An innovative force to be reckoned with, the team at Liquid Force this year adds a new kite designer to its ranks and has once again delivered one of the most diverse and novel ranges of kite and board products in the market. From Hippy Sticks to pure freestyle stomping twin tips and an impressive line of foil technologies, the hard chargers at Liquid Force are continually stepping up the game.
THIS YEAR LIQUID FORCE PARTNERED WITH ITALIAN KITE DESIGNER SIMONE VANUCCI TO BRING AN ENTIRELY NEW KITE MODEL TO THE 2019 LINEUP CALLED THE P1. WHAT DID LIQUID FORCE SET OUT TO ACCOMPLISH WITH THE P1 AND WHAT ARE THE RECOMMENDED SKILL LEVELS, RIDING STYLE AND IDEAL CONDITIONS FOR THIS NEW KITE MODEL?
That’s right, the first thing to talk about with the P1 is the designer. For those who don’t know, Julien Fillion has been Liquid Force Kite’s sole designer ever since its inception. That’s a lot of years of designing kites all on your own. With the P1, we decided that we should bring on some new blood to tackle this new project and Julien was in full agreement. Like most brands, Liquid Force kites all have a similar feel when flying them. This unique feeling to the kite is what separates brands from each other and allows us each to identify ourselves in the kite market. The challenge for us was, how do we make a new kite that is unlike any we have created before? The simple answer was to bring on another designer. We contacted Simone as he has loads of experience having designed kites for RRD and Royal kites. Working with Simone was excellent and his experience in designing was clear right from the get-go. The brief for the P1 was to design a kite that would have massive hangtime and achieve a ‘sheet and go’ feeling that is so popular. We wanted something that was stable and would deliver loads of power when you pulled in on the bar. The idea was to make a kite that would fill a gap in our lineup. Freestylers go to the NV or HiFi, foilers go to the Solo, and surfers go to the WOW. Where do the airstyle, freeride riders go? This is a large segment of the market: people who don’t want to unhook, but want to boost big! While we initially thought this kite would be good for beginners, we decided that this kite would be for those who are well past simply trying to stay upwind. Simone’s end result was the P1. The shape of the P1 is pretty ‘flat,’ which is how it achieves such a high boost. The 5-strut canopy design makes the profile very stable. The P1 also smashes upwind because of its extremely efficient shape. While most kiteboarders want to ride the biggest size possible, we find that the P1 works excellent in the wind ranges suggested. Yes, this is a kite that you actually can ride true to size! We’ve got the full size line up, so pick your size and get some hangtime.
THE NV GOT SOME DESIGN TWEAKS FOR 2019. WHAT CHANGES HAVE BEEN MADE TO THIS KITE AND HOW DO YOU STEER KITERS BETWEEN THIS PLATFORM AND THE OTHER FREERIDE KITES IN THE LINEUP?
The NV definitely received some design ‘tweaks’—if by tweaks you mean ‘extremely, totally awesome upgrades.’ The NV got a major overhaul in its last version in which we completely changed the wingtip and profile of the kite to gear it more towards a freestyle kite. The older shapes had a wingtip that was softer in feel, so we squared it up and made the entire profile of the kite incredibly stable. For the v9, we increased the diameter of the LE and made some minor changes to the wingtips which have resulted in an even further progression of stability. Stability, massive wind range, and versatility are the three primary characteristics of this kite. While we market it to the freestylers of the world (having Triple-S Champion Brandon Scheid as the face of the NV), we find that the characteristics of a freestyle kite are traits that all riders will enjoy.
The NV has a super stable 3-strut platform that is easy to relaunch, has a ton of wind range and is excellent for unhooking due to its squared off, C-shape wingtips. The kite also sits deep in the wind window, making it great for freestyle, park riding, or any unhooked tricks. We think that the NV has a very unique spot in the lineup. The WOW is our surf kite due to its pivotal turning and lighter bar pressure, the SOLO is our freeride kite due to its light weight and ease-of-use, and the P1 is our boosting machine for those who don’t ever want to unhook.
The NV has unique traits that other kites in our lineup do not share. For one, the NV loops more aggressively than any of the others. With its square wing tips, the kite will pull continuously through the loops and deliver predictable power throughout the entire loop. It’s fast enough to loop, but it won’t just pinwheel on one of the steering lines like a WOW can. I can’t mention it enough, but the kite is stable and can handle a large amount of wind range. While the P1 rides true to size and doesn’t like to be overpowered, the NV can handle riding in the upper limits of its size extremely well. For kiters looking to progress their riding with a stable freestyle machine, the NV v9 is where it is at.
LIQUID FORCE HAS ALWAYS BEEN KNOWN FOR ITS DEEP LINE OF TWIN TIP BOARDS. WHAT ARE THE KEY BOARDS IN THE FREERIDE LINEUP AND HOW DO YOU RECOMMEND KITERS CHOOSE BASED ON RIDING STYLE AND SKILL LEVEL?
Liquid Force was first and foremost a wakeboarding company, which is why we’ve always been ahead of the game when it comes to twin tip design and construction. You can see so many brands taking inspiration from what we have done in the past and it is flattering to say the least. Over the years, we have actually tried to simplify our board lineup as we find too many choices to be overwhelming and unnecessary. Looking at our lineup, I think riders who are focused on performance (in regards to things like boosting and versatility) will want to look at one of three boards. The Echo, Radnium and Legacy. The Echo is Brandon Scheid’s pro model board and was designed by him, specifically for his style of riding. If you haven’t watched Brandon’s riding, you are missing out. He is an extremely powerful rider known for going massive in everything he does. His board has some fluted channels at the tips so as to be ridden finless for everything from flat water freestyle to park riding. This board is fast, gets you upwind, and can take anything you throw at it. We added a grind base not only to handle the rails and kickers, but also to protect it from rocks and such in our home base of Hood River. If you are looking to save a little weight, add a little carbon and focus purely on flat water freestyle, check out our all new Radnium. Taking inspiration from the Element of the past few years, we created an entirely new version called the Radnium (see what we did there?). The Radnium has a rounder profile in the tips which makes it cut through chop extremely well, as well as making turning and transitioning a bit more fluid. The layer of vectornet carbon stiffens up the board to produce more pop. Anyone looking to get the most pop and the easiest landings should check out the new Radnium. As for the Legacy, it’s a unique shape in the lineup with a dual concave bottom shape and a carbon stringer down the middle of the board. This is Jason Slezak’s pro model board and if you know Jason, you know he likes things to be smooth and stylish. This board has a lot of tech and bottom shape, but the end result is probably the most versatile board in our lineup. Solid flex for eating chop, but stiff enough to deliver pop, and the unique bottom contours make turning and transitioning really smooth.
THE LF FOIL PROGRAM HAS A THREE-WING OFFERING WITH COMPLETELY MODULAR MOUNTING OPTIONS THAT SPANS THE ENTIRE BREADTH OF FOILBOARDING AS WE KNOW IT. WHAT ARE THE THREE WING OPTIONS AND HOW DO YOU STEER RIDERS JUST GETTING INTO FOILBOARDING VERSUS RIDERS THAT ARE MORE EXPERIENCED AND LOOKING FOR MORE SPECIFIC PERFORMANCE ATTRIBUTES?
Our foil program was always designed to make sure that everything is interchangeable and upgradeable. We wanted to make sure people could always upgrade and customize their options without having gear that was outdated in a year. For 2019 we have a simple, but complete, foil lineup: The Thruster, Impulse and Rocket wings. For those riders just looking to get into hyrdrofoiling behind the kite, we have our staple beginner foil—the Rocket. These low aspect wings are the same design we have had since the Foil Fish and are still a preferred favorite amongst schools. When you are learning, you want a wing that will generate a lot of lift pretty easily, but not too much lift. You want to know what riding a board with a giant wing attached to it feels like and learn how to create the lift when you want it. This is why the Rocket is the go-to beginner foil (not to mention its attractive price point). The Thruster wings are designed to be like a fighter jet. They are incredibly stable and reactive, with the ability to mash upwind and carve aggressive turns. These are also the perfect wings for those who are looking to boost on their hydrofoils. Probably our favorite feature of the Thruster wings is that they can breach through the water and maintain their stability. Bonus, if you are looking to save weight, they come in both carbon and an injected-molded glass. The latest addition to the lineup is the Impulse Foil. We introduced this last season and the response was insane. We teamed up with Cloud IX Surffoils and created a wing that would transcend across all sports. This wing will generate lift at insanely low speeds and delivers an incredibly surf-style feel to it: Low speed, long carves and the ability to use this hyrdrofoil in other sports such as surfing and wakefoiling. We think that these three wings cover a pretty large range of what people are looking for in hyrdrofoiling, but that doesn’t mean we have stopped development. There are few new shapes coming down the pipe that you will see available this winter—get excited!