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Breakdown on Wakeboards
Choosing Your Size
The most important factor in finding the right board size is rider weight. We've created the following Wake Wizard to give you a size range from shortest board length to longest board length, with regards to your weight. Just type your weight in the left box and you''ll get your board range. For example if you weigh 170lbs, your range is 135-140cm. This means you won't want to get a board smaller than 135cm or larger than 140cm. The next section on length will describe the difference between riding at the longer and shorter ends of your range. So please, punch in your weight, read through this page, and order the perfect board with confidence!
LENGTH: Use the Wake Wizard to find your perfect range, and then use the following information to decide where in your range you want to be. Choosing a board at the smaller end of your size range will make the board feel lighter, spin faster, flip faster, and be quicker edge-to-edge. A smaller board will have less surface area so it will ride lower in the water, and landings will be a bit stiffer. If you decide to go with a larger size in your range, the board will ride more smooth edge-to-edge. This larger surface area will also allow the board to go bigger, but land softer.
WIDTH: Like snowboards, there are three places on a wakeboard where width matters: tip, waist, and tail. A narrow tip and tail makes the board sit lower in the water giving it a quicker edge-to-edge feel. A wider tip and tail makes the board sit higher in the water and makes for smoother transition edge-to-edge. Because the fins sit higher in the water on a wider board they are easier to release, thus making it better for spins. (Another big key to spins is your fins--see below).
WEIGHT: A light board is nice because it's easier to move around. But don't kill yourself trying to find the lightest board on the market because realistically the boards only change in ounces, not pounds. Board size generally determines the board's weight.
Let's make is simple. When you lay a wakeboard on the ground, the rocker is the bend you see. A 2x4 peice of plywood has zero rocker, a skate deck has a 3-stage rocker, and your grandma's rocking chair has a huge continuous rocker. The two main rocker setups you need to know are 3-stage and continuous. The 3-stage rocker has a main flat spot with an upward bend at the tip and tail. A 3-stage rocker is a little slower because the bend causes it to push more water. The continuous rocker has a smoother feel because it doesn't have a large flat spot. A continuous rocker allows the water to flow without disruption across the base and out the tail. This makes a continuous rocker faster and smoother edge-to-edge, however it lacks the vertical pop of a 3-stage. A new style of rocker has emerged in the last couple of years and combines these two styles...we call this a blended rocker. Each company has their own way of building these, but the ultimate goal is combining the benefits of each rocker-type by giving you the smooth ride and feel of a continuous rocker, while providing the extra kick of the 3-stage.
The more rocker your board has the slower, looser, and less edgy the wakeboard (bigger vertical pop). At the other end, less rocker allows the board to move faster and edge more aggressively (less vertical pop, more distance).
When choosing a board you'll want to factor in the size of wake your boat creates. If you ride a small to midsize wake, pop is generated by speed and loading the line (suggestion: continuous rocker). However with a larger wake you can pop up with more rocker (suggestion: 3-stage).
Bottom Shapes-Fins-Fin Placement
Each board is designed to have a specific feel. The people who shape these boards work very closely with their riders to make the board sit, edge and pop exactly the way the riders want.
The more channels and/or fins you add to a board the more aggressive it becomes. The following describes how boards range from mellow to more aggressive designs. Ultimately it's all about what style you ride!
On an entry-level board you'll most likely see a single fin in the center (of the tail). These boards are usually very smooth on the water and pretty basic. Board shapers have then taken the next step in making these boards hold a better edge (and become slightly more aggressive) by adding molded fins to the outside edges of the board. Boards with molded fins give you the option to remove the center fin. When you do this the board has a looser feel and quicker response.
An even more aggressive board would have four actual fins (not molded fins) on each corner of the board. The closer the fins are to the edge of the board, the more aggressive the board because it is quicker edge-to-edge. This style also allows for smaller fins which means that it will release off the water quicker (for jumps/aerials).
Lastly, the most aggressively shaped boards will have 6 fins. Basically this style of board is set up for speed and stability. Having fins in the center of the nose and tail, as well as on the rails of the board gives the board an enormous amount of speed and edge-hold as it heads into the wake. This creates load on the rope and pushes you out to the flats.
So now that you're a board expert, here are a few more tips. Fins come in many sizes and shapes. Today almost all of the boards on the market come with fins that are designed specifically for that board. You shouldn't have to worry about changing your fins, but if you want to, this may help you decide what to look for...
Simple one-fin-style boards have fins that tend to be a little larger (1.5-2.5 inches), which helps entry-level riders keep the board on track. These fins don't have the quick release of smaller fins, but are much more predictable. Smaller fins (1.2 inches or smaller) are usually used for more advanced boards. These fins are generally longer in length to help keep the board on track when on edge, but are also shorter in height to release quicker out of the wake.
And now you know.