One of Liquid Force's top selling boards is Shawn Watson's Substance pro model. Wakeboarder.com took the 2004 Substance 142 cm version for a test drive, and we wanted to share the results with you.
The 2004 Substance comes in three sizes, the 142 cm, 138 cm, and 134 cm. For this test we rode the Substance 142 cm version, so we'll speak specifically to it's dimensions. The Substance is a bit wider than the average board with it's 43.4 cm mid-width. Combined with the 142 cm length, it's got a lot of surface area for maximum pop and soft landings.
As mentioned above, the Substance is a big and wide board. It has a 3-stage rocker with 2.7 inches of rocker, making it a board that pops abruptly when you hit the wake, but the extra size does help it land softer compared to some 3-stage rocker boards. It features molded fins on the bottom of the board combined with a 1.1 inch center fin that is optional. Watson decided to move the molded fins back closer to the tip and tail for added control. The combination of molded fins and a removable center fin gives flexibility depending on if you're looking for a free loose ride, or a controlled ride where the board tracks solidly.
The Substance 142 has graphics that can best be described as subtle and cool. It looks a bit like art with a futuristic feel, and the colors don't jump out too much. It fits the rider who wants something cool and relaxed instead of flamboyant.
The first thing I noticed about the Substance was the pop off the wake. The 3-stage rocker and board width allow you to really generate some serious vertical pop off the wake. When I first hopped on it I had to lay off my normal edge in order to stay under control at first. After a few minutes I had settled in and started to adjust to the pop.
The other primary feature I noticed is the board is slow, yet fast. I know that sounds strange, but it generally has a feeling of being a slower controlled board in the water. However, as soon as I decided to edge in any direction it sliced through the water quickly and with ease.
Landings felt solid and there wasn't anything negative that I experienced about how the board handled in the water or in the air.
I also tested it without the center fin and the ride was definitely loose, but still quite easy to control by staying on my edges. I'd imagine most advanced riders would prefer to ride this board without the optional center fin.
The Bottom Line
It's easy to see why this board is a top seller. It pops very well, and most riders crave that hang time. It's also responsive in the water and is a good reflection of the way Shawn Watson rides. It's versatility of being able to use just molded fins or include the center fin is convenient if you like to mix things up or adjust your tracking level for different water conditions.
The bottom line is if you're looking for a board that has great vertical pop, is fast while also feeling like a relaxed board, and has some width and size to it, then the 2004 Substance will be a great fit for you.