When you’re dealing with a wakeboard designed for a stylish veteran rider by a shaper who pioneered the sport, you really can’t go wrong. Every time I’ve hopped on a Liquid Force Shane Bonifay pro model in the past, I’ve liked it right away. It’s not one of those boards you have to get used to. Plus, Shane Bonifay is such a huge personality and a really fun dude to hang out with, so strapping on his board definitely puts you in a Shane state of mind, which is never a bad thing!
In the midst of a tumultuous Surf Expo weekend last September, I ran into Shane on the trade show floor, and after exchanging a few crazy Expo stories, he was eager to talk me through the ins and outs of the fifth board shape of his 14-year career with Liquid Force. The first thing you’ll notice is the top graphic — it’s definitely one of my all-time favorites. I like the clean, modern look, and the subject in the photography is not so bad either. Is that a nipple showing? No, it’s not, but you’re going to look twice.
The bottom graphic flaunts a Louis Vuitton-style adaptation, which is totally Shane. It’s a different look than the top, but overall it’s a really sharp-looking stick. When Shane tested the first prototype, he got back in the boat quickly, making his team manager think he didn’t approve. But really, Shane’s opinion was the opposite. “I’ve been shaping boards with Jimmy Redmon for so long now that we just have it dialed,” he says. “All it took was a couple hits off the wake and I knew everything was perfect.”
This “perfect” design for Shane’s style is loose through the middle and smooth on rails. On the water, the board will break its track when you want it to. That is why the midsection has no channels and the rail is lifted and rolled instead of sharp in that area. With Shane’s advice, I found the key is to use the tail for your edge and drive up the wake. The aggressive three-stage rocker will handle the rest. This board is great for floaty, wake-to-wake airs — and your pop is also improved with LF’s Carbon X glass layup for more stiffness through the middle.
In the nose and tail, there’s a lot going on with four molded fins, sharper edges, concaves and canted blades. Liquid Force says this will provide smooth water flow, thrust, easy release and softer landings — all of which I agree with. The only potential limitation is that you are forced to ride with the molded fin configuration as it comes out of the factory — the fins are not interchangeable. So I use my board strictly off the wake for now and keep it in good shape. At cable parks with rails, I would lean toward other boards in LF’s line labeled with “hybrid flex” and “grind” bases. Shane told me he has something like that in the works as well, so stay tuned.