Loco’s first stab at inflatable stand up paddle boards took us by surprise to start with. With the NE brand’s self-styled paddle surfing image refusing to give way to the blow up phenomenon Loco recently admitted writings are on the wall – iSUPs are here to stay and remain the choice for many. Taking a bunch of tried and tested hard shell shapes and turning them into air filled machines is how Loco brought their iSUPs to market quickly, and the range is certainly eye candy.
The first we lay our grubby mitts on is Loco’s Motion Air 12.6ft x 27”. Straight out the bag and the ‘purple penetrator’ looks the biz. Nicking the rubberised hard rail concept, currently helping inflatable performance windsurf boards find favour, Loco are certainly aiming to set their inflatables apart.
Our initial session included a few swelly bumps as well as glassy flat conditions. Heading for the lumps Loco’s Motion Air glides well and it does track better with that hard rail. That said we’re not sure intermediates will notice, until they jump on a SUP without any sharp edge to directly compare, then it’s obvious. At 27” wide board you’re not going to be getting many beginners riding it – unless they’re light (intermediates on flat water will do fine) – but another trait of Loco’s hard rail is added stability. It keeps the board planted, whereas some iSUPs can roll side to side. It’s nice to know the Air Motion is user friendly and will suit a wide spectrum of paddler. The hard rail also adds rigidity – deflection is minimal. Perhaps being stretched further along the board’s length stiffness will benefit further?
Chucking it at a few small waves (as we’ve said before hybrid race/touring SUPs can be super fun in swell), the benefits of the hard release edge REALLY shine. As soon as swell lifts the board it takes on a whole different persona. Considering its shape Loco’s Motion Air is one of the liveliest iSUPs we’ve used. Subtle changes in paddling and body position allow for BIG manoeuvres without even trying. It cuts back well for a pointy nose SUP – even with a touring fin protruding from the tail. With this in mind it’s a great board for paddlers wanting all round performance. (This all bodes well for Loco’s Aztec surf iSUP line, which we’ve yet to test).
For Loco’s first outing into the inflatable SUP world they’ve created a decent board in the Motion Air. As with all Loco product different dimensions are available so differing paddling styles/weights are covered. The 27” tested here is a true all terrain ride that’s as happy on flat water as it is gliding bumps and small waves. Combined with its durable backpack Loco’s Motion Air 12.6ft x 27” is a well manufactured and versatile iSUP that bodes well for the brand and their continued progression.