Serious performance for intermediate riders and above with high comfort levels to match
THIS TEST FIRST APPEARED IN ISSUE #92 IN MARCH, 2018
TEST TEAM NOTES:
The Livewire is Airush’s go-to boots / freestyle / wakestyle board with the deepest rocker in the Airush range, yet the board isn’t slow at all and first note is that the upwind performance is very impressive. We always enjoy well rockered boards in and around lumpy ocean conditions if we have plenty of power in the kite because the bite from the board is usually very fluid. The Livewire also isn’t super wide in the tips, so there’s no hard work involved to keep the nose and tips out of the water while the stiffness through the middle gives plenty of get up and go.
This is probably the best serious wakestyle / freestyle / freeride crossover board we tried in Cape Town for both serious boots and straps. Even though this is an absolute banger for the hardcore riders, there’s lots of fun available for freeriding because it’s quick and has nice, sturdy flex and drive off the back-foot, even in straps. With boots that extra influence you have just gives you access to more and more performance. Airush have managed to put enough rocker for all the benefits of easy manoeuvring and solid landings in chop, but the Livewire still feels quick.
Basically, this board behaves and offers no abrupt surprises, so makes you look good. Yes, it requires a bit more from you at times because it’s heavier than a sharp railed freeride / freestyle board, but it has a lot more going on inside, including nano rod carbon beams that are pressed into the core in an arc formation to increase torsional flex and feel, while the HD grind base means it’s ready for whatever you want to ride it over. Featuring newly reinforced ABS 2.0 inserts, a thicker core and more reinforcement underfoot, the Livewire comes with a two year warranty for boots riding, which says a lot about Airush’s confidence in the quality and durability.
The standout element is the edge control and beautiful flex pattern that has no detriment to speed. The edging is very progressive and not on/off at all, so you can really load it up and enjoy grip the whole way through when you load up. Holding on to the very last moment for a really pleasing pop and release, the tail moulds with you in the water for a lovely carve, whether you’re carving a wave face or loading up for air.
In terms of feel, this is a board of substance and, although is ‘easy’ to get on and ride, it’s still quite ‘sporty’. Where you’ll notice a difference for freeriding is that you’re not sitting on that pocket of air like some freeride boards feel like; instead this is way more connected and gritty and the feedback loop is excellent. That’s why we like it.
Of course the way we feel about a board is always helped when you get on with the foot straps and pads straight away. For the last two years we think Airush have been at an advantage here and this year they’ve improved the system yet further with the Element. Definitely hats off here – the contouring, adjustment and balance between support and comfort is spot on.
Airush are soon to release their new hardware accessory brand, AK Durable Supply Co. focussing on a concise range of durable high performance accessories, including a new AK Binding design.
One of the best boards for intermediate riders and above who are serious about making the progression from straps to boots. Equally, if you’re already there, this is bang on, looks good, is very strong and has loads of details that make your life easy.
Serious performance that doesn’t demand too much from the rider and can be used anywhere, anytime.
KW WOULD CHANGE:
Very little. There aren’t many boards this legitimate that can also be a stepping stone from straps to boots with good natural speed.
LIVEWIRE BALANCE POINTS:
Build quality: 9
Fixtures and fittings: 9.5
Slider proof: Yes
Boots applicable: Yes
Ease of use: 8
SIZES: 142 x 43, 140 x 42 and 138 x 41cm
GO BEHIND THE DESIGN