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A unsponsored review on “dang difficult to ding” Lib Tech Surfboards
Lib Tech Surfboards are not cheap, but they promise to be “dang difficult to ding”! Is this the travel board we were all looking for?
Do Lib Tech Surfboards work? Yes, once you get used to it.
Are they stronger than a standard PU board? In theory, Yes.
Do they feel better than a Epoxy board? Yes, for sure.
So do I need to read the rest?
Well… only if you’re interested how I feel about them, after putting one (or two) to a real praxis-test.
Why would you care what I think about it?
I live far away from the ocean. Surfing always includes traveling for me. Many flights, bus rides, tuk-tuks, boats, or motorbikes. My equipment goes through the hands of many people who couldn’t care less about it.
Surfing became an essential part of my life and almost dictated it over the last ten years. But as I see everything in life as a decision, I choose to surf a lot.
Being a traveling surfer has nothing to do with your background, with how good you surf, or with the color of your passport, but is simply a path some of us chose to be their way of living for a certain time.
This lifestyle means, we need to trust our skills and instincts. But just as much, we need to trust our stuff. We live out of our bags for months at a time or even the whole year. We’ve got the time and chance to test every part of our equipment to the max, and we find out what is standing the test of time.
But even having a strong board bag, the boards go through a lot with all the traveling. However, what I really want to talk about is: The perfect travel board.
Having a traditional glassed PU-board can easily be fixed everywhere around the world, but it needs a lot of fixing. An alternative could be an Epoxy board, but they never felt good under my feet. Especially in less than perfect conditions, what disqualifies them as a travel board. But then, maybe around four or five years ago, I saw a kid in Pavones, Costa Rica, who went crazy on a greyish board. I asked him what it is, and he showed me his LibTech. I saw it for the first time but was excited and impressed.
I remember when LibTech started to produce Snowboards and from the beginning on, they were fantastic! So I had to do a little research and I found out a couple of things about these boards:
They are produced in a much more environmentally friendly way than regular boards. They are not as stiff as Epoxy, no, they’ve got even more flex than any other board. And they are as they say: “Dang difficult to ding!” In the promo video, you see a car driving over it! As they claim, it is incredibly difficult to ding it, having a crack or a hole in it, and if you ever would…half as bad, as the foam inside the board doesn’t soak water! Never again pressure dings or spider cracks!
The perfect travel board! Now I only had to get my hands on one. This was a difficult mission, as they don’t produce massive quantities. I finally got one, put it in the bag, and off I went.
I was excited like a two-year-old after his first ever ice cream, and took it to El Salvador to test it in all those perfect, flawless and mellow point breaks.
The first couple of waves felt really weird, and I lost all my speed in the bottom turns. But I knew that these boards need a little time to get used to, and kept surfing it. By then, I haven’t been in the water for a few months, so I couldn’t really tell if it’s the board, or me. However, after two to three days, I realized that I don’t struggle any longer with my bottom turn. No, I came shooting out of it every time. I didn’t notice how I learned to use the flex, but I somehow just did, and loved it! The board felt great, and I was happy to have a board I can finally trust again. The only disturbing thing was, it already had some huge pressure dings on top. Either from sitting on it, or simply from surfing, I couldn’t tell. (On their homepage, they say that this would never happen with their boards.)
After surfing it for a couple of weeks on those mellow points and small beach breaks, it had a crack cross the whole bottom of the board, some weird pressure dings, and parts of the board started to turn yellow!
I was pissed off! It was an expensive board, and as good as it felt, it was not what they sold it for!
I had the board fixed with Epoxy, and it felt good again. Of course, it was heavier than before, but I couldn’t really tell the difference when I surfed it. Again, I mainly surfed it in small and mellow waves but tried it on a few bigger days as well. It felt really good, what qualifies it as a great all round board for me.
But after a few weeks, the area where I had fixed it, started to crack on the other side (on the deck this time). I knew that if I keep surfing it, it won’t make it much longer.
For the second time, I tried to get in touch with the right people from Lib Tech. This time not through the distributor, but straight with the people at the factory.
Getting in contact with the person in charge was incredibly difficult, and their representatives in some countries might don’t care much. Once I finally spoke to the right person, it got replaces, as they said something had to be wrong with it.
This time I took it to Sri Lanka and was surprised how many Lib Tech boards I saw in the water! That was in late 2016, and maybe they found better distributors. Or maybe Sri Lanka is the kind of place where Lib Tech owners like to surf. Again, the waves were super mellow. It was the perfect testing ground for many of the alternative and small wave models they’ve got.
As I was looking for a travel board, I wanted a performance shortboard, which works in as many conditions as possible, and I found it in the “Air e ola.”
Now I surfed it for around four months. I surfed it in waves so small, I could barely paddle in, and put it to the test on a few bigger days. I had fun with it on fat and slow Weligama waves, and got barreled on it in Indonesia. It flew on planes many times so far, made countless Kilometers in Indonesian Motorbike-boardracks, on the roof of Tuk-tuk’s in Sri Lanka, on Sumatra’s Ferry’s and took several Indian Ocean beatings.
How did it look after three months?
A few small cracks and pressure dings on top after three months is not too bad
After three months, the color has changed to a slightly more yellow tone. There were some pressure dings where my front foot is, plus weird pressure dings in front of the tail pad. It had a couple of cracks on top, probably from bending and flexing, and one of them opened up a little. But it actually looked still pretty good!
I thought you could say that it is: “Dang difficult to ding” !
BUT after three months, it started do delaminate under my front foot, and it cracked pretty bad next to the fin-box. The fin-box is nothing I would complain about, as I hit a reef and it could have been worse. But the delamination came just from surfing, and surprised me a lot. I brought the board to Naruki in Bali, a guy/ shop that fixes countles boards on every day of the year. He said that he’s seen his share of broken Lib Tech boards, and that delamination is nothing so uncommon with them. “Of course they are stronger than a PU-board”, he said, “but every board is breakable, and Lib Tech boards are just not as strong as they claim to be!”
I had it fixed once again and still surf it on most days. To me, it feels great in the water, works in all kinds of conditions, and is a board I can recommend as a travel board, as much as your everyday board for home. The delamination is something I’m highly dissatisfied with, and from what I heard, I’m not the only one with that problem. Other than that, I definitely like it a lot.
The only thing I don’t understand is, why they had to make there own finboxes, which in my opinion are not that great. You can use FCS I fins, or the fins that come for free with most of their boards (which is great). But it is not the greatest fin system on the market.
But once it surfed its final wave, I can throw it away with less of a bad feeling than another board.
They say that not only the production is more environmentally friendly, but recycling as well. This thanks to the introduction of new materials to surfboard production.
So these boards are more expensive than others, and it takes a few days to get used to it. But they should last longer, are better in production and recycling, and are much less sensitive to reefs, rocks and underpaid/unfriendly baggage handler. Plus they work well in all kinds of conditions (at least for me) and feel great.
What brings me to the conclusion that:
Lip Tech make great travel boards.
So I’d say: Check out all their models to see if one would fit what you fancy, and seriously think about it as your new travel buddy. I’m happy with mine, and I’ll keep it!
- Long lasting
- Environmental friendly
- Works in all kinds of waves
- Absorbs no water if you ding it (apparently)
- Takes a few days to get used to
- Not everyone knows how to fix it
- Not the best Fin system
- Not as strong as they claim it to be