Frequently Asked Questions: Wakeboard

How do I choose a wakeboard?

Size matters. The weight of the person riding the board is the biggest determining factor. When choosing a wakeboard to fit yourself, this process is easier. A wakeboard usually performs best in a certain weight range. When buying a board for yourself, make sure your weight is in the middle of that range. Not totally sold on the size of a board? Go a bit longer.

Today, many manufacturers are revisiting sizing charts. Most seem to put riders on bigger boards. Importantly, more surface area equals more stability and more area to help spread out impact on landings. This tip should make your first wake jump or your first invert easier to land. This doesn’t really matter whether you’re riding behind a boat or in the park.

Likewise, when buying a board for a group of people to use, weight is still the biggest factor. Determine who is the heaviest rider and choose the board with him or her in mind. Because it is much easier for a smaller person to ride a big board than for a big person to ride a small one. Surface area supports weight.

How do I know what wakeboard boots to get?

When it comes to boots, you must also ask yourself if the boots are for you or for a group of people. You can purchase boots to cover a range of sizes or for your specific size. If the boot is for you, you can choose either open toe or closed toe boots. Closed toe boots should be for your foot and your foot alone. Many have heat moldable liners and are designed to fit one specific size. Closed toe boots give you greater control because they are basically made for your foot. If you ride in a colder climate, they’ll do a good job of keeping you warm as well.

Open toed boots are a great option for groups of people or growing kids. Size flexible boots typically come in a small (4–8), a standard (7–11), or an extra large (10–15) size range. They are easier to get off and on, give you adequate support, and cover a wide range of sizes. Some of our customers will try to maximize the use of a board and buy two sets of boots to cover the whole family.

What is the difference between a wakeboard rope and a waterski rope?

Wakeboard ropes are more like cords and don’t have much, if any, stretch. Wakeboarders generate and store energy by keeping constant tension on the mainline that they’re using. They are able to do this knowing that the energy is consistent and always there. Any stretching or recoil in a line is a negative to a rider, and can often pull them off axis resulting in nasty falls.

Waterski main lines are made of nylon, which has stretch. Skiers benefit from this by being able to use the stretch to generate speed across the wake. It’s also much easier on a skier’s body when coming out of turns. Unlike wakeborders, skiers can benefit from stretch or give in the line. Not only can it give the skier better acceleration, but it can also protect their joints from injury.

What is the difference between a $300–$400 wakesurfer and a $700–$800 wakesurfer?

For the most part, it boils down to construction. The majority of less expensive boards are compression molded. They are made in a similar way to wakeboards. Layers of fiberglass, resin, and graphics sandwich a molded foam core. There are advantages and disadvantages to this. Compression molded boards are typically heavier. They can be slightly slower, due to the increased weight, and a bit less buoyant, due to a denser foam core. A significant plus, however, is durability. Compression molded boards can take more of a beating and will show less damage in the form of dings and dents.

More expensive boards are built with premium materials and often involve more hands-on labor. EPS or expanded polystyrene foam cores are used in the construction of most of these boards. It is lighter, less dense, and more buoyant. It can also be hand-shaped, allowing for truly custom designs. Lightweight, strong, but expensive, carbon fiber is also used in creating the shelves of these boards. As a rule, these boards will perform better behind the boat. They are lighter and more buoyant, which often equals a faster ride. They also allow for the incorporation of different fin boxes, which can ultimately give the rider more choices in terms of fins. But be careful with these boards. They are more fragile and will ding, scratch, and dent much more easily.