Wakeboard Buyers Guide

It's all down to your personal choice and style of riding at the end of the day so this is only a general guide...

It's important to match the size of your wakeboard to your height and weight, it’s important to know your riding style and the wake you most commonly ride in order to gain optimal performance from your wakeboard. Variables in the board such as rocker, width, length, weight and fins all directly affect your riding performance.

If you ride small to midsize wakes, your pop is usually produced more by edging, so less rocker would be ideal. On bigger, steeper wakes, your pop is projected more straight up than across, so you need the bounce created by a wakeboard with a lot of rocker.

Rocker

Rocker is the bend you see in a wakeboard from tip to tail. There are two types of rocker: continuous and three-stage. Continuous rocker is a smooth curve that does not change from tip to tail, while three-stage rocker has two distinct bend points, almost like a skateboard deck but not as drastic. When you ride wakeboards with continuous rocker you lose a bit of your pop, but you get a fast ride because the water flows without disruption across the bottom of the wakeboard right out through the tail. Since wakeboards with three-stage rocker has two distinct bends in the wakeboard, it pushes more water in front of the wakeboard. This makes your ride slower, but with three-stage rocker you gain a lot of pop off the wake.

The more rocker you have, the slower, looser and less edgy the wakeboard. With more rocker, you tend to lose the locked-in feeling of your fins, which allows you to break the wakeboard loose whenever you please. For beginners, wakeboards with a lot of rocker will feel loose, but it will teach you how to edge rather than relying on your fins, which pays off in the long run. You are forced to be more gradual with your turns and for some the slowness makes them feel more comfortable. As far as landings go, the more rocker your board has, the softer the impact will feel, but you will notice a sluggishness when you hit the water and try to keep your direction.

In contrast, less rocker allows the wakeboard to move faster, hook up better and become more aggressive. You can be more aggressive with your turns and really edge hard through the wake instead of going slow and bounding off it. You will work less, last longer on the water and be able to land really far out in the flats because the wakeboard planes better and you don’t have to put so much effort into making the wakeboard move across the back of the boat. Beginners may feel a bit out of control and unstable with less rocker. Overall, your impact on landings becomes harder, but your recovery time after landing is quicker, allowing you to adjust and move right back into acceleration again fairly easily.

For those who ride a small to midsize wake, your pop is produced more by edging, so less rocker is ideal. Since you don’t get that bounce up from a big steep wake, by using less rocker you won’t get sprayed in the face as you edge through a mellow, more gradual wake. On bigger steeper wakes, your pop is projected straight up more than across, so you need the bounce created by a wakeboard that has a lot of rocker. You may have to work a little harder to make the wakeboard go, but the end result is that you get more height.

Length

Smaller wakeboards carry less swing weight so can spin really fast. On the other hand, larger wakeboards go really big and absorb huge landings.

Sizing down will make the wakeboard feel lighter, spin faster and seem more aggressive. But your landings do suffer. There is not as much surface area to plane across the water, so the wakeboard will not float you as well. You will have to work a little harder to keep the nose from digging in and you may have to increase your boat speed a bit to help you plane. However, smaller wakeboards are great for people who like to do a lot of handle-pass flips and spins and move around the water fast. It can also be a great learning tool. If you have a selection of wakeboards and are working on a spin, for example, sizing down will help you rotate better and farther. When you get the landing and get comfortable on the smaller wakeboard, start trying to increase your rotation on the wakeboard sized for you. If you struggle to get the whole rotation, move down again. Land the trick then move back up.

119cm up to 6 stones
121cm up to 7.5 stones
128cm up to 10.5 stones
131cm up to 11 stones
133cm up to 12 stones
136cm up to 13.5 stones
   
138cm 10 stones and up
140cm 11 stones and up
142cm 12 stones and up

Sizing your wakeboards up from your established size lends a slower, smoother style. A bigger wakeboard moves slower in the water, making you look smoother. The bigger surface area really lets you spin slowly and hold on to those grabs for a long time. If you are into going big, the increased surface area lets the wakeboard land softer, saving your body from the bigger impacts. You can use the different wakeboard sizes as a learning tool and size up or down to help you learn.

Width

The width of a wakeboard directly affects how high it sits in the water. There are three places to check wakeboard widths: Tips and tails – those are generally the same – and in the middle. Narrower tips and tails sit lower and make the wakeboard turn more aggressively. However, to initiate spins you might have to wait longer because the wakeboard doesn’t release as well through the wake. A rider may want to load up fins on the ends of this wakeboard since it sits lower in the water. Wider tips and tails allow you to break your fins loose and slide around for lip tricks and surface tricks, and a better release for spins off the wake.

The wider the middle of the wakeboard, the higher it will sit in the water and the harder it will bounce off the wake. You do lose some ability to edge the wakeboard really aggressively and cannot rely on your fins as much. This teaches you to use the rail of the wakeboard to edge through the water instead of relying on your fins.

For the big, mellow wakes and aggressive out-in-the-flats riding you should find a wakeboard that is wide through the middle and a little narrower at the tip and tail so you can edge longer and use your fins more. For an all-around loose snowboard-type feel and those huge, steep wakes, find a wakeboard that is wider throughout.

Weight

Lighter wakeboards are easier to move around and may have better flex patters, which affects your pop and landings. Weight is a variable that is closely related to length and can be used the same way.

Bottom Design

On the bottom of the wakeboard you will see concaves, channels or maybe nothing at all. Each performs a different function, fine-tuning how the wakeboard rides through the water according to its width from tip to tail, fin setup, rocker and tip and tail shape.

Concaves create lift and make the wakeboard sit higher in the water. Ever so simply, concaves in different areas of the wakeboard created lift in different areas of the wakeboard. For instance, a double concave in the middle and a single concave in the tip and tail keep the wakeboard riding higher in the water overall. A double concave in the middle will always sit higher than the single concave.

Channels act like long fins. It’s something for the water to run into and along to help the wakeboard edge harder. If there are channels through the middle of the wakeboard and not at the tip or tail, it will be a hard-edging wakeboard but will still release well through the wake, depending on the fin setup. On a wakeboard with channels running through the tip and tail, the fins will hook better and the wakeboard will not release as well through the wake. Finally, a featureless wakeboard bottom relies on the tip and tail shape, the width throughout the rocker and the fins.

Fins

The closer you move the fins towards the center of the wakeboard, the quicker and better the wakeboard releases from the wake. The farther you move them out towards the tip and tail, the longer the wakeboard will stay hooked into the wake and it won’t release as well.

How the fins work depends on what size fins you are riding:

Long based fins
Their effect is based on their increased surface area – The more you have the better the fin hooks up. A tall fin with a short base is almost the same as a short fin with a long base because they have a similar amount of surface area. Long-based fins release better, give the wakeboard a loose, snowboardy feel when riding flat through the water.

Molded fins
These are big channels in the board that act like fins.

Multi-finned setups
These capture the maximum edge hold and aggressiveness into the wake and through the wake.

Canted side fins
These are fins that lean out on an angle. These fins are not as active when the wakeboard is riding flat through the water, but the more you lean on edge the more the wakeboard hooks up. The inside fin digs while the outside lifts, creating leverage to help the wakeboard edge hard.

Cupped side fins
They have the same effect as canted fins but add more of a push-pull effect. The cupped fin allows you to use a smaller fin but still get the hold of a bigger fin due to the increased surface area of the cupped side of the fin. These fins are very deceiving – they look small and loose but really aren’t.

 

 
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