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2013 Buyer’s Guide: Liquid Force

Photo Erik Aeder

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For 2013 Liquid Force is offering refined versions of the popular Envy and the NRG and is also bringing back the HIFI in the form of the HIFI X. The twin tip line has also been refreshed and all of the boards are lighter for 2013. Finally, the LF surfboards now feature a new construction with waterproof cores and carbon fiber rails. Liquid Force Kiteboarding Brand Manager Gary Siskar answered our questions about what to expect from LF for 2013.

The Envy has been a popular kite for the past few years. How was it changed for 2013?

Designing the Envy for 2013 was an interesting project. A majority of riders felt that the 2012 Envy had reached a pinnacle in design and performance. With this in consideration we pushed deep into the design of the kite and took on the challenge to really refine the performance that everyone loves. The first issue we decided to address was the size run of the kites.

We expanded the size range to 4m through 15m in 1m increments up to the 9m. We also added a 10.5m to the larger sizes. The reason for this is to give all riders their preferred quiver size run. We progressed next to the bridle design. Although there are no massive changes the USB 3.0 (Ultra Stable Bridle) bridle it underwent fine tuning on each size to increase stability, create a perfect power to depower band, and to increase bar response giving the kite a crisp feel at the controls.

Another feature that has been refined, not just in the Envy, but in all out kite models is the Max Flow inflation system. For 2013 we have redesigned the inflate/deflate valve to be easily removed in the unfortunate case where you may need to patch a bladder. Now the Liquid Force Max Flow inflation and deflation system is not just the easiest and fastest one pump design on the market to get you on the water, but now it is the easiest system to service. We are very very proud of this kite and know that it will add fun and excitement to anyone’s kiteboarding experience weather it be freeriding, attacking the surf, or simply going for a sail!

2013 Envy

The NRG was a new kite in 2012. What changes did it get for 2013?

The NRG was a new direction for Liquid Force in 2012. We realized that the kites we were offering prior to 2012 were starting to merge together in bar feel, response, and performance. We set off to design a kite that had unparalleled low end power and grunt along with a wide range of depower with a great high-end ceiling.

We definitely accomplished this with the 2012 NRG as the kite possessed huge amounts of power, lift, and hang time, but due to the narrow high aspect ratio we felt it lacked in turning speed and needed to improve the relaunch capabilities. Early in the year we knew this kite needed some serious engineering. The 2013 NRG has become the first Liquid Force SLE with direct connect rear attachment points.

For this we adjusted the wingtip significantly eliminating unwanted flutter while depowered and decreased the LE resistance on the water for relaunch. We were also able to simplify the bridle overall giving this kite a direct feel and immediate response from the bar.

The 2013 NRG is a next generation advancement that retained all the properties that made the 2012 NRG wonderful: low end grunt, power through the wind window, huge loft and hang time, and direct bar power response while the 2013 adds crisp, direct, fast turning speed, immediate relaunchability, adjustability at the wing tip for bar pressure and turning, and added high end range. All the changes paid off with the NRG 2013 getting high review marks worldwide!

2013 NRG

Why was the Nirvana retired and replaced with the HIFI X?

When we decided to introduce the Nirvana in 2012 we made a decision to make a very radical C-kite design that pushed the limits of this particular type of kite profile. The traditional C-shape kite market has become a core niche, but we realize that this niche is a strong and loyal group of riders that are true to the pure design of a C-kite.

The Nirvana gave the majority of these riders what they wanted, but in the end we prefer all of our kites to be easy to use and truly enjoyable. The Nirvana gave us power, lift, slack, juice, and adjustability, yet it lacked something that we could not put our finger on. It was a kite that some absolutely loved and others not so much.

We went back to the drawing board, listened to great feedback from riders around the world and everything pointed to us resurrecting the concept of the HIFI. The HIFI was always a winner for us at Liquid Force, so we applied our new 2013 profile and outline to what the HIFI used to be and called it the HIFI-X. So far this is the best and easiest to use freestyle C-Hybrid kite we’ve ever produced at Liquid Force. International kiteboarding stars such as Nick Jacobsen, James Boulding, and Christopher Tack love it!

2013 HIFI-X

What is some of the rider input you used when developing the 2013 kites?

We take input from all angles on design and performance on all our products. Rider feedback is priceless. At Liquid Force we have developed a deep R&D process that involves riders at all levels. In the initial prototype design stages we produce kites that are distributed to wide range of riders from our professional team riders to lesson centers we use to test durability and ease of use. What we take into consideration is how the product is used.

For example a professional rider will treat and interact with their gear different than a recreational rider and a kite lesson center will use the gear and put stresses on it different than a single rider can accomplish. Plus, this gives us feedback at multiple levels of rider abilities providing us with information that insures our product is able to reach the highest level of quality, durability, performance, and style.

Photo Erik Aeder

Any changes to the CPR Control System for 2013?

Yes, significant changes! We are proud to introduce the Liquid Force AutoSpin swivel! We spent countless hours designing and testing all sorts of swivels. Above the bar, below the bar, non-bearing, bearing, the list goes on and on. We ended up engineering an above the bar swivel that incorporates a ceramic bearing and a self-flushing housing.

Of course like all physical swivels used in salt water and on the beach you have to rinse it out once in a while, but due to it’s ceramic bearing and easy to drain shape, it works every single time and will continue to do so for years to come. We also adjusted our EVA molded winders and added retracting line bungees to allow more room for the lines to keep them organized when winding them around your bar after each session. We still continue to use the LF CPR (center push release) safety system that utilizes a non-mechanical release mechanism that is resistant to debris contamination.

2013 LIQUID FORCE KITES
Kite Name Sizes Stock Line Length Target Date Available
ENVY 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10.5, 12, 15m 23m Wave, freestyle, freeriding, all around fun! Now
NRG 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16m 23m Wave, freestyle, freeriding, HUGE jumps! Nov. 2012
HIFI X 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, 15m 20m with 3m extensions Freestyle, freeriding, compition freestyle, wakestyle Dec. 2012

How has the twin tip range been updated for 2013?

LF has been a leader in twin tip board design and innovation since the start of kiteboarding! We have always offered the most extensive line of twin tip kiteboards on the market that fits the need of any rider in any condition without compromise. This year through the entire line our goal was to reduce weight overall in each board. Jimmy Redmon, LF’s lead board shaper and engineer, produced prototype after prototype with calculated core configurations and material layups to achieve the optimal weight to strength ratios.

The outcomes of this tireless effort are boards that are 1/3 the weight of previous years! We have also invested in material and finished product testing apparatus. Flex is an undisputed benefit in twin tip kiteboards, but we take it one step further by matching specific flex patterns with board models that match rider styles and conditions that the boards are used in. We are achieving perfect flex ratios from tip to tip based on each model through our flex testing process. This year we are also excited to introduce the Drive. This board is using a proprietary method of manufacturing that incorporates a full wood core and Liquid Rail construction that a rider from beginner to advanced will have a blast on that is available at a great price!

2013 Drive

What type of rider is each of the twin tip boards designed for?

Any kiteboarder out there can find a board that suits their style and conditions from Liquid Force! As with our entire product offering we show no compromise when it comes to what we offer to the market.

2013 LIQUID FORCE BOARDS
Board Name Sizes Type Target Date Available
DLX 134, 138, 142cm Twin Tip Wakestyle, powered trick rider. Dec. 2012
ELEMENT 133, 136, 139cm Twin Tip High performance freestyle and freerider or competitor Now
INFLUENCE 133, 137, 141cm Twin Tip Jack of all trades high performance freestyle to freeride Now
LFX 134, 138, 142cm Twin Tip Freestyle to freeride light weight machine Dec. 2012
DRIVE 132, 136, 140, 149cm Twin Tip Freestyle, freeride beginer to advanced with a great price Now
FULL CONTACT 146cm Twin Tip Freestyle to freeride light wind and heavier rider board Now
BLISS 129, 134cm Twin Tip Freestyle to freeride women’s board Dec. 2012
EDGE 136, 146cm Twin Tip Beginner to intermediate progression board Now
TWIN SKIM 51” Skim Strapless quiver board, light wind fun Now
KITEFISH 5’3” Skim Fish Strapped or strapless quiver board, light wind fun Now
LITTLE PHATTY 4’10” Quad Surfboard Sloppy surf to strapless fun Now
FCD 5’7” Quad Surfboard Powered kitesurf style board for 1-10′ surf Now
CJ/CJ LTD 5’9” Quad Surfboard Powered to unpowered board for small to large surf Now
SLICE 5’10” Thruster Surfboard Great unpowered kite surfboard suited for beach break Now
JOYSTICK 6’0” Quad Surfboard Unpowered kite surfboard, works great in all conditions Now

What features make the Bliss a girl-specific board?

What we have done with the Bliss is take the Influence shape, which is a great all conditions shape, and make it softer and smaller and of course made a graphic that the gals love! So why the Influence shape? This year we redesigned the Influence with a clean drawing board. Jason Slezak worked hard with Jimmy Redmon to achieve a board that excels in a myriad of conditions.

What came out of this is a bottom shape called the double bonze concave. This specific bottom shape allows for efficient water flow from the mid section to through the tips. The rocker is a mid-height rocker that is very forgiving in all conditions. All this put together makes a board that soaks up chop, points upwind with ease, creates great pop, releases on jump, and lands smooth! That is why we used this shape for the Bliss and modified the flex to be a touch softer with the use of a wood composite core to give it that little extra forgiveness. If the ladies want an aggressive flex board we also make the Influence in a small size!

How should wakestyle riders choose between the DLX and Element?

This is a great question as the lines between wakestyle and freestyle are getting more and more blurred everyday. If you look at the top PKRA competitors they are now using boots in training and competition and as we all know the PKRA is the undisputed barometer for freestyle. So where does this leave the separation of what is wakestyle and what is freestyle? Hitting sliders? Or is that cable style now? OK! Enough of that and back to the question. The DLX is Liquid Force’s kite wakestyle board.

Traditionally a wakestyle board has a higher rocker line, stiffer flex, and aggressive bottom contour that can easily be ridden without fins or used with smaller fins. The DLX has been that board for years and has been the board that all other board manufactures have used as the archetype of the wakestyle board. The DLX is also suited specifically to be ridden with boots, as where the Element is suited to be ridden with straps and pads and can be ridden with boots by choice!

Photo Erik Aeder

Have their been any major changes to the LF straps/pads/boots/harnesses for 2013?

We are continually evolving all of our accessories such as harnesses, impact vests, and pads and straps for kiteboarding. We took a stance with the release of the 2012 accessories that we were not going to have a particular seasonality to theses products. We would rather let the continued pursuit of new ideas and innovation lead the way. This year in that spirit we added two great new products! Our board short harness is back with the Styler. We have been getting requests for the past couple of years to bring the board short harness back into the harness line up.

We did not ignore these requests, but rather took the time to bring a simple, functional, clean design to life that works perfectly. It has a slightly longer inseam to stay lower on the leg and the removable inner rash shorts highlight the innovation in the product. The second new introduction is the Luxury Vest combo harness.

The idea has been floating around for some time to combine our most supportive harness with our highest float and protection impact vest. This year it hit the shelves! The unique designed infusion of these two products gives unsurpassed support in the Luxury waist harness with the protection of an impact vest. The combining of the two in a uni-body design eliminates the impact vest from rising up completely.

As for bindings, Liquid Force is the undisputed innovator in wakeboard bindings in the world. We take all the innovation, quality, and performance and offer slightly modified versions of wake bindings for kiteboarding. So what are these modifications? We incorporate pull-tabs on both the tongues and at the calf for ease of entry with a kite in the sky. We also use single lace up systems with auto tension for easy one handed lacing. If you are looking for kiteboarding bindings look no further than LF and support a brand that supports kiteboarding!

Were there any major changes to the surf line for 2013? What’s special about the construction this year?

For 2013 we really brought the kite surfboard construction to a whole new level. While keeping the weight of the board down, we introduced the BXP3 core on all models. This BXP3 core is waterproof recycled foam, which does not allowed water infiltration in the core of the board. We also casted high-density foam patches in the BXP3 under the foot strap section of the deck to prevent the traditional heal dents.

To top it off we wrapped the entire rail of the boards with carbon which bound this entire construction together perfectly. We also added the Lil Phatty! This short stumpy board is a perfect sloppy onshore wave magnet. Strapped or strapless it delivers great times!

Photo Paul Lang

What type of rider is each of the surfboards designed for?

All types! From strapped riders to strapless ones. We have five different sizes of boards, so whether you are surfing a Maui down the line section, European cold front waves, or Great Lake chop, we have the size and shape for you. Keep in mind these boards are not surfboards, they are kite surfboards!

Want 185 pages of 2013 kiteboarding gear info on 28 brands? Check out the TKB 2013 Buyer’s Guide.

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