You’re considering buying a new wakeboard, or you got one from someone who has either upgraded to a new board or has decided to hang up their board. The answer to the question, are all wakeboard bindings universal is: it depends. If you have a newer board, then the chances are the bindings will work, even if the brands aren’t the same.
If you have an older board, you’ll have to check what kinds of screws your bindings need. Older boards tend to use 1/4 ” standard screws, while newer boards use M6 metric screws.
You’ll want to be sure to check your board before purchasing any bindings. The last thing you want to do is to buy the wrong bindings, using screws that are too long, and end up putting a hole in your board. If possible, it’s a good idea to bring your board with you when you’re going to buy the bindings.
Recent Changes to Wakeboards
From 2007 to 2013, there were significant changes made in the wakeboard industry in terms of the fundamental elements of the board’s makeup. This change made compatibility between different boards trickier than it had been in the past. Metric threads replaced the standard threads for the bolts used to attach bindings to the board.
In addition to the changes in the bolt size, the industry also changed the length and how many inserts the boards had.
Older boards have an 8″ spread, and now newer models have 6″ spreads. One of the benefits of a 6″ spread is that the binding plates are lighter, have less torsional flex, and are more robust. While you can use 6″ binding plates with 8″ or 7″ hole patterns, you’ll be left with fewer options when it comes to your stance.
Most wakeboard bindings will fit most wakeboards; you may have to sacrifice your stance options to make it work.
At the moment, manufacturers are making wakeboards that use M6 mounting hardware as their standard. Companies are designing 6″ binding plates that are universally compatible, regardless of the brand.
There is an exception to this, and that is the Liquid Force 4D Bindings. These bindings are compatible with wakeboards equipped with Flextrack, as many of the Liquid Force boards are. Other boards in Liquid Force’s product line have Flextrack mounting compatible with all other wakeboard bindings.
Since we’re talking about bindings, we thought it made sense to talk about the different things you should consider when choosing wakeboard bindings.
Once you figure out what type of board you have and learn what kinds of bindings will work best for your board, you want to make sure that you’re choosing comfortable bindings and allowing you to do what you want to do while riding your wakeboard.
What kind of flex do you want?
Deciding the type of flex you want is one of the most important decisions when buying bindings. When it comes to bindings, flex refers to the boot’s flexibility, whether open or closed-toe. The flexibility ranges from stiff to very flexible, and the choice you make depends on what you want from your wakeboard experience.
Soft, very flexible bindings provide better maneuverability, allowing you to perform tricks.
Stiffer bindings offer ankle support and allow you to go faster.
Wakeboard binding manufacturers recommend that beginners use bindings that are on the more flexible side.
What type of bindings do you want?
There are two types of bindings: open-toe and closed-toe. Here’s a brief recap of the different types, so you can decide which one is best for you.
For years, open-toe binding was the only type there was. It’s still a popular choice for wakeboard riders and is perfect for situations where a few different people are using the wakeboard. You get flexibility in the size these bindings fit, since the size foot it can accommodate ranges from 8 to 12.
In addition to saving time when switching bindings, open-toe bindings are easy to adjust, have a softer flex, and are more affordable than closed-toe bindings.
People who frequently wakeboard consider closed-toe bindings to be the best type. You get more comfort, and you’ll perform better because of the support it provides. Since closed-toe bindings are available according to shoe size, you get a better fit than you would in an open-toe binding.
Because of the custom fit that closed-toe bindings offer, the price you pay is higher than that of open-toe bindings. Since it is shoe size-specific, only someone who wears the same size as you could use this type of binding.
What type of closure do you want?
Once you decide what kind of bindings you want, the next decision you need to make is what type of closure you want. There are five types of closures available, regardless of the kind of bindings you have: The BOA system, gummy straps, lace and fastener, ratchet buckle system, and Velcro.
The BOA system
If you snowboard, then you’re familiar with the BOA system. Wakeboard binding manufacturers borrowed this type of closure from the snowboard industry. It allows you to tighten and loosen bindings quickly, using a dial.
Created by Slingshot, gummy straps are the latest closure system for wakeboard bindings. Gummy straps offer comfort without a fit that is too tight or too loose. You can ride your wakeboard for hours without needing to adjust your bindings.
With the snug, secure fit you get when you use gummy straps, you don’t sacrifice flexibility.
You get the snug fit that laces can provide without any worries about tangled or broken laces, or even slipping lace locks.
Lace and Fastener
The lace and fastener closure is easy to use. You don’t have to worry about what happens if the laces break, as they are easy to replace. While the laces are replaceable, you may find yourself buying laces frequently, especially if you ride your wakeboard often and are in and out of them repeatedly.
Ratchet Buckle System
With this system, the boots and the bindings are two separate things. It is excellent for the quick ins and outs and offers excellent precision support. If you plan to do a lot of boat traveling while riding your wakeboard, this isn’t the most convenient option, since you’re unlikely to want to wear the boot on the boat.
Velcro is popular because it makes getting in and out of the bindings easy. With two or three straps, you can adjust the straps so that the bindings fit your foot snugly with ease. It’s also a durable closure. The downside to Velcro closures is that they don’t offer the same amount of snugness that boots with laces or the ratchet buckle system.
Do you want a liner for your bindings?
Are you looking for a one-piece binding, or do you want one that has a removable liner? Liners make getting in and out of your bindings a lot easier. Since the liners come with a durable sole, they are also handy if you need to walk across rough terrain or in a wake park.
We started this article by asking the question, are all wakeboard bindings universal? We have discovered that all wakeboard bindings are universal, with a small caveat that older boards using newer bindings will limit your stance options.
Once you decide to invest in a wakeboard, there are many things to consider. The first thing to consider is what kind of flex do you want in your strapping? Once you decide on that, the next step is to determine if you want the flexibility that an open-toe binding offers the different people that may use the wakeboard, or are you looking for a more customized fit?
After you’ve decided whether you’re going to go open-toe or closed-toe, you need to think about what type of closure will work best for you. Will you choose a Velcro closure, lace and fastener, or indulge in the latest BOA system closure?
The last thing you need to consider when it comes to binding features is whether or not you want a removable liner.
When you have figured out what you’re looking for in your wakeboard bindings, you can start to research what’s out there and see if there’s something within your budget. As we mentioned earlier, this is a purchase that you probably want to do in person with your board in hand, rather than making an online purchase. You want to make sure you’re making the right choice so that you can enjoy your wakeboard to the fullest!