Flat Water Attack – Comparing Loco’s 12.6ft SUPs

When you’re after a flat water SUP the two main decisions you’ll inevitably face are: ‘what length do I want?’ and ‘what performance am I looking for?’

If you’re a full power speed demon who wants race performance then your stick choice will need to reflect this. Paddlers only looking for a recreational tourer should choose a board featuring traits suitable for this type of SUPing.

Pic courtesy NWF/Justin Morris

Tez Plavenieks got hold of Loco’s 12.6ft X 27.5” and 12.6 X 29”to put through their paces and highlight the differences between the two models. If you’re looking for a straight line or flat water SUP then read on.

First look

Both Loco’s look the business. High quality finishes (the 27.5” screamed brushed green carbon while the 29” was a more laid back wood concoction), distinct liveries/colour schemes and bomb proof constructions make for two eye catching, top notch candy products.

The width differences on the beach are obvious with the wood 12.6ft whispering its more easy going nature. The green lightning, in contrast, looks ready for race battle and positively snarls at you; itching to get wet.

Both Loco SUPs are lightweight and with their carefully considered and balanced handle placements, transportation to and from the drop in point is easy.

Onto the water

I stepped on the 29” first and in no time was sweeping around the brine in a relaxed fashion. The width and generous volume placement of this Loco Tourer made for a confidence inspiring ride and although the water state was chop free I’ve no doubt that, after a bit of getting used to, the 29” would maintain its composure even in the messiest of puddles.

Loco 12.6ft X 29"

Jumping onto 29”’s narrower sibling (27.5”) the width reduction is immediately obvious. Momentum needs to be on your priority list from the get go as faltering with propulsion may see the unwary dunked in the drink.

Once up to speed the 12.6ft X 27.5” Loco slices through the water like butter and maintains a decent top speed. Take your foot off the gas and the lean green machine has impressive glide, pushing forwards until the very last ounce of your effort has been spent.

Recreation versus high performance

The great thing about Loco’s range of SUPs is how easy to understand the line-up is. Picking your relevant board, based on your requirements is a doddle. All you really need answer are a few simple questions about what you want from your SUP gear, check the specs against each Loco design and make your decision accordingly.

Out of the two boards up for review here it should be blindingly obvious. The 29” is perfect for sedate meanderings around your local patch, checking out those nooks and crannies and even a spot of fishing. The option for attaching a nose bungee mount for securing tackle makes this particular Loco great for casting a line.

The 27.5” meanwhile is the thoroughbred pedigree turbo charged medal chaser. Lining up on the start grid, this Loco stick is literally chomping at the bit to thrash the competition and loves nothing better than a bit of (un) friendly racing.

Downwind

It’s worth pointing out that both 12.6fts’ would make decent choices of downwind board.

The 29” would be a great tutor and allow newbie wind heads to get to grips with catching rollers and lumps whereas the 27.5” would be a better choice for more accomplished downwind aficionados.

The narrower board will reward paddlers with greater efficiency and longer glides while its fatter sibling would be a great first board choice – such is its forgiving nature.

Loco green growler – Pic courtesy Shoreham Stu

Summing up

Both 12.6ft Loco SUPs are top shelf pieces of kit that are great for intermediate paddlers and up. Each has its own unique set of traits that make it applicable to a variety of environments, water states and paddle grounds.

As is usually the case with Loco SUPs, the brand has taken the time and effort in making these two boards suitable for a wide rider weight band and ability bracket. The only choice you have to make is whether you want blistering straight line speed or cruiser style performance – or better still, nab both of them suckers!

For more info on Loco stand up paddle boards, check out the Loco products page.

Tez Plavenieks is a freelance writer who loves windsurfing, SUP, surfing, snowboarding, drums, art and beer. If he’s not out sliding sideways then you’ll find him producing articles, stories and content revolving around his passions. Check out more at www.tezplavenieks.com

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