Boss man Joey T takes a few minutes off from double dropping throat lozenges, post party kidney dialysis and nursing an infected human bite (an event first) to report back on The Loco SUP Asylum’s annual 750 mile round trip down to The National Watersports Festival.
So after last year’s mixed response to the arrival of the ‘new kids on the block’ we were a little reluctant to drive all that way and spend money on a 66% more expensive non prime pitch if the weather wasn’t going to be SUP friendly. Thankfully the wind decided to be reliably unreliable and there was a glimmer of some good SUP weather so we jumped in a fully stacked Loco passion wagon Thursday lunchtime and 6hrs later rocked up at Hayling Island in serious need of a cold one! Joe’s old pals Colin and Marco from Club Vass didn’t disappoint with a little loco-ness back at their party bus until 2am!
Friday was billed as a trade day but numbers were pretty thin on the ground partly due to grey skies although some thought event boss Allan Cross might have dropped a bollock putting it on the weekend after the kids went back to school?! It was the first time we’d made the trade day soit seemed OK to us with plenty of enquiries from shops and end users dazzled by our range of finishes, colours and enhanced number of models for 2015.
Even our neighbours at the Jimmy Lewis stand seemed impressed with the brand new 2015 Loco offerings with the new Pro Race 12’6” x 25” (powered by K4 fins new weed race fin) and Comp 8’9” and 8’2” dragging in people from far and wide. Joe was looking after interest for most of the morning with Loco windSUP aficionado Paul Monnington rocking up mid-afternoon to provide some much needed help alongside 14′ race maestro Phil May (aka Brand Whore) arriving late afternoon to assist with putting the gear away and bringing it large-style on the banter front.
The usual BBQ and beers ensued up at Phil Plume’s van before we hit the party tent for some mosh pit shenanigans and a couple of late(ish) cold ones back at Joe’s van, blasting out some Funkanomics mid tempo style.
Saturday kicked off with the arrival of new Loco recruit and master of stoke Tony ‘T Bone’ Peters who was straight on it, checking out the various Loco sticks. Seriously he must have tried every board within the first 1hr!
Conclusion he loved how all the boards paddled, thinks the price points are keen for the quality on offer and is amazed at what we’ve achieved in just 3yrs! Considering T Bone’s legendary surf status and the fact that he’s come over from Fanatic we were totally amped with his feedback. Tony will be getting more involved in R&D alongside flying the Loco flag at next month’s National SUP Surfing Finals at Watergate Bay with Tina, Finn, Steve Laddiman and possibly Joey T.
Alongside T Bone, Phil May was out competing on his 2014 14′ Pro Race securing a podium finish no less and along with Paul they helped filter interest on the Loco stand as our demo boards were flying out all day long!
We had everyone from newbie couples and families to experienced rippers and racers trying the latest from the Asylum. Once again we were the only brand to offer small enough surf SUPs for ladies and kids and with the introduction of the our new price point constructions in the 7’4 and 7’10” customer feedback was off the chart!
Alongside a busy day of demoing the event is always a bit of an industry social so we were stoked to catch up with the boys from SUPBoarderMag, Tez from SUP Mag UK, Bertie and Rich from BSUPA, Ginny and Kate from Paddle Round the
Pier as well as a host of other cool cats we know from trips away, social, water time and similar type events.
For those of you who haven’t been to National Watersport Festival before the Saturday night Party can only be described as legendary. You basically have to dress up, drink copious amounts, dance like an epileptic and usually end up back at a party causing trouble until dawn! We’re pleased to report this year was no different with Phil May taking charge of the outfits. Let’s just say he embraced the Asylum spirit!
Even with some stiff competition from some of the other brands I think it’s fair to say Joe and Phil took Loco off the scale with their mosh pit dominance, throwing of lager, outrageous behaviour, ability to drink shots and never queue at a bar five deep!
It’s fair to say Joe might have broken Phil by the time the music stopped so it was off to Colin Dixon’s party bus for the big man where we elected himself van bouncer ‘one in, one out’ deputised bat girl for initial screening out of gingers and other undesirables before getting the party started Bizzle fo shizzle-style!
What started off as a genius move in controlling human traffic ultimately ended in someone (we won’t mention any names) biting his finger necessitating a hospital visit due to infection 36hrs later! Not that it stopped Joey T partying on until 6am!!
Needless to say Sunday was a hard day (especially with no voice) but the inmates rallied round el Duche del a Loco getting even more people on the water. The new 10′ nose rider seemed like a real hit with the South Coast guys alongside the new 9’5” and 8’11” allrounders. Despite wanting to get off early (for obvious reasons) boss man Joey T stayed until teatime just so a lady from the day before could get her daughter out on the kit. Now that’s dedication with a factor 50 hangover!!
Big props to Brand Whore for putting me up on the Sunday night as I couldn’t have driven the 6hrs back to Newcastle! Congratulations to Allan Cross on another excellent event which we hope continues next year!! Well done to all the competitors across the windsurf and SUP race events.
Anyone serious about securing a 2015 board ahead of the season, an end of season 2014 package deal or are interested in becoming a team rider or brand ambassador be sure to give Joey T a call on 0191 4206921 / 07779 127230.
Words: Joe Thwaites
Photo Credits: Loco SUP / Georgia Wharton / ExPix