Loco 14ft SUP Review
Loco’s new range of 2014 racing/touring/downwind SUPs landed a few weeks ago and Loco Asylum’s inmate, Phil May, was released from his restraints, loaded up on meds and allowed out onto the brine with his spanking lean green 14ft stand up paddle board machine. Here’s what the Get Sectioned team rider had to say.
I received the new 14’ Pro Racer on a Thursday and following issues with my usual delivery options it had been delivered to my wife’s work. This meant that I had to unbox it outside in the dark.
First impressions of the board were WOW! It was visually stunning in green brushed carbon with the iconic Loco branding in white across the deck and underside. The nose of the board is razor sharp and is the start of the shallow V shape that runs down the front half of the hull. The deck of the board also has a ridge which will shed water efficiently. The deck pad is ridged along the length of the board and also carries the Loco logo. The standing area is slightly recessed into the board providing a lower centre of gravity which should in turn give more stability. The rails are fairly soft in the front half of the board becoming harder under the standing area. The tail of the board is square and has a squashed look to it. All the usual Loco fixtures are included on the board. There is a camera mounting point on the nose and a surface mounted grab handle. Towards the rear of the board are two leash points. It looked amazing and I was desperate to get out and paddle it.
My first trip out on the Pro Racer was an over excited splash and dash with fading light and sloppy onshore water conditions. I was so keen to get out I headed out in less than favourable conditions just to get on the board. Unloading the board at the beach I was struck again with how good the board looked. The board was an instant hit with passers-by all keen to know what it was, what it was made of and how much one would set you back. Once I had finished answering questions (like a proud father) I headed down the beach and out into the water.
It wasn’t the day for fine tuning the board in terms of positioning and speed. It was however ideal for a speedy learning curve on a new board! I jumped on and paddled out through the foam on my knees. The first thing I noticed was the acceleration. Even head to wind and paddling through foam the board felt keen to be moving. Once out through the breakers I jumped up to my feet and took my first couple of strokes. The board felt quite tippy initially and I took a couple of unceremonious schoolings. Once I had found my sea legs and had a feel for the board I started to paddle along the shoreline. The cross chop was awkward but the board felt composed and comfortable. This wasn’t where the board shined for me though. It showed its surf pedigree with its bum to the wind heading with the chop. It picked up a lot of the bumps and the more square rails towards the rear of the board allowed it to be surfed once up and planing. I had some fun out and in runs just getting the feel for the board once it was surfing then the light faded too far and my session was curtailed. I was one stoked bunny!
Phil’s pride and joy; his Loco SUP quiver – pic Phil May
My next session was a sunny afternoon session on the Chichester Canal. I was really up for it and I knew it was a chance to see the board in a completely different situation. To start with I threw the board on to the water so I could take notice of the things I missed in the rush and chop of my sea session. Firstly I noticed the rocker of the board. Not too much but enough so the nose of the board was a couple of inches clear of the water when the board was unladen. This and the piercing bow mean that downwinders and chop are fair game.
I jumped on and covered four miles in a reasonable time. I wasn’t travelling flat out and I have been off the water and out of the gym for about six weeks so my fitness is low but I covered four miles in under an hour. The board feels quick and glides well. I spent the first two miles stood too far forward on the deck. This meant that there was an increased bow wave and I was pushing water. It did make some cool water patterns but the board felt much faster on the way back.
Engaging the nose will be a good way of covering distance into wind but on the flat the board cruises with the nose just out of the water. My foot placement was just behind the carry handle and the board seemed to get in to glide much easier. I also tried some sprint starts by choking right down on the paddle and really upping my stroke rate. The board accelerated quickly and didn’t lose speed as I changed paddle sides or grips. I also tried one step back turn but sadly the part of the canal I tried it in wasn’t quite deep enough. My fin snagged the bottom and I ended up in the drink! With practice these shouldn’t be an issue as the board has plenty of volume towards the back and plenty of deck to stand on.
Exploration on the Loco 14ft touring SUP – pic Phil May
I love the new board. It is streaks ahead of my old race board and is a big development for Loco. The board has potential for downwinders, racing and just for those days where you feel the need to cover some distance.
Stay tuned for more updates and photos from Loco Asylum Phil May over the coming months…