Review & pics: Tez Plavenieks.
Observing NE based brand Loco evolve over the years has been interesting. Having started out as a hardcore surf SUP brand Loco has now become a more all round stand up paddle boarding company (UK based) that embraces all elements of the sport, including inflatables, after resisting initially. That said Joe Thwaites (Loco’s head honch) still retains the company’s surfing roots which can be seen in designs such as the 8’6 Guppy, tested here.
The Guppy’s plan shape calls on retro shaping elements, such as the stepped winger tail, which gives a great aesthetic. It’s a mid-width, volume sled that’s made for taking on small to medium sized waves – especially if you fancy switching from your longboard surf SUP (see the Loco Logger review last issue). It also has windSUP options with the embedded mast track, also reflective of Joey T’s windsurfing background. This ensures as much versatility as possible
The board works super well in fun waves as a performance surf SUP applicable to improving riders as much as those with skills. It’s packed with plenty of glide allowing for early wave roll ins, which can be hard to access with sub-9ft SUPs sometimes. Speed down the line is progressive yet it’s in the turn you feel fulfilled. Carving rail to rail is the Guppy’s forte and it’ll flatter many riding styles who lean to a progressive turning style. We feel that it’ll work quite nicely as a step up platform for bigger swells also.
We mentioned versatility above, which the 8’6 Guppy has in abundance. Testament to that is the fact that even heavier paddlers will be able to pilot on surfless waters. Obvious there are more efficient stand up paddle boards for this kind of thing but if you’re not in the market for a quiver and don’t have access to a bigger vessel be comforted that you’ll still be able to get out for a float aboard the Guppy.
In windSUP mode the Guppy has enjoyable performance. In some ways it feels more like a large wave board (which is, after all, what it is) that you can cruise about on atop flat water also. For those after windSUP properties Loco’s Guppy is one that’ll make use of light airs but also convert to wave environments if you’re after a breezy swell tool. It’s therefore perfectly applicable to call it a ‘Swiss army knife’ of a SUP that’ll deliver multiple benefits in different watery scenarios.
Great looks as usual from Loco the brand’s 2020 Guppy 8’6 is worthy of consideration if you’re after decent hard SUP crossover performance. An adept windSUP performer with great SUP surfing prowess it’s a board that’ll find favour with many. Check it out if wind and wave versatility’s what you’re after with a smattering of flat water performance for good measure.