The 2014 Raph Hybrid by Liquid Force was a lot of fun to test for our July Editor’s Pick. Be sure to check this thing out. You won’t be disappointed. Check one out at a pro shop near you!
Gear: Editor’s Pick | Words: Brandon Judd | Photo: Bill Doster
2014 Raph Hybrid by Liquid Force
This isn’t just another run-of-the-mill cable board — although, at first glance, I could see why you might say that, but let me explain. Liquid Force has been in front of the cable boom for years with its wide array of hybrid boards. Since the Raph Hybrid’s construction and visual appearance is similar to other boards in its line, one could write it off as just another hybrid board. Let me assure you that there is more to this board than you might think. I have ridden some of Liquid Force’s cable boards in the past, but after my first lap, I realized this one was different.
Right off the bat, there were a few features that made a noticeable difference in the board’s overall performance and feel. First, the entire perimeter of the board — especially in the tip and tail — is surprisingly thin. Most of the board’s mass is located closer to the center of the board, which resulted in less swing weight and an overall lighter feel on my feet while I rode. The thinned-out edges made me nervous about catching an edge at first, but that fear was quickly rendered groundless when I put it to the test. After taking a closer look, I noticed that this was because the rails are lifted slightly above the wear point on the base — just enough to prevent me from getting hung up on an imperfection in an obstacle, but not so much that it affected my edge control. The tip and tail are also dished out with a mellow, single concave arc and a catch-free, featureless surface — which made this board very jib friendly.
The flex pattern on the Raph made it really fun in every aspect of the park. The board was flexible yet responsive. When I stepped hard on the tail, it snapped back. When I locked into a press, it held. The flex pattern was very soft, but not so damp that it held no rocker while riding straight. It made for some fun corners at the cable too. I could fully lean past the tail and practically lay down on the water without the tail skipping out on me or standing me back upright too quickly.
The Raph is a relatively fast board with very little drag. I could rail into kickers and air tricks as fast as I wanted, and the board had no problem keeping up. Air tricks were fun because of how edgy the board was. Liquid Force added subtle edge channels near both edges to help the board feel grippier when edging through the belly of the board, and then fade away to nothing in the tip and tail to keep it jib friendly. This feature really helped the board lock in when finless. I could load up a short hard edge with ease and release cleanly with no hang-up or delay.
Overall, I had a great time riding the Raph. The folks at Liquid Force mean what they say when they refer to the Raph Hybrid as “a no-compromise park board.” Try one out, and you’ll feel right at home on the cable.