What You Need to Know Before Purchasing a Wakeboard
A wakeboard is a long, multidirectional board, usually equipped with between two and eight fins, used for wakeboarding. Designed to be ridden at the surface of a body of water, wakeboards are configured to to be hydrodynamic, light, and stable. Below are some key points, characteristics, and features that are unique to wakeboards. Knowledge of these features is essential in the process of making an educated purchase of a wakeboard.
The performance demands of modern wakeboarding have given rise to many different wakeboard constructions. Most boards are constructed from a mix of compression molded foam, fiberglass weave, wood, and carbon fiber. Every wakeboard is equipped with binding inserts or a track system that enables one to attach wakeboard boots to the top of the board. These inserts allow riders to customize their stance based on preference and inseam height. Depending on the production year, brand, and model, wakeboards will have 8” insert patterns, 6” insert patterns, a track system, or albeit rare - a four hole pattern similar to a snowboard. Hardware and screws enabling attachment are traditionally included with bindings.
The size of a wakeboard is synonymous with it's length from nose to tail. The majority of wakeboards are sized metrically using centimeters or the United States customary measurement, inches. Longer wakeboards accommodate heavier riders and smaller wakeboards are designed for lighter riders, women, and kids. A popular misconception is that a rider's height determines the size of a wakeboard. This is not true. Height comes into play when setting a riders stance, but not when determining wakeboard length.
|Rider Weight (lbs)
||Wakeboard Length (cm)
|25lbs – 70lbs
||Up to 118cm
|40lbs – 85lbs
||118cm – 130cm
|65lbs – 110lbs
||124cm – 134cm
|70lbs – 130lbs
||130cm – 138cm
|100lbs – 170lbs
||134cm – 142cm
|150lbs – 225lbs
||138cm – 146cm
|170lbs – 250+lbs
||142cm – 146cm
|200lbs – 275+lbs
||146cm and up
Rocker – The rocker of a wakeboard is the curvature of the hull from tip to tail. Rocker contributes to the amount of drag a wakeboard produces and the amount of “pop” it has off the wake. There are three main rocker shapes that wakeboards employ: Continuous, progressive, and 3-stage.
Continuous Rocker – A continuous rocker is a smooth, unobstructed curve that runs from tip to tail. In the realm of rocker types, this one is the most hydrodynamic. Wakeboards that feature continuous rockers are usually very nimble and produce very little drag. They are known for having a very predictable pop off the wake and naturally forgiving landings.
Riders desiring a smooth, drag-less feel will benefit from a continuous rocker shape. This usually includes beginners, riders charging the flats, and riders with mellow cutting styles.
3-Stage Rocker – A 3-stage rocker utilizes two conspicuous corners, usually below the inserts, that break up the curvature of a wakeboard into three distinct flat sections. 3-stage boards are known for their “bucking pop” off the wake due to the load produced by the front corner when a rider hits the wake. This also causes the board to drag a bit creating more load on the line.
3-stage shapes are synonymous with technical wake-to-wake boat riding. These shapes were introduced in the late '90s and have since dominated the market.
Progressive Rocker – Progressive rocker shapes are a hybrid between continuous rocker and three stage rocker. Often, these boards are equipped with a base that has three-stage characteristics, yet whose edges will be unobstructed – like a continuous rocker.
Base Design – The base, hull, or bottom of a wakeboard contributes to how “grippy” your board rides, how it releases from the water, landings, and how durable it is. Bases often incorporate channels and ridges that, when coupled with fins, give the board a certain amount of horizontal stability. Hardened sintered plastic, PVC plastic, and traditional bottom sheets have all been used as base material. Certain materials, like sintered plastic, are more durable than others, yet are a bit heavier. This is especially relevent for riders hitting sliders, rails, and frequenting the cable park.
Another popular feature incorporated into base design is the center spine. This is a ridge that runs nose to tail throughout the entire length of the board. Certain wakeboards employ this feature because it's a proven way to soften the impact when landing. The same can be said for the center spine's modern equivalent, the concave and double concave hull.
Width – Most width measurements are calculated at the widest point of the wakeboard in the center, between the riders feet. Width directly affects pop and how deep a wakeboard rides in the water. The width of the tip and tail of a wakeboard varies by some degree from board to board, but this measurement is not drastic and is rarely noted in the manufacturer's description.
Fins – Like surfboards, wakeboards incorporate flattened vertically standing ridges to provide directional stability. These are commonly called Fins. Fins are usually located at the tip and tail and are either bolted onto the bottom of a wakeboard with provided hardware or molded into the base. Fins come in a variety of shapes and sizes that are typically designed to work with a specific model of wakeboard. They can be long, short, cupped, angled, tall, or small. For the best results, use the fins that come with your wakeboard. Switching and mixing fins used to be a common practice, however today's wakeboard shapes are usually designed with a specific fin shape and size in mind. Again, these will come with your wakeboard.
Choosing a Wakeboard
The right wakeboard is sized appropriately for the rider and its features compliment the rider's style. If one does not have a defined riding style, we encourage riders to let their ambitions guide them.
Having the right wakeboard under your feet will help you progress fast. With all the features, sizes, and technology on the market these days, finding the perfect wakeboard for your riding style is more attainable than ever. This doesn't make it an easy task, however. That's where we come in. Our customer service team boasts an unmatched depth of knowledge concerning all things wakeboarding. Contact us with any questions you have about features, sizing, or choosing the right wakeboard.