by Ceri Reed
Volvo Ocean Race 2011-2012 starts in Alicante, Spain in November 2011 and concludes in Galway, Ireland in July 2012.
Surf and stand-up paddleboard sensation, Laird Hamilton, paddleboards alongside PUMA’s Mar Mostro, the ocean racing yacht competing in the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-2012. photo credit Megham Sepe.
Puma Ocean Racing, powered by Berg Propulsion, today introduced Laird Hamilton, big wave surfer and father of modern stand-up paddleboarding, as the honorary 12th crew member of the Puma Ocean Racing team. Through this unprecedented partnership, Puma and Hamilton will join forces in two arenas: 1) to search for the world's biggest, ride-able waves and 2) to launch a line of innovative stand-up paddleboards. Additionally, Puma revealed an ocean preservation campaign, spearheaded by new mascot, educator and honorary 13th crew member, Marmo.
Hamilton together with the Puma Ocean Racing Crew will commence a search for the world’s monster waves during the upcoming Volvo Ocean Race 2011-2012. Skipper Ken Read and the crew aboard Puma’s Mar Mostro ( ‘The Monster of the Sea’ in Italian) will help track the world’s biggest rogue waves which Hamilton will attempt to conquer, getting him one step closer to achieving his life-long ambition of 'riding giants.' Using the weather and navigational teams onshore and onboard Puma’s Mar Mostro, the crew will track wave patterns while sailing through the remotest reaches of the world’s oceans. As monster waves are found, Hamilton will fly in, prepared to surf them.
'Puma has a history of unexpected collaborations that change the playing field of the sports we engage in,' said Antonio Bertone, Chief Marketing Officer for Puma AG. 'The introduction of Laird Hamilton as the honorary 12th crew member on our Puma Ocean Racing team represents an epic clash of prowess on the ocean. We’re bringing together the world’s most elite sailors with their counterpart in the surf and paddleboard sector to serve as a key fixture of our Volvo Ocean Race campaign.'
The key to Hamilton’s success in riding the world’s wildest waves rests on an innovative new 'concept' surfboard by the same design team that brought Puma’s Mar Mostro to life. Juan Kouyoumdjian (Juan K), the mastermind behind Puma’s Mar Mostro Volvo 70, as well as the boat designer for two previous winning Volvo Open 70 boats, ABM-AMRO ONE and Ericsson 4, will collaborate with Hamilton on the surfboard development.
Laird’s latest passion is paddle surfing, a sport he’s helped make popular worldwide with water sports enthusiasts of all ages and abilities. Puma saw an opportunity to extend the Juan K - Laird Hamilton design partnership beyond a concept surfboard and into a range of stand-up paddleboards for consumer use. These limited edition carbon fiber stand-up paddleboards (SUPs) will take inspiration from the Mar Mostro Volvo 70 hull design, both ergonomically and through the use of the same ultra-lightweight carbon fiber materials. Made in the United States, the boards feature the bright red tentacle design, matching Puma’s Mar Mostro. This marks the first time that boat hull design innovation will be applied to paddleboards.
The Puma/Laird SUPs are set to debut to the trade at Outdoor Retailer this August in Park City, Utah (USA), with broader consumer availability in time for the Volvo Ocean Race Start this November.
'It’s been a life-long goal to push the boundaries and find these rogue waves at sea to ride, said Hamilton. 'When Puma and the Puma Ocean Racing crew approached me with ideas for how we might collectively make this happen during the Volvo Ocean Race, I was thrilled. To then have the opportunity to co-design revolutionary new carbon fiber SUPs with them, I knew I couldn’t pass it up. We’re bringing the ultimate innovation to action water sports. It’s going to be a game-changer.'
As the honorary 12th crew member, Hamilton will also serve as a fitness and nutrition coach for the Puma Ocean Racing team, applying his proprietary regimen to get the boys ready to face mother nature’s fury at sea. Hamilton’s fitness routine varies based on the conditions, but he believes a program should be both functional and fun. He focuses on building speed, strength and endurance through specialized circuit training in the gym. Hamilton also practices yoga and uses his 'anywhere workout' for exercising in different locations – from the beach to a hotel room. After working up an appetite, Hamilton’s diet centers on eating for performance, health and, of course, pleasure.
The Puma Ocean Racing team is once again under the leadership of Ken Read (Newport, Rhode Island, United States). The core includes: Tom Addis, Navigator (Sydney, Australia); Ryan Godfrey, Trimmer & Driver (Adelaide, Australia); Kelvin Harrap, Trimmer & Driver (Napier, New Zealand); Brad Jackson, Design Coordinator & Watch Captain (Auckland, New Zealand); Rome Kirby, Trimmer & Driver (Newport, Rhode Island, USA); Michael 'Michi' Müller, Bowman (Kiel, Germany); Tony Mutter, Aerodynamics Coordinator & Watch Captain (Auckland, New Zealand); Casey Smith, Systems Manager & Bowman (Brisbane, Australia); Jonathan 'Jono' Swain, Helmsman & Trimmer (Durban, South Africa); Arden Oksanen, Media Crew Member (Jackson Hole, Wyoming, USA); Kimo Worthington, General Manager (Portsmouth, Rhode Island, United States); and Tim Hacket, Shore Team Manager (Sydney, Australia).
The management and sailing team for Puma Ocean Racing shares a level of success difficult to match with 22 Volvo Ocean Race entries and 20 America’s Cup editions. Collectively, the core team holds seven 24-hour mono hull speed records and has won the Around the World Race seven times.
'The unique part of this collaboration with Laird Hamilton is that on the boat we’re trying to avoid the monster waves whereas he’s trying to find them! The fact is we can’t elude those waves, so we’ll be a good indicator of where he may be able to drop in,' said Read. 'It’s also rare to have a designer, like Juan K, and a larger development team involved in so many other aspects of a program beyond just a boat. Personally, I can’t wait to get out and paddle on one of the Puma/Laird boards – if it has half the performance of Puma’s Mar Mostro, it’s an activity you won’t want to miss.'
In keeping with Puma's long-term commitments to sustainability, for the upcoming Volvo Ocean Race, Puma will reach out to young sailing and sports fans to raise awareness and learn about the importance and shared responsibilities of ocean preservation. Puma's environmental campaign will be fronted by Marmo, a specially created 'sea monster' mascot who's identity was inspired by Puma’s Mar Mostro. Marmo, Puma's honorary 13th crew member, will be the face of Puma's ocean conservation efforts aimed at young children. His adventures will be featured in a children's book, available this fall that teaches youngsters what they can do in their daily lives to help protect marine resources. Additionally, Marmo will be the star of a comprehensive educational campaign that includes family events in port stop-overs, and online activities including practical tips, games, quizzes and more. Children can follow Marmo on his journey with the Puma Ocean Racing team online.
For the 2011-2012 race, Puma Ocean Racing has proudly partnered with Berg Propulsion, one of the world’s leading designers and producers of controllable pitch propellers for commercial shipping. Berg Propulsion products are designed and engineered with the reduction of adverse environmental impact in mind, striving to bring fuel savings and environmental benefits to every product. This commitment to sustainability and strive for high performance makes them a perfect partner for Puma.
Puma first announced their entry into the Sailing category in May 2007, when they officially entered into the Volvo Ocean Race 2008-2009 with the Puma Ocean Racing Team aboard il mostro, which was skippered by Ken Read and netted an impressive second-place finish. In tandem with the race, the sportlifestyle brand launched a full line of performance and lifestyle apparel, footwear and accessories. The Puma Sailing performance gear valiantly withstood some of the toughest wear-testing on earth, subject to gale-force winds, torrential rain, extreme heat and below-freezing cold as the Puma Ocean Racing covered 39,000 nautical miles in the gear during the VOR 2008-2009.
The sailing performance collections have been updated for the VOR 2011-2012 and now feature patented GORE-TEX® technology, specifically highlighting GORE-TEX® Pro Shell professional outerwear. Exceptionally rugged and durable, GORE-TEX® Pro Shell garments are developed by sailors for sailors. The products are tested in the field, proving to be breathable while also durable, windproof and waterproof, and are the optimum solution for to use under extremely tough conditions.
Puma is the official supplier of Volvo Ocean Race merchandise. In keeping with Puma’s sustainability goals, a majority of the Volvo Ocean Race merchandise, Puma Ocean Racing fanwear, and Puma Ocean Outerwear collection is comprised of environmentally responsible products made from 100% organic cotton, 100% recycled polyester, and/or developed with an environmentally-friendly, safe and healthy process. The Volvo Ocean Racing collection will be available at each race stopover port and online. The Puma Ocean Racing fan wear and Puma Ocean Outerwear collection will be available on the Puma website and select Puma retailers globally.
The Volvo Ocean Race is an exceptional test of sailing prowess and human endeavor and is widely known as the ‘Everest of Sailing.’ During the nine months of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-2012 the teams will sail more than 39,000 nautical miles of the world’s most treacherous seas via Cape Town, South Africa; Abu Dhabi, UAE; Sanya, China; Auckland, New Zealand; around Cape Horn to Itajaí, Brazil; to Miami, Florida, USA; Lisbon, Portugal; Lorient, France, finishing in Galway.
Laird Hamilton tries out his new innovative, custom designed PUMA paddleboard in Newport, R.I., Harbor
Puma Sailing website.