Buying Your First Wakeboard: What to Look For as a Beginner
Alright, you tried out wakeboarding and you loved it. Now you want to get your own board. Wakeboards come in different sizes, shapes and styles, picking the wrong board can hinder your progress — and ultimately your love for the sport.
Here are a few points to consider when choosing your first wakeboard:
1. Board Size — The length of a wakeboard is arguably its most important feature, especially for beginners.
Two things can happen if your board is not the right size. If it’s too small, you will sink deeper in water. On the other hand, if your board is too large, you might float more easily, but larger boards tend to be heavier, which makes them harder to control and manoeuvre.
These loose guidelines apply very well to beginners.
So until you become more comfortable wakeboarding and develop your own riding style and preferences, you are better off to just follow the recommendations above or those listed on the board itself. Most boards indicate the weight spectrum that they're made for.
2. Base Designs and Fin Setups — Ok, now it’s getting a bit more technical. First, a couple of definitions are needed. The “base” of the board refers simply to its bottom, while the “fins” are located on each side of the base. Just like the board size, having the right base and fins can really speed up your learning process.
It is typically recommended for beginners to get a board with a simple base. A relatively simple base usually has a couple of shallow channels which run along the board. More advanced boards with multiple channels allow you to ride more aggressively and land more softly from big jumps. But they also make it easier to catch an edge.
The grip you get when riding comes from the fins. They help the wakeboard to track through the water. Longer and deeper fins make the board more stable.
There are many fin setups. Here are two simple designs that are great for beginners:
- Center-Fins: This is a common setup you find on most basic wakeboards with one fin mounted at the center of each end.
- Rail-Fins: These fins are located on the sides of the board. There are four fins in total, two on each end of the board.
If you’re going to ride at cable parks, make sure to get a board with removable fins. Most park boards have this feature.
3. Wakeboard Rocker Lines — The next feature to consider is the amount of curve the board has from tip to tail. It is referred to as the board’s “rocker.”
There are a few different types of rockers. For beginners, boards with “continuous rockers” offer the most benefits. They are more predictable and easier to ride than boards with more complicated rockers.
4. Park Boards — If you are thinking of mainly riding at a cable park, then you should consider getting a “park wakeboard.” They have specific features designed to increase the board’s durability. Park boards are also perfectly suited for riding behind a boat.
5. Bindings — The last item to consider are bindings. They are pretty straight forward. Try out a few bindings and pick the ones that are the most comfortable but still provide adequate protection for your ankles.
That’s it! These five points are the most important aspects to consider when buying your first wakeboard.
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