Well it's that time of year again, winter is setting in and we get to start speculating about what hidden gems might come out of companies at the start of next season. Last year we had it pretty close, and i think we can nail it again this off-season with what we might have coming from liquid Force this coming summer, with so many changes i don't expect to see monumental changes in structure but, much like last year i still expect some boards to get cut, from a range that is bursting at the seams but we can still expect a handful of changes, despite the addition of Bec Gange we never really saw a pro model fitting for her, we saw her jump from women's boards to men's boards, and i expect we can see some interesting changed come through here, so without kicking around the bush lets get into it.
On the men's side not a lot has changed and i really have to say thats the way i see it staying, there hasn't been any mention of groundbreaking technology changed out of Liquid Force and the biggest signing news that has come lately is of Queensland cable rider Jamie Neville, who despite pushing his abilities unfortunately with the talent on the pay roll, is down the pecking order for his own model with the likes of Aaron Gunn well ahead of him. Sticking with Aaron Gunn, here is a kid who truly does deserve his own model, but with the introduction of Daniel Grants pro model the Tao last year, i'm not sure if Liquid Force would be willing to set up a second pro model for a similair style rider, both Gunn and Grant are solid cable riders, and arguably Aaron Gunn is more progressive behind boat that Daniel Grant, but he also has competition in the newly released Raph Derome model the RDX, which has put him in an unfortunate situation, though there is always a chance that a lower board in the range could disappear to make room. Last year we didn't predict it though we had start to hear whispers that Harley Clifford had managed to draw a new pro model out of Liquid Force with the introduction of his new model the Remedy, most likely a part of what we have been told is a monster contract deal with Liquid Force for the foreseeable future, this introduction surely spells the end to the Harley Classic, if not it's time for Liquid Force to take a long hard look at their design team and how they go about their business, because the Harley Classic looks wise has constantly struggled to keep pace with competitors, and it would be hard pressed to keep 2 super aggressive boards in the same name and the same range that is already bursting at the seams. Like i've mentioned i don't expect there to be any new models, though on the back of the Harley deal i expect that Bob Soven will be making his case to get himself in on the action with his B.O.B board to get a bit of a nip and tuck before we see the heat again this side of the hemisphere.
Heading over to the women's side of things, let's delve a bit deeper into the Bec Gange situation. This leaves us looking at an interesting position because we have seen Bec jumping from women's board to men's board and never quite seemed completely settles and with the introduction of the Harlow effectively being considered Meagan Ethell's pro model, one of Liquid Forces seemingly marquee signings of last season is still without a pro model. Now let's not look to far into this because Bec is still a champ and a driving force in women's wakeboarding, as well as the signing at this time last year being well past the point of being able to produce new moulds to fit her style of riding, so we should see a new women's board in the range this season. The loser out of this deal could end up being Melissa Marquardt who after seeing ride at Moomba is well over the hill and with the last season off it may be time for her to make the hard call on a career that has been seen as a lynch pin for women's wakebaording, the only thing saving her being the insane popularity of her pro model board, the other board that could lose out to make way for a Bec board is the Jett. I called that it would be gone at this time last year but another season past and it's still there, while it has been a mainstay Liquid Force need to start making moves if they are to keep up with the likes of Ronix and Hyperlite in brand innovation, and with the Harlow effectively being a Harley Classic in disguise we may even have a new board in the works for Meagan Ethell, with the 2 looking to be the pillars of Liquid Force's women's division. The smokey who may prove to come out with a board as well is Sophie Hogben, who has been making quietly going about her business in the cable and urban world and after 2 years with Follow, is looking at big things for her future in an aspect of the sport that is growing infinitely, though expect to see her most likely out on a Melissa or maybe even making it her own.
In the wash up, Liquid Force who have been such a big part of the wakeboard industry almost since it's inception, have a bit of catching up to do with on a technology front and after a few years of developing their boots, we could finally get some technology changes in their boards. We can expect possibly up to 2 boards on both the men's and women's side of the company, though as much as i would like to see it i simply can't see Aaron Gunn getting his own model despite his success of late, with boat still openly dominating how brands rework their range, which is the reason we could see a new Bob Soven shape. Also expect a pro model Bec Gange and possibly another, but it's time for Liquid Force to make moves to trim their range and work some new models into their range that can help the brand go forward.
Written by Steve Rogers
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