If you’re already into water skiing, snowboarding, surfing, or any other adventure sport, you should give wakeboarding a try. When you’re wakeboarding, you’re booted into a board, as you would be on a snowboard. Then, either a boat or a cable system pulls you through the water as you do tricks through wakes or other obstacles.
When it’s summer and you’re missing the mountain, or if you’re an avid surfer stuck in a land-locked location, this sport can fill your need for action. You might even find yourself loving it as much as your other favorites.
Wakeboarding Riding Styles
Before picking a wakeboard, you’ll need to know a little about different styles. If you always ride with the same foot forward, start out with a single tip, which is more narrow in the front and only lets you go in one direction. If you have no preference, try out a twin-tip board, which lets you change directions.
For the novice rider, a continuous rocker is the way to go. As suggested by its name, the continuous rocker offers one curve from tip to tip, which gives you a smooth ride. Since this board doesn’t create as much friction between you and the water, it’s easier to maneuver, which is great for beginners and speed demons alike.
If you’re a seasoned wakeboarder, but you want to test out some new tricks, try a continuous rocker to practice.
The 3-stage rocker features a flat bottom with a nose and a tail that rises up at an angle. Look at these boards if you’re planning on wakeboarding behind a boat. Their shape makes it easier to ride wakes and pop out of the water to do tricks.
Beginners might want to steer clear of this model and opt for a hybrid because 3-stage rockers have the power to launch you out of the water.
Hybrid boards offer the best of both models. Hybrid boards are curved like a continuous rocker, but the tip and the tail come up at a sharper angle. This board gives you a smoother ride than a continuous rocker, but it also lets you pop out of the water to do tricks if you’re behind a boat.
If you enjoy riding cable parks to test out the obstacles and practice your tricks, you can use your hybrid board. Because of its shape, it’s also great for boat wakeboarding.
Choosing a Wakeboard Based on Experience Levels
Now that you’re familiar with the shapes, it’s time to help you learn the basics of wakeboard sizing based on your comfort level.
When you’re new, pick a longer board, because they are slower, and they aren’t as flexible. If you’re starting out at a cable park, choose a wakeboard specifically made for it. Cable park boards usually have fins built into them, and they are commonly made with fiberglass and other hard materials meant to tackle obstacles.
For boating, choose a board with a longer fin to help you cut through the wake. You’ll probably spend a lot of time learning how to cut through the wake at first, but choose a board with a little flexibility so you can start doing tricks.
If you’re comfortable with your board and ready to start playing around at the park or behind a boat, you can start looking at shorter, lightweight models. At this stage, you can start playing with 3-stage rockers and twin-tip boards, since you probably know how to turn and cross in multiple directions.
When you have mastered boarding and you’re ready to pop into the air, you can really play with your preferences. At this stage, you can choose a smaller, lightweight board with aerodynamics that makes tricks easier, or you could go for a durable model that is specifically made for cable park obstacles.
Choose your fins and shapes based on the tricks you want to accomplish. You can choose a smaller board with short fins to get more air on your tricks.
Choosing Your Board Length
Your ideal wakeboard size is based on your skill level and your weight. Beginners should opt for the longest boards available for easy control as they learn. Once you’ve mastered the basics, you have a little more flexibility, but you still need a board that can support your weight. Most adults between 150–250 lbs. should stick with a short board between 138-146 inches and a longboard between 146-156 inches, but this varies.
If you’re new to the sport, pick a novice board and get in the water. Once you’ve learned some skills, you’ll know how to pick a wakeboard that fits your riding style and activity preferences. Ask the pros at Miami Ski Nautique to help you find your perfect wakeboard.