Liquid Force closing the kiteboarding division

Liquid Force closing the kiteboarding division

26.06.2020

It looks like Liquid Force is stepping down from kitesurfing, focusing more on other watersports, with main focus on Foiling from now on.

Here is a message from Liquid Force:

A note to the industry and clients from John Archer, CEO of Kent Water Sports Holdings LLC and Don Wallace, Sr. VP / GM Liquid Force on June 25th stated:

Excerpt:
“We regret to inform you that we have decided to wind down our Liquid Force Kite division over the next 30+/- days. Rest assured this decision was not taken lightly and we want to thank all Liquid Force associates who have worked diligently throughout the uncertainty over the last few months of Covid-19 and economic crisis as well as the many years of dedication.

“To clarify, the Liquid Force brand will remain strong and vital in the water sports industry. Additionally, if you have not heard, Liquid Force recently acquired Freedom Foil Boards, a surf / foil brand based out of southern California. Together with Liquid Force Wake, we plan to take the focus we had on kite products and place new focus and Relentless Innovation onto foils for all water sports. This will be managed out of our Carlsbad, California office.

“Our Hood River office will be closing effective 3/30/20, after which time customer service and warranty inquiries will be managed out of the Carlsbad office. While we do not plan to order any new inventory, we will do our best to handle all warranty claims, repairs, etc. over a reasonable period of time.”

A kitesurfing brand that has to close down is always sad. Is it because of Corona, because of the market which is not growing so fast anymore, or because of kitesurfing becoming too expensive material sport nowadays?

2 thoughts on “Liquid Force closing the kiteboarding division

  1. Charlie R. says:

    Kitesurf is sufering from the same syndrome Windsurf was a victim of. A top harness used to cost $100 usd 9 years ago… now we see $450 harnesses. The same happens with kites, boards, bars and even as ridiculous as standard gear such as (tshirts, sweatshirts, ponchos). Kites develop “radical new innovations” every year (most of the times hard to perceive) and for that they want to charge more….. leaving gear from previous years devaluated…. when the only real innovation is a different design or just a new bar color.

    Covid19 didn’t put LF kite out of business…. just accelerated its downfall. Expensive gear + really expensive lessons + expensive airfares will injure the sport and limit the access to newcomers. Kitesurfing was meant to be a sport open to the public….. not an expensive sport that required you to have a brand sponsor in order to buy and renew your gear constantly. Will this be an isolated case? I am afraid this is just the first brand to go under.

    1. admin says:

      I think you are right, kitesurfing is no longer a beginner-friendly sport because everything becoming so expensive. When I started in 2005 I bought a used Cabrinha kite for 250 € and a board for 150 €, a used harness for 40 € and a wetsuit for 80 €. And started in the winter, so I needed only the kite and the harness to begin with. I got started for around 500 €. And the one who sold the gear to me taught me how to ride (included in the price, even if everything was second hand). Would that be possible still today? I’m not sure.
      But I think it could be turned around, I think there is a spot open on the market for low-price entry-level kites and boards. A beginner does not need ultra carbon hyper flexy shiny things on the board. And they could manage well with just any SLE kite and a really standard harness. Something they could learn on and ride the 2 first years with.
      I think some brands could start making cheap entry-level stuff in large volumes and take over most of the schools by giving extremely good deals to them. Looking at schools as a marketing investment rather than something that needs to be profitable. To be able to do that they will need volume, capital, and processes there, so I think only one of the established brands could do it. Could any brand make a 600 € 11 m2 SLE kite and a 200 € board today? What kind of volumes would be needed to make that profitable?

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