Some big names like Best and Cabrinha were missing from this year’s Surf Expo but we still got plenty of shots of most of the major brands. Apologies to Humanoid, as we totally managed to miss them.
Airush expanded their boot lineup this year, with the addition of the lace up Reefer boot, which seems to be just a different colorway of their Team boot. They kept their Core boot in the line, a boot targeted at newcomers to riding locked in. The Core boot was designed for ease of entry/exit so uses a velcro strap system. Overall their build quality seems really high, we really do like the look of the Reefer boot and how it matches up perfectly to the Reefer board. The whole pairing boards with boots design thing is pretty common with the wake industry but seeing it happen in Kite is definitely new.
This year, as far as changes go, Hyperlite takes the cake. They introduced a lowback System binding which might stop some folks from cutting off their high backs. They filled in the gap in their high back bindings which were cracking for some people. *cough* Cooper *cough* And the most underrated change in our opinion is swapping to closed cell foam in their boots. No more taking on massive amounts of water in the boot material. Assuming drainage works quickly this will go a long way to improving the overall feel of their boots. Props to them for paying attention to what riders were doing with their Systems.
There was some excitement over Jobe’s new Hyperlite-like systems, but unfortunately there will be no adapter plates for their bindings. So, unless you want to kite with a Jobe board, they will not be an option this year. Supposedly they’re working on adapter plates for the next year, but considering how small their board market is compared to the other major wake brands we can’t help but feel this is a pretty large mistake.
Liquid Force is sticking with their guns and pushing out the LFK’s again this year. Coming in two different colorways this is a great boot for those who want a lightweight solution yet who want to be waaay below a Ronix pricepoint. We’re liking the approach of keeping things simple, but doing them well. We’ve heard a lot of positive feedback from riders concerning the LFK’s and look forward to another year of refinement.
Probably the most impressively beefy boot we saw at the expo. This thing looks and feels like someone tanked a typical boot out. North has been doing a good job listening to their wakestyle riders and Craig Cunningham apparently had a lot to say about this boot. Design is nice, pairs up pretty well with their Gambler boards. Honestly we’re just stoked their Vegas’s don’t have “Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop” all over them this year. Last year’s boot was solid and well built and this one just seemed to build upon that.
Ronix is honestly more of the same. (Which isn’t a bad thing) They’re still pushing the same tech as last year with the removable liner that governs how stiff your boot is. Still, a pretty high price point, although we will say we’ve got a soft spot for the yellow and blue Ronix One’s they’ve got on the top row.
Slingshot has mostly made minor refinements to their boots from last year. Coming from a wake background, they already had a pretty solid line. This year, they toned down the colorways a bit (we really dig the black with green highlights KTV) . According to Alex Fox, minor wear points were reinforced and a big redesign is planned for next year. Slingy has always offered solid prices at a decent pricepoint, so we’re definitely looking forward to what’s next.