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A hugely popular sport for water-loving adrenalin junkies, wakeboarding borrows elements from water skiing, surfing and snowboarding. The diversity of the sport’s heritage is reflected in the incredible array of available wakeboard designs. There are boards for beginners and boards for pros; boards intended especially for the cable park and others that perform best behind a boat. Some have wood cores and others have foam, and the list of technical features on offer is seemingly endless. In this article, we divide the best wakeboards of into a few categories to make your choice a little clearer.
Our Top Picks
Best Overall: Ronix Vault 2018 Wakeboard
The latest edition of the Ronix Vault Wakeboard is a classic all-rounder designed for a range of skill levels by pro wakeboard coach Mike Ferraro. It is fiberglass-wrapped from top to bottom for extra strength and features a thinner profile that gives you close contact with the water and reduced swing weight in the air. Advantages for beginners include the grip and release channels on the hull, which provides added stability without generating unnecessary resistance. The board’s rails are asymmetrical (thinner and sharper on the topside rail vs. fuller and vertical on the heelside rail).
This helps to make carving and cutting easier while encouraging newer riders to develop board control in record time. Unlike many beginner boards, you won’t grow out of the Ronix Vault in a hurry. 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 to get good air and land jumps. The board also boasts two fiberglass 1.7” hook fins and a medium flex pattern.
Best Beginner: Hyperlite State 2.0 and Eden 2.0 Wakeboard
Hyperlite is one of the best wakeboard names in the biz, and their State and Eden boards are a popular choice with beginners, thanks to their durability and maneuverability designed to help newbies learn critical skills (importantly, the boards are also easy to put on). They’re both also lightweight, coming in at just 12 pounds. The Eden is the women’s version of the State board; both are designed to ride behind the boat and have a continuous rocker, which means the board “pops off” the wake in a way that becomes predictable for beginner riders (and won’t buck them off the board as much until they learn). However, it’s not just sized down: The Eden was designed with a flex and shape specifically for women, including modifications to the edge on the toe side of the board. The State’s flex also has an asymmetrical design, beveled edge, and molded-in fins for novice rides that are as smooth (and last as long) as possible.
Best Intermediate: Hyperlite State 2.0 Wakeboard
Designed to take new riders to the next level, the Hyperlite State 2.0 Wakeboard boasts an abrupt continuous rocker - making it smooth and predictable on the straights, and fast with just the right amount of pop coming off the wake. The key to this board’s popularity is its asymmetrical design. It pairs a traditional heelside edge with a shorter, more effective topside edge to make wake jumps easier to learn, land and master.
Additionally, toeside footbed risers allow you to create more leverage ahead of a jump; while the thinner molded-in fins create less drag and a better release off the top of the wake. The board is available in 125 cm, 130 cm, 135 cm, 140 cm and 145 cm lengths. All boards pair Hyperlite’s famously lightweight Bio 3 Core with a layered glass monocoque construction that integrates the top and bottom glass into a single, ultra-strong unit.
Best Advanced: Ronix Bill ATR Wakeboard
If you’re an advanced wakeboarder still riding on a beginner or intermediate board, it’s time to level up: At this point, it’s likely the mismatched board’s capabilities, not yours, that are holding you back from developing your skills and tricks further. (And if you’re an advanced surfer, consider this an excellent secondary board to get really wild with in the wake.) The cable-wake crossover Bill ATR has a sharp edge to get the board through the wake, and while advanced boards are notoriously feisty, this one’s built with an arc and smooth rocker that let the rider keep more forward momentum going, which helps control (and allows for larger load-ups). That doesn’t mean it’s not going to encourage tricks, though: This is a wakeboard that begs to be played with — and it has Adam Errington’s endorsement to boot. Beginners and intermediates: Don’t upgrade until you’re sure you can handle this one.
Best Cable Park: Slingshot 2019 Terrain Wakeboard-144
This style of wakeboarding tends to be slower and have higher tow points than other types, which means that cable-park wakeboards’ style is a little different than other boards, with gentler flex profiles for better control and responsiveness, and the minimal base contours help with the durability of the board — something you’ll need if you’re hitting those rails and ramps. The Terrain and Valley (the latter is the women’s version of the Terrain) are great boards for when you’re building this skill set, especially rail riding; you’re definitely not going to want to get into that until you’re sure you’ve mastered a beginning board. Pressing is easy on both boards, and the design of the board results in a snow-like feel on the water, according to the company. The 2019 models have been upgraded with carbon-bedrock enforced by carbon fiber and a ballistic park base to handle whatever surface you come up against.
Best Hybrid: Slingshot Oli 2017 Wakeboard
Designed by pro rider Oli Derome, the Slingshot Oli 2017 Wakeboard echoes its namesake’s versatility by excelling in the cable park, on a winch and/or behind a boat. It’s intended for intermediate and advanced riders and is a great choice for those who like to switch between different riding styles. It has a ballistic park base and a vertically laminated wood core.
The medium flex pattern offers plenty of pop off the wake when you’re riding behind a boat; while single NACA channels laser-cut into the tip and tails give the strong edge needed to tackle sliding obstacles in the park. The rocker is a three-stage hybrid. Your board also comes with four wake fins and carbon bedrock inserts (the latter being one of the strongest, lightest mounting systems on the market).
Best for Kids: Hyperlite Motive
Kids wakeboards haven’t been around for all that long; it used to be in the adult-sports camp — or, more recently, just sized-down versions of adult men’s and women’s boards. But companies have come around to what consumers (or, rather, their parents) wanted, and have started to design wakeboards to reflect what kids need from them. Notably, these boards are a little more buoyant and have a mellow rocker for smooth turns and eventual pops, and the Motive does these junior wakeboarders even better with design tweaks for smooth, forgiving runs, but will track into the wake once kids are ready. The six-degree bevel on the board’s edges also help young riders gain control and confidence steering, and molded-in fins help stability. Two different sizes are available for both big and small riders, and they’re capable of handling up to advanced intermediate, so there’s plenty of room for kids to grown in both height and skill with this board.