WAKEBOARD BUYERS GUIDE
Choosing a wakeboard can be a confusing process. With the wide range of choices available what makes the right wakeboard for you. We will go over some of these options here and try to streamline your selection process.
The first thing to consider is the size of the wakeboard. The size is determined mainly by weight and boat speed. The faster you ride the smaller you can go as far as size. The following table will give you some general guidelines to follow for the size of the board versus the riders weight. Please keep in mind that the weight listed at the top of each size is for riders who are wakeboarding at the top speeds. If you ride slower move up a size on the wakeboard length. Most wakeboarders ride somewhere between 18-24 MPH.
120cm 40-95 lbs
130cm up to 140lbs
135cm up to 170 lbs
140cm up to 200 lbs
145cm 200lbs & up
These are guidelines only, depending on the shape and material make-up, some wakeboards will size out slightly differently. Some wakeboard sizes will fall between the sizes listed and the weight range will move up or down accordingly. Keep in mind if you weigh 200lbs but only ride at 18 MPH you may want to move up from the 140cm wakeboard to a larger size. In general this size chart will put you in the right size range for your weight.
Most of the major wakeboard companies have refined the “beginner wakeboards” so much that they have become great wakeboards for a wide variety of riders. In the past couple of years there have been pro riders who have actually ridden some of these wakeboards on the professional circuit. Two of the more popular wakeboards that we sell are the Hyperlite State, and the Ronix Vault. Both of these wakeboards have a toe side edge with longer molded in fins and channels to give you a little extra grip when you are on your toe side or “weak side”. This little bit of extra traction on the weak side helps you to develop your skills on your toe side. Both of these wakeboards were actually ridden on the Pro Tour over the last couple of years.
Most “beginner wakeboards” have a deeper center fin, and molded in fins on both sides of the tip and tail. Usually if a wakeboard has a deep center fin that will aid in stability and make it a more user friendly wakeboard. This helps the wakeboard to be more stable in the water and give you a tighter feel. Wider tip and tail sections will also aid with stability and can give you a bigger launch off of the wake. Many wakeboards have a “V” raised up shape on the bottom of the boards. This helps to disperse the water on landings on make the landing smoother.
Why shouldn’t you buy the $150.00 wakeboard you saw at the big box store? The simple reason is many of these wakeboards are of a cheaper construction that does not ride as well. Many are repurposed professional model boards that are more difficult to ride and not nearly as user friendly. Also check the wakeboard bindings or “boots” on the wakeboard. They tend to be of an older construction process that makes them less comfortable and less durable. When you buy a wakeboard from RIDE THE WAVE it has a One Year Manufacturer’s Warranty that guarantees the construction of the Wakeboard and Bindings. Every product that we carry is built with quality in mind.
First let’s talk about the construction of advanced wakeboards. Most have special core materials, carbon fiber, or other special materials woven into the construction process. This makes these wakeboards stiffer and faster on the water. These processes also make the wakeboards substantially lighter, so they get more air and are easier to throw around. Many of the more advanced boards only have fins on the outside of the tip and tail which give the board a looser ride but make it faster when releasing from the wake. They have many different bottom designs which can make the wakeboard looser or tighter on the water. Generally the more channels that run the length of the wakeboard or molded in fins on the board will make the board track better and feel tighter. A lot of the Advanced wakeboards have a 3-Stage rocker which help to make the launch off of the wake more abrupt and faster. Generally the flatter the bottom design on these wakeboards will make them looser in the water but also faster. The bottom line is there are a wide variety of advanced wakeboards and everyone has their own opinion on what makes the board perform the way they want it to. Most signature advanced wakeboards are designed to that particular wakeboarders riding style and desires.
The rocker of the board is the shape or arc of the board when it is placed flat on the ground. A –continuous rocker has a smooth arc shape all the way through the wakeboard. A 3-Stage rocker has 3 abrupt sections in the wakeboard that are very evident. For years it was thought that 3-Stage rocker boards launched off of the wake better than continuous rocker wakeboards. The reality is it all depends on what you ride and get used to. The rocker helps to keep you from burying the tip of the board when you approach the wake or are in rough water. Rocker helps to transition the wakeboard up the wake to give you the lift off the wake you are looking for. Rocker does not necessarily define how the wakeboard will ride. Wakeboards with an early or continuous rocker tend to ride smoother up the wake. Wakeboards with late or 3-Stage Rockers tend to be more explosive off of the wake. This is still dependent upon many other factors with the wakeboard including general shape, molded fins, width, channels, length of fins, & more. All of these factors can affect how the wakeboard will ride.
CABLE PARK WAKEBOARDS
These wakeboards are specifically designed for withstanding the rigors of cable parks. If you hit rails, sliders and jumps with a normal wakeboard the chances are real good that you will damage your wakeboard and possibly cause yourself serious injury. Cable Park Wakeboards have a base, and ABS sidewalls, which are designed to withstand scraping on rails and sliders. They tend to be made of more flexible materials (including wood cores) to make them respond better when riding in these conditions. It is never recommended that you use a board at a cable park that has not been designed for these riding conditions!
Wakeboard Bindings are light years ahead of where they were ten years ago. No more hard rubber bindings that you need soap or goo to get into. Most wakeboard boots have a lycra or neoprene liner that your foot slides right into. Entry level bindings fit a wider variety of foot sizes so that more than one person can use them. The neoprene on the toe of the bindings moves up and down to mold to the size of your foot. The lace up systems allow you to make the boots as tight or loose as you want. The new foam footbeds are more comfortable and just about all of the newer wakeboard bindings have foam heel holds to help hold your foot in place.
Higher End Wakeboard Bindings are more size specific. Generally they are designed to fit individual foot sizes from 7-14. If you wear a size 10 for example you would buy a size 10 wakeboard binding. These boots are designed to your individual foot size so that you get a more comfortable, tighter, and secure feel. Usually these are closed toe bindings. Closed toe bindings help to lock your feet in better so that all of your lift is transmitted to the wakeboard. They tend to be built a little higher on your ankle and leg to give you more support and security. These wakeboard boots are also made to be durable yet lighter so that you don’t feel that you are wearing something that weighs you down. When you are doing more difficult tricks you do not want the boots to come off so these are made to comfortably lock you in.
Hyperlite System Bindings were debuted in 2012. This design separates the boot from the bindings. Similar to a snowboard setup you have a binding that you mount to the wakeboard and a boot that you wear separately and secure to the bindings. Ease of entry and the ability to really secure the boots to your feet, make this the choice of many riders. A favorite of cable park riders because you have a boot you can release from the board for that long walk back to the starting dock.
In general we have found that most riders tend to sustain injuries when their boots keep one foot in the boot while the other boot releases. We have found it is better to have both feet release from the bindings or have both feet locked into the bindings. Basically newer riders are better off with a looser fit so that both feet will release from the bindings. As you get more advanced you want that tighter locked in feel. This does not mean that you cannot still be injured if both feet release or if they are locked in. This is only a recommendation, you must decide the best fit and situation for your riding style!
We hope that this clears up some of your questions about wakeboard selection. As always we are here to answer any questions that you may have and help you with your selection. Please do not hesitate to call or email us with any of your questions. There are many additional factors that we cannot cover in a simple Buyer’s Guide. We want you to select the right wakeboard for you so that you have an enjoyable experience and many years of happy wakeboarding.
The material contained here are recommendations only! You must decide the product that will best fit your needs!
All prices are in USD.