The size wakeboard you ride will depend on your weight and riding style. Every specific wakeboard has specific sizing guidelines for rider weight. If there are multiple people using your wakeboard, base your selection on the weight of the rider who rides the most or the heaviest rider. Riders can become extremely frustrated with wakeboards that are not long enough to float them sufficiently. However, there is a range in the length wakeboard you can ride. Here are some reasons why you may choose to go with a longer or shorter wakeboard.
Wakeboard Size Chart
Rider Weight (kgs)
Wakeboard Length (cm)
Some wakeboarders like to ride a board at the short end of their suggested size range. The feeling you get from a shorter wakeboard depends on the board’s shape, but in general, shorter boards are slower and take more energy to push through the water (the more surface area the board has on the water, the faster it will move across the surface). However, a shorter wakeboard is easier to spin and maneuver in the air as you flip or fly across the wake. However, the decreased surface area makes landings harder and the nose may tend to dig in which causes your nose and the rest of your face to dig into the water too.
Longer wakeboards are typically easier to ride and learn on, they have a solid feel that will really boost you off the wake. Longer wakeboards are heavier which means you work harder against the weight in the air, but you also get more control so longer boards are great for learning tricks for the first time. A longer wakeboard has more surface area so it will sit on top of the water nicely and move quickly through the water. The increased surface area of a longer wakeboard will offer softer landings.
A range of wakeboard shapes are available to suit different ability levels. In general, anyone can ride any shape wakeboard as long as it is large enough. Some shapes make it easier to learn, but a “beginner” should not shy away from an “advanced” board shape. Likewise, an “advanced” rider will not necessarily be restrained by riding a “beginner” board shape. The most important factor is selecting the right size. Choosing a wakeboard is a personal preference and should be fun; pursue your curiosities about a certain shape and allow a propensity for a great graphic factor into your decision.
If you have never ridden before, ride occasionally, or are just beginning to cross the wake, check out beginner-intermediate wakeboards. In general, these wakeboards have continuous or mellow 3-stage rockers and tend to be priced for recreational riders.
If you are crossing the wake in both directions and clearing the wake, take a look at intermediate-advanced wakeboards. There is a ton of variety in this category, so make sure you read up on the wakeboard features below to understand which features compliment your riding style before you decide on a wakeboard.
If you know how to spin, are attempting new tricks, stomping inverts or wakeboarding while juggling horseshoes you probably want to look at advanced-expert wakeboards. In general, these wakeboards have aggressive continuous or 3-stage rockers and are less forgiving. Advanced-Expert Wakeboards are often rider pro models. The bottom line is that these wakeboards are aggressive. Now that you know your ability level, learn how the different features of your wakeboard will affect the feel of your ride.
Wakeboard Rocker and Riding Style
A continuous rocker has one smooth fluid, curved shape. Wakeboards with continuous rocker provide fast, smooth rides and allow you to hook up turns more easily. You can generate a lot of speed on a continuous rocker wakeboard. Speed and a very predictable pop (height) when you hit the wake will shoot you farther out into the flats. Continuous rocker wakeboards are great for carving, especially on those glassy-smooth mornings.
A wakeboard with a 3-stage rocker features three distinct planes on the bottom of the board, similar to the Styrofoam dish your Taco Del Mar grilled halibut tacos come in. A 3-stage rocker causes your wakeboard to respond with more pop (height) when you hit the wake. However, more rocker is not always better. With a more dramatic rocker a wakeboard has a looser or slippery feel on the water surface. In addtion, the shape causes the board to plow rather than cut through the water, making it slower. Your fins become less effective and you must rely more on edging the wakeboard. Boards with 3-stage rocker have a flat spot which makes the impact of landings more intense and gives a slight sluggish feel after landing.
Hybrid 3-Stage, Abrupt Continuous, Blended 3-Stage, Hybrid Rocker are all names given to rocker profiles living somewhere between a Continuous and 3-Stage Rocker. Each brand and board offers a different combination.
Wakeboard Base Shapes & Materials
These are basically special dents on the bottom of your wakeboard that create lift and act as suction-reducing accelerators so the board will sit higher in the water and cruise like a hovercraft. Cool.
Channels act like long, extruded fins on the bottom of the board and break surface tension before the rest of the wakeboard hits. Think swan dive vs. belly-flop.
Spines help soften landings and allow you to easily roll from edge to edge similar to the v hull shape of some boats. V-shapes are often added to wakeboards with 3-stage rockers to soften landings.
Wakeboards without any molded-in fins or channels are considered featureless. A featureless bottom leaves the work and performance to the wakeboard’s shape alone; the overall shape, rocker and fin setup on your board will really affect the ride.
You will want to consider base material if you will be using your wakeboard on sliders that may impact the base.
Grind bases were developed in response to the increasing popularity of rail riding. This style of riding requires a tough base with exceptional durability to withstand the wear and tear from sliding over PVC, metal or docks.
The sharper the edge or rail, the more aggressively the wakeboard will track, resulting in improved acceleration and overall speed. The drawback of a sharp edge is that it is easier to catch an edge, resulting in a fly swatter-like effect with your face. A sharp edge is less forgiving than its rounded counterpart. Riders who enjoy surface tricks or riding sliders are advised to look for wakeboards with rounder or variable edges to give a buttery feel. Riders who like an agressive, hard carving ride will feel at home on a sharper rail. Grip it and rip it.
variable edged boards
These give you a blend of feel and performance found in sharp versus round edged boards. Variable edged boards have different sharpness’s in the middle vs. the tip and tail of the board. Variable edges are thicker and rounder (softer) in the middle of the wakeboard and grow progressively thinner (sharper) towards the tip and tail. The variable edge allows the wakeboard to maintain a high level of tracking/grip during edging while at the same time giving you a soft, forgiving edge for butter slides or any surface tricks. The variable edge, “soft to sharp” pattern, creates lift and pop towards board center and the thinner edges towards the ends make the wakeboard faster and better suited for carving.
Fins are like claws that grip the water differently depending on the number, size and placement on the wakeboard.
Deeper or longer fins create a more stable ride and reduce your ability to break the board free for surface tricks…actually, any tricks. Beginning riders often benefit from longer, deeper fins when they start riding. As you advance you may want to break the board loose with less effort by removing fins or selecting a board with less traction. A higher quantity of fins or fins placed near the outside edges of the wakeboard will be more effective.
Removable fins can be unscrewed and removed from the wakeboard while molded-in fins are glassed into the wakeboard and do not come off. Many wakeboards have molded in fins toward the outside and removable fins closer to the center. Molded in fins are more durable on sliders. Removable fins give you more options to change the feel of your ride.
Check fin screws regularly to make sure they are securely attached to your wakeboard. The fins and their screws do not float. When you nick your removable fins don't fret, you can sand them out or purchase new fins.
How does weight affect performance?
Lightweight wakeboards are a joy to ride. With no extra weight holding you down, lightweight wakeboards make for super smooth riding and easy maneuvering. Wake manufacturers are constantly developing new materials and technology to make lighter wakeboards. Upgrading to a super light board is like trading your Honda Civic for a Porsche, it is light, fun, fast, but with a higher price tag.