Who is involved in Loco SUP & How did the Brand Start?
Loco is comprised of a number of collaborators; some paid, some stoked to be part of something new and exciting, some just along for the ride. The main driving force behind the brand is Joe Thwaites who’s been teaching people to paddle surf through his Tynemouth based school (Boardskillz) for almost 6yrs since the SUP scene started in the UK. Bouke Becker from Witchcraft Sailboards Fuerteventura started working with Joe back in 2011 and was instrumental in the creation on the all rounder and short SUP outlines. He also acted as Loco’s construction consultant ensuring that strength was key but not at the expense of weight. Former rider and National Paddlesurf Champion Andre’ Le Geht played an instrumental role in testing all of the initial outlines. Over the last couple of seasons Loco has broadened it’s pool of talent working with experienced customer shapers both in the UK and the USA in the pursuit of excellence.
Joe started the brand back in 2011 as he felt the first and second generation offerings from the usual suspects weren’t cutting it in the surf, weights were poor, the aesthetic was lacking and prices were prohibitive for the average person wanting to get into SUP. He wanted to simplify the buying process offering a core line of boards that could work differently depending on rider weights, ability and aspirations.
What makes you different to other SUP brands?
We’re home grown so our boards have been designed specifically for European conditions. All our boards have surf optimised rocker lines that simply outmanoeuvre other boards of similar size. We manage to achieve the impossible by packing more volume into shorter outlines but not at the expense of performance, making our boards really user-friendly. We provide GoPro mounts, double leash plugs, ¾ deck pads and proper fins as standard (most don’t). We offer a personal, friendly service and can offer time-served advice on everything from board selection to more advanced information on optimised fin set up. We primarily sell direct so we can offer bleeding edge, lightweight constructions at sensible price points, frequently offering package deals including full carbon paddles and other accessories..
What are your Aims for the future with loco?
We’re looking into distributing the brand internationally. R&D never stands still at the Loco Asylum. We’ve just finished developing a new line of radical surf shapes which we’ll look to put into production in 2014. We’re also playing around with various elements of our race boards in our quest for the ultimate glide. Last winter we tested a couple of prone surfing outlines which have been put into production for this season both in surf and kite format so we’re optimistic we’ll see some positive uptake from those potentially lucrative markets. Joe has also been playing with some windsurf outlines with a view to supplying the heavier/taller guy market across Europe. Our factory has been making real progress with our accessories and interest in our merchandise has been fantastic so we’re looking to offer these more widely in 2014. As ever we’re always on the look out for fresh talent and motivated brand ambassadors to spread the Loco love in the UK and further afield. As the brand expands we’re now in the position where we’re looking to work with a handful SUP savvy retailers and SUP schools in key demographic areas to compliment our demo days that kick off in the spring.