‘It’s just windsurfing as it was in the 80s innit?’ And in some ways, this description of windSUP is nearly accurate. Floating about in non-planing conditions is just how the sport used to be back in the day. But windSUP is now much more than this.
WindSUP – courtesy Boards
When SUP’s renaissance first came about there was a great deal of fuss regarding its diversity and the synergy between windsurfing. SUP was widely promoted as being the perfect sport for getting windsurfers on the water when the breeze refused to puff. Head to the beach; all your toys in tow, and you’ll no longer have to face being skunked by the lack of a blow.
Although early SUP boards were fine with a rig attached, the dominant paddle side of the design meant for an inefficient windsurfing platform. Upwind performance was minimal and wave slaying potential – although on offer – wasn’t quite meeting the demands of rip ‘n’ tear wave sailors. Wielding a heavy, hard to manoeuvre, log around a surf break was not exactly the easiest of tasks. And should it all go Pete Tong, a rogue windSUP surging through a line up of surfers was the stuff of nightmares.
And what about learning the basics and recreational cruising? All absolutely fine on a SUP but more specific windsurf boards, with heaps more performance, were widely available and better suited to both jobs.
Converted 7.10ft windSUP – pic courtesy Andy Gibbs
Fast forward to 2013 and stand up paddle board design has changed radically since those halcyon days. In particular, surf SUPs are being manufactured shorter and with more volume packed in. SUP shapes nowadays lend themselves more to wave sailing (windwaveSUP?) than they did a few years ago. It’s now possible to stick a rig on your short SUP and actually gouge a cutback. Obviously some designs are better than others but performance crossover, particularly at surf venues, is now sparking the imagination, once again, of the wave sailing fraternity.
Loco SUP have held off on shapes suitable for windSUP, preferring to see how things panned out. Boards two to three years ago just weren’t mustard when a sail was attached. However, as interest has increased in 2013, and carving/manoeuvrability of boards has improved, the imminent arrival of the next batch of Loco sticks will see shapes coming with added windSUP performance.
Head to any beach where the prevailing breeze is left to the mercy of the wind Gods and you’ll come across (on certain days) forlorn looking windsurfers staring out at breathless wave spot. With the new generation of Loco windSUP shapes, this now longer has to be the case.
The new Loco windSUP range
A low volume SUP is still generally a high volume windsurf board and with added windSUP ingredients, wave heads will now be able to connect a rig and enjoy some light wind float and ride shizzle. And don’t forget, the versatility of SUP means these new sticks are perfectly fine being propelled by a paddle – if you prefer.
Loco windSUPs are due for arrival before Christmas. Joe Thwaites, Loco boss, said he expects them to sell out quick, such is the demand for windSUP products at the moment, and therefore recommends you pre order yours now.
Loco stand up paddle boarding – getting windsurfers sectioned!