Congratulations on winning one of our first annual Gear of the Show awards. At every Outdoor Retailer show, we literally see hundreds if not thousands of products. But of everything we saw, fondled, paddled, submerged, and manhandled, the PUMA Laird Stand-Up Paddleboard (SUP) was a clear stand-out. After our team of almost a dozen editors and contributors combed the floor, following up on countless leads, we'd meet at the end of each day to compare notes and make our final decisions. Competition was stiff. As you know, product designers in the outdoor industry are a remarkably innovative and forward-thinking bunch. Driven by the desire to provide the user with a safer and more fun experience, they're constantly rethinking the way we interact with the product and environment.
The winning products are as novel as they are eclectic: because there are such a wide range of products debuted at each show, and because our readers have a similarly diverse spectrum of outdoor interests, we decided to keep the parameters of the award open-ended. It could be that we've never seen anything quite like it, or that it was so well-conceived and designed that we simply couldn't wait to get our hands on it and try it out. In the end, we gave the PUMA Laird SUP our seal of approval for one simple reason: it was one of the most exciting products we saw at this year's show.
About the PUMA Laird SUP:
In June 2011, PUMA and Laird Hamilton joined forces on a stand-up paddleboard to bring ultimate innovation to action water sports. Described by Hamilton as a “game changer,” the PUMA/Laird Board is the first time boat hull design technology has been applied to paddleboards.
The carbon fiber board was created by the same design team that brought PUMA’s Mar Mostro ocean racing yacht to life. Juan Kouyoumdjian (Juan K), the mastermind behind PUMA’s Mar Mostro Volvo Open 70, as well as the boat designer for two previous winning Volvo Ocean Race yachts, ABN-AMRO ONE and Ericsson 4, collaborated with Hamilton on the board development.
These stand-up paddleboards take inspiration from PUMA's Mar Mostro hull design, both ergonomically and through the use of the same ultra-lightweight carbon fiber materials. Made by Clear Carbon and Components, Inc., of Bristol, Rhode Island, the PUMA/Laird Boards feature the bright red tentacle design, matching PUMA’s Mar Mostro.