We’ve been desperate to get our hands on a Laird board for ages. With the brand named after one half the inventor of modern SUP as we know it who wouldn’t. Now being imported into the UK the chance arose to test the Laird LXR 12.6ft, shaped by the legendary Bob Pearson – excited was an understatement.
With extremely refined looks the LXR is a lightweight sled built for smashing the opposition. What you can’t immediately tell from simply admiring the LXR’s svelte shape is the on water personality. At 28” wide it errs slightly towards the technical side of the spectrum but shouldn’t concern those with prior paddling experience.
Jumping aboard it’s immediately obvious from the wobbly nature that something is going on with the Laird’s hull contours. For its width there’s a lot of rail to rail roll, however, the LXR does have a good deal of secondary stability built in and this should be trusted. Whack in a few paddle strokes and stability is a given.
The sharp nose pierces chop and swell fairly efficiently but it’s noticeable from the rider’s paddling position there’s a degree of nose kick which gives an indication of this board’s forte – more on this in a sec. Accurate edging gives a faster and much smoother ride than simply trying to trim the LXR flat – especially as chop/swell increases. This will take some getting used to for intermediates but experienced paddlers won’t find it too much trouble.
Pivot turns are a tad tricky as once off the minimal deck pad the tail of the LXR is akin to an ice skating rink. If you’re likely to be sprinting and spinning regularly then we’d recommend waxing the board’s aft section.
So upwind good and across the flat the LXR is an efficient stick. Turn it downwind, however, and the LXR transforms into an altogether different beast. Catching runners is a doddle and the speed with which the Laird races downwind is impressive. Although we didn’t test the actual speed we’ll stick our necks out and suggest this is one of the fastest 12.6ft sleds going downwind. As this isn’t a downwind specific SUP a deft technique will still be needed to maintain control in swell, but under the guidance of an experienced pilot the Laird LXR could be a devastating open ocean racer in its class.
Offering good secondary stability, the Laird LXR 12.6ft is a nippy stand up paddle board when used in average UK race conditions. If paddlers find themselves facing technical downwind conditions then you’ll have at your disposal an awesome weapon for this type of race. Picking up rollers with ease the nose rocker of the LXR keeps the board from burying and with deft foot/paddle technique the LXR is nearly as good as a specific downwind tool. We had immense fun testing this in open sea swells and even found a few small breaking waves to surf – which the LXR achieved easily.
Further info: www.lairdstandup.com