How to Choose A Wakesurf Board

Wakesurfing is the newest boardsport to hit the waterways and it is quickly becoming the most popular watersport.

You no longer need to live near a beach to experience the sensation of riding a wave. Anyone with access to an inboard boat and their local lake or river can begin wakesurfing. Pick up a board and start riding the endless wave.

Our Wakesurf Buyer's Guide will discuss the key features to consider while choosing your next wakesurf board.

Board Length

Most wakesurf boards range from 4' to 6' in length. There are pros and cons to both big wakesurf boards and small wakesurf boards. It is important to choose a size that will match you as a rider, your wave size, and your style of riding.

Big Wakesurf Boards (5' and up): Bigger wakesurf boards have more surface area, are more buoyant in the water, and generate speed easier. This makes them a great option for bigger riders and riders who are riding behind a smaller wake. The increased buoyancy also makes them a good option for beginners learning to ride.

Ronix Koal Technora Thruster (5'1" and 5'7") - From beginners to advanced riders, everyone can have fun on this playful and buoyant shape. Multiple fin adjustments give you the option to ride it as a Thruster (three fins) for a tighter feel or a single fin for a looser and more playful ride.

Liquid Force Happy Pill (4'5" 4'10" and 5'2") - The Liquid Force Happy Pill is a shorter board but features a ton of surface area that helps it ride like a longboard. The Happy Pill is a fun ride that everyone on the boat will enjoy riding.

Small Wakesurf Boards (5' and under): Smaller wakesurf boards are great for advanced riders and lightweight riders. These smaller boards are easier to maneuver and air out of the wave, making them the board of choice for most advanced riders. These boards don't offer as much surface area as bigger boards, so they usually require a larger wave with more push.

Ronix Koal Powertail Wakesurf Board (4'5") - The Koal Powertail is one of the most fun boards we've ever ridden. This board delivers the speed and agility of a small board with the push of a larger wakesurfer due to the increased size of the tail.

Liquid Force Primo Wakesurf Board (4'5 and 4'9") - Tommy Czeschin and Liquid Force have worked together to create some of the best skim boards in the game. Their newest creation... the Primo surf-skim hybrid. This board is an ultra-light and highly durable performance vehicle that offers a versatile, aggressive ride.

Skim, Surf, Or Hybrid Shape?

Most wakesurf boards come in one of three different shape styles: Skim, Surf, and Hybrid.

Skim Style boards feature a thinner profile, are less buoyant, and typically have less fins. A skim shape is popular for doing spins, airs, and skate tricks. We recommend skim style wakesurf boards for more advanced riders.

Skim Wakesurf Board Shape

The Koal Technora Surf Skimmer», Ronix Honeycomb Surf Skimmer», Liquid Force Primo», Hyperlite Hi-Fi», and the Slingshot Butter Bar» are all great choices if you are considering a skim style wakesurf board.

Surf Style boards are similar to their ocean counterpart. They are thicker, more buoyant and feature longer fins for a more controlled feel on the wake. We recommend surf style boards for beginners or those looking for a mellow cruiser.

Wakesurf Board Shape

The CWB Katana», CWB Voodoo», Hyperlite Quad», Phase 5 Kong», Ronix Koal Longboard», and the Slingshot Gnarwhal» are all popular surf style shapes.

Hybrid Style boards are a blend between the two most popular shapes: surf and skim. The goal of the hybrid shape is to offer the playfulness of a skim style board with the feel and responsiveness that a surf style board offers.

Hybrid Wakesurf Shape

The Ronix Honeycomb Surf Skimmer», Byerly Buzz», Hyperlite Shim», Phase Five Fireball», , and the Ronix Koal Powertail Technora» are some of our more popular hybrid shapes for 2016.

Construction Styles

Compression Molded wakesurf boards are built using the same construction as a wakeboard. This makes them a great option for beginners because they are more durable than surf constructed boards. Compression molded boards tend to be heavier and less responsive than other wakesurf contructions. This will create a more sluggish ride through the water but makes for a great beginner board.

Epoxy Fiberglass/Surfboard Construction boards are made from a foam core and covered in a layered glass. This makes the boards lightweight, but they are also much more fragile than compression molded wakesurf boards. The speed and performance of these boards makes them a favorite for more advanced riders.

Hybrid Foam construction is when a manufacturer uses a blend of construction styles. The Ronix Mellow Thrasher is a good example of this because it features a soft foam top and compression molded construction. These boards are great for beginners and kids because they are highly durable and are a forgiving ride. The performance is more sluggish than compression molded or surf constructed boards because the foam top dampens the reaction between your feet and the board.

Rocker Lines 

Rocker lines play a big role in how a wakesurf board rides behind the boat. In general, boards with less rocker ride smoother and faster on the water and boards with more rocker are a bit slower but they work better for steeper waves.

wakesurf-heavy-rocker wakesurf-relaxed-rocker

Just like a wakeboard, the rail on a wakesurf board gives you the "bite" or forgiveness you need. Boards with a thin rail offer more grab into the wake and speed while boards with a thicker rail are typically slower and more forgiving.

Ropes & Handles

This is often overlooked but a wakesurf specific rope and handle is a must-have for safety reasons. The wakesurf specific rope and handles are typically around 25 feet in length and feature smaller handles that prevent your arms, legs, or neck from getting caught in the rope.

Shop for Wakesurf Ropes and Handles>>

Boat Speed

Finding the right speed is essential to creating a surf wake that has enough push to propel the rider and allow them to drop the rope. The sweet spot for your boat's speed while wakesurfing will be somewhere between 9-12 MPH. Every boat is different and you will want to play around with your speed until you find that optimal wake. If you are driving too slow the wake will appear "washed out" and not have enough push. If you are driving too fast the wake will flatten out.

Weighting Your Boat for Wakesurfing

Outfitting your boat with additional ballast is key to creating a good surf wake (more weight = bigger wake).

Click here for our guide on "How To Weight Your Boat For Wakesurfing".

Wakesurfing Safety


The first rule of wakesurfing is to never surf behind an outboard or inboard/outboard (I/O) boat. To safely and properly wakesurf you will need an inboard boat. Inboard boats have the propeller tucked under the boat and in front of the rudder. Surfing behind an outboard or I/O boat can cause serious injury or even death.

Previously mentioned, the second rule of wakesurfing is to always use a surf specific handle. They are smaller than wakeboard and waterski handles so they help to prevent a rider from getting their head, legs, or arms caught in the handle opening.

Another thing to be aware of is Carbon Monoxide (CO) poisoning. It's a common concern while boating, so you need to be aware of the risks and symptoms associated with CO poisoning. If you feel dizzy or light-headed at all while surfing or boarding we highly recommend taking a break.

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