Are you buying a wakeboard for the first time? Or are you looking for a replacement for your old and worn wakeboard? No matter the case, it’s always best to do your due diligence and research on which board perfectly meets your needs. One of the most crucial factors that wakeboarders consider is the price tag. So, how much does a wakeboard cost? Does an expensive price tag translate to quality? This post serves as a helpful buying guide for beginners and advanced wakeboarders alike.
What are wakeboards made from?
Wakeboards come in a wide range of styles as much as they vary in price. The basic construction of all wakeboards is the same, though various materials are used in their construction. The most common materials used in the fabrication of wakeboards are laminated wood, ABS plastic, and aluminum. Most wakeboards are finished with either fiberglass or graphite carbon sheeting to create a hard and rigid outer shell.
Regardless of brand or price, wakeboards need to feature a durable and compact design – both of which contribute to the expensive price tag on wakeboards. Make sure you have enough budget allotted to ride on a board with all the bells and whistles.
Why are wakeboards so expensive?
Wakeboards are generally expensive compared to equipment used for other water sports. Two major price determinants are design and construction. For you to safely enjoy the ride and pull off tricks, you need a sturdy wakeboard made from the best materials- a factor that contributes to the final price, too.
The way by which components are designed to function also adds weight to a wakeboard’s tag price. Brand reputation also influences wakeboard prices. And finally, the aesthetic design and customization features are also top reasons why some wakeboards are more expensive than others.
Beginners usually borrow or rent wakeboards during their first few rides. If you’ve decided to get a wakeboard for personal use, bear in mind that you can’t choose any wakeboard you want. It’s best to invest in an entry-level wakeboard. It will be challenging for you to control a wakeboard meant for intermediate to advanced wakeboard riders. Additionally, choosing a wakeboard that does not fit your skill level will make it challenging for you to progress despite regular sessions.
For you to decide on which wakeboard is worth their price, we have compiled important information about wakeboards and their essential design components:
Know the Ideal Wakeboard Size
One of the most crucial steps in buying a wakeboard is determining the size that will work best for your body and skill level. Additionally, sizing directly influences the riding styles and landing tricks that you can pull off with ease and efficiency.
- Only consider buying a smaller wakeboard if you’re one of the pro riders. Smaller wakeboards are known to have less swing weight which facilitates faster spins during trick execution. Smaller-sized wake gives a more aggressive feel and quick edge-to-edge transitions.
- Bigger boards are an excellent choice for beginners. They are slower through water but provide stability needed to make landings softer and help in catching your edge. Bigger boards provide much-needed allowance but are generally more challenging to control.
Choosing the rocker style
The rocker is the curve in a board located between the nose and tail of the board. A three stage rocker is characterized by a flat spot found at the bottom, while a continuous rocker features a smoother, continuous curve.
What is a continuous rocker?
Continuous rockers deliver a faster feeling board that guarantees reliable pops and soft landings. Here are lightweight wakeboards with a continuous rocker profile:
- Liquid Force Rhythm Wood Core Park Track Wakeboard
- Hyperlite Ripsaw Cable Wakeboard
- Ronix Selekt Park Wakeboard
What is a three stage rocker?
Boards with 3-stage rockers have two distinct bend points and three planes located on the bottom of the board. They respond better to explosive, vertical pops and bucking. Here are the best wakeboards with 3-stage rocker design popular in cable parks as they contribute to great landings and optimal control:
- Liquid Force Remedy
- Ronix One ATR
- Hyperlite Murray Pro
What is a hybrid rocker?
Hybrid or blended rockers make for an excellent and smooth wakeboarding experience as they feature the best characteristics in both 3-stage and continuous rocker profiles. They are ideal for boat riding on weekends and regular cable park days, too. A hybrid rocker profile has a stiff center with a more flexible nose and tail that facilitates wake hits and rail presses. It’s the perfect option if you’re a rider with both cable and boat access but only want one to do it all. Some of the best models with hybrid rockers with reasonable price tags are:
- Ronix Quarter Til Midnight
- Jobe Conflict
- Liquid Force Shane Dose
Additional Tips When Choosing Rockers in Wakeboards
- Keep your riding style and skill level in mind when looking at rocker profiles. Bigger rockers are more aggressive, resulting in bigger pops and harsher landings.
- If you ride in a cable park with choppy weather conditions or in larger lakes, we recommend boards with more rocker.
- Boards with a sintered base give a stiffer feel that is great if you’re frequently hitting the rail slide.
- If you are a beginner or intermediate rider, it’s best to stick with wakeboards with more solid and not-too-aggressive rocker profiles. Move on to advanced boards when you’ve finally nailed the correct balance, attack angles, and weight distribution while riding.
- For a smoother ride, go for beginner to intermediate boards that deliver a smoother riding experience, more forgiving, and will help you progress better.
How to choose the base design
In essence, the base design refers to the base of a board that influences its feel on the water. A wakeboard that has a clean, flat base with shallow base design results provides an overall loose and “skatey” feeling on the water. More channeling through the base increases traction, smoothens landings, and better edge-to-edge transitions.
We recommend boards with full-length-based channels that guarantee a stable ride and more excellent hold on edge for beginners. Boards with deeper channels are perfect for traction but are less forgiving during landings.
How to choose the tip & tail on wakeboards
It’s easy to overlook the design and shape of a board’s tip and tail when window shopping. The tip and tail fall under four main shapes: diamond, swallow, round, and square. Ideally, pick a board that features two or more of these shapes.
Rounded tips deliver soft landings but with less pop. Square tips, on the other hand, give you greater pop but flat landings. Diamond and swallow-shaped tips provide a more forgiving feel when riding on a longer board but with the performance advantage of a shorter board. However, diamond tips are known to give less pop, while a swallow shape tip is less forgiving when it comes to landings.
How to choose wakeboard bindings
Bindings are essentially the component on your board that holds you in place while riding. Bindings vary in terms of features, fit, and flexibility. Make sure to choose bindings that deliver a snug fit. They should hold you firmly on the board without them being too constrictive or tight. Before trying on some bindings, apply some lubricant around the foot to help you determine which bindings will comfortably hold you in place for longer rides.
How to choose the rail on wakeboards
The rails or edges run along the heel or toe portion of a wakeboard. They are responsible for creating angle and speed into the wake. Boards with sharper edges are more aggressive and less forgiving. Wakeboards for beginners have rounded edges that ensure an easy release from the water, thus preventing you from falling off the board.
Advanced boards have sharper edges that will enable you to pick up more speed into the wake. Lastly, boards with variable edge design are sharper in the tip and tail but are also rounded towards the center give riders an aggressive approach into the wake and ensures more forgiving rides between the boots.
How to choose the fins
Fins come in two types – center fins and edge fins. The former is far more common in beginner boards and function as training wheels, giving you the stability to learn, progress, and more importantly, help you control the board and keep you in a straight line behind the boat.
You may remove the center fins once you’ve gained the confidence after a few wake sessions. The edge fins that run down each edge of the tip and tail will allow you to grip and turn on the heel, as well as release easily for spins and wake jumps.
There are wakeboard models with detachable edge fins for those who want to create a different riding experience. Shallow and rounded fins provide you with a loose feel, while deep and sharper finds give you a moderate to tight grip that lets you drive into the wake quickly but are known to be less forgiving than its rounded and shallow counterparts.
Here are the top three of the best wakeboards from beginners, intermediate to advanced wakeboard riders:
Liquid Force Trip – $299.00
This board will make wakeboarding easier and more fun. It was designed with point and shoot rideability in mind. It features a continuous rocker, D-I-S-C Hull Technology, and removable center fin layup. Trip LTD is an excellent choice for beginners and experts alike.
Hyperlite State 2.0 – $274.99
This model features Hyperlite’s Monocoque Construction which ensures a more durable board during side impacts, thus preventing delamination. If you’re looking forward to crazy fun rides, the Hyperlite State 2.0 is your best bet. The design is meant to skip the learning curve totally and allows you to do more fun tricks after a few sessions. The asymmetrical board shape facilitates easier and more intuitive toe-side turn initiations without sacrificing balance, power, and stability.
Liquid Force Timba Wakeboard – $459.99
One of the most reliable, lightweight boards that can do it with no gimmicks is the Timba Wakeboard from the renowned brand Liquid Force. It boasts a full paulownia wood core that guarantees excellent rebound and improved core life. It has a sturdy grind base which makes it the perfect wake ride, whether you choose to ride at a cable park or behind a boat. The Timba also features the Exclusive Grind Base that can withstand years of use.
Slingshot Coalition Wakeboard – $860.99
This is an excellent wakeboard for intermediate riders. It features a medium to soft flex with a wide body, giving you stability and control. The Coalition Wakeboard comes with Slingshot’s signature wood core and Ballistic Base, both of which provide this board its popular flavor and flex. The toe and heel edges are raised to 5mm, creating a buffer zone between the edges that help you through rough waters and obstacles. Lastly, the fusion sidewalls are installed into the board core for unmatched dampening and durability.
Ronix RXT Wakeboard – $799.99
This is one of the best wakeboard models of 2021. The superior technology and construction that went into the RXT Wakeboard is evident in its speed, lightweight quality, and easy maneuverability. The design offers a smooth ride, thanks to its minimal swing weights and explosive lift offs that ensure optimal stability and soft landings.
The continuous rocker profile further adds to the consistency and superior handling during rides. The Ronix RXT Wakeboard has everything that advanced riders need for a crazy fun ride. The construction and materials are top notch, so it’s definitely a wise investment for pros and riders who visit cable parks regularly. It’s a versatile board in that you can use it to ride behind a boat, delivers the most reactive rides that tracks well, and holds a hard edge into the wake.
We hope that through these wakeboard buying pointers, you’ll finally choose a wakeboard that matches your skill level, preferences, and budget.