Are you looking for ways to improve your wakeboarding skills? One of the first things that you must do to further fine tune your skill is to choose a wakeboard size that perfectly fits your unique needs. As the market is teeming with wakeboard sizes in various lengths, shapes, and widths, picking the best wakeboard model can be tedious and painstaking. This guide will greatly help you decide which wakeboard is well worth your hard-earned money.
How do you know what size wakeboard to get?
There are several elements that shoppers need to consider when choosing the ideal wakeboard size. Here are a few things that you need to bear in mind before you start scouting for one:
Rider weight is the most crucial element when determining the ideal wakeboard size. In essence, your height does not play a role on the sizing of your wakeboard.
Your individual riding style will be a factor in narrowing down your wakeboard options. Are you the type who likes to do surface tricks? Do you like riding rails in cable parks?
Different wakeboard settings require different board types. Will you be the only one using the wakeboard? Are you sharing it with other people or is it your personal wake ride? You can save up if you choose a multi-purpose wakeboard model and you can customize your ride based on your unique needs and preferences.
Your skill level plays an important determining factor when choosing the right size of wakeboard. If you are an intermediate or advanced rider, you may have an idea of what board size suits you well. On the other hand, if you are a beginning rider, you may need to do your due diligence on researching and trying out different wakeboard sizes before purchasing your very own.
It is imperative that you identify your budget. You can choose from top-rated but affordable wakeboard models or sleek wakeboards from premium brands.
The type of water you are usually riding will also influence your buying decision. Do you like riding on a calm and glassy lake? Are you the type who prefers riding wildly in the open water?
How do I choose a wakeboard?
Rider Weight in Choosing Wakeboard Size
The most common reference that will help you find the perfectly sized wakeboard is by looking at manufacturers’ specifications manual. You can check them out from their respective website before you visit an actual store for closer inspection. When creating specifications guide, most wakeboard companies use weight as their only reference. The only problem is that using rider weight alone is not as accurate given that we don’t come in identical body shapes. Due to the large difference in heights among riders, experts highly recommend factoring in height when choosing the right size from a wakeboard size chart.
A standard wakeboard size chart for more manufacturers look like this. It corresponds to the weight and the recommended board length of the ideal wakeboard:
- less than 100 lbs – less than 130 cm
- 90 to 150 lbs – 130-134 cm
- 130 to 180 lbs – 135-139 cm
- 170 to 250 – 140- 144 cm
- 200 to 275+ – 144++ cm
Rider Height in Picking the Correct Wakeboard Size
Your height is just as crucial a factor as your weight. As height affects your overall balance, you need to be narrowing down your choices to wakeboards that will allow you to assume the proper stance while riding. For instance, if your height is too tall for your ideal weight, choose a longer wakeboard outfitted with binding inserts that are a little bit wider, so you can set a wider stance hence improving your horizontal stability while riding.
Wakeboard Length in Choosing the Right Wakeboard Size
The wakeboard length will largely depend on two factors, namely your skill level and body type. If you are shorter than average in regards to the ideal weight, bear in mind that your weight or extra weight should be the deciding factor. In this case, simply follow the recommended board size as stated on the manufacturer’s specification guide to ensure that you have float and adequate surface area to gain stability and balance. Of course, this is not applicable for all riders, but this will make your riding experience easier.
What size wakeboard do the pros ride?
To get the right wakeboard length, expert riders opt for lighter and shorter wakeboards as it provides them with both stability and flexibility. By rule, a longer wakeboard allows beginning riders to learn more comfortably. Intermediate and advanced riders, especially those who like pulling off surface tricks, usually feel more comfortable using a shorter wakeboard. Shorter boards are excellent for skilled riders as they allow easier spins on water and are highly maneuverable through the air.
Height and Weight Standard Guidelines
When it comes to wakeboard shapes, you need to check out different sizing guidelines. If you are sharing the wakeboard with other riders, your baseline should be the height and weight of the rider with the most amount of weight. Typically, larger boards are wider which translates to more lift and softer landings.
Additionally, beginners find it easier to stand up on the boards with large surfaces, while intermediate to advanced riders can fully enjoy their rides on a shorter wakeboard with increased rocker heights.
The standard wakeboard sizing chart is a guide that is most helpful for beginners. As you learn more skills and become an adept rider, the wakeboard size will be determined mainly by your riding style, skill level, and preferred board model.
Beginners will have an easier time learning how to ride on longer wakeboards due to its larger surface area. When you’re looking to buy a wakeboard for group use, we highly recommend choosing from boards in 135 to 139 range as they are the best sizes for riders of all shapes and sizes.
What is the best wakeboard for beginners?
Selecting a correctly sized wakeboard and binding inserts is important especially when you are on water. A bigger wakeboard will feel heavy and tricky to maneuver, whereas a small one will feel unstable and sink easily into the water.
Your binding is perhaps one of the most crucial aspects of your setup. It is where your feet will be firmly grounded, hence your personal comfort should be taken into serious consideration. Look for bindings that fit just right- not too lose nor too tight.
Pick a binding that gives you a snug fit so your feet do not move as much. Avoid bindings that are too tight as your feet will most likely get numb during the first few minutes of riding.
Riding Style in Choosing the Best Wakeboard Size
Your choice of board for traditional riding will differ from what you use when riding at cable parks. As wakeboarding at a cable park features a lot of obstacles, you may need to purchase a wakeboard that is intended solely for this type of venue.
Wakeboard Rocker or Camber
A camber or rocker is the curved shape of a wakeboard. Accentuated rockers or cambers give riders more fun while riding. It also helps increase speed, reduce face planting at high speeds, and generate more pop off the wake. There are two types of cambers. The first one is a continuous camber that features a consistent curve with no angles in sight. The second type is the 3-stage rocker or camber that is characterized as blocky and has a shallow curve, which in turn maximizes your air off the wake.
While a continuous rocker slides easily over it unless riding at high speeds, the 3-stage camber on the other hand forces you up at high speeds. The more air you get, the more fun your riding experience will be.
Which is the best between continuous rocker and 3-stage camber design?
If you want to do some fast riding, you may very well choose the continuous camber. The 3-stage camber is not meant for those who want to ride the wakeboard faster. Its inherent design will let you plow through the water, resulting in more friction which in turn can negatively impact your grip onto the tow rope. 3-stage camber wakeboards are generally less forgiving as opposed to continuous cambers.
A third type of rocker, the hybrid camber or blended 3-stage camber, was introduced into the market. At the end of the day, the type of rocker that best suits you will depend on your personal preference and budget. For a more laid-back riding, experts recommend wakeboards with a continuous rocker. Consequently, if you wish to use it mostly at cable park venues, pulling some tricks around the facilities, a board with a 3-stage rocker will be a fitting partner for you.
Here are other important features that you should look into when shopping for a new wakeboard:
The small indents on the bottom part of the board are called concaves. Their main function is to facilitate lifts when riders hit the wake and reduce suction that keeps you glued to the water’s surface.
Unlike a surfboard that heavily relies on its fin to keep straight, wakeboards typically utilizes its edge to cut a turn. However, the longer fins on wakeboards make turning easier. The additional fin is an excellent feature for carvers. However, if you are a quick rider or a rider in intermediate or advanced ability level that often visits cable parks, we recommend choosing boards without deeper fins.
For a smoother ride, you may opt to choose a wakeboard with channels. They are indentations that run the length of the board and are the perfect balance between a fin-equipped and smooth base. Channels are also helpful if want to keep a straight course and break the surface tension during rides. This feature complements riders that like boards with hybrid cambers.
Spines are features designed to soften landings if you’re popping off the wake. Much like a keel on boats, spines run across the entire length of the board but with a less blocky design.
Wakeboards come in different types of edges. The type of edge intended for you will depend on your riding style and skill. For instance, hard and sharp edges are ideal for carvers as they slice through water smoothly.
At the opposite side of the spectrum, smooth edged wakeboards are for riders with advanced ability level and like to do more complicated tricks in the air. They are known for sloppier landings but can still slide easily on the water. The main selling point of boards with smooth edges is that they don’t catch an edge as easily as hard and sharp edged boards do.
More recent wakeboard models utilize a combination of resin, foam core, fiberglass, and different plastics in their fabrication. Boards are designed to be fairly stable; hence they allow riders to cut through choppy waters and give solid pops off the wake. The structural support of wakeboards can be attributed to its fiberglass component that is usually found at the top, bottom, and thin sides of the board.
Some brands have adopted some sleek aspect from snowboards. Recent models are reinforced with two independent sheets of fiberglass at the top and bottom portion to give boards more bend and flex. A flexed board helps boat riders to maintain the pop of the board while providing the ability to ollie off the wake.
You can perform neat tricks with flex boards when you ride at cable parks, including doing buttered-out nose or tail slide by balancing on the flexed out portion of the board while sliding over non-water surfaces. While they aren’t the most stable boards, they are the best option for exciting and wild rides.
If you’re looking for a wakeboard with all the bells and whistles for beginner use on smooth waters, pick a board with a continuous rocker outfitted with fins, spines, or channels.
For those who prefer riding at cable parks, you need a wakeboard that can withstand all the grinding you have in mind. A board with a slippery, durable base, with some flex and a continuous camber will be your best bet for this type of venue and style of riding.
For boat-skilled and cable beginners, we highly recommend hybrid boards. Of course, they make sacrifices in certain aspects but are highly adaptable as well. Most hybrid boards have channels and hybrid cambers.