Looking to buy a new wakesurf board? Overwhelmed by all the choices? Need help? You've came to the right place!
The 2017 WakeMAKERS Wakesurf 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.
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.
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.
WakeMAKERS Staff Picks
Liquid Force Keen: A world champion skimboarder, Austin Keen has quickly made a name for himself in this sport. Just two years after starting wakesurfing, Mr. Keen and Liquid Force have teamed up for his first pro model board.
Hyperlite Hi-Fi: Riding this board, Noah Flegel won the 2016 Wakesurf World Championships, his 7th world title. Watch him rip for only several seconds and you'll see what is possible on Hyperlite's high-performance skimmer.
Ronix Koal Technora Thumbtail: Always a popular board, Danny Harf's signature deck received a huge makeover this year and subsequently a brand new name. The Ronix Thumbtail is easily Danny's best wakesurf board to date.
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.
WakeMAKERS Staff Picks
Liquid Force Dart: The wakesurf equivalent of a Ferrari, this surf style board is FAST. Shawn Watson and the team at Liquid Force completely redesigned the Dart shape for 2017 to make it faster, more nimble, and incredibly explosive.
Liquid Force El Guapo: El Guapo is Spanish for “The Handsome One”. This all-new mini longboard oozes with style and will surely turn some heads on the water. A cruiser designed for flowy turns.
Ronix Koal Classic Longboard: A mellow cruiser that thrives on waves of all shapes and sizes. Link up some flowy soul turns and surf the endless wave with on this enjoyable cruiser shape.
2017 Liquid Force Dart Wakesurf Board
2017 Liquid Force El Guapo Wakesurf Board
2017 Liquid Force Pod Wakesurf Board
2017 Hyperlite Time Machine Wakesurf Board
2017 Ronix Koal Classic Fish Wakesurf Board
2017 Ronix Koal Classic Longboard Wakesurf Board
2017 Ronix Koal Technora Powertail Wakesurf Board
2017 Ronix Koal Technora Thruster 2 Wakesurf Board
2017 Phase 5 Ahi Surf Wakesurf Board
2017 Liquid Force Happy Pill Wakesurf Board
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.
WakeMAKERS Staff Picks
- Hyperlite Shim: Brian Grubb and Hyperlite teamed up to create a next level hybrid design that seamlessly blends surf and skim style together. A truly versatile ride, the Shim is a true crowd pleaser that everyone will enjoy riding.
- Ronix Modello Fish Skim: Ronix wanted to create a skim style board that is more affordable and more durable, all the while not sacrificing its performance characterisitcs. Their creation… the all-new Modello Surf Edition Fish Skim.
- CWB Bentley: The CWB Bentley continues to be a favorite among the WakeMAKERS team year after year. The biggest reason why? The performance of this skim/surf hybrid shape far exceeds its affordable $350 price tag.
- Liquid Force Primo: As a compression molded board, the Primo features a bulletproof construction that is built to last. A popular option for those that are looking to get into skim style riding. This is a great first skim style board.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Half Moon Tail
Another experimental design, the half moon helps to maximize the rail’s length, maintain tail width, and remove surface area behind the fins. This tail shape helps riders execute controlled, balanced turns with ease.
This experimental design looks and performs very similarly to a swallow tail shape. The wider tail gives it more push on the wave (faster) while the corners help give some extra bite on turns.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.