Move over skis and tubes, wakeboarding is quickly becoming one of the best ways to spend a day riding behind a boat. Usually practiced on a lake and with the help of a motorboat, wakeboarding looks like snowboarding on water that isn’t frozen, with riders either wearing boots attached to the board or standing on a board sideways, like a skateboard or snowboard. Hanging on to a tow row, wakeboarders move in and out of the boat’s wake, sometimes doing flips, jumps, and other tricks. We’re just excited if we can take one hand off the rope long enough to wave to the people in our boat.
Wakeboarding is a fun sport that can be done by enthusiasts of any age. Though the costs of entry are high, mainly because a motorboat is needed, actual wakeboards are low to moderately priced.
What To Look For In A Wakeboard
There are two styles of wakeboards. Single tip means the same foot is always forward, while twin-tip means you can switch the lead foot. Which board to choose is largely due to personal preference.
Identify your skill level and find a board that is appropriate. You may want to snag the same board the pros use but learning to wakeboard on a beginner board will likely serve you better in the long run. Beginner boards are usually slower with a larger fin, making it easier to learn, while advanced boards have a smaller fin
Match your size to the board. In addition to finding a board with the right skill level for your current needs, you also want one that is a good fit for your size. If the board is too small for you, you’ll likely sink. Too big and it will be difficult to maintain control.
How We Chose The Best Wakeboards
As with any water sport, we recommend wearing a life jacket at all times and always exerting safety measures when boating, including having a spotter who watches the wakeboarder for the driver. It’s also important to note that no one on board should be consuming alcohol.
Wakeboarding is a sport that the whole family can enjoy, although they typically can’t all use the same board. We’ve included boards for a variety of ages, sizes, and skill levels.
1. Hyperlite Motive Wakeboard w/Frequency One Size Fits All Boots
Whether you’re about to take your first ride on a wakeboard or have a few sessions behind you, the Hyperlite Motive Wakeboard w/Frequency One Size Fits All Boots is a great option for riders who want a forgiving board designed for newbies. A six-degree edge bevel paired with a continuous rocker style makes it possible for riders to easily navigate gentle turns with minimal drag. The mid-flex board also has molded-in fins made with ABS, which helps to improve durability. The fiberglass and foam core creates a long-lasting board that’s available in 134 cm (rider weight 80 to 100 pounds) and 140 cm (rider weight 120 to 230 pounds).
Pros: Excellent option for beginners, six-degree bevel for gentle turns, continuous rocker design.
Cons: May be too slow for advanced riders.
2. O'Brien System Wakeboard with Clutch Boots
Whether you’re a beginner or intermediate rider, this wakeboard and binding combo from O’Brien will help you enjoy a day on the water and feel like a pro. The O’Brien Blank wakeboard provides the support newer riders need, from enhanced double barrel channels that make entering and exiting channels a smooth transition, to excellent edge control. The continuous rocker style board has a consistent curve that gives riders the height they need to clear wakes with ease. Dual molded channels mean that water is directed under the board for ease with tracking. As for the bindings, dual molded channels are easy to get in and out of and the open-toe design enables riders to grip with their toes for more control. The board is available in three sizes, with the size shown here designed for smaller riders between 60 and 140 pounds.
Pros: Added support for new riders, bindings are easy to put on and remove, excellent edge control.
Cons: The size shown is only appropriate for smaller riders.
3. Full Throttle Aqua Extreme Wakeboard Kit
The Full Throttle Aqua Extreme Wakeboard Kit features a layered glass top sheet and feather core technology for a board that is lightweight and provides added control. The Full Throttle is made with lace-up boots for a secure fit and has feather core technology and ABS retention steps, as well as a reinforced ABS fin block. The board is made for all levels but works exceptionally well for beginner and intermediate wakeboarders thanks to its multiple defined channels that add to the board’s stability and edge control.
Pros: Excellent for beginners and intermediate riders, lightweight, features lace-up boots.
Cons: The Full Throttle is recommended for riders who are 150 pounds and up, making it less useful for the whole family.
4. CTRL Scope Wakeboard + Liquid Force Element Mens Bindings
For a board that lets you concentrate on your tricks and not every bump, there’s the CTRL Scope Wakeboard. Made with an absorbing hardwood-infused foam core, the board and its dampening mid-sole help to displace impact and provide a comfortable and smooth ride. Get a responsive carve for boat ridings and cable parks thanks to molded-in side fins and enjoy the consistent smoothness of the ride thanks to a continuous rocker design. The Liquid Force Element bindings included in the set have an opened-toe design that makes it easy for riders of different sizes to take turns on the water.
Pros: Absorbing foam core for a comfortable ride, open-toe bindings to fit various riders, displaces impact.
Cons: The CTRL is only available in 136 and 140 cm sizes.
5. Hyperlite State 2.0 Mens Wakeboard
For beginner and intermediate riders who want a board that is (almost) tailor-made for them, we like the Hyperlite State 2.0 Mens Wakeboard. The board is available in five sizes from 125 cm to 145 cm, fitting riders between 100 and 160-plus pounds. Made with a continuous rocker style and standard base, the wakeboard has a durable fiberglass and foam makeup that can handle plenty of trips on the water. The top of the board features layered glass that offers less drag and a fresh pop-off even after extensive use. The mid-flex board includes molded-in fins, as well as a center fin for added control.
Pros: Several size options, middle fin for added control, finished with layered glass for pop-off.
Cons: Boots fit size 10-14 which may be too large for some riders.
6. ZUP All-in-One Kneeboard, Wakeboard, Wakeskate, and Wakesurf Board
The ZUP All-in-One Kneeboard, Wakeboard, Wakeskate, and Wakesurf Board is an easy-to-use board that is safe and fun for amateur water sport enthusiasts all the way up to seasoned pros. The ZUP is a versatile board that can be used for a long list of water sports, including wakesurfing, kneeboarding, boogie boarding, and as water skis or a water tube. The HDPE molded plastic is durable and the EVA padded foam provides a cushioned and slip-resistant surface. With a built-in handle hook, riders can move between a kneeling and standing position without having to hold the handle.
Pros: Useful for several spots, durably made, easy to spot in the water thanks to bright color.
Cons: The board is on the heavier side, but that helps with its stability.
7. RAVE Sports Impact Wakeboard with Charger Boots
The newly redesigned oval RAVE Sports Impact Wakeboard with Charger Boots has a continuous rocker style that makes riding waves a breeze. The small design of the 122 cm board, which is designed for riders 125 pounds and less, provides a stable base for new and intermediate riders. The lightweight board has a high-density foam core that adds to its buoyancy and creates a strong and flexible base. The side rails and fiberglass-reinforced edges are impact-resistant, which creates a durable board that will last. The two fins on the board can be removed when learning edge control. Riders will also appreciate the Charger Boots included, which feature lace-up bindings and adjustable screws that allow for riders to change their forward-facing foot.
Pros: Designed for kids and small riders, excellent stability, removable fins for easy transportation.
Cons: The board and bindings may be too small for taller kids.
8. Hyperlite Wakeboard
For a wakeboard and boot combo that will have you easily cruising wakes for hours on end, we like the Hyperlite Wakeboard. The recently update combination features the Vapor wakeboard and Destroyer bindings that together create a performance-enhancing package. Stability and added pop are the focus on the Vapor, while the Destroyer is a comfortable and responsive set of bindings that can handle just about any situation on the water. Available in 135, 139 and 143 cm size options, the bindings are designed for wearers size 8-14. A BioLite Core and V-shaped haul create a board that is fun to ride, while a three-stage rocker and four removable fins finish a setup that intermediate riders will enjoy.
Pros: Excellent stability, responsive bindings, wide size range of boards and bindings.
Cons: Fiberglass splinters can occur on rare occasions.