Sometimes you step aboard a brand’s sled and it all just clicks into place. The Surfer from Laird Standup is one such board. With quoted 28” width and 115L of volume, it’s a low profiled performance SUP – especially for a 9.6ft. Feeling much smaller under foot, you can totally see why the man himself (Laird, in case you’re scratching your head) has this as his ‘go to’ wave rider.
Configured as a quad fin (there’s the option to set up skegs exactly how you please, as the board comes with five fin boxes and foils), resistance through the water is minimal – although those paddlers not used to lively rides will require a period of adjustment. Tracking is pretty good, mainly down to the board being over 9ft, and straight line top speed, for a surf SUP, is admirable.
Prowling the break, the Surfer just begs you to whip into a slice of liquidjoy and as you take off the Laird reacts well to pumping and being proactive. Concentration needs to be given to foot placement as, although stable enough, it still won’t forgive dodgy technique.
Once up and riding, the Laird Surfer powers down the line and allows riders to concentrate on which section they want to hit and what move they want to complete. This board’s secret is being nimble and manoeuvrable from forwards of the tail section (great for slow waves and improving intermediates) while able to achieve all the big power moves (if you’re capable enough/have the conditions) associated with high performance carving from above the fins.
Ride it old school noserider style or new school hack and slash – whatever your flavour, the Laird Surfer accommodates. OK, we’ll admit that you’re never going to get quite as contorted as World Tour pros with the 9.6ft, but for most UK rippers the Laird Surfer 9.6ft will tick all the boxes, cope with a broad range of conditions, prick your interest when you least expect and offer a wide range of tuning (through fins) to accommodate varied styles of wave riding.
The Laird Standup Surfer 9.6ft looks a beauty – it almost appears more like a custom surfboard than a stand up paddle surfing weapon. With five fin boxes you can tune this baby up depending on the conditions you face on the day, it’s super versatile. Our preference was quad fin mode, which makes the Surfer super loose and perfect for carving/slashing. Ride the Surfer further forwards for a mellower experience or bang some full power turns once on the tail. Nose ride and spin or simply glide. Whatever your preference of performance SUP surfing, you’ll get it here. It’s a board that also works as a step bigger wave SUP.
If you’re a newbie or tentative rider then look at the brand’s bigger version for a less engaging ride.