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Best Wakesurf Boards Reviewed
If you have never experienced the enchanting bliss of slipping along the surface of a curling wave, absurd fun awaits. Really, life is just passing you by.
Okay, that’s probably a little dramatic. But seriously, it’s incredibly fun, good exercise, and less complicated to get into than you think.
If you enjoy the world of watersports, wakesurfing is right up your alley.
At bare minimum, you will need to purchase a wakesurfing board. Now, which one will be the best wakesurfing board for your particular use is going to depend on a few important details.
You don’t necessarily need a professional-level board, but the best wakesurfing board for riding big waves will hinge on your experience, how often you wakesurf, and whether you are a beginner or are looking for the best board for tricks.
When choosing a board, you need to consider the style of board, before looking at rails, tail, and fin, as well as the flex and length of the board. One other highly recommended item would be the addition of a wake shaper to help your boat push up big waves.
Check out our favorite wakesurf board in action:
Top Wakesurfing Board Comparison Chart
Best Wakesurfing Board
The shim board is ideal for intermediate and advanced boarders. Longer boards are suited to beginners because they enable the rider greater stability, but they are also difficult to throw around and maneuver across the surface of the water. They are heavier, which makes them difficult to pick up and carry for big air. Finally, bigger boards tend to weigh more, although this is also dictated by the materials used in their construction. A heavier board will have a greater and harder impact on the legs, especially the calves, and can be overwhelming for the beginner.
The Hyperlite Shim board is shorter and lighter than a beginner board. Therefore, it is more maneuverable across the water, easier to lift off the surface of the water, and it allows the boarder to stay behind the boat for longer without becoming too tired. They glide at speed, but they are also lightweight and easy to maneuver, which means that they are ideal for pulling wakesurfing tricks and grabbing insane air. The Hyperlite 2019 Shim Wakesurfer is, in many ways, a hybrid design. It allows for speed and agility, but it incorporates a fast rocker with a short profile.
You will be able to gather speed, but the board will remain agile for shredding and for pulling tricks. It has a customizable fin layout, enabling a single or triple-fin layout. Single- and triple-fin layouts are suited to use in big waves, and they allow impressive takeoff from the surface. Thanks to the central fin in both layouts, this board enables the rider to retain stability even through deep wake. The Shim’s ability to pick up speed, and its impressive trick capabilities, mean that it can be used by intermediate and advanced boarders alike.
The layered glass offers improved durability, so you won’t have to buy a new board after a few weekends on the water. Traditional fibers will separate with regular and prolonged use, while the fiberglass construction of this board means that you will enjoy the same great quality every time you head out on the water.
Its flexibility means that the Shim Wakesurfer is one of the best wake surfing boards for families and groups that share a single board. Simply change out the fin layout and you can enjoy the type of ride you prefer without having to invest in two boards. The Shim can also be used with or without a cable, and because it comes from Hyperlite, it has the heritage of one of the best known companies in the wakeboarding industry.
The CWB Ride is one of the best wakesurf boards for beginners. It has a rounded nose and, like the Hyperlite, it has three fins that can be customized to a single or triple fin layout.
The board is 5”2′. Its rigid compression molded design means that the Ride is easier to control than a lot of boards, so it is a great all-rounder and an ideal board for those that are just starting out. Additionally, the Ride has a double rail. This offers excellent traction on the water, and it means that the rider will enjoy predictable turns and will be able to retain their line in any conditions, even in more challenging wake conditions.
The compression molded design is not only ideal for beginners, but this type of design will fit in most wake or surf racks so it should be easy to mount the board to your car and carry it to the waterside.
It even comes complete with a a 20 foot surf rope, so you won’t have to buy any extras before your first tow. This is great for beginners and it enables first time riders to learn how to get up and mobile.
However, because it is a long board, it shouldn’t be used for extended periods and may not be suitable for big air or complicated wakesurfing tricks. These boards are less maneuverable than smaller boards, and while this does offer greater stability, it sacrifices the agility that is required for quickly and easily pulling tricks. Longer boards can also lead to fatigue after an extended period of time in the water. However, the features of the Ride wakeboard make it a top wakesurf board for beginners.
The board has 3 EVA tail pads. EVA is lightweight and it does not absorb water. It offers increased traction when compared to other materials.
Wakeboarding isn’t just a great activity for experienced adults. It is an exciting and energetic activity for the kids, and if you want to get your son or daughter into wakeboarding, you need to find a durable, small board, that offers stability and durability. They won’t be jumping straight into big waves, and they are unlikely to be landing big air or pulling insane tricks straight away.
This 3”9′ kid’s wakesurf board is layered with fiberglass. It features a squash tail design, which means that it is suitable in any wave size and water condition, providing stability and control. This is the preferred tail design for a kid’s wakesurf board because of the stability and control that it offers, and because it is suitable for the construction of smaller boards.
It has a customizable triple-fin setup, which means that your son or daughter can alter the setup according to how well they are advancing. Both the single- and triple-fin layout offer extra stability by using the central fin to stabilize the ride. The monocoque construction provides greater protection against side impacts without the board being torn to shreds. This further helps ensure that the rider stays upright even in challenging wake conditions.
It is a hybrid board, designed for the child that is just starting out or that has a little experience in the wake. Your child will have plenty of fun, be able to build up reasonable speed, and start to get to grips with some basic tricks, while still enjoying a degree of control that ensures that they can pick up the basics along the way.
The 52” Rambler wakesurfing board is a skimmer board, with a nearly flat base. It will pick up really high speeds but is priced very competitively, and its skateboard feel allows boarders to perform impressive tricks too.
The board measures 52” x 20.8” and is made with a durable Polyurethane Resin Core. It is suitable for all riders, including those well over 6ft and weighing more than 160lbs. It has a three fin setup and will dart through waves quickly and easily. It is a big board and this, combined with the fin layout, means that it will retain stability and allow the boarder to stay upright.
The fingerprint textured deck pad allows the rider to grab the board more easily. The textured finish prevents the board from sliding too easily through fingers, which allows for grab tricks and makes it possible to grab some air. The fingerprint texture is billed as no-wax, which makes it convenient with less preparation time before you can get out on the water. If you want to enjoy the full thrill and enjoyment of wakeboarding, the 52” Rambler is perfect, especially if you’re on the taller side.
Despite its near flat base, it can still be used to grab some air and pull some impressive tricks. If you’re looking for a fun, inexpensive wakeboard and you want to rip through the wake and tear through the water at speed, this offers a great compromise.
You don’t have to spend a fortune to have a good time being pulled behind a boat. The California Board Company Wake Surfer is cheap but offers massive levels of enjoyment for you and the family. It won’t be suitable for competitive level wake boarding, but if you’re looking for a great way to enjoy some quality time on the water, without breaking the bank, then look no further.
The California Board Company Wake Surfer is a 54” wake surfer board made from an HD waterproof EDS core with resin coated wood stringers. It has a triple-fin layout and a built in tail wedge, and has EVA traction finger pads. The finger pads and tail wedge allow for grabs and enable the rider to start pulling tricks and landing air.
It costs less than most competitors, and its foam construction means that it is best suited to beginners and those that like to head out for the occasional weekend in the boat. If you’re looking to take on big waves or achieve big air, this might not be the best option. Foam boards, though, are excellent for the beginner, not only because they are lighter so are easier to pick up and haul into the air but because they are more forgiving when you bang legs and bodies against them. It also means that any knocks to the board will be less expensive to repair or replace in the long run.
Top Wakesurfing Board Features To Consider
The ultimate mix of wakeboarding and surfing, wakesurfing is hitting headlines as it becomes one of the most popular watersports of all time. There’s nothing better than riding a wave but your chances can be severely limited if you don’t live near the sea or the ocean.
With wakesurfing, however, you can create your own waves, and hang loose on any body of water.
If you generally enjoy boating and watersports like water skiing and tubing, you might be looking to add another twist to your pastime. Learning how to wakesurf is an excellent choice.
Wakesurfing is similar in nature to other watersports where you are towed behind a boat. But there are some distinct differences and details that make wakesurfing a little different to learn.
We lay out all the important points of how to wakesurf that will help you get up and riding waves in no time.
- Board Style –If you’re just starting out in wakeboarding, you should opt for surf wake surfing boards. These boards pick up pace quickly and they offer greater stability over the water. Skim boards are smaller, which makes them easier to maneuver, enabling you to more easily perform wakesurfing tricks. Hybrid boards fall between these two styles: they offer greater stability than a skim board, but can be used to perform some basic and intermediate tricks.
- Rail –The rail of the board determines how much water passes over the board while it is in the water. A full rail is thick and offers excellent stability, but at the cost of maneuverability. It will be slower across the water making it difficult to perform advanced tricks. A hard rail is thinner and therefore produces less drag – it enables the boarder to perform wakesurfing tricks and picks up speed more quickly. A blended rail is a medium width, and it offers a combination of speed and agility: blended rails are the most popular type of wakeboard.
- Tail Shapes –The tail of the board affects how the board behaves as it travels across the water, as well as the amount of balance it provides. The main choices of tail are:
Bat Tail – The bat tail is wide and offers stability over the water. Best suited to smaller waves, this type of tail is not commonly seen on modern wakeboards
Diamond Tail – A hybrid, of sorts, between the pin and the squash tail, the diamond tail is one of the most popular designs of modern wakeboard. It provides a good combination of speed and agility, so it is suitable for all skill levels and wave types.
Half-Moon Tail – The half-moon tail is ideal for those looking to perform tricks. It can be used in any wave size and boards featuring this style of tail are easy to turn.
Pin Tail – The pin tail is the smallest of the tail designs. It drops deep into the water, which is ideal for stability in big waves, but less suitable for smaller waves.
Round Tail – The round tail can be used in either small or large waves, and because it has a greater surface area than that of the pin tail, it can be used to perform some of the simpler tricks.
Square Tail – Not suitable for complex tricks, the square tail is designed for speed runs.
Squash Tail – The squash tail is another design aimed at speed runs, and it can be used in any wave type and water condition.
Swallow Tail – The swallow tail works well in small to medium waves, and it will allow the boarder to try some basic tricks will hitting decent speeds.
- Fin –Most fin layouts have between one and four individual fins, and they determine the type of wave that a board is best suited to. Single fins are designed for control and are best suited to large waves. Twin fins are ideal for performing tricks on smaller waves. The three finned board offers control while generating speed and is better suited to large waves. The quad-fin design also provides speed over large waves.
- Rocker –The rocker is the type of arc on the base of the board. A continuous rocker is a single flowing arc from front to back, which is the preferred style if you are going to remain on the water and avoid catching air. A 3-stage rocker effectively has three sections to its arc, is more difficult to control, but it does offer greater fun and more capability in the air.
- Length –Length of the board determines stability and ability to do tricks. Shorter boards, usually those around 130cm are better for tricks because they are lighter and more maneuverable. Long boards, measuring up to 145cm are faster and preferred by beginners, but it is difficult to perform tricks because of their cumbersome size.
- Flex –Flex is the amount of flexibility in the board. The more flexible a board, the more impressive the trips and flicks you will be able to pull.
What is wakesurfing?
Wakesurfing is a new watersports craze that is taking the world by storm. Wakesurfers use a specialized rope to position themselves behind a wakesurfing boat. All power boats create recirculating water behind them; this is known as the wake.
Depending on the speed, power, hull design, and weight, the boat’s wake can resemble small ripples or large waves, which are perfect for surfing on. The addition of weighted ‘ballasts’ placed appropriately within the boat are often used to enhance the boat’s wake and optimize the wake specifically for wakesurfing.
A wakesurfing rope is used to tow you behind the boat, but it isn’t the boat’s pull that keeps you going. Once you’re properly in position on the wake, the rope will begin to go slack and you’ll be propelled forward just by the power of the waves, or wake. As you grow in confidence, you’ll feel ready to drop the wakesurfing rope altogether and ride the waves solo.
How to wakesurf?
Whether you’re an experienced surfer, an intermediate wakeboarder or a complete novice, you can learn the art of wakesurfing in no time. Once you’ve gathered your wakesurfing gear together and you’re ready to hit the water, you’ll see just how easy it is to wakesurf.
You’ll use the wakesurfing rope to get in position behind the boat and lay the wakeboard so it’s perpendicular to the boat (or horizontal across the back of the boat). From this position, you’ll need to place both of your heels close to the edge of the board closest to you, with your leading foot nearest the nose of your wakesurfing boat.
When you’re ready, simply signal to the driver and they’ll start to gently accelerate. As the boat moves, the wakesurfing rope will become taught and begin to pull you through the waves. This resistance will push the wakesurfing board against your feet and you can dig in with your heels to press the board into the water and give you the leverage to stand. Don’t worry if this takes some practice!
We’ll get into more helpful tips on getting up on a wakesurf board below, but before you stand it’s helpful if you know what to expect. When you stand, adding pressure to your front foot will increase your speed and make the rope go slack. While adding weight to the back foot acts as a brake and keeps the rope tight.
Using the momentum, you can ride the wave and be propelled by the water, rather than pulled by the boat. You’ll know when this happens because the rope will become slack, despite the fact you’re still moving along nicely.
And that’s all there is to it! When you’re feeling stable on the board and you’ve got enough momentum going, you can drop the rope and ride the waves created by the wave without any extra support from the towline.
What wakesurfing gear do you need?
Learning how to wakesurf can be fun and easy, providing you have the right gear. As well as a very buoyant personal flotation device or PFD, a wakesurfing board, and perhaps a wetsuit, you’ll need a wakesurfing rope to get you started. Oh, and a boat.
Not really. While many keen wakesurfers do have their very own wakesurfing boat, this isn’t strictly necessary. As wakesurfing has become more popular, many watersports companies and boat owners provide dedicated wakesurfing boat hire.
As the size of the waves produced by the wake are essential to wakesurfing, using the right boat is important. When you hire a wakesurfing boat or book a session with an instructor, you can be sure that the power, speed, weight and hull shape will be perfect to create waves.
If you decide to invest in a wakesurfing boat, you’ll want to ensure that it fits the criteria for wakesurfing. While all powered boats will create wake, it won’t necessarily consist of the waves you need to wakesurf. By doing a little research, however, you can find a range of great options when it comes wake boats. Of course, you can always modify the wake produced by adding ballast to the boat and/or using a wake shaper to enhance the waves produced.
How to choose a wakesurfing board
The right board can make wakesurfing much more fun and a whole lot easier, but how do you go about choosing the right one? Wakesurfing boards are typically between 4.5-5.5ft, although you may seem some labelled small, medium or large.
There are no hard and fast rules when choosing a wakesurfing board, so it’s best to try a few out and see what feels best. In general, however, you’ll find that larger boards give more stability, so they’re often favored by beginners. Conversely, smaller boards are great for smaller wakes and may be best for smaller wakesurfers.
Your style of wakesurfing can also affect what board is best for you. If you prefer a surfing feel, you’ll want a longer wakesurfing board. Alternatively, a shorter, flat board will help you to achieve a skim style, which gives you more control and is excellent for doing tricks in the water.
Some wakesurfing boards also feature fins and many have removable fins, so you can modify your board to try out different styles. In addition to this, some boards have a swallow tail, which looks like a V in the back of the board. This can make it easier to turn, so it’s ideal if you want to perform tricks, increase control and gain maneuverability. You’ll also find that noseriders are a little different from standard wakesurfing boards because they have a wider nose, which allows you to stand closer to the nose of the board when you’re on the water.
With so many options to choose from, it can be trickier for inexperienced wakesurfers to find the right board straight away. By hiring a board or trying different models out, however, you’ll seen get a feel of what works best for you.
Wakesurfing rope and length
10mph is the optimal speed for a wakesurfing boat, although wakesurfers aim for anywhere between 8-13mph. The speed of the boat is vital for creating the perfect wake for surfing but the rope you use matters too.
Don’t use a standard towrope for wakeboarding, as it won’t give you the support or flexibility you need. Instead, choose a dedicated wakesurfing rope before you get in the water. A wakesurfing rope is usually shorter and thinner than a wakeboarding rope, as it makes it easier for you to maneuver on the water.
The optimal length will depend on the wake that’s being created but, ideally, you want to be right at the point where the wake is curling over.
To achieve this, it’s advisable to use a wakesurfing rope that’s around 15ft long. Although you should only need to use around 10ft of rope, the additional 5ft will give you extra room to maneuver. Plus, wakesurfing ropes typically have extra grips and knots throughout the rope itself. This allows wakesurfers to use as much of the rope as they need to, depending on the amount of wake produced.
How to stand
When you’re in position and ready to wakesurf, you’ll signal to the driver and they’ll power up the boat. Once you start moving, the board will be pushed towards you and you can use this leverage to get to a standing position.
As the boat accelerates, you’ll push down on your heels and feel the board pop out of the water beneath you. Rather than trying to pull yourself up, let the boat do the work and use its power to pull you up into a standing position.
If you have no experience with riding a surf board, snowboard, or something similar, then there are a few good tips worth trying to build confidence before standing. Initially, staying low will help to keep your center of balance more stable. Don’t worry, you’ll catch on fairly quickly. But attempting to jump right up into the full standing position can be a cause for frustration and cause repeated falls when you are just beginning.
As the board begins to sit atop of the waves, align your hip close to the handle of the wakesurfing rope so that the board is now facing in the same direction as the boat. Keeping your knees bent will give you extra stability and positioning your weight so that 60% is over your front foot will give you added control over your wakesurfing board.
Learning how to stand on a wakesurfing board can take some time but that’s half the fun. Once you’re standing up without losing your balance, you can begin to perfect your wakesurfing style and gain confidence on the water.
When you add pressure to your front foot, the board will pick up speed and there will be extra slack in the wakesurfing rope. At this point, you can throw the rope over the rooster tail so that it’s safely out of the way while you ride the wake.
Although you won’t want to be too close to the back of the boat, you can’t get too far behind the wake either or you risk losing the momentum of the wave. Instead, you’ll need to control your board so that you stay in the sweet spot of the wake and maintain your movement.
As you get more confident, you can begin to maneuver your board up and down the wave, picking up and dropping speed as you go. With a little experience, you’ll soon be ready to start practicing your wakesurfing tips and tricks!