Wakeboarding is a relatively new water sport that combines surfing and skiing. It has been gaining a lot of traction ever since its inception. The first wakeboard, called the Skurfer, was developed by Tony Finn and marketed in 1985. It was shaped like a surfboard with a pointed nose, rounded tail, and surfboard-like fins.
The Skurfer was a success as it helped boost the sport’s popularity as well as attract investors. Not long after the launch of the Skurfer, Herb O’Brien, who is the owner of H.O. sports, designed a wakeboard and called it the Hyperlite. It was meant to be more maneuverable and user-friendly than the Skurfer which is meant to further boost the popularity of the sport.
Nowadays, wakeboards are usually five feet long and two feet wide at the center. They also feature a tail and a blunt nose. Wakeboards also have one or several fins which make them maneuverable. Most of the wakeboards you’ll find are made from graphite and fiberglass, along with bindings that hold the boarder’s feet. However, newer wakeboards feature a twin-tipped design for easier overall movement. Yes, it may seem complicated, but it’s actually quite easy to understand.
Without further ado, here’s the answer to “what are wakeboards made out of?”
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What Are Wakeboards Made Out Of?
Pretty much every wakeboard you’re going to find is made of fiberglass. However, the core of the board tends to vary from one model to another.
For instance, on the lower end of the price spectrum, you’ll find that the wakeboard’s core is mostly made of foam, which comes at the price of performance.
Taking a look at the more high-end wakeboards, they tend to boast a wooden center. What this results in is a snappier board that gives the boarder the ability to perform more tricks since it provides more energy.
What Are the Different Components of a Wakeboard?
Now that we’ve answered the question “what are wakeboards made out of?” in layman terms, let’s get into the details of the matter and what to consider when looking for a new wakeboard.
The size of your wakeboard should depend on your weight, riding style as well as personal preferences. Each wakeboard follows its own sizing guidelines when it comes to rider weight. With that said, if you know that your wakeboard is going to be used by several people, your choice should ultimately be based on the weight of the heaviest rider. Here a general size chart you can use as reference:
- If you weigh 25 Lbs.-70 Lbs. the recommended length is 118 cm
- If you weigh 40 Lbs.-85 Lbs. the recommended length is 118 cm-130 cm
- If you weigh 65 Lbs.-110 Lbs. the recommended length is 124 cm-134 cm
- If you weigh 70 Lbs.-130 Lbs. the recommended length is 130 cm-138 cm
- If you weigh 100 Lbs.-170 Lbs. the recommended length is 134 cm-142 cm
- If you weigh 150 Lbs.-225 Lbs. the recommended length is 138 cm-146 cm
- If you weigh 170 Lbs.-250+ Lbs. the recommended length is 142 cm-146 cm
- If you weigh 200 Lbs.-275+ Lbs. the recommended length is 146 cm and up
What’s the difference between short and long wakeboards?
The length of the wakeboard can have a noticeable impact on how the wakeboard feels and performs. Some people prefer to go for shorter wakeboards while others feel more comfortable with longer wakeboards.
Shorter wakeboards tend to be more maneuverable and easier to do spinning tricks with. However, this comes at the price of being slower and harder to push through the water. Landings also tend to be harder to nail due to the nose of the board digging.
As for longer wakeboards, they are more beginner-friendly as they are easier to ride and learn on. They have more pop and generally feel more solid. With that said they are also heavier and as a result, are less maneuverable than their shorter counterpart. Unlike shorter wakeboards, landings tend to be softer and easier to nail thanks to the increased surface area of the board.
One thing to keep in mind when you’re picking a new wakeboard is that each size and shape is meant for a certain skill level. While you can technically ride any wakeboard that’s correctly sized for you, you might have an easier or harder time with it depending on its shape and what you want to do with it. There are beginner-friendly wakeboards that are easier to ride but are less maneuverable. What this means is that a skilled rider might not get the most out of it since, at that point, they won’t be struggling with landings or keeping the wakeboard afloat. With that said, the more skilled you are, the more fun you can have with almost any shape of wakeboard as long as it’s the right size.
If you don’t have any prior experience in the sport, then the best wakeboard to go for would be one that has continuous or mellow 3-stage rockers. You would also want to get something that’s affordable and meant to the casual rider rather than professionals
When you reach this skill level, you’ll have a lot more options. There are plenty of great wakeboards that you can use at this skill level. However, it’s important that you take a look at the features of the wakeboards that interest you and make sure that their attributes work well with your riding style.
Wakeboards in this category are the most aggressive of the bunch. They tend to have aggressive continuous or 3-stage rocker designs which make them faster. However, they’re much less forgiving than the previous wakeboards.
The continuous rocker is a smooth curse that stays the same throughout the entire wakeboard. These boards are fast and are easy to hook up turns with. They allow you to generate a lot of speed thanks to their shape which makes water flow smoothly across the bottom of the board. Additionally, they have a predictable pop that is horizontal.
This rocker design has three distinct planes on the board’s bottom and two distinct bend points. What this means is that wakeboards with a 3-stage rocker have a more pronounced pop that is vertical. With that said, they tend to be slower and sluggish when compared to wakeboards that feature a continuous rocker.
This type of rocker aims to get the best of both worlds. There are multiple hybrid rocker boards such as “continuous hybrid”, “progressive”, “subtle 3-stage”, and “blended 3-stage”.
This relatively new design allows the wakeboarder to ride in the most balanced and ergonomically correct stance. What this design aims to do is to give the rider an effective edge as well as more control of the board for an overall better experience.
There are numerous base shapes you can find and each one serves a purpose.
For instance, concaves on the bottom of the wakeboard serve as suction reducing accelerators that allow the board to sit higher in the water and float better.
Channels are like long molded-in fins on the bottom of the board which help with tracking. They also serve as a way to break the water’s surface tension which makes landings softer.
Center spines also help with softening landings as well as a roll from one edge to another. They are most commonly added to wakeboards that have 3-stage rockers.
Wakeboards that don’t have any of the base shapes we just mentioned are considered featureless. What this means is all of the performance and work will depend on the wakeboard’s shape, rocker, and fin configuration.
What Are Wakeboards Made Out Of: Base Material
If you plan on using your wakeboard on sliders, docks, rails, then you should consider the base material. This also applies if your wakeboard has features that can impact the base. With that said, if you want to ride your wakeboard in cable parks, then you should go with something that’s built with durable materials. So, next time you need to buy a wakeboard, don’t just ask “what are wakeboards made out of?”, but also “what is the wakeboard’s base made out of?”.
What Are Wakeboards Made Out Of: Wakeboard Edges
When it comes to edges, sharper edges will result in more aggressive tracking as well as improved acceleration and speed. However, having a sharper edge means the wakeboard will be less forgiving so these kinds of boards are meant for more skilled riders. If you like to perform surface tricks or like hitting rails, then it’s highly recommended to go with something that has a rounded edge.
There are also variable edges that balance feel and performance in order to get the best of both worlds. What you’ll be getting is a wakeboard that can maintain a high level of grip when edging while still being forgiving enough so that you can use it for hitting rails, performing surface tricks or butter slides.
What Are Wakeboards Made Out Of: Fins
Fins can grip the water differently depending on where they’re placed, how many of them there is, and how big they are.
Fin Placement and Size
The deeper and longer fins are the more stable the ride will be. These kinds of fins also make for better tracking. They can be very helpful to new riders. With that said, experienced riders tend to experiment more with fin size, tweaking it until they get the amount of traction they need.
If you want better and quicker wakeboard releases, then it might be better to go with fins that are close to the center of the wakeboard
Removable vs. Molded-in
The main advantage of removable fins is that they allow the rider more options as you can change their placement. However, they lose out in the durability department when compared to molded-in fins. A lot of wakeboards have removable fins close to the center, while molded-in fins are placed towards the outside.