So after agreeing to join Loco SUP’s paddle surf team a few months back, Joe was kind enough to send me a 7’10” short SUP to use until my competition board landed in a couple of months. Being relatively new to SUP I’d only really borrowed or rented boards before and they were usually 9′-11′ long so I was initially quite wary about such a short SUP. When I opened the box I was certainly impressed with the wood finish, possibly one of the best looking boards I’d seen incorporating nice to haves like a high-end 3/4 deckpad, GoPro mount at the nose and double leash plugs for when the surf starts pumping.
I was so excited to get the board on the water to see how it compared to a friend’s custom SUP I’d been borrowing. Admittedly the short length did require a slight change in technique and I had to cut my carbon wave paddle down further than anticipated but once I’d got everything ‘tuned up’ I found the 7’10” easier to paddle than expected and once I was on the wave I could arc fluid turns even dialling in a couple of cutbacks on my first session! When I did finish paddling the tide was right out which is normally a real pain carrying a 10’+ SUP back up the beach (especially in wind) but no such problems with a short SUP as they’re super light and the short outline makes them a lot easier to control both on a off the water.
In fairness the swell has been a little up and down in Cornwall over the summer months so I’ve tended to surf proper on the bigger days and leave my SUPing for slacker waves or have been using it to cruise and stay in shape. As you can see I’m out in shorts in the snaps as the 7’10” has 120L of volume making it very easy for your average 50-70kg lady to balance on. I could definitely paddle Loco’s 7’4” smallest Short SUP at 100L which I’m looking forward to trying out in some funky colours and a price point construction when the new stock lands this week (so Joe tells me).
In terms of my Nationals training I’m continuing to get as much water time as possible but the summer doldrums have put the kibosh on any real wave training for the immediate future which is a little frustrating. That said the sun’s out and who can moan about paddling around in beautiful green water in shorts and a tee! I’ve also been getting some of my girlfriends into SUP as it’s not really that big here in Cornwall with most girls preferring to surf proper. Having tried a few other brands of SUP down here I’m amazed just how much more responsive Joe’s boards are, although whenever I talk to him he’s always banging on about the next concept or a new shaper he’s working with in his pursuit of the ultimate wave SUP.
I’ll be a little bit sad to say goodbye to my trusty 7’10” Short SUP but I’m assured my new 7’9” Competition Pro will make my turns even more radical. It’s quite a bit narrower at 27.25” than the 7’10” at 29” and only has 91L of volume so I’m hoping it’s not a complete baptism of fire! On the upside my boyfriend won’t be able to steal this one when I’m at work!
If you’re a lady looking to get into SUP surfing don’t make the mistake of buying an overtly long or wide board as you simply won’t be able to turn it. Think 29-30” wide and around 9′ if you’re looking for an all-rounder and 27-29” and 8′ or shorter for a dedicated wave SUP. The great thing about Loco’s short SUPs is that you can transport them in most hatchbacks without the need for a roof rack. Whatever you do don’t try and paddle surf on an iSUP the rails just aren’t sharp enough and there’s too much give even at 25psi. Sure they have their place within SUP but it’s not in the surf.
Hopefully some of my points are helpful to other ladies getting into SUP surfing. Stay tuned for more snaps (hopefully in some better waves) and video from me in my run up to BSUPA Nationals in October.
If you haven’t seen Loco’s latest video which I feature in briefly check it out here
Words: Tina Beresford
Photo Credit: Checkered Photography