Wakeboarding is fun, but only when you have the right wakeboard and other wakeboarding equipment. For starters, you need a good wakeboarding boat, one that produces a large enough wake and doesn’t expose you to the harm that comes with an outboard motor. From there, you need a wakeboarding rope, and a good wakeboard.
But how heavy and how long should your wakeboard be? And does weight and length affect the performance of the board?
Can A Wakeboard Be Too Big?
Size matters when you are choosing a wakeboard, and yes, you can have a wakeboard that is too big or too small for your skill level. There is a size for every wakeboarding style and skill level.
The size of your wakeboard will determine the stability you enjoy on the sea, the control you have, and your balance. It is the size of the board that determines how well and how fast you get up, learn tricks, and maintain your balance.
The best wakeboard size should match your height, weight, and wakeboarding skill level. Choosing an appropriately sized wakeboard is the first step towards improving your skill. If you pick a board too big, you will have less control and your skill will suffer.
Why Does a Wakeboard Size Matter?
Wakeboards are available in several sizes. Finding the right wakeboard is crucial to keeping you safe on the water and allowing to learn new tricks. A wakeboard too big for your size and skill level will feel cumbersome and you will not manage to maneuver with it well.
If you go for a wakeboard that is too small for your height, you lose control and stability. An inappropriate wakeboard will limit the tricks you can perform on water. Further, an inappropriately sized board can make it challenging for you to stand.
But how big is big enough?
What Should Determine the Size of your Wakeboard?
The size of your wakeboard can enhance your wakeboarding ability or make you give up on the sport completely. Beginners have a challenge getting up on the board and so having a longer wakeboard can be advantageous.
A longer wakeboard allows a beginner to learn to ride, learn to perform tricks, and be stable underneath the feet. However, the board should be so long, especially if the rider has a short stature. The larger surface area of the board gives the beginner the balance they need to learn how to ride.
While a longer wakeboard is ideal for beginners, it doesn’t always work well once you learn to ride and you can do a few tricks. Intermediates can benefit from a shorter wakeboard that allows them to maneuver through the air and perform some spins.
Expert wakeboarders can benefit from a shorter wakeboard. These are people who know how to spin and are now trying new tricks on the water. Shorter and lighter wakeboards are more suited for this category. The boards have an aggressive continuous or a three-stage rocker.
A pro wakeboard is less forgiving, but it is engineered to allow maneuverability and be light for spins and other tricks.
If you need stability more than the ability to do tricks, you will go with a longer wakeboard. It is not easy to stay stable on the water when you need to up the speed and you are a beginner. Just standing on the wakeboard can be a problem when you start the sport and this is where you need a longer wakeboard.
Even if you are an intermediate or pro wakeboarder, you still need a longer wakeboard to feel stable on the surface of the water. A longer wakeboard is especially ideal for fast speed and when you need to float on water.
The longer board also gives you a smoother landing when you spin as it keeps you buoyant on the surface of the water. You will not sink if you are on a longer board.
Size of the Rider
If you are tall, you will definitely benefit from a big wakeboard. Your height, weight, and foot size should determine the size of the wakeboard you go for. A tall person will feel less stable on a small board while a long board might feel bulky for a short person.
However, your height is not the most important deciding factor when choosing a board. As long as you feel comfortable, you can go for any board size you prefer.
The size of your feet and your riding style should determine how wide your board should be. If you love to cut hard, thin rails will come in handy for you. However, if you have a big foot, your toes might drag, and this is where you need a wider board.
Your weight will determine the length as a heavier person needs a longer board for added buoyancy. For a rider less than 100 pounds in weight, the board should be 130 cm or shorter. Other riders should pick boards as follows:
- Between 90 and 150 pounds – pick a board between 130 and 134 cm
- 130 to 180 pounds – board between 135 and 140 cm
- 170 to 250 pounds – board between 140 and 144 cm
- 200 to 275 and above – board 144 cm or longer
Primarily, the heavier you are, the more board surface area you need to stay on the surface of the water. When shopping for a wakeboard, note that they are sized differently. Instead of looking at the indicated sizes, you can look at the length in centimeters.
From the chart above, you can see that the weight ratings overlap. Although you should go for a longer board as your weight increases, you still need to consider your preferences.
Control and Tricks
If you are learning new tricks, you need control. Longer boards are ideal for learning new tricks as they are more buoyant on the surface of the water. The long tail and nose ensure that the board has more contact with water.
If you know that you have more control over the board, you will feel more confident, and you will be able to do more tricks. With added stability and maneuverability that comes with a longer board, you are able to turn and move fast without falling or losing control.
If you want to spin, however, you need a shorter and lighter wakeboard. Once you learn new tricks on a longer board, you are better off practicing the tricks on a shorter board. However, a short wakeboard doesn’t allow smooth landing, and you have to be a pro to try any spins with it.
Some of the most common tricks that you can try include surface 180, ollie, tail grab, crossing the wake, and jumping the wake. Depending on your skill level, you can perform these tricks on any board length that feels comfortable. However, if you are a beginner, always go for a longer board that guarantees a smooth landing.
When Should You Go for a Shorter Wakeboard?
You can pick any board within the range of your weight. You can go to the shorter end or the longer end of that range, depending on what you need to achieve. A shorter board comes in handy when you need to:
- Ride slowly on the water surface
- Make flips in the air
- Make fast spins on the surface of the water
- Maneuver fast in the water and air
All you have to note is that while the shorter board is light and allows you to perform tricks, its landing is harsher than that of a longer board. Develop your skill before you start flipping on a short board.
When Should You Go for a Longer Wakeboard?
Longer wakeboards have several advantages for beginners and pro riders. You can go for these boards if you need to:
- Ride fast across the water
- Enjoy a more responsive ride
- Enjoy more control and stability
- Learn tricks with ease without falling
- Learn to stand on the board fast
Although a longer board is more stable, it is cumbersome and heavy when you flip it in the air. As such, you may never enjoy using it once you learn new tricks, and you want to perform them every time you are out in the ocean.
Besides the length and width of the wakeboard, you need to consider other features such as the rocker, fins and bottom design, and the shoes. For instance, your riding style will determine the rocker style you go for; whether continuous or three stage.
You also need to consider the materials of the boards. The boards can be wooden, aluminum, or plastic. These materials determine the weight and the cost of the boards. You do not want a board that is too heavy when you are making flips, and you do not need one that is too light when you need to cut through water.
Lastly, you need to consider the edges and the shapes of the boards. The shape and the edge determine the aggressiveness of the board. Once you have the right board, you will enjoy wakeboarding.