it. 

Great, let’s talk big cats! 

Ha ha! OK, this is a fast cat! 

I joined Team NSP at the end of the 2022 season and almost from the start, I was involved with the design and development work on the Cheetah alongside my teammates and R&D designer Alain Teurquetil. 

It is no secret that I love sprinting and technical racing and for a long time I have dreamed of making a board designed purely for technical and sprint races, no compromises. But at the same time, it has to be a board you could use for any water conditions and any race. 

If I were to only have one SUP race board in my quiver it would be the Cheetah.

This is a board that we have already seen on TotalSUP when you gave Mathieu the inside line on it in Peniche.

Each board needs a clear purpose in the design stage, how did you take it from an idea to reality?  

We already knew the Puma was a great all-round board, so we wanted to take that design and work on making it even better. 

The first thing we wanted to do was make a slightly recessed deck, but not a deep dugout. I like the idea of flat decks, but they are often much more unstable especially when it’s a narrow board. So we wanted to have the feel of a flat deck with all the benefits that a dugout board offers at the same time. 

The Cheetah has a small recess which gives a lot of stability, but still gives you the feeling of a flat deck board. It is comfortable to move around on the board when doing turns and easy when doing beach starts.

The Puma is a great board to use as a starting point, and you stuck with the cat names.

Yeah, no one messes with a Puma or a Cheetah. Fast, powerful and agile cats and the Cheetah in the cat world is a strong swimmer too! 

The NSP team started to work in this soon after you joined the squad, how long does it take to get a board from idea to the start line? 

We received the first prototype of the Cheetah in Ceuta for the EuroTour event in April 2023 and had the top riders test it there. 

My first impression was very positive, but there were still some things that could be improved. 

The board was first of all very stable, especially for sprinting, It felt effortless to sprint because you could put all your focus into your sprint stroke and not focus on balancing at the same time. It felt very smooth at high speeds and it felt very easy to accelerate the board. 

It must be good to be able to test a design on the race circuit. What improvements followed?

Testing in races is invaluable, it’s hard to really test the limits of a board when you’re training, you can go fast but there is less pressure, especially in turns. But in a race, you can test the balance with a lot of people around you while being super fatigued towards the end. It’s always good to see how stable a board is when your legs are dying toward the end of a race. 

And there were a few small details we decided to change for the next prototypes. But the main thing we all agreed on was to make the nose narrower to give the board even more glide and make the average speed even faster. It was already very fast at top speed, but making the nose narrower would make it even faster when paddling at cruising speed and make the board better all around. 

A fun fact about the Cheetah that not a lot of people know is that it has an even sharper nose than the Carolina, this makes the Cheetah a fast board in flatwater as well.

Peeling back the layers on an NSP Cheetah

And the Carolina has a pretty good race pedigree behind it! 

It has! We got the second batch of prototypes I got to test in France for the ISA Worlds in September 2023. 

This time all the boards had a sharper nose and the same recess as the first prototype we tested but we had some differences between the boards available. We were still working on the tail shape and wanted to see, in a competitive environment, which tail was best for steering, turning, sprinting, etc. We also wanted to see which tail had the least amount of drag. 

Were there any other changes from the first prototypes through to the ISA event?

We found that the first prototypes we tested were very stable at 22 inches wide and for the second batch, we dropped to 21 inches wide with the same hull design to see if that would be stable enough. And it was. For me and everyone else on the team, the 21 inch wide board felt great, so we decided to go with that width for the narrowest model.

After testing at the ISA Worlds in France, for the European Championships in Portugal, and in between the two events in a wide range of conditions, we knew we had made the board that fitted our design requirements when we started this project and that is the board that fast paddlers can order from the NSP website now. 

Thanks Christian for taking us through the development of this special board, I am sure that this one will take you to multiple podiums in the near future.

Keeping up with Christian could not be easier through his Instagram and Facebook channels and you can check his impressive bio on the NSP website.

You can keep up with all things NSP through their social media on Instagram, Facebook and YouTube and on the NSP website and, of course the Cheetah Pro Carbon is available to order on the NSP Website.

Images from Christian and from the NSP website.

About the Author

Chris Jones

Chris is the driving force behind SUP My Race, a distance challenge group for Stand Up Paddlers on Facebook. He is a super-keen paddler who has been on the water for nearly 10 years now and shows no sign of stopping. When he isn’t logging data on his laptop he can be found on the lakes and coastal waters in south west Sweden.

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