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Beginners Guide to Buying a Wakeboard, How to Buy a Wakeboard, Tips, Advice | Cheap Deals From www.SussexWatersports.co.uk

Beginners Guide to Buying a Wakeboard

Source: Action Sports International (http://www.actionsportsinternational.com)

Welcome to our article on buying a wakeboard. We live and breath wakeboards as not only are we a Premier Jobe Wakeboard Retailer for the UK but we also own and operate Sussex Wakeboard Club, a friendly and deliberately non-elitist club based in Worthing West Sussex and serving Shoreham, Lancing, Worthing, Goring, Ferring and Littlehampton.

Introduction to Buying a Wakeboard

This article is aimed at the novice Wakeboarder as it is assumed that an intermediate or advanced rider will probably know most of this stuff already. This is not intended to be an exhaustive study of wakeboard design. Instead we have deliberately filtered out all of the unnecessary jargon and technicalities and put together a simple list of considerations that are relevant just to beginners. We hope that you find this article useful and that it helps you to choose the perfect wakeboard for you. If you're completely new to the sport you may want to read our article on What Is Wakeboarding? first.

WAKEBOARD DESIGN

Wakeboard design has moved on considerably in recent years and boards are now designed with a specific application in mind - either cable, boat, or both (known as a hybrid board).

A Cable Wakeboard is designed to withstand the impacts of using obstacles to perform tricks, get air, and land safely and comfortably. As a general rule, cable wakeboards have at least 1 set of removeable fins plus 4 moulded fins, although some more advanced cable boards have less (and some actually have no fins at all). Cable wakeboards also have a grind base (a tough plastic matt coating designed to protect the underside) and toughened edges to minimise impact damage from striking obstacles. They often have wider tips too and a more flexible core to assist with pressing tricks and to cushion the rider from heavy impacts.

A Boat Wakeboard needs none of the impact protection features of a cable board and is designed to perform a different variety of tricks. Boat wakeboards have a stiffer core and more features to help them perform on the smoother softer wake profile created by a boat rather than the rock hard and rather abrupt obstacles found at cable parks.

A Hybrid Wakeboard combines many of the best features of both cable and boat boards to create a board that is at home in either environment. However, a hybrid board by definition will always be something of a compromise. If you only ever ride at cable parks then get a cable board and if you always ride behind a boat then get a boat board. However, if you regularly do both then a hybrid board is a good way of saving you from having to buy 2 seperate boards.

Within these 3 categories you then have boards designed for beginner, intermediate and advanced riders. Beginner boards are the slowest and most forgiving to ride and advanced board are the fastest and most agressive to ride.

WAKEBOARD SIZES

Wakeboards are measured in centimeters and vary in length from around 120cm to 150cm and in width from approx 38cm to 44cm. These dimensions are extremely important when choosing your wakeboard as being on the wrong board will hinder your progress and potentially ruin your enjoyment of each set. In short, the heavier you are the more board volume you need in order to stay on top of the water at normal towing speeds.

Wakeboard Size Chart

Rider Weight
(lbs)
Rider Weight
(Stone)
Rider Weight
(Kg)
Board Length
(cm)
Under 100
7st 2lbs
45.4
Less than 130
90-150
6st 6lbs - 10st 10lbs
40.8 - 68
130-134
130-180
9st 4lbs - 12st 12lbs
59 - 81.6
135-139
170-250
12st 2lbs - 17st 12lbs
77.1 - 113.4
140-144
200-275+
14st 4lbs - 19st 9lbs +
90.7 - 124.7 +
Over 144


WAKEBOARD ROCKER

Rocker is the measure of how much a board curves at each end (Wakeboards are somewhat banana-shaped when viewed from the side). There are two main types of rocker, continuous and 3-stage. Continuous rockers have a gradual and constant curve, whereas 3-stage rockers have a flat centre section with two distinct bend points at either end.

Wakeboards with a continuous rocker ride lower in the water so are more stable and provide softer landings, but they are slower in a straight line and in the turns (but these are actually desirable features for beginners). Continuous rocker boards generally provide less "pop" off the wake so are more forgiving and easy to ride.

Wakeboards with a 3-stage rocker ride higher in the water so are faster and with a "looser" feel to them. 3-stage boards provide more "pop" off the wake but the tradeoff is that landings can be harder.

WAKEBOARD FINS

Fins provide forward stability and tracking and give the board "grip" on the water. Without fins a wakeboard will still travel in a reasonably straight line as it is longer than it is wide, but it will be able to rotate freely and very loosely on the surface of the water which requires considerable skill to control.

In addition to straight line tracking, fins also enable a rider to load up the line and accelerate on the approach to the boat wake or an obstacle, and they then provide grip and stability on the landing.

Fins are either screwed into the board or moulded in (or both). The nearer the edge the fins are the more effect they have and the bigger and wider they are the more drag they create and therefore the more stability they provide. Beginner wakeboards therefore tend to have larger wider fins and advanced boards have smaller thinner fins.

WAKEBOARD EDGES

The edges of a wakeboard are either sharp or rounded. Sharp edges give the best performance but can result in more face plants for beginners as it is easier to "catching an edge", especially on landings or if "switching" (rotating the board through 180 degrees to change the leading foot).

Rounded edges are more forgiving so are much better suited to beginners. Cable wakeboards (and many hybrid boards) have ABS reinforcement in the enges to enable to better withstand impacts against obstacles.

WAKEBOARD BINDINGS

Wakeboard bindings are designed to hold your feet firmly to your wakeboard and to support your ankles, but in such a way that they will release in the event of a hard tumble. Many Wakeboards come complete with bindings and these will be carefully matched to suit the board. Cheaper wakeboards will have more basic bindings and the more advanced boards will have proportionally superior bindings.

Wake Bindings are either open-toe or closed-toe. Open toe bindings (where the toes of the bindings are literally cut out and your toes are visible) are best suited to recreational beginner to intermediate riders as they offer slightly less rigidity than close toe boot type bindings. However, open-toe bindings are much more versatile as they are designed to fit a foot size range (e.g. UK 7-11) rather than just one size. This makes them perfect for shared / family setups (wakeboards that are likely to be used by more than one person). Closed toe bindings offer the best support and "feel" so are the best choice for intermediate to advanced riders that do not share their board.

Bindings tend to be either lace-up or velcro (or both). Laces give you more change to get a nice tight "locked-in" feel but are more difficult to do up when in deep water. Velcro bindings won't offer the same level of locked-in feel as lace-ups, but they are much easier to do up when you're in the water. The beginner boards at most watersports schools have velcro bindings for exactly this reason.

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