Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Laird Hamilton/Surftech/PUMA Stand-Up Paddle Boards@ Demo Day-OR

LAIRD HAMILTON -King of Crossover Board Sports

words/images Judith Ecochard

Jordanelle State Park

We know why stand-up paddle boarding (SUP) has been taking off---cause last year, our most un-athletic, ever college buddy won some raffle out in Montauk (a rather terrific place to surf, fyi)...that was a SUP session---and managed to easily just get up and go. And have a blast- with her equally un-athletic daughter. Jump ahead---now her summer vacay is a surf camp.

Unlike windsurfing which require lessons and some finesse---we think--- given the right stable board (wide helps)--- one can just start having fun in a NY minute. Just find water big enough to handle a few turns-and paddle on.

Gerry Lopez-legendary big wave surfer (left) with Board Shaper BOB PEARSON (right) ALSO Legendary Surfboard Pro and designer too! www.arrowsurfshop.com

On the left and right-other Surftech/Laird Hamilton Stand-Up Paddle Boards

The middle board, pictured above is the beyond cool-all carbon 'Laird' 14 ft PUMA board designed by Juan Kouyoumdjian, the mastermind behind PUMA's ocean racing boat "Mar Mostro". With a foam core fiber center and epoxy matrix covered by snazzy red tenacles' graphics matchy matched up with Puma's Mar Mostro FYI. The unique bat hull design element had everyone marveling.

Laird Hamilton is a modern-day, multi-tasking guy who just so happens to excel at many of them, including master of the giant waves---- a thrill ride -that we can only dream about.

At the Demo Day of the most recent, last week's Outdoor Retailer, he reminded us of golf legend/fan fave Phil Mickleson--- in that he smiled for every picture request, signed autographs etc...for all who wanted.

Although we've never met him before...he greeted us with a smile and joked (we hope) "...oh you again" and explained his sore ankle..."as something I got"...and also answered our query about how the smaller paddle boards are right for kids to try out. Maybe, we thought, not 2-3 years old which was the age this surfing legend started out. But a bit older def. cause like a lot of sports-snowboarding too---sometimes it is easier being closer to the 'wipe-out' surface (lower center of gravity), to pick this stuff up faster. Why wait?

Also, as part of the Puma Ocean Racing Crew (honorary 12th member) - the crew that's tracking wave patterns around the world---with the goal of flying in Hamilton to surf them---Hamilton and Puma will also work together over the course of the nine month Volvo Ocean Race---"to raise awareness and learn about the importance and shared responsibilities of ocean preservation."

We chatted quite of bit with Bob Pearson about the other Laird/Surftech boards out there (ranging in sizes from 8.6 feet-12 feet)---like the brown water riding machine, pictured above that's a "flat rocker that paddles faster, turns easier...and...the wider nose Blue---with a wide nose for more stability and early wave entry...a narrower tail for extremely tight flowing turns with control."

Well, we got schooled...and depending on what kind a water surface and purpose---there's a board for you. IMHO.

CANDICE APPLEBY takes the new "Laird" ----14 ft carbon paddle board out for a ride. She made it look easy, with a winning combo of agility and speed-both her's and the board...

Designed for big ocean waves or flat water...the rest of us get a chance to try it on- ETA January 2012.

Candice Appleby Carries the latest Laird Hamilton/PUMA/SURFTECH "Laird" 14 ft Stand-Up Paddleboard


We were told PUMA's CMO Antonio Bertone, a paddler himself, contacted Surftech for the collab---and helped design the Mar Mostro's (aka Monster of the Sea in Italian)--- graphics with Puma's London based design team.

The 13th member of the team is the kid friendly mascot-- Marmo---a cartoon like red octopus that we hope has as much luck as the acclaimed World Cup predicting octopus...at picking the winners---though this mascot is all about spreading the word on preservation.

The nine challenging months long Volvo Ocean Race sets sail in November 2011---in the fabulous sunny town of Alicante, Spain.

INFO: www.puma com/sailing