Maybe “Point Break” – the movie – pushed it a little too far but cruising on water is as exhilarating as it is adrenalin pumping. But if you didn’t have the luxury of surfing big waves, you could still have fun wakeboarding. You only need to put on your wakeboard, tag yourself on a boat, and you’ll be ready to have the time of your life.
But it can quickly become frustrating if you don’t have the right gear.
A board that is too heavy will weigh you down, and trust me, if it’s too small, you will go down- literary. Wakeboards come in many shapes, sizes, and quality, all of which can impact your experience. If you are just getting started, you might not know where to start.
But worry not. We are just about to tell you everything you need to know when buying wakeboards and let you in on the best products on the market today. Grab some popcorn and pull up a chair!
Buying the Best Wakeboard: What to Consider
No one wakeboard is ideal for everyone. In order to make the right choice, you need to consider the following factors.
If you are a rookie, don’t grab a pro-level wakeboard. It’s that simple. Manufacturers design their equipment to suit various skill levels. A typical beginner wakeboard is long and comes with square rails to increase stability. They are also heavier than other wakeboards.
But don’t expect to perform any tricks with beginner boards, as they are heavier than other wakeboards for better control. You will need to upgrade to a performance board.
Your Riding Style
A good number of people with interest in wakeboarding tend to have a surfing, snowboarding or skateboarding background.
If you have some experience in snowboarding or surfing, you might want to go for single-tip wakeboards that feature a square rear design with tapered fronts. This type goes in only one direction and will complement your natural riding style.
If your background is in skateboarding, on the other hand, you will find the twin-tip models more convenient. This is because they allow you to switch foot position, which is a movement you have most likely mastered already.
Twin-tip boards are more suited for performing stunts than single-tips. Additionally, they can lead with either direction.
The length of the wakeboard is arguably the most important factor to consider when buying. This is because it determines the weight it can comfortably support.
Simply put, the heavier you are, the longer the board you require. Fortunately, wakeboard shops have a chart that matches weight with length.
The rocking curve (rocker) of a wakeboard refers to the shape of the board’s bottom. There are two main types of rockers: continuous and three-stage rockers.
Continuous rockers feature a bottom with a smooth curve. This design allows you to enjoy a fast and smooth ride, as well as enhanced maneuverability. They are perfect when riding in calmer waters.
Three-stage rockers, on the other hand, sport bottoms with three distinct breaks, resulting in three planes. The center plane is flat to give you more control as you glide over the rails.
This results in a design that is well suited for making pop. Three-stage rockers also tend to be more stable. Nonetheless, their design makes them slower than continuous rockers since they disrupt water flow.
The best material is one that is light enough to allow the rider to make jumps and other types of stunts while being tough enough to withstand impact from pops.
The most commonly used materials in the manufacture of wakeboards include honeycomb and foam board. The latter is more appropriate for turbulent waters, thanks to its flexible nature.
Wakeboards made from foam board also tend to be more stable while allowing you to ride deeper. Honeycomb, on the other hand, allows for lighter and faster wakeboards, thus allowing you a greater pop. Nonetheless, they are less flexible than foam boards and ill-suited for rougher waters.
Bindings are the materials that hold you in place while you are on the board. Bindings from different manufacturers can differ significantly in terms of fit, flexibility, and features.
For starters, make sure that the board you are interested in has a snug fit. This means that it should hold you firmly without being too tight. Regardless of brand, however, bindings tend to be comfortable when fresh off the shelf. Therefore, consider applying some lubricant before fitting.
Flexibility is also key when it comes to user experience. Fast riders might prefer less flexible bindings, while stunt riders prefer bindings that are more flexible.
Much like those of a fish, a wakeboard’s fins help in the steering of the board. Nonetheless, despite the crucial role they play, not all wakeboards come with fins.
Boards meant for beginners typically feature large, wide tips to allow you greater balance and control, especially in rough waters. More experienced users will prefer boards with smaller and narrower fins since they are easier to perform stunts with.
The 8 Best Wakeboards On The Market
Are you ready to hit the water? Not so fast. Gather a cheering squad because nobody claps for themselves. If you are all set, here are 8 of the best wakeboards in the game today. Take your pick.
1. Ronix Vault
Making a wakeboard that is ideal for a wide range of skill levels is incredibly difficult due to the drastically different needs of each group. The Ronix Vault is one of the few wakeboards in production today that can suit both beginners and enthusiasts alike.
However, unlike other beginner boards, it might take a while for a learner to get used to it.
The Vault comes with a 3-stage rocker, allowing you to achieve straight up, explosive pops. In fact, its explosiveness is one of the biggest reasons behind this wakeboard’s immense popularity. To enhance user experience further, this board features next level grip and release channels that provide greater traction without creating unnecessary resistance.
This allows you to ride faster without compromising on stability. What’s more, its thin profile increases the surface area of contact between the board and the water, further enhancing steadiness.
For better control, the Ronix Vault sports six fins: four molded asymmetric fins and two fiberglass hook fins.
Nothing is perfect. In the world of wakeboards, however, the Shane Dose by Liquid Force is as perfect as a board can get. Made for wakeboarding legend Shane Bonifay, who played an instrumental role in its design, the Shane Dose seems like it can do it all.
This wakeboard features a 3-stage rocker with a flatter center curve than usual, allowing you to achieve greater speeds while enhancing your rail control. You will also appreciate the break-in rocker design that allows you to be more aggressive in your riding.
Dose’s concave beveling edges allow the board to have an outstanding grip on the water, resulting in next-level control. You will also appreciate its elastomeric sidewalls that move with the wakeboard as it flexes, delivering an extra boost.
When it comes to fins, the Shane Dose sports a slider quad fin design with a flattened top. This design allows you to achieve the necessary bite for corners. What’s more, the fins are removable in case you have no need for them.
The Shane Dose is designed for professionals and enthusiasts looking for a wakeboard with a novel design.
The Slingshot Windsor is designed for people looking for a high-performance wakeboard ideal for tricks and stunts. It also happens to be one of the most versatile boards today.
The board comes with a hybrid rocker. It blends various attributes of a 3-stage and continuous rockers to give you the best of both worlds. Therefore, this is the wakeboard for you if you have a problem choosing between these two rocker types.
And it is one of the best wakeboards when it comes to maintaining excellent pops off the water, thanks to its stiff center design. To ensure a smoother ride, it has a soft tip and tail, thus allowing you to lock into presses with as minimal resistance as possible. Don’t forget that it also comes with four 6-inch by 0.75-inch wake fins.
The Slingshot Windsor is the ultimate wakeboard for cable parks. It is designed to allow the rider achieve tremendous pops, thus making it ideal for people who love performing stunts. As you can imagine, it is not ideal for beginners.
The One I-Beam by Ronix is one of the most expensive wakeboards on the market today, but with good reason. It is designed to meet the standards of professionals and elite-level enthusiasts.
This board utilizes the 3-stage rocker design. Therefore, you can be assured of an explosive pop off the wake. For increased efficiency, Ronix has implemented deeper side vents here, allowing you to enjoy glide speeds that are up to 20% faster than those of other models.
What’s more, this board is also designed to have as much of its surface in contact with the water as possible, thereby giving you greater control and stability.
And that’s not all; it sports four ramp fins, as well as four free-agent fins. This design effectively ensures that you and the board are almost one entity. The best part is that they are all made from fiberglass.
The Ronix One I-Beam is incredibly aggressive and capable of achieving spectacular speeds. Nonetheless, like a bucking bronco, you will also need top-level skills as well as cojones to ride this wakeboard. This advanced wakeboard, therefore, should serve as a motivation for green riders to keep honing their skills.
The Hyperlite Machete is a wakeboard designed with the help of pro riders Rusty Malinoski and Shaun Murray. In fact, the Machete is a blend of their professional boards. So this is not your ordinary board.
This model comes with a 3-stage rocker, which means that you will get to enjoy a board that is not only excellent at exploding off the wake but also one that provides you with superb stability.
And that’s not all; the Hyperlite Machete features an ingenious tip and tail design that allows you to do catch-free riding while in the flats, which is terribly fun.
It also features four removable P-Wing fins that are acclaimed for their sensational control. They also help you achieve super high speeds thanks to the step-down edges.
While this wakeboard’s design is inspired by pro riders, it is still a good choice for intermediate riders. Beginners, however, will have to work their way up to it.
The Franchise by Hyperlite is another one of those rare wakeboards that comes with an adaptable design, making it a good choice for both pros and novices.
Here, you get a continuous rocker design, and like other continuous rockers, the Hyperlite Franchise can achieve incredible speeds while maintaining its fluidity. This is one of the primary reasons for its surging popularity among enthusiasts.
And then, there’s a variable edge design that allows the board to maintain a strong edge when making turns. This means that you can make tight turns even at high speeds while on this board.
You will also appreciate its four P-Wing tapering fins. Measuring only 0.8 inches, they give you great control with minimal resistance. The Hyperlite Franchise also happens to be one of the most durable wakeboards on the market today, thanks to its molded glass construction.
Regardless of your skill level, this board is worth checking out.
The Hyperlite State 2.0 is an outstanding wakeboard that will help take your riding skills to the next level. While it might not be particularly special for advanced riders, novice and intermediate riders should find it enthralling.
This Hyperlite wakeboard comes with a unique design. In place of the standard continuous rocker is an abrupt continuous rocker design. This design exaggerates the tip and tail slightly to create more pop without compromising speed.
To allow you to master difficult wake jumps faster, this board’s edge is shorter on your toe-side, thus improving comfort and stability. The reduction in rail to make the edge shorter ensures that even the smallest amount of pressure results in a jump.
The Hyperlite State 2.0 comes with molded-in fins with ABS, allowing you superior control in addition to improving the wakeboard’s overall durability.
This wakeboard is recommended for novices looking to hone their skills, as well as recreational users looking for a fun board.
8. Aqua Extreme
If you have never been on a wakeboard before, we got just the thing for you. Meet the Aqua Extreme.
The Aqua Extreme sports a continuous rocker design, which allows you to lift off the wake effortlessly while providing you with smoother turns. You will also notice that it comes with defined channels running from the tip to the tail.
These will allow you to enjoy greater edge control, as well as better stability. You also get two molded-in fins for easier cruising.
Nonetheless, it does not come with performance-enhancing features that advanced riders might be looking for. This board is designed to make your wakeboarding experience as pleasant as possible, which is why it is perfect for those who are just starting out.
Wakeboarding is an extremely fun water sport. It is convenient for those who love surfing but do not have access to ocean beaches or nice waves. Nonetheless, the quality of your experience will depend on the quality of your wakeboard.
If you are a beginner, we know how difficult it can be to make the correct choice. We hope that this article will bring you closer to your ideal wakeboard. If it helps, we recommend that you start with Hyperlite State 2.0. It has a gradual learning curve, and you won’t outgrow it quickly.