San Diego based startup has recently lanched as the "raddest sports social network ever".  Yes the tag line is lame, but we've got a bit of a soft spot for this startup.  Social Network me-toos are popping up everywhere, but Loopd has the potential to carve out a nice little niche.  The action sports industry has been experiencing rapid growth and while southern california may not be the tech powerhouse the valley is, it is the action sports hub.  Loopd is well located to bring in some great clients, and they have already brought in a respectable list that includes: Surfer Mag Hot100, PacSun, Oakley, and Monster Energy Drinks.  

Although Loopd isn't opened for anyone to create an action sports network (ala Ning, Flux, or Kickapps), they have much in common with these traditional whitelabel social networks.  When you create a user account, it is shared across the different Loopd Networks.  Meaning that their is a seamless transition between say the Surfer Hot100 Network and the PacSun Network.  This also means that each community can gain traction by the shared ecosystem; a general win-win for community building.  And while the shared base can be problematic for unrelated communities on Ning, it actually works real well within the related mix of action sports communities in Loopd.

From a user perspective, the Loopd experience is mostly quite nice.  It has an attractive and clean interface, that merges a good web2.0 social look with a "rad" action sports theme.  Creating an account was problematic at first when using Safari, but after another try, it was smooth sailing.  Loopd also performed quite fast, which was a nice change from some social networks (cough * myspace * cough).  
All that said, Loopd will have stiff competition from much bigger social networking platforms like Flux or Ning.  Particularly with the weight of Viacom behind Flux, one has to wonder if building a semi walled garden of action sports social communities, will be enough to keep Loopd's partners from moving to a larger, more general social network platform.  I for one hope not, but I wonder what Loopd will be able to offer it's content partners to keep them onboard.  

At the end of the day, if Loopd can successfully carve out a niche of bringing web 2.0 type social networking capabilities to the rapidly growing action sports industry, they might be one of those startups that end up being in the right place at the right time.