Having used a variety of Loco SUPs in the last few years, we were looking forward to sweeping about on the brand’s pink raspberry-flavoured 9.5ft..
Out of the box this version came in glass sandwich construction, which isn’t quite as light as Loco’s wood offerings. That said, the board’s weight isn’t too bad and the carefully positioned carry handle makes easy work of carrying to the put in.
This model was supplied with stock fins, which aren’t particularly performance orientated. Before we hit the brine these were swapped out for something a little higher end. For a few extra pennies paddlers can upgrade to Futures or K4 skegs, which are much better.
The 9.5ft sits very flat on the water when paddling straight and the step deck reduces the amount of board exposed to chop and flotsam. It tracks well and offers an incredibly composed ride – even in the roughest of water states. (If you’ve been having trouble paddling out at your local break then the Loco 9.5ft will certainly help – especially if you’re a mid to larger rider).
Scooting around outback you can really take the foot off the gas and concentrate on incoming sets – such is the 9.5ft’s composure. Once your wave has been spotted, it’s a relatively easy manoeuvre to kick turn and start paddling for the drop. The Loco’s wide tail will forgive clumsy footwork during pivots and as a tutor the Loco works well. Carving off the bottom, it shoots back up to the lip, or down the line, with controllable speed, while offering enough oomph to boost a few moves.
For a larger surf SUP the elevator effect you feel when climbing the wave face is akin to smaller paddle surfing machines. It builds and keeps momentum and is surprisingly loose off the lip. Bigger boned individuals will find cranking turns a breeze, but even lighter paddlers will earn satisfaction – that low profile volume distribution making its wide tail feel less than it is. If you aspire for new school hacks and slashes then one of Loco’s shorter SUPs would suit better – but we can’t knock the looseness you do get for the size of board the 9.5ft is.
Loco’s 9.5ft is a real winner for those at the larger end of the weight spectrum looking for a performance-orientated surf sled. Lighter riders would find it a good tutor and platform for learning those surfing fundamentals – and for cruddy onshore days we can’t fault it. It’s also good if you’re after an all round board – Loco actually sell this size to newbies as it fits this bill without trouble. Upgrade the fins for a more tuned up ride and you’ll have a decent stick for real world wave conditions or all round paddling fun.
Price: £799 – check Loco website for deals. Available in green, blue and windSUP versions