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Hamilton's new paddleboard

11/2/2011
Laird Hamilton's new carbon fiber standup paddleboard. Meghan Sepe

Laird Hamilton's new stand up paddleboard is a mutant child. Hamilton crossed carbon fiber racing yacht design with a surfboard. He collaborated with Juan Kouyoumdjian, the designer of Puma Sailing's 70-foot carbon fiber yacht called the Mar Mostro (Italian for "sea monster"). On Nov. 5, the Mar Mostro will launch into the first leg of the Volvo Ocean Race series. The Mar Mostro will battle six other sailing teams for nine months and 39,000 nautical miles across the world.

Hamilton is an honorary crew member who will consult on diet and exercise as well. He hopes to get an epic surf session out of the arrangement as well.

"Integrating the boat hull design into the paddleboard provides us the opportunity to access cutting-edge technology that lends itself to increasing performance across genres," Hamilton said. Hamilton and Kouyoumdjian's completed creation is a 14-foot-long, 37-pound epoxied foam core juggernaut. From the top, the board looks like a speed boat body with a dagger front tapering to a flat back.

"It is still a bit premature to say how significant an impact the integration will have, but I'm incredibly excited to bring improvements to all aspects of riding -- performance in speed, structure in balance, streamline in aesthetic, and endurance in material," says Hamilton.

Once the racing gets under way, Hamilton will get a chance to test his new toy in extreme conditions.

The plan, said Puma Sailing spokesperson Lisa Ramsperger, is for the Mar Mostro crew to report Goliath waves they encounter. Hamilton flies into the giant and they throw Hamilton into the waves as the Mar Mostro escapes. Then Hamilton will attempt to ride the real sea monsters on his new board. Details still are not exactly clear how Hamilton will be extracted. For now, on his test rides, Hamilton says, "The ride is very smooth and incredibly responsive." We'll see if he says the same thing on a 50-foot wave.

Hamilton's boards are being manufactured in Rhode Island.

Ron House, a surfboard shaper for over 40 years, just launched his own $3,400 carbon fiber board for racing lakes and rivers. "Yacht racing design is very sophisticated so it is probably a good reference point, but I would consider the differences between yachts and SUP boards such as hull speed achieved and available power," says House. "These and other differences in application may require some adjustment in theoretical approach."