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The Keuka Boardroom's Complete Guide to Buying a Surfboard

We get it: choosing the best board is a challenge at any level. There are plenty of options to weigh when considering the type of wakesurfer that will best fit your needs and preferences, so use this guide to help you break down the important factors in board selection.

#1 Style

There are three main styles of wakesurfers: surf, skim, and hybrid. Depending on your skill level and preferred method of riding, one of these will stand out as being the style best suited to your needs.

Surf Style: These boards, which look like miniature ocean surfboards, are typically shaped by hand with foam and fiberglass. They normally have rounded rails and larger fins, which is beneficial in generating good speed down the face of the wave. Having said that, the fin size can get in the way of performing bigger tricks, like spins. If you surf for leisure, favor stability and speed, or are just looking for a thrill similar to ocean surfing, this style is probably for you.

Skim Style: You can usually recognize a skim board by its oval-shape and narrow tail. They can be made by hand like the surf-style boards, or compression-molded, depending on the manufacturer. They have a flatter profile than surf-style boards, and sharper rails which make carving through the wave a breeze. These boards tend to be less stable than the previous style of board due to their smaller fins and lower volume, but this is preferable to surfers looking to hone their aerial, shuv, and spin-based skills.

Hybrid: As the name indicates, this style is a hybridization of the two other categories of boards. With surf-style fins and skim-style profile, this type of wakesurfer offers both stability and maneuverability.

#2 Material

There are two conventional ways of constructing a surfboard, so choose the material that you prefer.

Fiberglass: Much like ocean surfboards, this method involves cutting a foam block, shaping it by hand, and applying fiberglass to the surface. The foam and fiberglass are both lightweight, which is important in any board. However, the process in manufacturing boards with these materials results in a higher cost on average, and these boards tend to be more fragile.

Compression Molded: This method of production mimics the way most wakeboards are constructed. Compression-molded boards tend to be cheaper due to the machine-oriented manufacturing process, and they are generally more durable than fiberglass boards. On the other hand, the material tends to yield a heavier board.

#3 Length

Wakesurfers typically range between 3’6”-5’6” in length. Larger boards offer more buoyancy and are better for riding smaller waves. Smaller boards provide more maneuverability, especially for smaller riders.

#4 Brands

Most big wakeboard manufacturers also sell wakesurfers. There are also a number of smaller companies that sell handcrafted boards. Some companies offer higher performance gear than others, and some offer more affordable options.

Bigger Brands: There is a broad price range with the bigger players in the watersports industry, and you can expect to find boards as cheap as $300 or as pricey as $1,200. They often supply both fiberglass and compression-molded varieties, and many of these brands offer warranties on their goods. The following are big watersports companies that sell wakesurfers: Hyperlite, Liquid Force, Ronix, Connelly/CWB, O’Brien, and Slingshot.

Smaller Brands: Most boards offered by smaller companies are hand-shaped by brand employees or the owners themselves. These brands are more likely to offer custom boards, and some may shape a board specifically for your size and riding style. The following are smaller businesses that sell wakesurfers: Phase 5, Soulcraft, Tuk Tuk, and Kanuk.

Still have questions about choosing a board? Take a peek at some of the boards we've rated highly in the Reviews section, or pose a question to the community in the Boardroom tab.

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