The 7 Best Wakeboards of 2021

Find the right board for your riding style

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TRIPSAVVY-best-wakeboards

TripSavvy / Chloe Jeong

The Rundown

Best Overall: Ronix RXT Wakeboard at BuyWake

It rides fast and lively, with softer landings and bigger flights.

Best for Beginners: Connelly Pure at Amazon

Helps first-timers come to grips with gaining altitude and landing smoothly.

Best for Experts: Slingshot Sports Bishop Wakeboard at Amazon

An upgrade from the 2019 model, the new Bishop delivers a looser, more playful feel.

Best for Cable Parks: O’Brien Indie at Overtons

Improved flex parameters make the ride even better than its popular 2019 model.

Best Value: Hyperlite Murray Pro Wakeboard at Evo

A professional surfer designed this versatile, intermediate-to-advanced wakeboard.

Best for Kids: Connelly Surge Wakeboard at Amazon

The Surge delivers a smooth and stable ride, with enough forgiveness to ease landings.

Best for Women: Ronix Quarter ‘Til Midnight Board at Amazon

Accommodates softer landings that align with the physiology of female wakeboarders.

Think of wakeboarding as the aquatic equivalent of snowboarding, and you’ll start to grasp the serious fun that’s to be had. Whether you’re being towed behind a boat or riding the cable parks to hit features, getting airborne on the water has never been more invigorating—especially if you’re on a wakeboard that matches your riding style, terrain, and skill level. These are the best wakeboards.

Best Overall: Ronix RXT Wakeboard

Ronix RXT

 Wavemakers

A leading brand in wakeboards, Ronix took their much-loved 2020 RXT model and upgraded it with a new look, a bigger size to let the board float and glide like a dream, and the brand's “secret sauce" (blackout technology). While Ronix won’t divulge what goes into the board’s core construction, riders should take comfort that it’s their most advanced core to date, meaning one of the smoothest, most responsive boat boards ever.

It rides fast and lively, with softer landings and bigger flights, and includes a magic carpet base to deliver speed and response. A continuous rocker shape further amps the overall smoothness and provides consistent pop off the wake. Configured for continuous riding styles, the RXT comes with 1-inch fiberglass ramp fins, as well as 3/4-inch fiberglass “free agent” fins for optimal control even on heavy currents, with saw-cut channels for easy release and saw-cut rails for ample traction. Choose a board length that matches your weight to enhance your skill on the water. It’s also one of Ronix's most lightweight boards, which helps with control and agility.

Best for Beginners: Connelly Pure

A mellow three-stage rocker on the Pure wakeboard from Connelly will help first-timers ease into gaining altitude and landing smoothly, providing the optimal combination of predictability and pop. Long, molded fins and rail channels help the board track, and you can also attach a 1.9-inch fin to improve tracking (and then ditch it as your skill level improves). You’ll find the ride to be comfortable and stable, with a strong System 80 core at the center and a full spine construction to improve agility and control. The Pure comes in three sizes at 130, 134, and 141 centimeters, with a 16.5-inch center width for the smallest model, which expands to 16.9 inches in the bigger boards.

Best for Experts: Slingshot Sports Bishop Wakeboard

Slingshot The Bishop Wakeboard

Courtesy of Board Co.

https://www.boardco.com/slingshot-blake-bishop-wakeboard-2020 

Slingshot Sports' park wakeboard, The Bishop, is as bold and big as its bright graphics, designed by pro riders Wesley Mark Jacobsen and Black Bishop. An upgrade from the popular 2019 model, the new Bishop ditched the belly channels to deliver a looser, more playful feel that might hinder first-timers but will push expert-level riders to execute pro-level tricks. The three-stage rocker slightly slows speed when in water to help you line up your next launch or rail slide, and works well to lock the board into place when pressing down on obstacles—with the brand’s signature flex tips that make nose and tail presses more responsive when grinding. The whole thing rides on an atomic wood core that’s been vertically laminated for favorable flex, as well as carbon inserts that make the rig light, flexible, and strong. The brand also used the same tech found in high-end skateboard wheels into the board’s rails to amp dampening, with a 0.07-mm ballistic base that’ll stand up to years of use without creating drag. And though it’s primarily a park-focused board, its stiff belly adds serious rigidity to hold shape under the kind of pressure you’re likely to encounter on big kickers or when riding behind a boat at speed.

Best for Cable Parks: O’Brien Indie

O'Brien Indie Wakeboard

Courtesy of O'Brien

Following the "bigger is better" trend in park boards, O’Brien updated The Fix by tweaking the thickness profile and length of the board to improve flex parameters, making the ride even better than the popular 2019 model. On the water, you’ll feel loose and flowy, helping to reduce fatigue and to easily align your next trick, whether it’s launching off kickers or pulling a super-technical trick on the rails. It also cushions landings significantly, with a V-Loc tip and tail and a slightly concave belly to lock into flexes when grinding. The progressive, continuous rocker profile adds vertical pop that’s more predictable than a traditional, three-stage rocker. A paulownia wood core offers max flex without adding heft, while impact-resistant urethane rail sidewalls wrap around the entire board edge to protect the core. Finally, a fully sintered high-density polyethylene base will endure season after season of park use.

Best Value: Hyperlite Murray Pro Wakeboard

Hyperlite Murray Pro Wakeboard 2021

Courtesy of Evo

Professional surfer Shaun Murray’s signature model, the Murray Pro from Hyperlite delivers a versatile, intermediate-to-advanced wakeboard without the sticker shock that typically comes with a high-end ride. The board’s shape was designed based on knowledge from Murray’s 20 years of wakeboarding experience and comes with a subtle three-stage rocker with a small flat spot to provide massive boosts off the wake, as well as with a center-landing spine and a variable edge design to open the board up to all riding styles.

This slightly stiff board leans more toward boat riding than cable parks, but its rounded edges and sharpening underfoot lets you hold an edge in any condition. Even more, the B103 Core and CarboNetX construction make it light and easy to spin, with layered fiberglass to deliver pop for years and integration of the top and bottom glass into one to fend off delamination from side impacts. And in honor of the board’s 20th anniversary, Hyperlite has expanded the size options to include 145- and 150-centimeter models as well as boards that measure in at 134 and 139 centimeters.

Best for Kids: Connelly Surge Wakeboard

Connelly 2021 Surge 125 Kid's Wakeboard

Young wakeboarders need a board that delivers a smooth and stable ride, with enough forgiveness to ease landings and enough camber to provide pop. Connelly delivers precisely that with the Surge. Molded 4 x 4-inch fins provide moderate grip for both boat and cable park riding, with a removable center fin that lets the board track straight until you’re skilled enough to control the board without it. A full spine lends to smooth, easy, flat landings, with a subtle three-stage rocker profile that provides pop without over-engineering the advantage. Its modest-density closed-cell poly foam core keeps things light, while the laminated nexus shell adds durability that’s bolstered with UV protection. Available at a fixed 125-centimeter length, the Surge accommodates riders up to 130 pounds. Bonus: Some online retailers offer package deals for both the Surge and a pair of boots.

Best for Women: Ronix Quarter ‘Til Midnight Board

Ronix took one of their all-purpose wakeboards as the point of inspiration for the women-specific Quarter ‘Til Midnight, making things lighter, more responsive, and open to softer landings that align with the physiology of female wakeboarders. The hybrid continuous rocker profile delivers pop without sucking speed and allows you to switch from smooth, easy-to-initiate turns to high-speed cuts with aplomb. Take-offs from the wake are both fast and predictable, with a modest flex construction to ease the return to the water. It comes with four, 1-inch fiberglass ramp fins and boasts a new, thinner overall profile for slicing across the wake. The Ronix wakeboard comes in three lengths (129, 134, and 138 centimeters) and can accommodate intermediate and advanced riders that weigh up to 185 pounds.

Final Verdict

The lightweight, larger-than-average Ronix RXT (view at BuyWake) wins out thanks to its proprietary core, which lets the board ride smoothly for max control. A continuous camber improves pop, with fiberglass “free angel” fins that partner with a central 1-inch fin and saw-cut channels for ample tracking—ideal for open water wakeboarding. 

What to Look for in a Wakeboard

Design

We’re not talking about aesthetics here, though there are options there, too. Instead, the design of the wakeboard goes hand-in-hand with the level of the wakeboarder using it. Some boards, for example, include asymmetrical heels to help their newbie riders master control of the board quickly, as well as grip-and-release channels on hulls for added stability. 

Cost

If you’re an advanced wakeboarder who heads out into the surf every day, take the time—and maybe spend a little money—to find the wakeboard that’s exactly perfect for you. Beginners who only go occasionally might want to look into a cheaper but still well-designed model before moving on to a more expensive and more advanced one. 

Wakeboarding Style

Whether you like to cable ski or straight-up wakeboard, or you stick with one stance or switch between them, how you like to ride is going to influence your choice of board. Hybrid boards are great if you’re all over the map, but if you’re prone to one stance, it’s best to find a dedicated board that will help you excel as much possible.

FAQs

What are the types of wakeboards?

Generally wakeboards break out into models that perform well when being pulled by a boat and those that are optimized for riding in cable parks. The former models typically include one—or several—fins that help you track confidently on open water, making it easy to line up and pop confidently, while park-specific boards employ channels to help you track without having to worry about larger fins interfering with obstacles. They also tend to be more flexible, helping you stick to the rails. Some boards admirably split the difference, with features like removable fins, so you can play behind the boat or at a park. Boards are also designed for a rider’s experience; if you’re a first-timer, go with a board more suitable for beginners, while those looking to progress can go with boards that provide smooth landings to keep your confidence level high.

What size works best?

Know the weight of the rider to determine the proper board length, which is typically measured in centimeters. Boards upwards of 144 centimeters can support riders over 275 pounds, while shorter boards like 130 centimeters are suitable for riders less than 100 pounds. Most manufacturers will provide you with weight guidance, and most also come in more than one length. In general, shorter boards are a bit slower and take more energy while longer boards are easier to ride and provide a solid boost off the wake and easier landings, making them a solid choice for beginners.

What does a wakeboard’s rocker mean?

Much like water and snow skis, the rocker refers to the profile—or the bend—of the board. Continuous rockers consist of one fluid curve, which helps generate speed and provides predictable pop, while a three-stage rocker elevates the tip and tail, typically with a flat section under foot. These profiles reliably generate more pop, but might generate rougher landings, and will require more turning on the board’s edges. Most boards tend to fall somewhere in the middle, often described as a hybrid rocker, which might have a smaller flat section, higher rise in the tip and tail, and other configurations to make the board more suitable for certain types of riding.

How well do wakeboards track?

The degree of traction delivered by a wakeboard is largely dictated by the number of fins under the board, which serve to grip the water and allow for tighter control. Some fins are fixed and are best suited for open water, while others can be removed to let you handle both boat riding and cable parks. Boards also use channels—either in addition to or instead of fins—that also improve tracking, though boards with only channels don’t track as well and are best used in park riding.

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