Wakeboard Buyer's Guide

If you are new to wakeboarding, buying the right wakeboard and bindings can be a bit daunting. A customer must have knowledge of some industry terms, understand board sizing, board shape & construction, and how to select the right bindings for your wakeboard. In this section we will dive into each of these topics in more detail and help educate customers on how to select the right wakeboard and bindings for their needs. Regardless of skill level, all riders should understand the topics below before choosing their next board.

1. Starting Point: Who will be using the board?

People buying their first board are often looking to share the board with a few other people so you and your friends (or brothers and sisters) can learn to ride at the same time. This can be accomplished, but you want to be careful about a few things. Most importantly, make sure you select the correct size of board. Secondly, you want to choose the right shape and construction of board for your skill level.

Board Sizing:

Selecting the right size of board is crucial to the user experience and their success on the water. Wakeboard sizing is determined by the rider’s weight, and not their height like many people expect. The most important factor is the rider's weight being distributed properly on the surface area of the board, while being towed at a consistent speed. Have a look at the size chart below to get an idea of common board lengths and the weight ranges those boards accommodate:

General Board Sizing: *Always remember to check the manufacturer size chart on the specific board you are buying.

Rider Weight (Lbs) Board Length (cm)
30-75 111-118
50-90 118-128
65-115 124-134
70-130 128-136
110-170 134-142
150-225 138-146
170-250 142-146
240+ 146+


Board sizing tip: If you are trying to accommodate a few riders who are at opposite ends of a size range you should size up to best suit the largest rider in the size range. For example: if you have a rider who is 150 lbs sharing a board with a rider who is 190lbs you should size up to at least a 142 cm board. This size will be very comfortable for the 190 lb rider at a standard board speed of 21-22mph. When towing the 150 lb rider the driver can reduce the boat speed 1-2mph and the board will feel very similar to them at a slightly slower speed.

Shop Wakeboards

When can you not share a board?

If you are looking to buy a board to share, but your weight ranges do not fall within one of the categories above you are most likely going to have to buy 2 boards. You can adjust the boat speed for the lighter riders as mentioned above, but this does not make any board a 1 size fits all. If you are buying for a weight range of 100lb to 225lb for example you would probably want one board that is around 134cm and a second board that is around 144cm.

2. Bindings and sizing:

Tip* The terms Bindings and Boots are usually used interchangeably in the industry.

Binding sizing is a little easier to sort out than board sizing. Beginner wakeboarders are going to want open toed bindings (where your toes are exposed at the tip of the binding) which usually fit a range of 3-4 full US foot sizes. A more advanced rider will probably want a closed toe binding (like a snowboard boot) which is stiffer, and usually goes by whole US foot sizing, like 9, 10, 11, 12.

Open toe binding example: Open toed bindings usually come in 3 sizes per style. The size breakdown will be something like this: Small (US 5-8), Standard (US 7-11), and XL (US 10-14). Women’s sizing usually starts at size 4 and the XL’s max out at a women’s size 12. Each manufacturer's size range will vary a little, but generally all open toed bindings will come in 3 size ranges. Of course there is junior sizing for kids as well which are usually 1 size range (K2-6).

When you are trying a binding on for fit there are a few important things to look out for. First and foremost, can you get into the binding without too much hassle? Modern bindings are usually lined with neoprene, which makes them easy to get on and off without the use of soap. You should be able to slip into a binding that fits you in a matter of seconds just by loosening off the laces. Another important thing to keep in mind is that you want the binding to be snug to your foot when you tighten the laces. Particularly where your heel and ankle fit into the binding, your heel and ankle should not be able to move side to side. You should also not be able to move your heel up and down very much if the binding fits properly.

Shop Wakeboard Boots

Should I be buying a package, or pick my own board and binding setup?

This question really comes down to your knowledge of wakeboarding, and your riding experience. If you are brand new to the sport we recommend looking at one of our wakeboard and binding packages because we have already determined which boards and bindings are suitable to be paired together. This will ensure beginner intermediate boards get paired with the appropriate boots, and advanced boards get paired with advanced boots. If you have some riding experience and have your own preferences for boards and bindings, you can definitely create your own package, as most board inserts and binding baseplates are universal (meaning you don’t necessarily have to buy a board and bindings from the same manufacturer).

Shop Wakeboard Packages

4. What skill level is the rider?

It is very important for a buyer to be honest with themselves about their ability when they are selecting a new board. You don’t want to get something that is too advanced when you are just starting out, it will hinder (not help) your progression.

Beginner/Intermediate is how we classify riders who are anywhere from just learning to ride, to working towards wake to wake 360’s and perfecting wake to wake grabs on both heel and toe side. This group of riders should probably steer clear of aggressive 3 stage rockers (explained below), and go with a continuous rocker board, or a subtle hybrid. Be careful not to ride a board that is too small for them as it will really hinder their progression.

Intermediate/Advanced is how we classify riders who are consistently landing their wake to wake tricks on both heel and toe sides. These riders may be anywhere from learning their first inverted tricks to pro level riders. These riders are going to want a board that will deliver more energy to their jump to gain more pop off the wake. They tend to prefer 3-stage or hybrid boards (explained below), and usually want stiffer boots and board construction.

5. Construction: Where will you be using your board?

Most riders we talk to are using their board behind a boat on their favorite lake, but some riders are planning to use their board in a cable park which requires a different construction of board.

  • Boat riders generally choose a compression molded board. These boards are often made of fiberglass, some higher end models are made with carbon fiber and fiberglass. Most of these boards are not designed to be used on rails or ramps in the cable park. They are however stiffer which allows a rider to generate more speed when approaching the wake for a jump. There are a few exceptions to this rule, the brand Slingshot has made a splash in the wake industry by making wood based wakeboards specifically for use behind the boat.
  • Park riders generally choose either a wood based wakeboard from a brand like Slingshot, or compression molded boards that use PVC rails (edges) and base for increased durability in the park. It is also more common for a park rider to want flex in their board as opposed to the stiffer board preference of boat riders.

Board Shape (Rocker explained)

There are 3 distinct board shapes each manufacturer uses in board construction. These are known as board rocker and the 3 shapes are continuous, 3-stage, and hybrid. Each rocker is unique and will affect the way you ride. It’s important to pick a wakeboard with a rocker profile that matches your riding style, and ability.

Continuous Rocker

Board shape - continuous rocker

Continuous rocker boards have one continuous curved shape from tip to tail, there are no flat spots in the center of the board . Continuous boards provide fast, smooth rides and will allow you to hook up turns more easily. The pop (height) is very predictable and will provide a more horizontal trajectory carrying you further out into the flats. This rocker type is especially great for riders who are just starting out, learning edge control, and learning to jump from wake to wake. That is not to say that continuous rockers are only for beginners. Some advanced riders prefer the predictability of jumping with a continuous rocker board.

3-Stage Rocker

Board shape - 3 stage rocker

3-Stage Rocker wakeboards have 3 different planes. One flat spot in the middle, and two identical planes in the tip and tail. 3-Stage rocker boards will provide more pop when you hit the wake. However, this pop is less predictable than a continuous rocker board as your board makes contact with the wake in 3 separate stages. Due to your fins riding a bit higher out of the water, your board will feel slightly looser on the water when you are carving around. You will have to rely more on your board rails (or edges) as you carve into the wake. 3-Stage boards are perfect for riders looking to go big with a more vertical trajectory off the wake. However they can be a bit tricky for beginner riders to learn wake to wake jumping.

Hybrid Rocker

Board shape - hybrid rocker

Hybrid Rockers are somewhere in-between 3-Stage and Continuous Rockers. These boards can also be called “Hybrid 3-Stage,” or “Subtle 3-Stage” depending on which manufacturer you are looking at. Hybrid rockers find the middle ground between continuous and 3-stage boards. They can be excellent for the advanced rider who wants a few different types of releases off of the wake, and knows how to control the board. They can also be great for the intermediate rider who isn’t sure what type of pop off the wake suits them best. Hybrid rockers can offer the best of both worlds once you learn how to ride the board.

There are a lot of things to consider when buying your new wakeboard or board and binding setup. Hopefully this guide helps answer some questions. If you need any additional help feel free to fill out the contact form, use the live chat, or call the shop because we are always here to help!

Contact Us