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When I was on vacation in Jamaica a few years ago, the resort offered free watersports. Not one to pass up a free opportunity, I participated in a few of the sports they offered. One of them was wakeboarding.
We had to wait for a day when the waves were particularly mellow, but it was so worth it. Wakeboarding was a whole lot of fun, and even the kids could get involved. It was so much fun that we decided to invest in our own boards at a later date.
The hardest part of choosing a board was knowing which one would be worth the money. There are so many on the market that we didn’t know where to begin. So I did my research and ended up with a great board.
Whether you’re a novice or an expert, there are plenty of boards on the market to suit your needs. Here, we’ll break down the best wakeboards that are worth the money.
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What is a wakeboard? A wakeboard is a short board used for the sport of wakeboarding. They are usually about five feet long and 2 feet wide.
Wakeboarding is a 30-year-old water sport that began in Australia in the 1980s as a way for surfers to take advantage of the water when there were no waves. Initially, it was called skurfing. Its origins are in water skiing, surfing, and snowboarding.
In wakeboarding, you are fastened to the wakeboard and towed behind a motorboat much like water skiing. The boat travels at around 30 miles per hour, but if you’re a beginner, you’ll probably start riding at about 18 miles per hour, until you get the hang of it.
Standing on the board (usually strapped into boots attached to the board), you’ll hold onto a tow rope with your hands. As the boat tows you, you ride the surface of the water and the wake created by the boat. Eventually, you’ll be able to perform wakeboarding tricks like jumps, spins, grabs, and flips.
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Wakeboarding is a fun recreational activity that many people enjoy. Wakeboarding is typically enjoyed on large lakes or in the ocean (when there are no waves) since you need a large amount of room for the boat to maneuver. There are also parks called cable parks that tow you by an electrically-driven cable rather than a motorboat.
Some watersport companies will set up in specific areas with all the necessary gear and equipment. Interested riders can schedule a time for lessons or a ride. Sometimes no appointment is needed, and you can walk up and get started. Either way, you’ll likely have to sign a safety and liability waiver.
Wakeboarding is a simple enough activity to enjoy for recreation, but there are also professional wakeboarders. The pros perform in competitions all over the world and go on professional tours. Wakeboarding is even a regular event at the X Games (a worldwide competition for extreme sports). The top athletes in the industry make over six figures annually.
Whether professional or amateur, wakeboarders sometimes make use of specific structures to help them perform specialized tricks and stunts. For instance, you may use a kicker, which is a ramp in the water that the wakeboarder hits to get air. Or you might use a rail made of metal, PVC, or wood which you slide on top of with your board.
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Wakeboards are made of fiberglass wrapped over foam, wood, or foam/wood hybrid cores. Foam core boards are cheaper, lighter, and more durable. Wood core boards flex better but are more expensive and heavier. You’ll likely choose which type of board you like based on your preference for riding style.
The shape, curvature, size, fin placement and more can make a huge difference in how a board performs. No matter how cool a particular graphic looks on a wakeboard, you’ll want to take into account the actual specifications to get the best wakeboards.
The shape of a board affects the way it will react to the wake. Most boards come in two primary forms: rounded-ends or squared-off ends. Boards with round ends are typically better spinners, more forgiving, and smoother in choppy water. A board with square ends usually delivers a better “pop” off the wake, but these are also harder to land after a jump.
The bottom of a wakeboard is also essential in its design. The bottom surface of the wake boar has channels cut into it. These channels allow the water to flow beneath the board.
The purpose of the channels is two-fold. For one thing, if the bottom of the board is flat, then it will end up skipping across the top of the water making it harder to control. Secondly, the channels allow the board to stay more “grounded” to the wake thus making it easier to control while still allowing you to break free for tricks.
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You can buy a wakeboard at most boat, ski, skateboard, and surf shops. If you don’t want to try the board out before purchasing, then most boards can be purchased online. Amazon is an excellent source of decently priced wakeboards if you already know what board you’re looking to buy. Otherwise, we recommend trying a few out at a local shop or cable park before buying.
In general, wakeboards range in price from just under $200 to around $800. The cost of the board depends on its construction, popularity, and features. The more expensive boards will also be the more advanced boards. These will have the most aggressive materials and designs and are geared toward advanced riders.
Other than the board itself, you will want to have additional gear before you head to a lake. You’ll need a boat to tow you unless you’re going to a cable park. A cable park is an excellent place to start because the speeds are generally slower and you might be able to rent a board there rather than having to buy one.
The first thing you’re going to need before wakeboarding is bindings. If your board didn’t come with bindings, you’d have to purchase them separately. Bindings are boots that attach to your board to keep you on it and to provide ankle support.
You might want a wetsuit if you’re boarding in cold water, but they can be restrictive so you might want to ditch it as you progress in your abilities. Also, you’ll need to wear a buoyancy aid or impact vest.
Buoyancy aids are worn like a life-vest but are not made to be a safety device; rather they are only meant to keep you afloat while waiting in the water or if you fall off. An impact vest is intended to protect the torso if you are in danger of hitting the water at high speeds like in wakeboarding.
A helmet is another piece of safety gear you should always wear. Make sure you get a helmet made especially for high-speed water sports. They are water-resistant, won’t absorb water, and are constructed to protect your head in the water, unlike a bicycle or other land sport helmet.
Lastly, always remember to keep drinking water on hand and stay hydrated. You’ll be using muscles you didn’t even know you had and expending energy a lot more than you’d think. Wakeboarding is no pleasure cruise; you’ll actually have to put in some physical exertion to do it.
We invested much time and effort into researching the best wakeboards that are worth the money. Many sources were used to provide the most accurate, useful, and unbiased information available. Using these sources, we have provided you with a list of the top wakeboards that are worth the money. We based our list on quality, features, cost, and approval ratings.
Wakeboards don’t have to cost a lot of money, especially if you’re a beginner rider. You can pick one up for under $200, and it will perform well for years. Here are the wakeboards we recommend.
Overall, we think the best wakeboard is the Ronix Vault. You can purchase a 2017 or 2018 model for cheaper than the 2019 model without sacrificing quality. It has a decent price with all the bells and whistles. Pro wakeboard coach, Mike Ferraro, designed this board.
The asymmetrical design makes carving and cutting easier and encourages newer riders to develop board control. The low friction base offers one of the best glide speeds on the market, while the three-stage rocker provides a more aggressive lift off the wake making it easier for you to get good air and land jumps.
Because it is suitable for both beginner and intermediate riders, beginners won’t outgrow it too soon. Grip-and-Release technology allows you to have more stability without compromising the resistance.
Whether you’re an advanced boarder or a beginner, this article gave you some great options for choosing a wakeboard that’s worth the money. So get out there and enjoy the wind and water this summer!