The 9 Best Wakeboarding Lakes In California

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Summer is just around the corner, so it’s time to discover the best wakeboarding lakes in California.

Wakeboarding is a sport that has been rising in popularity ever since its inception. Along with its rise to fame, wakeboarding has become more accessible to everyone, both in terms of the skill required and the equipment that’s getting better and better with every iteration.

In this article, we’ll be listing the best lakes in California for wakeboarding. If you ever find yourself in California and in the mood for a wakeboarding session, you can’t go wrong with any of the places we’re going to mention. We’ll be listing the best parks, rivers, and lakes in California, which will provide you with a great wakeboarding session

9 Best Wakeboarding Lakes in California

Best Wakeboarding Lakes in California: California Delta

Best Wakeboarding Lakes in California: CALIFORNIA DELTA
Credit: CalMatters

The California Delta is not only great for fishing, boating, and various other activities, but it’s one of the best wakeboarding in California.

Located near San Joaquin and Sacramento, you can count on the weather to be relatively temperate with very little, if any, wind. This makes it one of the best places you can go if you’re looking for a great wakeboarding experience.

With that said, the weather is not the only thing going for this lake. In fact, the California Delta is shaped in a way that feels like it was made for wakeboarding. It offers several tributaries as well as open areas. There’s also the fact that it rarely gets crowded. If you go there during the week, you’ll have the whole lake for yourself and a couple of other people. So there’s enough space for everyone.

All in all, the California Delta offers a lot of space, as well as optimal weather for wakeboarding. Add on top of that the fact that it isn’t crowded, and you have yourself an amazing lake for wakeboarding.

Lake Shasta

Best Wakeboarding Lakes in California: LAKE SHASTA

Lake Shasta is a lake that’s in O’Brien located slightly above Redding. It is one of the best wakeboarding lakes in California. What sets this lake apart from the rest is how beautiful and scenic it is. Not only does it have great weather and enough space, but you’ll also be mesmerized by the views it has to offer.

While it can get a bit too crowded for wakeboarding during the day, it offers one of the best wakeboarding experiences outside peak hours. If you manage to get up early and head to Lake Shasta, you’ll find that it’s well worth the effort. It arguably has the glassiest water that you can find in all of the lakes in California.

All in all, Lake Shasta offers mesmerizing scenery as well as one of the glassiest bodies of water out there. It is strongly recommended that you go there during the early morning hours or during the late evening so you can have the best experience.

Best Wakeboarding Lakes in California: Wake Island

Best Wakeboarding Lakes in California: WAKE ISLAND
Credit: The Union Mag

As you might have already guessed by the name, Wake Island is a wakeboarding park. Located near Sacramento, this park offers a wide variety of fun activities such as floating obstacle courses, pedal boats, pedal boarding as well as beach volleyball.

When it comes to the wakeboarding part of it, it offers a ton of choice for everyone. It features many different boxes where you can jib and grind. If you’re looking to get some big air, they’ve also got you covered with kicker. Additionally, there are several launching styles at the dock. Whether you’re an amateur or a veteran, you’ll surely find something for yourself.

All in all, Wake Island is a great wakeboarding park that offers a huge amount of options to explore. Whether you’re new or experienced, you’re guaranteed to have a blast while you’re there.

Lake Tahoe

Best Wakeboarding Lakes in California: LAKE TAHOE

Lake Tahoe is among the most well-known lakes in California. Many northern Californians regard it as a fantastic vacation destination. Unfortunately, this means that this lake is usually crowded during the weekends and times of vacation. While this means that you won’t get the glassiest water during these times, you’ll still be able to have a great time since the lake already offers a lot of space.

If what you’re looking for is glassy water, then it is highly recommended that you go wakeboarding during the week since the majority of people will be at work. If you can squeeze in a couple of wakeboarding sessions during the week, you’ll find that Lake Tahoe offers one of the best wakeboarding experiences in California.

Canyon Lake


Situated in the Southern parts of California, Canyon Lake is a place inland from Lake Elsinore. It offers breathtaking scenery and glassy water, which makes it a great wakeboarding destination. The main issue with this lake is that it is home to people who prefer quiet locations. This has led to some tension between the locals and patrons of the lake.

While the future of Canyon Lake as a prime wakeboarding destination is unclear, it is one of the best wakeboarding lakes in California as it stands now. There’s no better time to go the Canyon Lake than now, so it’s best to make the most of it while it’s still public.

All in all, if you’re looking for a scenic place with glassy water, Canyon Lake is a great destination to go to. Even though its future as a public wakeboarding place has yet to be settled, it doesn’t detract anything from it from a wakeboarding perspective.

Colorado River

Credit: Los Angeles Times

Starting up in the Rocky Mountains and reaching Mexico, the Colorado River is a great destination for wakeboarding. Since the river stretches such a long distance, your experience can wildly vary depending on where you choose to go wakeboarding. We recommend scouting out the river beforehand. Your wakeboarding session’s quality will depend on the place you choose. It will eventually come down to a compromise between water depth and the number of people there.

Once you figure out how to find the best wakeboarding area for you, you’ll start having a blast. As a bonus, the Colorado River also feeds in to Havasu Lake, which is one of the most beautiful places when it comes to wakeboarding scenery.

All in all, the Colorado River is a great place for wakeboarding. However, if you want to get the most out of it, you’ll want to invest some time and get to the river’s quirks and best spots, which might be ideal for some people.

Redding Wakeboard and Ski Park

Credit: Wakeboarding Magazine

Situated in Redding, the Redding Wakeboard and Ski Park holds the title of the first wakeboard park in Northern California. It features a cable system that you can use to get around the park. The park features a big kicker, a ten-foot box as well as a forklift, which you can do some jibs on.

While this park might not be the biggest or the fanciest park out there, it has a special atmosphere to it that sets it apart from the rest. It has plenty of cheerful and welcoming people who will ease you in rather quickly.

All in all, Redding Wakeboard and Ski Park is a great wakeboarding destination that offers a warm and welcoming atmosphere.          

Bullards Bar Reservoir


If you were to go and ask Californian wakeboarders on the best place for wakeboarding, they would probably mention Bullards Bar Reservoir. The reason is quite simple; it has smooth and glassy water and is pretty large. There’s enough space for everyone and then some, which makes it ideal for wakeboarding sessions. Additionally, Bullards Bar Reservoirs is not a crowded place. This means that you can enjoy it in its full glory no matter which day you choose to visit it.

All in all, if you’re looking for the most optimal destination for wakeboarding in Northern California, then you don’t need to look any further than Bullards Bar Reservoir. Boasting a huge surface, glassy water as well as great vistas, you can never go wrong with it.

Lake Nacimiento


Located in the northern part of San Luis Obispo, Lake Nacimiento is a common favorite among wakeboarders, and for good reason. One of its strongest qualities is the fact that it isn’t very popular. This means that you can visit the lake anytime you want, and you’ll always find glassy water and a calm place to wakeboard in.

All in all, if you’re looking for a quiet place with a lot of space and glassy water, then Lake Nacimiento is definitely worth considering. You’ll find that it has plenty of good qualities to offer and is actually one of the most underrated wakeboarding lakes in California.

California: The Place Where It All Started

Now that you have an idea about the best wakeboarding lakes in California, let’s go on a quick trip down history lane.

Wakeboarding is a relatively new sport. Its history is a bit complicated, and there is no true founder of the sport. However, it was made popular by Tony Finn in 1985, who was a surfer in California. He invented and created the first official wakeboard. It was called “The Skurfer.” At that time, the sport was being called skurfboarding or skurfing. It first started out as a way for surfers to surf while being pulled by a speed boat.

There are three main wakeboard types: there are Boat Boards, Park Boards, and Hybrid Boards. Each board is optimized for a specific situation.

For instance, if you want to go wakeboarding behind a boat, then your best option is to use a Boat Board. Their heavy-duty construction and stiff flex pattern make them a great fit for that situation.

If you’re going to be visiting a Wake Park, then you might be better off with a Park Board. They are equipped with softer flex patterns that are perfect for the wake parks have to offer. They can have removable fins or no fins at all. Having fins means you don’t get hung up on rails a lot. Having no fins will mean that you will have very little traction control.

If you’re the type of person who likes to get the best of both worlds, then you’d be better off with a Hybrid Board. These boards strike the perfect balance that allows them to perform well, whether you’re behind a boat or when visiting a water park.

Tips and Tricks

Before hitting the road towards one of the best wakeboarding lakes in California, there are some tips and tricks that you ought to know, including:

Which Foot to Put in the Front

If you’re new to wakeboarding and you don’t know which foot to put in front of the other, the answer is quite simple. It’s pretty much like surfing or skating. The foot you put in the back should be your strong foot. The one you use to kick with when you play soccer.

Keep at It!

No matter what happens, you need to remember that wakeboarding is a sport that rewards those who are patient and persistent. Don’t let your mistakes and falls discourage you from getting back up on the board. Always try to learn from your mistakes, so you don’t repeat them, and you’ll get better with time and practice. You’ll find that the thrill that wakeboarding offers is well worth the time and effort.


We don’t want to scare you or anything, but wakeboarding mistakes can be rather painful, and if you’re being reckless, you might injure yourself. This is not to say that wakeboarding is inherently dangerous, but you just need to be careful.

We recommend buying a good helmet as well as the necessary safety equipment so you minimize the chance that you’ll severely injure yourself in an accident.

Rope Advice

One thing you’ll notice when you start wakeboarding is that it’s really hard on the arms. You’ll find yourself struggling to keep a firm grip on the rope while you’re at full speed.

We recommend you use a short rope in order to get a “hang” of the technique. A common mistake that people make is to pull in the rope. If you don’t want to fall, you better not pull in the rope.

Look Straight

In the case of wakeboarding, looking straight is not meant to help you maintain visibility. Looking straight is part of the correct wakeboarding stance. It will help you maintain balance.

Looking for more wakeboarding location recommandations? Check our guides for the best wakeboarding lakes in Texas and Florida.



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