Titouan Puyo, the number 1 french SUP racer and world’s 5th is opening a new chapter in his SUP career by joining boardmaker NSP and paddle brand QuickBlade Paddles. In this exclusive interview, he tells us about the reasons behind this move, his first impressions as well as his objectives for the 2016 season !
Titouan Puyo : The new NSP Paddler
Hi Titouan Puyo, a few weeks ago you announced that you had left Starboard to join the NSP team. What made you make that choice?
I needed change. Starboard is a big brand, working with them has proven very rewarding but I wanted something else. Besides, NSP and especially their team (Alain Teurquetil who designs the boards, Travis Grant, Vincent Verhoeven, Rico Leroy…) have always been SUP trip partners. I often had the occasion to talk with them and to try some boards together. I love their methods and their boards as well. Things are easier and clearer now: Alain designs the boards and takes care of us. Travis and I paddle together and we help Alain developing the boards.
You said you were helping Alain developing the boards. How are you involved in the process? Tell us more about your boards! Are you using a custom board?
As far as I can tell, my opinion matters. The Alain/Travis duo works wonders to develop new boards so I adapt to their ideas but I also bring a fresh point of view. Alain is really an invaluable member of the NSP team. He does everything! He is a passionate man drawing boards, going on the water, participating in races, asking for feedbacks…
Lately, I’ve been riding on standard boards but custom boards will be released soon. Travis and I will have the chance to try them on some events throughout the year. So right now I’m getting used to the existing boards and I’m quite happy with them.
So far I only have only done one race with a 12’6 board: The New Zealand championship. I used the same board during the whole championship: a 12’6 x 25 NSP board. I really like it, it’s very versatile and reliable. With the 14′ boards, it’s a bit different, the races are more specific so I have different kind of boards. I have 4 boards in total, a 14′ x 23 NSP Flatwater, another 14′ x 23 board which is more versatile, one which is a sort of mix between the former 2 and also a 14′ x 24’5 DW. They all have a recessed handle. I will just have a Flatdeck for the PPG.
I’m currently using the board that I will have at the Carolina Cup, I’m getting used to it to be ready in April.
You also joined QuickBlade. Did you find there the team and the gear that you needed?
Yes, I also joined QuickBlade. One thing I love about QuickBlade is that they are a brand that solely focus on paddles, you can feel it when you use them, they are more efficient and elaborate. I also like the spirit of the company. Jim Terrel – Quickblade’s founder- is a longstanding paddler and he is still paddling, it really makes a difference. Regarding my personal gear, I’m using the Quickblade Trifecta 86 and I’m really happy with it, as much as all the other SUPers using it. We have already started talking about a new paddle prototype but I cannot tell more right now…
You just won 4 races in New Zealand, can you tell us why you chose to begin the season over there? Travis was also around there not long ago, right? What did you find in New Zealand?
NSP is well-established in New Zealand, so they wanted me to go there.
In any case I needed to race on these new boards but I also needed a confidence boost. I managed to do all of that in New Zealand by winning the 4 races. The Beach Race was composed of 3 heats and one final, that was a great way to train and it also allowed me to try new things. I never did any SUP race in New Zealand, I only had the opportunity to do a couple of outrigger canoe races so I was really stoked to be able to go back there.
So far the NSP board are working well for you! How do you feel about these boards?
I spent a good part of February with Alain Teurquetil at his home in Byron Bay. There I tried a range of boards in order to choose some for the different events of the season. We also checked if I could adapt to the existing boards so as to know if new prototypes were needed. In the end, we decided that I would race on the existing boards for half the season to draw my own conclusions and potentially develop new boards later on.
So far, I’m really satisfied with the decision I made. It’s always a bit stressful to change gear but I regret nothing and I am very happy with it.
What are your main goals this season?
My main goals didn’t change, the board did but the game didn’t.
I will race, one competition at a time. My goal will be to qualify in the national French team to take part in the European Championship and the ISA World Championship.
I also have a personal objective; I want to learn to ride Unlimited SUP boards to eventually do the Molokai in 2017 on one.