Buying a wakeboard for the first time? Experienced rider looking for an upgrade? There’s a lot of information out there and it can be hard to know which wakeboard is right for you. Use our Wakeboard Buyer’s Guide to learn about wakeboard features and how they support your riding style and ability. There is a wakeboard for everyone and we hope this guide helps you to find the right one.
Most wakeboards are available in different sizes. Unlike most other board sports where your height determines the length of board, the size of wakeboard you choose should be based mostly on your weight. It makes sense as it’s your weight that determines how deep your board sits in the water. Have a look at the size chart below. It gives you an idea of how your weight affects the size of board you should ride.
Remember that each wakeboard is different and has a unique manufacturer’s size chart for that specific board. Check the size chart on the product page of the board you’re looking at for more accurate sizing.
How do you want your board to ride? Size plays an important role. A longer board will be more forgiving, create less drag on your body and give you more pop off the wake. Riding shorter sits you deeper in the water and gives you a more aggressive board that is less forgiving but easier to spin and control for more technical tricks.
TIP FOR BEGINNERS: If in doubt, ride longer. A longer wakeboard will make deep water starts easier, reduce the drag on your body and have a more forgiving feel on the water. If you’re looking for a board to cater for multiple people always cater for the heaviest rider.
A wakeboard rocker is the curve or bend in the board between the tip and tail. The rocker of a wakeboard is a big factor in how your board feels to ride and pops off the wake. More curve in a rocker means more pop from the wake but as this curve increases your board sits deeper in the water which reduces glide speed and stability.
The size of curve in a rocker is not the end of the story, shape plays an important role too. These are three general shapes of rocker used in modern wakeboards:
A smooth curve in the board gives you a predictable ride with plenty of glide speed, smooth transitions and consistent pop. This style of rocker relies on board speed to generate lift off the wake and is perfectly suited to free ride style wakeboarding.
THREE STAGE ROCKER
A flat spot in the centre breaks the curve of the board gives you an aggressive ride with loads of vertical pop off the wake. Three stage rocker boards are more aggressive than their continuous counterparts because they are less stable and accelerate quickly on edge. The advantage is that with good timing off the wake, a three stage rocker will provide way more pop and hang time than a continuous rocker.
This rocker blends the three stage and continuous to give you the best of both worlds. As boat wakes are getting bigger many riders are moving away from true three stage rockers in favour of a smoother curve in the middle of the board to maintain speed with a kick on each end to provide that extra pop of a three stage.
TIP FOR BEGINNERS: A wakeboard with a subtle rocker line is the easiest to ride and the most forgiving. It gives you consistent speed and a smooth, predictable release off the wake.
The rails or edges that run along the heel and toe side of a wakeboard create angle and speed into the wake. The sharper the edge, the more aggressive and less forgiving your board. Beginner boards tend to have rounded mellow rails that release from the water easily so you won’t faceplant all the time! Advanced boards run much sharper edges which allow you to quickly build speed into the wake but are easier to catch if you don’t know what you’re doing. Variable edges are sharper in the tip and tail and rounded towards the centre to give you an aggressive approach into the wake with a more forgiving ride between the boots.
Base design is the channelling and features on the base of a wakeboard is an important part of how your board feels on the water. A wakeboard with a flat, clean base with shallow or no channeling has a loose, skatey feel. More shaping and channelling through the base of your board increases traction, softens landings and has quick edge to edge transitions. If you’re a beginner, look for boards with deep, full-length base channels which give you a stable ride with greater hold on edge. Deeper channels are great for traction but are way less forgiving on landings if you haven’t completed a rotation or are off balance when you land so more advanced boards tend to be clean through the base and rely on your edge control to turn and hold direction.
TIP & TAIL
The shape and design of the tip and tail is something riders can overlook when choosing a wakeboard. There are four main shapes; round, square, diamond and swallow but most modern boards have a tip and tail that resemble a mix of two or more of these shapes. Rounder tips give you soft landings with less pop while a square tips provide greater pop but are way less forgiving on landings. A diamond or swallow shaped tip gives you the forgiving feel of riding a longer board with the performance advantage of a shorter board. Similar to the difference between round and square tip and tail design, the diamond tip provides less pop with softer landings and the swallow shape more pop with less forgiving landings.
The two types of fins in wakeboarding are centre fins and edge fins. Centre fins are common on beginner wakeboards and act like a training wheels on a bike. The give you the stability you need to learn by helping the board track in a straight line behind the boat. Once you can confidently start and ride a wakeboard centre fins should be removed as they are more likely to catch when jumping the wake or on surface spins. This is where edge fins which run down each edge of the tip and tail of the board come in. Edge fins allow you to grip and turn on the heel and toe edges of your board and will release easily for spins and wake jumps. Some wakeboards have removable edge fins which you can change to create a different feel. Shallow and rounded fins give you a loose feel on the water and release edges easily while deep and sharper fins give you more grip and drive into the wake but are less forgiving.
.TIP FOR BEGINNERS: Get a board with centre fins. They’re like a training wheels on a bike and will help you to gain the confidence to learn and progress on your board. Once you’re ready to try a surface spin or a wake jump take them out so you don’t faceplant!
We hope this guide has helped you to choose the right board. It can be hard to know which wakeboard suits your style without riding it first so don't forget about our DEMO PROGRAM that allows you to try before you buy. As always, if you have any questions make sure to CONTACT our friendly sales staff.