If you are a fan of snowboarding, surfing, or water skiing, there is a strong chance that you will fall in love with wakeboarding. In fact, you are either here today to learn more about wakeboards or because you are in the market for a new model. Thankfully, no matter your reasoning for being here, your time will be well spent. Of course, you need to pay close attention as several factors come into play when you are looking for the right wakeboard for you. Breaking each section down and doing so in a way that everyone can understand is the intent of this guide. So, without further ado, are you ready?
- Liquid Force
- Specific strength
- Designed for Shane Bonifay
- Ronix Vault
- Shorter insert
- Great design
- Slingshot Windsor
- Stiff center
- Ideal for air tricks
10 Best Wakeboards
Liquid Force Shane Dose
Liquid Force designed the Shane Dose Wakeboard with a 3-stage rocker. The center curve is flatter for enhanced speed and rail control, while the break-in rocker curve allows for more aggressive riding.
This board was designed for a professional (Shane Bonifay). Basically, the point of this wakeboard was to create a board that did it all.
Designed with concave beveled edges, this wakeboard is able to achieve excellent bite and hold on the water. Also, the elastomeric sidewalls deliver superb strength and move with your board as it flexes.
Thanks to the grind base which contours to the molds of this wakeboard, your board is protected all season long. Oh yeah, and the wood core also gives you enhanced flex with rebound. Lastly, the Vector Net also adds strength as it is a unique carbon weave.
With the slider quad fin setup, which sports a flattened top, you are delivered with the bite you need around corners while also allowing you to hit the kickers at your cable park. Also, the quad fins are removable.
If you feel confident in your wakeboarding prowess and feel you are ready for a wakeboard that requires superb skill, then you are ready for the Shane Dose Wakeboard. It simply is as flawless as a design gets.
- The Vector Net add specific strength properties
- An unmatched connection is made to make you and the board one
- Specifically designed for pro rider Shane Bonifay
- Does require professional skill
To provide a more explosive and straight up pop, the Vault has been engineered with a 3-stage rocker. Off the wake, you will be thrilled with the enhanced explosion of this board.
As the rail design is asymmetrical, curving and cutting have been simplified for the novice rider. Again, though, beginner riders will still notice a steep learning curve. But, it can develop your skills like no other.
What is nice about the grip and release channels of the Vault is it provides you with the traction you need without adding unnecessary resistance to the water. Outside of this, the profile of this board has been made thinner for more contact on the water.
Durability is at the forefront here and that is evident when you assess the glass design. The glass is molded from the bottom to the top to eliminate the flash line being the weak point.
Equipped with this wakeboard are two fiberglass hook fins and four molded asymmetric fins. This keeps users guessing about what the wakeboard is truly capable of.
Ronix was able to manufacture a wakeboard that is ideal for a wide level of skill levels. Widening their demographic was a tremendous decision and it leads to one of the best wakeboards out there, period.
- It sports a thinner profile with a shorter insert
- Features grip and release channels
- Can easily take your riding skills from good to elite
- For beginners, this will be challenging at first
The last two had 3-stage rocker designs but the Windsor has what is known as a hybrid rocker. Essentially, this is a blend of a continuous and 3-stage rocker. If you can’t decide between the two types of rockers, this is almost too good to be true.
For any beginners out there, this is probably not the board for you. It is an all-around park board but the skill level needed to perform admirably with it is intermediate at worst.
First off, this is engineered with a stiff center which allows it to maintain excellent pop off the water. In addition to this, the soft tip and tail allow you to lock into presses with decreased resistance.
The Windsor sports a vertically laminated all-wood core and this uses the collective strength of the wood’s end to deliver surreal flex characteristics. Also, the aforementioned Ballistic park base protects the board from all surfaces (such as metal, wood, plastic and grass).
Slingshot Sports went with four six-inch by 0.75-inch wake fins for the Windsor.
If you are planning to wakeboard at a cable park, this may be your best choice. It is designed specifically to accommodate riders who love performing air tricks and the like. Then again, it is fantastic otherwise, even if you do not use it in this manner.
- The Ballistic park base can withstand all surfaces
- Sports a stiff center which helps maintain pop off the water
- Ideal for air tricks and cable parks
- Could prove too advanced for beginners
Ronix One I-Beam
Once again, this wakeboard implements a 3-stage rocker design making it the third on this list to do so. Again, this will create more of an instant explosive buck off the wake.
The reason the I-Beam is ideal for advanced riders is its aggressive nature and insanely high speeds. For new riders, this type of handling is going to prove too difficult; unless you pick up on the sport right away.
Thanks to the deeper side vents of this model, it has 20 percent more glide speed than the previous model. Also, the One I-Beam has more contact and feel on the water than older models.
Ronix will go to their grave raving about their mod pour foam core. They have great reason to as it is comprised of an exclusive blend of atoms and sports the highest strength-to-weight ratio ever tested by them.
Fiberglass is the way to go in Ronix’s eyes as they have integrated four fiberglass ramp fins and four fiberglass free agent fins on their I-Beam Wakeboard.
It is tough to put into words how spectacular and advanced the I-Beam Wakeboard truly is. In fact, this board gives young riders motivation to hone their craft and this could be their reward.
- The low-friction base assists in glide speed
- The glass is wrapped from the bottom to the top
- A second piece of glass wraps around the core for enhanced strength
- It is an expensive wakeboard
Hyperlite also designed their Machete with a 3-stage rocker. Because of this, the Machete provides a stable platform for riders while also offering them a flatter center for enhanced explosion off the wake.
Even though the Machete is inspired by professional riders, it is actually a great choice for recreational use and advanced riding. Of course, it is better tailored towards experienced riders.
Probably the most noteworthy performance feature of this board is the tip and the tail as they provide catch free riding in the flats. Oh yeah, they also do so while delivering an aggressive edge hold when you turn.
With the implementation of M6 hardware throughout the board, it has been outfitted with a reduction of width and subsequently weight. However, durability is not an issue as the layered glass construction is less prone to separated glass fibers.
The four P-Wing fins are removable and deliver sensational control Also, they can account for tremendous speed due to the true step-down edges.
What is nice is Hyperlite was able to engineer a wakeboard that has reduced weight while also having enhanced durability because of the layered glass construction. In short, pick this one up.
- A layered glass construction enhances the durability
- Integrates M6 hardware to reduce the board width
- It is inspired by pro riders Rusty Malinoski and Shaun Murray
- This is not for beginner riders
The Franchise introduces a new rocker design on this list and it is known as a continuous rocker. This started it all and the speed and fluidity of this rocker prevent it from becoming outdated.
In conjunction with the continuous rocker is the variable edge design. These two factors primarily allow this to be ideal for both novice riders and advanced riders alike.
So, what exactly is a variable edge design? Well, it basically integrates a thicker edge between the thinner and the inserts on the outside. The end result is a board that holds a strong edge during turns.
Outside of molding both the top glass and the bottom glass into one for enhanced durability, Hyperlite implements their Bio 3 Core technology. This is used throughout Hyperlite’s lineup of wakeboards and is the gold standard.
Four 0.8-inch P-Wing tapered fins have been included with this wakeboard.
Pop quiz, what is the best feature of the Franchise? Could it be the insane durability due to the molded glass construction? Or, is it the fact that it can be used for beginners and experts alike? No matter, it is amongst the cream of the crop.
- The top glass and the bottom glass are molded into one
- Sports a layered glass construction
- It is shaped by Greg Nelson
- It can’t be shipped outside of the United States
Hyperlite State 2.0
Instead of a normal continuous rocker, the State 2.0 is designed with an abrupt continuous rocker. Without sacrificing any speed whatsoever, the slightly exaggerated tip and tail create added pop.
In order to make harder to learn wake jumps easier for newer riders, the State 2.0 is designed with a shorter edge on the rider’s toe-side. As such, intermediate and beginner riders will feel right at home on this wakeboard.
The biggest performance edge that this board has is the aforementioned shorter edge. As there is less rail to initiate when you apply toe-side pressure, wake jumps will become much simpler.
Two of Hyperlite’s most infamous design elements are integrated into their State 2.0, as well. Of course, this is alluding to the Bio 3 Core technology and the monocoque construction method that molds the top glass and the bottom glass into one.
What is special about the molded-in fins of this wakeboard is that ABS has been introduced into these areas. Because of this, the reinforcement is higher and these areas become less prone to wear.
Hyperlite has proven time and time again why so many riders fall in love with their wakeboards. Their State 2.0 is right up there with some of their other models and implements all the bells and whistles they are known for.
- ABS is integrated into the molded-in fin areas
- Has great control and is easy for beginners to handle
- Will keep the same pop year after year
- While it is still durable, it is not the most durable wakeboard in the world
The Full Throttle Aqua Extreme has a continuous rocker and it sticks to the overall theme of this wakeboard. This allows you to effortlessly lift off the wake and will also provide less aggressive turns.
While this is marketed as being a great wakeboard for all levels of skills, it is more suitable for beginner riders. It does not sport the performance advancements that superior riders will be looking for.
From the tip of the nose, there are a plethora of defined channels that run through and they increase your edge control and also overall stability. Plus, the feather core technology implemented adds strength.
The lightest bottoms are available for this wakeboard, along with superior molding ABS retention strips. To top it off, literally, the top sheet is comprised of layered glass.
Along with the continuous rocker are two molded-in fins. For added strength and to ensure the fin attachments are secured, a reinforced ABS fin block is also incorporated.
It probably will not get much better for newer riders. Professionals and experts would probably deem this too conservative but that is okay as that is the point. Consider this a perfect starting model.
- Continuous boots are included with your purchase
- Features a reinforced ABS fin block for increased strength
- Designed with feather core technology
- For beginners only and will disappoint advanced riders
Liquid Force Harley
Indeed, the rocker of the Harley is a hybrid 3-stage rocker. Basically, two curves are blended together and it improves the overall performance. Also, the increased curve through the ends creates a much higher arc in the air.
Not all boards will be good for your entire family; unless you are all expert wakeboarders. As such, the intermediate and beginner status of this board should make it suitable for nearly everyone in the family.
Everything works together, including the RX quad fin setup, triple concave hull, and quad V channels, to allow you to carve like a butcher. Plus, the low-volume rails aid with speed and holding power.
Due to the custom blend of materials used throughout this wakeboard, the strength, flex, and weight are all improved. In specific, the polyurethane core and the special fiberglass increase performance and longevity.
In order to achieve a sharp and aggressive bite, Liquid Force decided to go with an RX quad fin setup for their Harley.
Probably the only way you will not enjoy this wakeboard is if you are too skilled for it. All the design features and components blend together admirably to produce a remarkable wakeboard.
- Designed with an RX quad fin for added aggressiveness
- Carves like a butcher due to its hull and quad channels
- Engineered with special fiberglass
- It is a larger wakeboard and it is not ideal for advanced riders
Due to the shape of the wakeboard, as it sports a continuous rocker, you will have less water resistance to deal with and the ride will be much smoother as a result.
Accommodating for stance widths up to 25.25 inches, it is clear that this wakeboard is specially designed for beginner riders. This enhanced base size provides extra stability to the board.
Just because this is a beginner level board does not mean it can’t perform with great efficiency. Because of the NACA tech channels, the pop, speed, and traction are all increased while also allowing for a smoother ride.
Much like with their other wakeboards, Slingshot Sports built their Nomad with a vertically laminated all-wood core. As with before, this creates superior flex characteristics. Additionally, the fusion sidewalls are brighter than ever.
In addition to everything else, the Nomad sports four wake fins that measure six inches by 0.75 inches in size.
With what Slingshot Sports set out to do, they did with flying colors. Their goal was not to engineer the most advanced wakeboard on the planet with their Nomad. Instead, they created a more user-friendly base to adapt to a younger and less experienced demographic.
- Sports the strongest and lightest mounting system
- Has NACA tech channels for improved smoothness over the water
- The fusion sidewalls are brighter than ever
- Can be prone to scratches
- Not going to be an ideal choice for advanced level riders
Criteria Used For Evaluation
The Design of the Rocker
First things first, what is the rocker on a wakeboard? It is simply the difference of shape between the tail and the tip and also the center of the bottom of the board. All you need to know, really, is the different types, though. The two most common rocker types are continuous rockers and 3-stage rockers. The former is actually one smooth and fluid shape that happens to be curved. What is nice about this rocker type is you can generate a great amount of speed while also enjoying a smooth ride as you can cut corners easily.
On the other hand, 3-stage rocker profiles actually have three distinct planes located on the bottom of the board. When you hit the wake with a 3-stage rocker wakeboard, you will receive more height than you would with a continuous rocker. However, this also means that the landings are more intense. Additionally, these types of rockers plow through the water which results in less speed.
Of course, sometimes you will see a hybrid rocker. As you may have guessed, this type of a rocker is a blend of the previous two. But, each hybrid rocker may be different depending on the brand.
The Skill Level of the Board
Wakeboards are classified into three different areas of skill levels and you need to be aware of your own skill level. Some will be designed for beginners and intermediate riders, some for intermediate and advanced riders, and others for advanced and expert riders. Now, beginner riders can still ride on an advanced model and vice versa but you may want to stick with the board that matches your skill set for the best results.
What makes them different, though? Well, first off, it is the size of the board. For instance, shorter boards can be harder to learn on as they are more unstable. On the contrary, though, longer boards may not provide the response that advanced riders crave. Each wakeboard will be advertised with a certain skill level rating so you are never left in the dark. But, just know that the more aggressive wakeboards are tailored toward elite-level riders. Of course, this means that novices will perform better with mellow wakeboards that place an emphasis on stability. If you land somewhere in the middle, though, there are intermediate boards that will accommodate you.
How Well They Perform
There are several different areas that you need to assess in regards to the performance of a wakeboard. Note, a lot of information is going to be thrown at you so do not get overwhelmed. Anyway, let’s start out by discussing the edges. If you are an advanced level rider, you will probably be looking for a sharper edge. The reason for this is they allow for a more aggressive approach and can aid in serious speed and acceleration. One downside to this, though, is it is less forgiving and easier to catch an edge. If you want to take a more conservative approach, consider a rounded edge.
Also, there are also variable edged boards which are really just a combination of the previous two. In different areas, there are different levels of sharpness and thicknesses to offer a wide blend of performance benefits. Outside of the edge design, there are several other features to look out for. For example, the concaves and channels of a wakeboard as these can create enhanced lift and break the surface tension before the rest of the wakeboard hits, respectively. Then again, there are also featureless wakeboards that merely depend on the performance of the shape alone.
Utilized Materials and Overall Construction
Most of what has been alluded to thus far has been tied in with the overall construction of a wakeboard. However, this section’s purpose is to focus on the physical materials that comprise the wakeboard. For the most part, you are going to see most wakeboards crafted of fiberglass wrapped around either a wood or foam core. Before the fiberglass method is discussed, there are different advantages to foam and wood. As for wood, they are generally going to flex and pop better than foam. However, foam holds advantages when it comes to weight, cost, and durability.
But, even more important may be the manner in which the fiberglass is integrated on the board. To enhance the durability, you may see what a layered glass construction method utilized. Basically, this method is used to mold together both the top glass and the bottom glass into one. The result is a much more durable exterior as two pieces are combined into one.
The Design of the Fins
Last, but not least, you should spend some of your time assessing the design of the fins. For a wakeboard, the fins are used to grip the water and depending on the size and the placement of them, can do so differently. But, before that is addressed, you should know the difference between removable and molded-in fins. Clearly, with the former, you can change the feel of your ride as they can be physically moved. While this is not the case with molded-in fins as they are glassed into the wakeboard, they are more durable as a result.
Now, let’s talk about the fin placement and size. It really goes back to your level of skill as deeper and longer fins will create a more stable ride. Because of this, beginner riders can really benefit from them. As you hone your craft, though, these longer fins could become a nuisance and you may want to remove them. Also, with fins closer to the outside edge the result can be more effective.
Q: How Long do Wakeboards Last?
There are cheap expenses and then there are those expenses that leave your wallet crying out for money. Well, buying a wakeboard (more often than not) is a latter expense. Because of this, you want to get the most bang for your buck and owning a wakeboard that is designed to last you several seasons would do just that. However, do they? It really depends on the quality of the model you have, the manner in which you ride on the wakeboard and how frequently you go out and ride on it.
Now, one thing is for sure, wakeboards will begin to perform differently as their body begins to decrease in quality. Of course, if you are not an advanced rider you may never even notice the slight downgrades in performance.
Q: Why Should You Clean a Wakeboard?
This almost seems like a rhetorical question in some ways as you really should already know the answer to this question. Much like any other performance-heavy product you ever invest in, you want to keep them clean so the performance does not suffer. For those who have owned wakeboards in the past, you are probably aware that they are exposed to dirt and grime. What do you think happens if contaminants like this stay on your board for long periods of time? Primarily, it could lead to your wakeboard discoloring or turning into a grey or yellow color.
But, there are other reasons you need to wash your wakeboard, as well. When you are at the beach, your wakeboard is going to most likely come in contact with the sand, seaweed in the water, dirt and rocks, and even salt if you wakeboard in sea water. Plus, simple things can happen such as spilling your drink, dropping your food, or squeezing your sunscreen on it.
Q: How Do You Store a Wakeboard?
Instead of mindlessly chucking your wakeboard into a random corner of your home or boat, maybe you should consider a reasonable and safe way of storing it? If you own a boat and plan to wakeboard with it, you need to find a good location in your boat to store it. However, they need to be out of your way so you can access certain things, as well. The only logical answer is to invest in a wakeboard tower rack. Considering the market size for these types of tower racks, you should have no issue finding one that suits your needs.
In terms of how you should store it at home, you could use the same method quite honestly. However, do so with a wall rack instead of a tower rack. Considering how many times you are really going to use your wakeboard will also answer where to mount the wall rack.
Q: What Size Should You Ride?
You already know the difference between a longer and a shorter wakeboard. However, the overall size of the board does matter and you may want to understand how to find the right size. One of the biggest deciding factors is going to be your weight. This is kind of ironic because, in snowboarding, your height is what matters. The reason weight is so crucial is because wakeboarding involves you floating on the water.
Thankfully, Evo has a convenient sizing chart on their website that informs you of the size wakeboard you will need in coordination with your weight. For example, anyone under 100 pounds should get a board under 130 centimeters in length. But, anyone 250 pounds and above should aim to get a board 144 centimeters or longer. All other weights fall in-between 130 and 144 centimeters in total length.
Q: How Do You Clean a Wakeboard?
So, now that you know you should clean your wakeboard, how do you clean it exactly? It really is not too complicated and perhaps the worst thing you can do is to try and over-clean it. To elaborate, all you really need to do is clean and rinse it off with fresh water. You should actually get in the habit of doing this every time you use it. Now, if you plan to wakeboard in salt water you will not be able to use the body of water to your advantage. If this is the case, bring along a tub of fresh water for cleaning or wait until you return to a location that has fresh water.
Here is the kicker, though; you should avoid using cleaning products and detergents. Unless you invest in a special cleaning solution that is made specifically for wakeboards, avoid doing so.
Q: What Are Some Other Ways to Care for a Wakeboard?
Outside of getting in the habit of washing off your wakeboard with fresh water, there are other general tips you should follow to enhance the lifespan and performance of your board. For starters, do a quick inspection of your board and look for damaged parts and general wear and tear. If you notice anything severe, take action before using the board. Also, ensure your fins are tight (if they are removable) because they will sink if you lose them.
You should avoid waxing your wakeboard, applying oil or lotions in your bindings, and also avoid keeping the board in direct sunlight for extended periods of time. Oh yeah, and do not let oil or gasoline near your board as they were not meant to be together.
Wakeboarding can be as exciting an activity as any water-based activity in the world. Yet, know your limits and understand your skill level. That is probably the most important part of the decision process as everything else will fall into place; granted you know if you are a beginner, okay, or a next-level legendary wakeboarder.