New York Times Online 2011

New York Times Online 2011

Where Big-Wave Surfing and Yachting Converge

By CHRIS MUSELER NEWPORT, R.I.

The yacht designer Juan Kouyoumdjian is understandably excited about his latest creation, Mar Mostro, a 70-foot carbon fiber racing sailboat he hopes will win the Volvo Ocean Race for a third consecutive time in the fall.

But last week, he mostly wanted to talk about the sleek black-and-red 13-foot stand-up paddleboard he designed with the big-wave surfer Laird Hamilton.

The Mar Mostro was to leave Sunday for England in the Transatlantic Race 2011, part of its preparation for the late October start of the around-the-world race. And last week, Kouyoumdjian and Hamilton unveiled two prototypes of their stand-up paddleboard, or SUP, in Narragansett Bay.

The unlikely collaborators were matched by marketing executives at Puma Ocean Racing as part of their water sports product-development program. The charge was to create a performance board that Hamilton can use to promote the sport at various Volvo stopovers.

“We quickly bonded, but he is several levels crazier than me,” Kouyoumdjian, who is from Argentina, said.