2017 LF WOW V2 9m review

KW reviews Liquid Force’s waveriding and big-air crossover hybrid

 

 

This test first appeared in Issue #86 in March 2017

 

 

TEST TEAM NOTES:

When it comes to wave riding and twin-tip boosting crossover, the Wow sits near the top of the pile. The leading edge is among the thinnest on the market, helping it fly quickly and close to the edge of the window. The thin leading edge also creates a lot of lift for boosting high while the higher aspect canopy shape carries you far. That lift and power is matched by the Wow’s impressive depower, which can go almost to zero in an instant.

That’s very useful for waves and there’s also good power generation through sheeting at the bar. The Wow packs a lot of power, but it doesn’t take its toll on your abs or your legs because it pulls so far forward. The advantages of that are that it’s a dream for getting upwind and the low end and easy access to power mean that you can always be enjoying one or two sizes smaller than everyone else in waves. Where you may find it more difficult is that you can over send it because it’s so eager and there are odd moments where you just find yourself waiting for it to drop back a little in the window for line tension to switch on again.

Once you’re dialled into the Wow, you’ll learn where you can hammer it, and where it responds less. It’s a pay off though – you can’t have the extreme combination of performance that this kite offers for fast, energetic wave riding and massive boosting, without that being offset by having to adjust to a few other character traits along the way.

The Wow clearly works well on a surfboard when you switch down in size to operate at the bottom end of its range when the power and responsiveness feels sharp. As there is so much range, when the Wow gets more and power powered up an element of sponginess to its feel at the bar increases. When you switch to a twin-tip, the Wow likes as much wind as you can throw at it as it never gives you the feeling that it’s going to suddenly give you a large portion of grunt and pull you off your edge. We see so many riders using Wows with twin-tips in Cape Town. and they all ride cleanly, go high and look to be having loads of fun. One guy in particular, called Brad, has been boosting around on these for a couple of seasons. When we checked late last year he’d done more jumps than anyone in the world! The Wow isn’t tiring and in those Cape Town winds that says a lot. For loops it’s fantastic fun if you’re not looking for gallons of grunt. You can be riding powered and jumping high and not feel intimidated when throwing a loop. The Wow has such dedicated forward speed and, although it gets round quick, it doesn’t totally pivot. There’s a good pull, but like everything with the Wow, it’s fun but comfortable. That handling also helps you progress with your downlooping out of transitions too for a smooth boost of forward momentum. Nice.

 

 

On a twin-tip the extra power generation that you have at the bar through sheeting really makes sense. Also, the softness at the bar and the swooping turns mean you that you can really smash the Wow around the sky without any jerkiness. As a twin-tip kite for freeriding in wavey conditions, it’s brilliant.

LF now provide just one bar size across the range. The ‘Mission Control’ is all new and comes in one size that allows you to adjust the rear line width between 49 and 55cm. The 55cm full width line setting makes the kite super responsive, which is ideal for waves and then you can quickly switch to the inside settings when you go on a twin-tip. The plastic coating on the centre line is very comfortable against your hands, the above-the-bar trimming is clean, the new chicken-loop is a great size and the quick release ejects and rebuilds very easily indeed. The grip is perhaps a little too simple and could have a bit more texture but the stand out design is LF’s line untwister just above the chicken-loop; it’s so easy. Overall the set up is very effective, but the look and feel is more modular than some designs and aesthetically not quite as seamless. Without doubt it’s simple and very clean though.

 

 

The LF MaxFlow inflation deserves max praise, too. The widest on the market, screw the extra wide nozzle on and pump away. You’re gonna be rock solid in seconds (which this thin leading edge really needs). If you don’t have your LF pump for any reason, they have also included a regular nipple valve so you can use any other pump, too. Remember to pop the Max Flow valve shut though halfway through pumping otherwise you’ll wonder why you’re not getting hard. Erm…

 

 

SUMMARY:

If we were blind testing the Wow we’d say it’s ideal for twin-tip riders who want to ride really fast, in good comfort with lots of power on tap but won’t be worn out by hard edging work against the kite. Above all the ideal rider will want to be able to send the kite and get really rewarding and un-fatiguing, floaty hooked-in air time. Secondary to that, the soft turns, eager forward flight and good power generation also make it a great wave kite, too, as long as you size down.

KW LIKED:

Very big boosting and wave hacking performance in the same kite (at different ends of the wind spectrum).

 

KW WOULD CHANGE:

Sometimes that constant urge to fly forward requires more technical flying handling than rookie wave riders will be able to contend with in tough conditions.

 

WOW BALANCE POINTS:

Build quality: 8.5

Full package: 8

Low end: 8.5

Top end: 8.5 (on a twin-tip) 6 (on a wave board)

Steering speed: 7.5

Turning circle: 3.5 – 5

Bar pressure: 4

Water relaunch: 8.5

Drift: 7

Boost: 8.5

Hang-time: 8.5

Cross-over: 9 (Beginner, all-freeride, freestyle, waves)

 

 

SIZES: 14, 12, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6 and 5m

 

 

 

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