At A Glance
Liquid Force were one of the first brands to get the hydrofoil to mass market and indeed that initial set up was the same one that I learnt to ride on. The low aspect front wing kept things slow and steady and it was, and still is, a great beginner platform. For 2017 they come to the table with the Happy Foil set up, a medium aspect front wing with a lot more performance on its mind.
It’s not just the front wing that has changed however, the mast is thinner with a longer chord length, the fuselage offers multiple placements of the wings so you can tune your set up, and the board itself is a step up in both construction and shape from the original.
The whole set up comes in an excellent bag, which houses literally everything you need. It’s a bit like a case for a shotgun so you can feel all mafioso when you rock up at the beach. You get covers for the wings and can protect the important bits. It is all connected and everything fits inside the padded bag like a glove, with pockets for the hardware and straps and Velcro to keep everything else in place.
The board itself is well made and durable, using an injection moulded laminate this is certainly a tough construction. The wings get the carbon touch this year to up the bling factor and reduce weight, and the overall feel is quality. Being predominantly aluminium and with the long mast the whole set up is quite heavy, but you only really notice that as you go too and from the beach. It’s also worth noting that the mast is sealed to avoid any water ingress over a long session too.
Putting it all together you will notice there are a lot of parts, no less than 12 bolts and 2 shims need to be used to put the board, mast, fuselage and wings together. The first time you do this it can take a while, but once you are used to the parts and the way it works it is a fairly quick process.
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To make the board even more useful there are fin boxes so you can use it as a light wind shred sled for slaying small waves - you get the fins with the package of course, which brings me conveniently to my final point: the Happy foil is a fantastic all-round package! The transport/storage bag, covers for the wings, versatility of the board, solid build quality and components all combine to make a very attractive set up!
On The Water
Compared to the Foil Fish, or Rocket Foil, as it is now known, this is a moderate step up in terms of the ability needed to ride it. The foil is fast and stable when at speed, however it takes quite a bit more speed than the entry-level version to get going. That said, it would not be beyond the realms of possibility to learn on this foil as it is pretty stable. Yet the increased speeds needed to get up and flying can be quite daunting for the newbie if they haven’t quite mastered the foiling skill set or confidence yet.
The board itself is great, very stiff and easy to ride. There isn’t a heap of volume inside it for those moves where you accidently come off the foil, but there is enough to keep you afloat when you do make a mistake. All the Liquid Force foils come with a 1000mm mast, which is pretty big and could be a little intimidating if you are still at the porpoise stage.
Having the ability to tune the wings fore and aft is a nice touch, spread them out for a more stable ride, move them closer together and you get a little more manoeuvrability but also a bit more lateral twitchiness.
Durability is very impressive on this set up, the board is borderline indestructible with its injection moulded construction. Whip the foil off and put the fins on and you have a very capable lightwind strapless toy. It can even handle some waves if you are that way inclined too. You also have the option on this board of running it strapless, in a parallel 2 footstrap configuration or my favourite the Y configuration, so there are plenty of options allowing to you decide exactly how you want to ride it.
Upwind is great on this foil, the long mast working well to create plenty of drive while the wings allow you to generate plenty of speed. For the intermediate rider this board is certainly going to excite and entertain no matter what the conditions throw at you. Ride this with a 11-12m LEI kite and you’ll be ripping in 8-10 knots once you have it mastered!
We love this step up from the original Foil Fish, the whole package feels even more polished with the sealed mast and improved shaping on the board. The carbon wings allow you to generate heaps of speed and keep things towards the performance end of the scale. Upwind is excellent and while it does involve a few components to put it all together the complete package with all the added extras included make this a very attractive proposition. We’ve been riding it for a while now and love it!
This review was in Issue 61 of IKSURFMAG.For more information visit Liquid Force Kites
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By Rou ChaterRou has been kiting since the sports inception and has been working as an editor and tester for magazines since 2004. He started IKSURFMAG with his brother in 2006 and has tested hundreds of different kites and travelled all over the world to kitesurf. He's a walking encyclopedia of all things kite and is just as passionate about the sport today as he was when he first started!