The Influence has always been developed as Liquid Force’s pro rider, Jason Slezak’s, personal ride. Jason continues to have a huge influence in the kiteboarding world and is a master of smooth style and powerful riding in all conditions. Jason and Jimmy Redmon put their heads together to make a board that will help any rider progress to any level. A dual stringer and wood composite core combined with slightly more rocker makes this board absorb chop, cut upwind and handle jumps and transitions with ease. A single to double contoured bottom shape helps smooth the ride and soften hard landings. Overall highlights are the medium flex, medium rocker, single to double concave bottom contour, wood / composite core, Liquid Rail and sublimated graphics.
TEST TEAM NOTES:
Initial impressions of this board are that it looks much more like a wakeboard than any of the others on this particular review. Fat and with loads of rocker it's also wider in the tips and will heavily appeal to the growing army of wake-style fans. There's a lot going on under the board too with plenty of pronounced channelling. Weighty too, it's also stiff and feels very substantial in your hands and with a super-tough base – ready for hard knocks.
First thing that jumps out at you on the water in contrast to its heavy boyish characteristics on land is the soft feel it provides under foot; as if there's a layer of air under your feet giving it a real loose-ness. You will be forgiven for thinking that you're riding over fluffy bunnies or marshmallows. The overall feel, although anyone could get on this, is that it's aimed more at new school riders. Riding in strong conditions and coming in hard and fast it's great and, because it's got a generous rocker, it's got your landings covered whatever you try and put it through.
The stance, loose feeling and quite slow board speed all point towards the wake-style camp. If you want to join the darkside then you'll really appreciate how soft it is on your knees, as will seasoned wake-stylers starting to feel the burn. Another massive positive in this area is that the Influence also has ability in real world, choppy conditions. Character wise it doesn't change too much, making your life on the sea-side much more manageable. Switching between your heel and toe-side edges doesn't get any easier – it's very park-style with small fins, allowing you to literally just pivot your hips to slide the board round. The Influence will be right at home with bindings on and ridden behind a bigger kite providing lots of power to grind against. There's some good pop in there, but you need to be used to holding onto more power in your kite to get the most out of the board. A lot of the time we were on fast freestyle kites when something more grunty and slower would have been better for the powered wake-style this seems to favour.
Although definitely capable of the basics and simple enough to get on and ride with the good fixtures and fittings you want, the Influence definitely has more of a slouch, lower pants and a more laid back attitude to riding. You have to give it some beans to get it to perform but wake-stylers are going to love that super solid, dependable board speed mixed with very smooth landings. It's really interesting to see twin-tips beginning to be able to influence your riding style so early on. Although it is very accessible, the Influence heavily leans you towards a dedicated wake-style in contrast to the faster, racier freeride machines that just want to go boing. It's great to see.
Rock-solid construction and ideal qualities for those looking for a park-style and general kite cross-over tool.
KW WOULD CHANGE:
We think intermediates and the non-wake-style minded will like a bit more locked in feel in their early days.
141 x 42.5, 137 x 42 and 133 x 41cm
This test is in issue #57