Wakesurf Buyer's Guide

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

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 need to know before pulling the trigger on your next board. After all, finding the right board for you is imperative to making the most of those lake days.

WakeMAKERS Wakesurf Buyer's Guide

Board Style: Skim, Surf, or Hybrid?

There are three different styles of wakesurf boards: skim, surf, and hybrid. This is the first thing to consider when looking at purchasing a new wakesurf board. We will discuss each and help you find out which is best suited for you.

Skim Style Board

Skim Style

A skim style board is popular for doing spins, airs, and skate inspired tricks behind the boat. If you are looking to get tricky surfing the endless wave, a skim board is the best option. We recommend a skim style wakesurf board for advanced riders only.

Click here to check out all the latest and greatest skim style wakesurf boards »

Surf Style Wakesurf Board

Surf Style

A surf style board will give wakesurfers a similar feel as catching waves at the beach. Beginners will find this style of board the easiest learn on. Advanced riders will enjoy its high speed maneuverability and explosiveness.

Click here to check out all the latest and greatest surf style wakesurf boards »

Hybrid Style Wakesurf Board

Hybrid Style

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 playfulness of a skim style board and the high speed maneuverability of a surf style board.

Click here to check out all the latest and greatest hybrid style wakesurf boards »

Fin Setup

Often overlooked but never forgotten, the fin setup plays a significant role in the overall ride and feel of the board.

One of the big recent trends has been the increased focus on fins and improving the board's overall performance.

Featured below are just a few examples of brands focusing more and more on not only the boards, but the fins too.

  • -Hyperlite in 2016 announced that their high-performance surf style boards would feature the Futures Fin System
  • -Byerly Boards followed suit and equipped their 2016 surf lineup with the Futures Fin System
  • -Slingshot debuted their tool-less FCS II system in their 2016 lineup
  • -Starting in 2017 Liquid Force will feature new carbon honeycomb fins on the Pod and Happy Pill
  • -Liquid Force released the El Guapo longboard this past summer that has an adjustable 6.5" longboard style fin
  • -Ronix announced their Fin-S 2.0 technology for 2017, a tool-less surf fin system that takes only seconds to switch

If it isn't evident yet, the industry has finally realized the importance of wakesurf fins and it is paying huge dividends.

There are many factors to consider when choosing the right fin setup for you including your size, riding style, ability level, and wave size. Continue reading to learn about each of the fin setups and how they ride behind the boat.

Single Fin Wakesurf Boards

Single Fin

Acting very much like a rudder, the single fin offers stability, hold, and control. Unable to generate speed on its own like multiple fin setups can, the rider must harness all power from the wave. Best suited for larger waves.

Twin Fin Wakesurf Boards

Twin Fin

Best described as a fun, playful ride, many compare it to a skateboard like feel on the water. Enough hold to grip deep into turns but still able to break the fins free with ease. Creating serious drive down the line, it is a great performer in smaller waves.

Thruster Fin Setup


The most popular fin setup for good reason. The outside fins help generate speed down the line while the center fin offers stability and control. Even better, it can be rode as a single or twin fin as well. This setup excels in almost all conditions.

Quad Fin Wakesurf Board

Quad Fin

The quad fin is all about speed. Unlike other setups, the quad fin naturally zips down the line. A fast and loose feel but still the control necessary for explosive surf maneuvers. Rides great on big waves.

Five Fin Wakesurf Board

Five Fin

All about options. With this setup you no longer need to choose between a twin, thruster, or quad because they are all possible. We don’t recommend riding with all five fins as it will cause significant drag and slow the board.

Tail Shape

The tail shape on your wakesurf board isn't all about looks. Since the early days of surfing, riders everywhere have created different tail shapes to improve the feel of their board based on wave conditions. For your own sanity we won't dive deep into the hydrodynamics of tail shapes and their impact on a board's overall feel on the water.

Our hope is to provide a brief explanation of each tail shape that gives you more understanding into how they ride. The two most important factors to consider are your own riding style and the size/shape of the wake you are surfing.

We all like to boast about the huge wake that our boat throws out but is important to be realistic with yourself. Some tail shapes thrive on smaller waves while others are specifically designed to perform on monstrous waves.

Don't be foolish, be realistic. If your boat's wake isn't huge, don't buy a board that thrives surfing those big waves.

Find the right board for you and your boat. This will result in an overall better experience and more fun wakesurfing.

Pin Tail Wakesurf Board

Pin Tail

The narrowest width of any tail shape, the tail has less surface area causing it to sink more into the water. This creates a ton of traction and feel while surfing but can be difficult to maneuver on smaller waves. Works best on a huge wave.

Square Tail Wakesurf Board

Square Tail

The increased surface area from the square tail gives the board more flotation, therefore creating increased push, quicker acceleration, and a more explosive pop. The wider the tail, the looser it will feel on the water.

Swallow Tail Wakesurf Board

Swallow Tail

Combines the playfulness of a square tail and the hold of a pin tail. These boards hold speed very well and are incredibly responsive while linking turns. A swallow tail is the best option for those that want performance but are riding less than ideal waves.

Squash Tail Wakesurf Board

Squash Tail

The most common tail shape as it very user-friendly and versatile. It looks similar to a square tail but it is far more nimble and tracks much better when at high speeds. Designed to perform on waves of all shapes and sizes.

Round Tail Wakesurf Board

Round Tail

The same grip that you experience with a pin tail but a looser, more playful feel due to the increased surface area. Maintains speed well and allows for smooth, stylish turns. A great “all around” shape for most conditions.

Diamond Tail Wakesurf Board

Diamond Tail

A hybrid of a pin tail and a squash tail, this shape carries speed very well and makes tight turns look easy thanks to the shortened rail line. Not only does it look pretty sweet, it rides great.

Rail Design 

On a wakesurf board it is the rail that affects how water flows past the board and ultimately determines how it rides in and out of turns. A thinner, sharper rail will generate more speed and responsiveness while a thicker, more round rail gives a board a more stable, consistent feel. Learn below how each rides and which one is the best fit for you.

Wakesurf Board Full Rail

Full Rail

The softer rail gives the board a stable, more consistent feel in and out of turns. A rounded edge makes it much tougher to catch an edge while burying the rail in the water. Expect smooth, drawn out turns when riding a board with a fuller rail.

Wakesurf Board Hard Rail

Hard Rail

Best suited for those looking for the ultimate in performance. The harder edge cuts through the water easier for increased board speed and added responsiveness or "bite" on turns.

Wakesurf Board Blended Rail

Blended Rail

A blended rail is somewhere between a full rail and a hard rail design. Overall, it will provide a stable, smooth ride on the water while still giving the board some "bite" once the rider buries the rail. A good universal option as it will work for everyone on the boat, from beginners to advanced riders.

Rocker Lines 

Set a wakesurf board flat on the ground and you will immediately notice it is not completely flat. This is the rocker.

A board's rocker is best described as the curvature on the bottom of the board. This is what determines how much surface area of the board will actually touch the water while riding. So how does it impact a board's performance?


A board with a more relaxed rocker keeps more surface area on the water, making it easier for riders to generate and sustain speed. Those wakesurfing smaller, mellower waves should look for a board with a more relaxed rocker line.


A heavier rocker board rides slower since it has less contact points with the water. Less surface area makes it easier to execute tight, nimble turns and helps prevent "pearling" the board's nose while dropping down the wave's face.

The increased lift and drag on a heavier rocker board makes them a great option for wakesurfing large, steep waves.

Must-Have Wakesurf Accessories

Congratulations! You've learned all the basics needed to find the right wakesurf board for you. Once you have found that perfect board, it is time to get all the other important essentials you need. Don't worry, we got you covered!

Wakesurf Ropes & Handles

WakeMAKERS Wakesurf Ropes & Handles

A wakesurf specific rope and handle is a must-have for safety reasons. The wakesurf ropes are typically around 25 feet in length, perfect for getting you in the sweet spot of the wave. The handles are smaller as both hands aren't needed at wakesurf speeds and it helps prevent a rider's arms, legs, or neck from getting caught inside the rope.

Since the goal is to drop the rope and surf the wave without it, you really don't need anything special. The main factors to consider when choosing a wakesurf rope & handle is the length, handle type, and of course the color.

Wakesurf Board Bags & Sleeves

It is no secret that wakesurf boards are fragile. Built just like their ocean counterparts, wakesurf boards are built to perform at a high level but unfortunately are also susceptible to dings, cracks, and harmful uv rays if not stored properly. Protect your investment and extend its life by keeping it tucked away inside a board bag or board sleeve.

Board Bags

All of those things can be avoided by simply handling your board with care and keeping it inside a board bag while in transit or not out on the water riding. So what are the benefits of carrying your board around in a board bag?

Here are just a few of them:

  • -Helps keep your board protected from harmful uv rays, accidental drops, and those "oh $%&!" moments
  • -Transporting your board to/from the lake is much easier thanks to the carrying handle and/or shoulder strap
  • -There is typically extra room to store fins, board shorts, life jacket, or whatever else you need on the water
  • -Take your board wherever you go as it can now be checked onto a flight, train, or bus ride

  • Board Sleeves

    A sleeve is the cheaper, less effective alternative to using a board bag. While helping protect your wakesurf board from the sun, a sleeve doesn't offer much for impact protection or making transportation of your board easier.

    A great option to keep on the boat or the dock. A quick and easy way to stow your board when it's not being used.

    We 110% recommend spending the extra $$$ and getting a board bag to protect your board on an everyday basis.