At A Glance
It is no secret that Gisela Pulido has been using a non-production Liquid Force board for quite some time; it’s now part of their line up for 2018 and we were thrilled to be able to finally get to use it! Coming in two sizes only, the board is designed for female kitesurfers who want nothing less than the best, whether for cruising or top end freestyle. Designed by Gisela and her father Juan Manuel, Liquid Force have added their board building knowledge and heritage to create the ‘board of Gisela’s dreams’. Quite a statement to make, but it seems Liquid Force have done themselves proud with this one.
The board itself features a wood core surrounded by the new ‘Liquid Rails’ which add extra durability to the area where you need it most. This core is then sandwiched between layers of Biax/Triax Glass that provides torsional rigidity and a constant flex throughout the length of the board. The Benchmark has a medium rocker line, and a light-to-medium flex pattern; perfect for slightly lighter but still very powerful riders. Compatible with both straps and boots, the 2 sizes give you a choice to suit your personal weight and style.
Finally, at the risk of sounding too girly, it’s worth mentioning the colours and graphics. The Benchmark is actually incredibly refreshing. Subtle and stylish, it looks smart and feminine, but without glitter, pink or flowers in sight.
Sizes: 130/40cm, 135/41cm
On The Water
This board is like no other Liquid Force board. It has been very clearly fine-tuned to the smallest possible degree for Gisela Pulido’s extraordinary kitesurfing skills and demands.
Super smooth at cutting through the water in both flat and also choppy conditions, it rides fast but not uncontrollably so. No spray gets into your face when riding, but it does kick up a little which could occasionally go up your wetsuit leg if riding with footstraps. As mentioned, the Benchmark is completely suitable for straps and boots. We tested it with both and found it equally enjoyable and performance orientated.
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It has been very clearly fine-tuned to the smallest possible degree for Gisela Pulido’s extraordinary kitesurfing skills and demands.
For use in footstraps, which is traditionally more old-school freestyle and cruising, the Benchmark is a really solid performer. Stable and forgiving underfoot, it is also lightweight and perfectly balanced to throw around in the air for big air moves such as foot-outs and board-offs. It would, in fact, still be a great first board once you are up and riding. Though it has the obvious higher performance characteristics it does not ride too fast nor overly aggressively.
Of course, once freestyle riding is added to the mix the board really does come into its own. Minimal effort is required for seriously substantial pop. Again, the light weight means you can get some good spinning on the go, in whichever axis you so desire. Landings are soaked up and the flex is not so dramatic that it bounces you off, which can sometimes be the case with some softer female-specific boards. Rather it absorbs the landing and rebounds driving you forwards out of the trick. We had the slightly smaller 130 size on test, and though this works very well with boots for freestyle, we did think the bigger 135cm board would be a much more suited match for this style of riding, especially for those riders over the 60kg mark.
A new shape and design for Liquid Force, which works incredibly well for pretty much everything you can throw at it. From cruising to the freestyle tricks you can only dream of, the Benchmark will certainly not let you down.
This review was in Issue 65 of IKSURFMAG.For more information visit Liquid Force Kites