Buyer's Guide: How-To Buy the Right Wakesurf Board in 2024

Wakesurf Board Buyer's Guide

Wakesurf Board Buyer's Guide: What You Need to Know to Choose the Right Board

Looking to buy a new wakesurf board? Overwhelmed by all the choices? Need help? You've come to the right place!

Table of Contents

The WakeMAKERS Wakesurf Board Buyer's Guide is the most comprehensive document on everything wakesurf boards. In this buyer's guide, we will cover everything you as the consumer needs to know to find the best wakesurf board for your riding. After all, finding the right board for you is imperative to making the most of those lake days.


  • There are three styles of wakesurf boards: surf, skim, and hybrid. Choosing the right one depends on the rider's skill level and preference for tricks vs. stability.
  • Fin setups play a significant role in the board's overall ride and feel, and experimenting with fins can help you dial in a better wakesurfing experience.
  • Tail shape also affects the board's feel. Different tail shapes can improve the board's performance in specific wave conditions (i.e., the wave your boat makes). The most common tail shapes are bigger, wider tails designed to catch the wave easier and give more push.
WakeMAKERS Wakesurf Buyer's Guide

Board Style: Skim, Surf, or Hybrid?

There are three different styles of wakesurf boards: surf, skim, and hybrid. Deciding which style you want is the first step in finding your first or next wakesurf board. We'll discuss each board style and help you find out which is best suited for you.

Surf Style Wakesurf Boards

Surf style is the most popular option when it comes to wakesurf board style. Most of the surf style boards closely resemble the boards you would see at the beach but are shrunken down and specially designed to surf a boat's wake. A surf style board is the most user-friendly as they are stable, catch the wave easier, and generate speed quicker. We recommend that most beginner wakesurfers get a surf style board as they are the easiest to learn on. Advanced riders enjoy surf style boards thanks to their quickness and high-speed maneuverability, ideal for big turns, slashes, and airs. Although not designed for doing all the tricks that are possible on a skim style board, surf-style boards are more than capable of doing 360's.

Skim Style Wakesurf Boards

The most playful of the three board styles, skim style boards are preferred among those looking to do skateboard style tricks behind the boat. A skim style board is typically smaller in size than a surf style board and has smaller fins, creating a more slippery feel on the water that is ideal for spins, airs, and skateboard-inspired tricks behind the boat. Ideal for wakesurfers that are comfortable riding, skim style boards are best suited for intermediate-advanced wakesurfers.

Hybrid Style Wakesurf Boards

The name says it all… a hybrid shape is a blend between surf and skim style. The goal is simply to offer the best of both worlds, the pure surfy feel of a surf style board combined with the playfulness of a skim style board. Hybrid boards typically have a wider profile, offering a stable platform that surfs great while still being capable of big airs and spins. Hybrid boards are perfect for the wakesurfer looking to have it all. Ideal for intermediate-advanced riders and best suited for a rider that wants a board that can do a little bit of everything.

Wakesurf Board Sizing

Now that you know which style of wakesurf board is right for you, the next step is determining what size wakesurf board you need. Board size is crucial in how the board will perform behind the boat. A board that is too small for your weight will sink, making it difficult to catch the wave and slows down the progression of learning. A board that is too big is tough to turn and will not be as nimble as a properly sized board.

Here's a general guide to wakesurf board sizing:

  • Riders under 100 pounds: 3'6" - 4'2" wakesurf board
  • Riders 100-150 pounds: 4'2" - 4'10" wakesurf board
  • Riders 150-200 pounds: 4'10" - 5'4" wakesurf board
  • Riders 200-250 pounds: 5'4" - 5'10" wakesurf board
  • Riders over 250 pounds: 5'10" + wakesurf board

These numbers are just a starting point and don't take into account the board style. Surf style boards typically require riders to be on a slightly larger board compared to skim style boards due to the added buoyancy.

For more information on wakesurf board sizing, check out our Wakesurf Board Size Guide.

Wakesurf Board Fin Setup

Often overlooked but never forgotten, the fin setup plays a significant role in the overall ride and feel of the board. In recent years brands have been placing a larger emphasis on wakesurf fins and it is paying major dividends in the overall ride and feel of the board. From high-performance carbon fins to new tool-less fin systems, many of the boards are equipped with the most advanced fins on the market, further improving the wakesurfing experience.

Once you've decided what style of wakesurf board you want, one of the next steps is finding out the right fin setup for your riding. There are many factors that play into this such as riding style, ability level, and wave size. Continue reading to learn about each of the fin setups, what board styles they are most common on, and how they feel on the water.

Single Fin Box Wakesurf Board

Single Fin

This fin setup is most common on skim style boards but can also be seen on some cruiser/longboard surf style boards. Acting very much like a rudder for the board, the single fin offers stability, hold, and control but can break free easily for spins and slides. Best suited for medium-large sized waves.

Twin Fin Box Wakesurf Board

Twin Fin

Best described as a fun, playful ride with enough hold for surfy turns while still being easy to spin 360's. Some surf/hybrid style boards come stock with only two fins but most boards will have three fin boxes. Take out the center tail fin and ride the board as a twin fin. A great performer in waves of all sizes.

Thruster Fin Box Wakesurf Board


The most popular fin setup for good reason. Most surf style wakesurf boards will come standard with three fins called a "thruster" fin setup. The outside fins help generate speed down the line while the center fin offers stability and control. A versatile setup, the fins can be removed to ride it as a single or twin fin as well. This setup excels waves of all shapes and sizes.

Quad Fin Box Wakesurf Board

Quad Fin

The quad fin setup is only found on surf style boards. It is all about speed and power, allowing the wakesurfer to relax a little when pumping and trying generate speed, as all these fins work as little water jets to drive the board down the line. You can of course, take out two of the four fins to ride it as a twin fin too. Rides great on waves of all sizes.

Five Fin Wakesurf Board

Five Fin

Not as commonly used due the cost increase of the additional fin boxes; the five fin setup is all about options. Only found on surf style boards, this fin configuration gives you the versatility to ride your board with any of the above configurations for maximum flexibility. We don’t recommend riding with all five fins as it will cause significant drag and slow the board. Rides great on waves of all sizes.

Wakesurf Board Tail Shapes

The tail shape of a wakesurf board plays a crucial role in its performance and feel on the water. Different tail shapes can affect how the board handles, turns, and generates speed, so it's essential to understand the characteristics of each tail shape when choosing a wakesurf board.

Here are some common tail shapes found on wakesurf boards:

Square Tail: Square tails provide stability and control, making them well-suited for beginners and riders who prioritize stability over maneuverability.

Pin Tail: Pin tails offer excellent control and responsiveness, making them ideal for carving and making quick turns on the wave.

Swallow Tail: Swallow tails provide a good balance of stability and maneuverability, making them versatile for various riding styles and wave conditions.

Squash Tail: Squash tails offer a combination of stability and performance, making them suitable for riders who want a board that can handle a wide range of wave conditions and riding styles.

Ultimately, the best tail shape for you will depend on your riding style, skill level, and personal preferences. Experimenting with different tail shapes can help you find the perfect board for your needs.

Wakesurf Board Rail Design

The rail design of a wakesurf board refers to the shape and contour of the board's edges. Rail design plays a significant role in how the board interacts with the water, affecting its stability, speed, and maneuverability.

Here are some common rail designs found on wakesurf boards:

Soft Rails: Soft rails provide a forgiving feel and smooth ride, making them ideal for beginners and riders who prioritize stability over performance.

Hard Rails: Hard rails offer maximum responsiveness and performance, making them suitable for advanced riders who want precise control and sharp turns.

Blended Rails: Blended rails combine elements of both soft and hard rails, offering a balance of stability and performance for a wide range of riding styles and skill levels.

Experimenting with different rail designs can help you fine-tune your wakesurfing experience to suit your preferences and riding style. Many wakesurfers prefer boards with blended rails, as they offer versatility and performance in various wave conditions.

best kids wakesurf board

Kids Wakesurf Boards

Wakesurfing isn't just for adults—kids can enjoy the thrill of riding the waves too! Many wakesurf board manufacturers offer specially designed boards for young riders, featuring smaller sizes, lightweight construction, and kid-friendly graphics.

When choosing a wakesurf board for a child, it's essential to consider factors such as board size, weight capacity, and skill level. Look for boards that are easy to paddle, stable on the water, and suitable for learning basic wakesurfing techniques.

Additionally, be sure to invest in proper safety gear, such as a well-fitting life jacket and a wakesurf-specific helmet, to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for your child.

Wakesurf Ropes & Handles

Choosing the right wakesurf rope and handle is essential for a safe and enjoyable riding experience. Wakesurf ropes are specifically designed to provide the ideal length, stretch, and durability for towing a wakesurfer behind a boat.

When selecting a wakesurf rope, consider factors such as length, material, and handle design. Opt for a rope that is long enough to provide ample distance between the boat and the rider, typically ranging from 20 to 25 feet in length.

Handles should be comfortable to grip and easy to hold onto, even when wet. Look for handles with textured grips, durable construction, and floatation devices to ensure maximum safety and control while riding.

Wake Surfboard Bags

Protecting your wakesurf board during transport and storage is essential for preserving its performance and longevity. Wake surfboard bags provide padded protection against dings, dents, and scratches, keeping your board in pristine condition between rides.

When choosing a wake surfboard bag, look for features such as durable construction, padded interior, ventilation vents, and convenient carrying handles or shoulder straps. Opt for a bag that is specifically designed to fit your wakesurf board's dimensions for a snug and secure fit.

Additionally, consider investing in a board sock or cover for added protection against UV rays, moisture, and debris. Properly storing your wakesurf board in a bag or cover when not in use can help extend its lifespan and maintain its resale value.

Now that you're armed with all the information you need to choose the perfect wakesurf board, it's time to hit the water and start shredding! Whether you're a beginner learning the basics or an experienced rider pushing the limits, there's a wakesurf board out there that's perfect for you. Happy surfing!

Related Posts

How-To: Change Your Inboard Propeller In 10 Minutes
How-To: Change Your Inboard Propeller In 10 Minutes
This simple video on How To change your inboard boat propeller video will save you time before you get underneath the bo
Read More
Top Wakefoils of 2024
Top Wakefoils of 2024
Experience the thrill of wakefoiling with our selection of the best foil surfing packages.
Read More

Post Comments

1 Item(s)

I am looking for a wake surfboard style – how do I know if it is designed for someone over 200 lbs?
WakeMAKERS replied:
##- Please type your reply above this line -##


We appreciate and value you as a customer, and would love to hear what you think of your experience. Please take a moment to answer one simple question by clicking either link below:

How would you rate the support you received?

You can copy the following URL into your browser to rate:

Here’s a reminder of what your ticket was about:

Sunny, Jul 7, 2022, 8:27 AM PDT
WakeMAKERS replied:
##- Please type your reply above this line -##


We appreciate and value you as a customer, and would love to hear what you think of your experience. Please take a moment to answer one simple question by clicking either link below:

How would you rate the support you received?

You can copy the following URL into your browser to rate:

Here’s a reminder of what your ticket was about:

Sunny, Jan 12, 2023, 12:02 PM PST

Paul Chodak
posted on Jan 23, 2023 2:02:44 PM

Submit Comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.