Picking the Right Wakeboard
Picking the board that’s right for you. While it’s true that all wakeboards share some similar properties, they also vary greatly in regards to shape, rocker profile and fin set up. Understanding the differences between boards will help you choose the correct board for your personal preference. Before diving head first into the technical aspects of board design, ask yourself a few simple questions.
1. Who will be riding this board, an individual or an entire family?
2. What is the skill level of the person(s) riding the board?
3. Do you want a board that breaks loose easily like a snowboard, or one that edges hard and fast like a slalom ski?
Understanding what you want in a board will help you determine what kind of characteristics you want to look for in your new set up. The following are a list of design characteristics and a brief description of how they will affect how a board rides. Rocker Shape.
Rocker shape is determined by how the board curves from tip to tail. Placing a board flat on a table and viewing its curvature from the side profile will allow you to see a board’s rocker. A smooth curve, known as a continuous rocker, will give a smooth take off and landing from the wake. Typically continuous rocker boards will also carry a bit more speed into the wake. Many beginner and intermediate boards utilize a continuous rocker because of there smooth riding characteristics, but many pro level shapes use it as well thanks to its ability to provide soft landings even on the biggest airs. A board that has a flat spot in the middle of the rocker line is known as a three-stage rocker. This type of rocker is known for giving a crisp pop off of the wake. Typically this type of board will get more height on a jump, but less distance, than a continuous rocker. Many intermediate and advanced level boards will use this rocker profile. The huge pop experience by this shape is due to the flat spot under the feet crashing into the wake, taking this shape far out into the flats you may notice that it doesn’t land as soft as a continuous rocker but taking everything wake to wake will solve that problem.
Edge Profile. The edge of a board is just that the edge though some companies may call it a rail. In general the sharper the edge, the better the edge will hold when the board is making a toe side or heel side cut. Beginners may want to look for a board with a bit thicker edge to avoid “catching an edge” if the rider is unsure or unstable. Getting a board with a sharper edge will allow an intermediate or advanced rider to use the edge more effectively and keeps the board from slipping out on hard cuts.
Fin size. Fin size dictates how easy it will be to break the board loose when the board is flat on the water. A larger fin will give a board a very positive back end, much like a surfboard or a slalom ski. Larger fins also help add stability in rough or wavy water. A smaller fin will allow the board to break loose more easily, more like a snowboard. Many beginner boards come standard with larger fins to give the board more directional stability while most intermediate to advanced level boards come with smaller fins to allow the rider to have more control over the board. Fins bolt on and can easily be swapped out, so you may want to look into getting an extra pair, which are a different size than what comes stock on your board. Having a variety of fins can allow you to have the optimal set up for rough and windy days as well as epic butter sets.
Channels and molded in fins. Channels are the grooves in the bottom of a board while the raised areas are molded in fins. Channels and molded in fins give your board directional stability and add to its ability to edge. A board with large molded in fins may be ridden “finless” by removing the bolt on fins. Riding finless allows the board to break loose very easily meaning the rider must be able to hold an edge using just the edge profile of the board.
Width. Generally width is measured across the mid section of the board though sometimes tip and tail width are measured as well. A wide board will get more pop off of the wake, but will give up some of its edging ability as the riders foot is farther from the edge of the board. Lighter weight riders will especially notice this, thus many women’s and kids boards run a bit narrower than means and adult boards.
Board size. Board size is determined by the overall length of the board from tip to tail. The correct size of a board is determined by the weight of the rider, or if the board is going to be ridden by a number people the weight of the heaviest rider. Currently there are several boards on the market that are designed to be ridden shorter than a standard size board. When sizing these boards make sure to read the manufacturers recommendations for sizing, as they will vary from company to company. Remember, this is all basic information. If you have a more detailed or specific question contact us and we will be glad to help you find the board that best suits your personal riding style.
Still have questions regarding a wakeboards? No problem! Feel free to give us a call 763-404-7372, or email us at sales@wakeboards for any additional questions. You can also use our online chat for fast and easy answers by clicking here.
If you're ready to start looking for a new board, check out the links below to see great wakeboard packages to get started on.
Hyperlite State & Remix Package
Ronix Vault & Divide Package
Liquid Force PS3 & Domain Package