Wake surfing is one of those sports where the gear you choose can make or break your experience with the sport.
There are an almost infinite number of boards available so choosing the best one for your needs can be tough!
So how do you choose?
We have taken the time to review a handful of boards to help our readers make the most informed decision.
This buyer's guide is designed to help walk you through the wake surf board purchasing process so you can guarantee yourself that you are making an excellent purchase.
Here's a summary of the boards in this guide in no particular order! They are all great for different reasons. If you want to learn more, feel free to click to jump to details.
All "best prices" as of August, 2018
Less expensive than Ronix, but still a great choice for beginners and experts. Steady ride and known for being just as good as boards twice the price.
Byerly 5.2 Speedster
Best suited for intermediate or expert riders. It is a fast board, but you'll have a blast if you know what you're doing.
Liquid Force Primo
This is a downright incredible board. It is extremely durable and lightweight. Has a 3 fin setup so you can shred one day, and cruise the next. It'll hold up for years of fun. Best for intermediate-experienced riders.
Durable yet light, this board can take a beating. Designed for stunt tricks. Hybrid design mimics the loose feel of a skateboard.
On Sale : 15th August 2018
A fan favorite in the wake surfing community. Fast, responsive riding. Good for up to intermediate level. Easy to use, stable but FUN.
Great for beginners or bigger riders. It's a longer board which means a steadier ride.
Inland Surfer Tako
Built for speed and durability. Great for high aerial tricks. It can hold upwards of 200lbs, so great for a wide range of surfers.
Liquid Force Super Tramp
Great for trick riding. Comes in 3 sizes. Foam core helps increase air time. Great for spinning tricks.
Phase 5 Model X
Designed with the seasoned wake rider in mind. Fishtail design helps maintain control. Comes with 3 fins for customization.
Ronix Hex Shell Skate Skimmer
Ride the rails more efficiently due to thinner concave design. Great for any experience level. Fun, fast ride.
Ronix Honey Comb Powertail
Designed for riders who want more contact with the water. Great for stability and balance without sacrificing speed and trick ability.
Ronix Koal Classic Fish
Designed for speed and airtime. Nicknamed the "fun board". Great for any skill level.
Ronix Koal Classic Longboard
Surfboard inspired shape allows for greater buoyancy and stability. Sized to be a good fit for large and small riders alike.
Progressive surf shape to add more surface area and control. Great for trick riding. Get's good air making it perfect for aerial tricks.
Now that we've got that out of the way, lets learn a bit about how to choose the best wake surf board for your particular needs.
Here's what you need to know.
What is Wakesurfing?
Wake surfing erupted to the surfing scene in the 1950’s when a couple of teenage boys decided to see what would happen if one was pulled behind a boat on a surfboard, and from there it has become a popular past time of many water sprits enthusiasts. Back at it’s arrival, a regular surfboard was used for wakeboarding, but as it grew in popularity and more demand for the sport rose, companies started designing boards made specifically for wakeboarding to improve the ride. From there, the demand for the best wakesurf board grew.
Currently fifteen different companies produce and design boards for wake surfing, and a variety of styles now exist on the market. The wake board has come a long way from its original origins. Now boards are formulated for different types of rides. Whether tricks are the specialty or just a fast, slick ride on the water.
Styles of Wakesurf Boards
There are three styles of wakeboards to choose from, and for the beginner, deciding about which one to invest in can appear daunting. But each style of board is designed for a specific purpose in mind. The three wake surf board styles on the market currently are the surf style, the skim style, and the hybrid models.
Surf-Style Wakesurf Board
The surf style of wake surf boards is designed after the traditional surfboard. These boards have a higher buoyancy than the other two styles, because of its longer fins and thicker body, and it ideal for those who are beginners in the sport. The surf style board is also ideal for having a wake surfing experience like average surfing, as it is good at catching and riding on waves. Also, able to reach high speeds and is said to have an ‘explosiveness’ factor. This model is also able to suit larger sized riders.
Skim-Style Wakesurf Boards
The skim style wake boards are thinner and shorter the its surf style cousin, this style is suited for more advanced riders who enjoy performing aerial tricks. Since it is a lighter board it is recommended for use with smaller sized riders. With its smaller fins and thinner body, this style of board is not built for speed, but the shape makes it perfect for performing skateboard inspired tricks.
Hybrid-Style Wakesurf Board
The third style of board available is the hybrid. Like the name suggests this style is based off components from both, the surf and skim style wakeboards. These models contain the best of both world, with the speed and sturdiness of the surf style, yet the maneuverability of the skim style. The Hybrid is suitable for all levels of wake surfers, and sizes.
Wakesurf Fin Options
While three options of body are available, there are also multiple other choices that can be made when purchasing a wake surf board. A major one is the fins used. Often an overlooked aspect when purchasing, the fins can greatly improve the quality of the board and ride, and play an important part in getting the best out of the board type purchased. There are four fin styles available and they are, the single fin, the twin fin, the thruster, and the quad style of fin. Each has their own unique purpose.
The single fin setup is, as it states, a single fin, that acts as a rudder for the board. It offers stability, hold, and control, but ca not help generate speed, so this style of fin is recommended for those who wake surf with larger waves.
The twin fin is a double finned board and has been compared to a ‘skateboard on the water.’ It offers a fun, exciting ride, and is best suited for smaller waves.
The thruster is a tri finned board, and is the most popular among wake surf board users. The center fin offers control, while the two side fins generate speed. This setup is perfect for all conditions of wake surfing.
The quad Fin is built for speed. Its four fins, two on each side, offer a fast and loose ride and allows the board to shoot down the line during a ride. It is best suited for wake surfing with big waves.
There are many options of wakeboard in each style available, listed below is the top rated boards for each style, Surf, Skim, and the Hybrid.
Best Skim-Style Wakesurf Boards
A longtime fan favorite from ‘Ronix’ this unique wake surf board is designed for speed and air time, earning the nickname, “the fun board.” Available in three sizes to cater to all riders of all sizes, weights, and skill level from noob to expert. It’s swallowtail end allows the board to carve through the water and pick up speed, while the wider body allows the rider to catch onto the waves and perform tricks. The board has been a longtime addition to the ‘Ronix’ wake surf board line, and though new models arrive every year, very few adjustments have been made from it’s original design.
This is a great choice for someone of any skill level looking to have a fun time.
A more affordable option is the ‘Airhead Pfish Skim Style Wake Surf Board’. Though less expensive than the ‘Ronix’ model mentioned beforehand, this board is still a fan favorite and widely popular among wake surfers, beginners and more advanced surfers. This board offers a steady ride with good footholds and on the Airhead website, it is described by stating “You’ll be doing air reverses and shove-its in no time!” and, “Our test riders have liked it better than boards that sell at twice the price.”
The ‘Phish Skim Style’ is available In one size and holds up to one hundred and seventy five pounds. It is one of the most popular boards on our list.
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A perfect board for beginners, the ‘Hyperlite Landlock Wake Surfer’ is perfect for bigger riders, or those venturing into the wake surf hobby for the first time. A larger board, sizing in at five foot nine inches, this wake board grants a mellow ride and can tame any size wave during a ride.
Its deck is concave to provide better grip for riders, and the’ Hyperlite Landlock Wakeboard’ is renowned for its ability to suit everyone’s needs.
This board can be great to learn on, but if you're more advanced and are looking to shred a bit more, some shorter options may be a better choice.
The ‘Byerly 2017 5.2 Speedster Wake Surf’ board offers durability with a unique shape. As the name implies, this board is fast, and is best suited for wake surfers who are in an intermediate or expert level of the sport. The Speedster can hold over one hundred and twenty pounds and has three interchangeable fins to personalize the ride. The board does feature many Skim style features, though it also veers on the edge of being a hybrid as well, mostly to accommodate all wake surfers.
The board is also molded using compression, to ensure that even after vigorous use by many riders, the Byerly 2017 5.2 Speedster holds up and needs little maintained.
Available in two colors, orange and green, and with two size options, this wake surf board by the company ‘Ronix’ tapped into the minds of the best wake surfers to formulate and design this model. Able to suit all levels of riders, the core of the ‘Ronix Hex Shell Skate Skinner Board’ helps take off any downtime from a ride, by having a thinner, more concave body, to be able to ‘ride the rails’ more efficiently.
Instead of building a board that keeps you on top of, or separate from the water, ‘Ronix’ decided to give this board a lighter feel and t make the rider and the water work in unison as a team.
The board can be bought through a variety of retailers in both sizes, four feet three inches and four foot nine inches, and is available in neon green or orange.
Surf Style Boards
This high end board from ‘Ronix’ was developed for the rider who wants more contact with the water in mind. Described by Evo.com as “You know when some of those shoe companies came out with those low profile soles and said it feels like barefoot running? This is how Honeycomb feels for wake surfing.”
The ‘Ronix Honey Comb Powertail Wake Surf Board’ has a mid range thickness, which allows stability and balance, and though the board does give the rider more contact with the water, it’s shape is formulated to slide through waves with ease. Available in two sizes, four feet and eleven inches, and four feet and five inches, the ‘Ronix Honey Comb Powertail’ can support a variety of sizes and weights for an exciting ride.
The boards name is derived from a honey comb inspired core, to keep the board light, yet strong. Its wide tail allows for more airtime over waves. The ‘Ronix Honey Comb’ arrives with a thruster set of fins, that can be swapped and interchanged depending on the needs of the rider.
If you are looking for a smooth, fun ride, this could be the board you've been looking for.
Described as featuring a ‘progressive’ surf shape, the ‘Slingshot Gnarwhal Wake Surf Board’ has an updated look to the classic surf style wake board. It features a snubbed nose, and a fat tail, which adds more surface area to add more control to the board when hitting a wave. Making it perfect for trick riding. The flatter nose area also allows the wake surfer to attain more air from a wave to perform aerial tricks better.
The board can switch between double fins and quad style fins, depending on what the surfer wants from the ride, and makes it easy to switch the fins out by using a tool free click in and out system.
Its flatter ends give this four foot six board the same surface area as four foot ten or five foot long board and event though it has a smaller size it is able to hold a variety of weights.
The progressive surf shape sets the bar for a new breed of board suited to riders who love trick riding.
Another high quality board from the water board company ‘Ronix’, the ‘Koal Classic Longboard Wake Surf 2018 Board’ is a high quality laid back model. It delivers a lot of push with its light body, and holds a very buoyant surfboard inspired shape. This longboard style wake surf board handles all sizes of waves perfectly and with ease, and is great for novice riders and even professionals.
The ‘Ronix Koal Classic Longboard’ can suit all sizes of riders, being composed of a lightweight core, that also increases durability and strength. The board comes equipped with a center fin with options to buy more and customize the board to persona; preference. It is also available in two sizes, those being four feet and ten inches, and five feet and two inches.
If you value stability and control, this may be the board to consider.
Holding onto a strong five out of five star review reputation, the ‘Driftsun Throwdown Wake Surf’ is a fan favorite among the wake surfing community. This surf style board features a kick flip back end, and a quad fin setup, to deliver a fast and responsive ride. The fins can also be adjusted if needed.
Measuring in at four feet and eight inches, this board is ideal for wake surfer up to an intermediate level as it is easy to use and very stable, allowing learning to come quickly and easily. It is also a stronger board being able to hold riders up to two hundred and fifty pounds.
The Driftsun Throwdown has gained the editors choice due to its sheer versatility and quality. You can carve and cruise on this board without problems. It's forgiving enough to hone your skills but fun enough to still have a blast with tricks.
On Sale : 15th August 2018
Inland Surfer’ Boards have been called ‘best in class’ since their launch back in 2001, and their new model the ‘Inland Surfer Tako Wake Surfer’ definitely keeps that title in place. Built for durability and speed, this board is designed to ensure a fun and exciting wake ride, and can manage high aerial tricks and maneuvers.
The skill level recommended for this board is beginner to intermediate wake surfers, and it can hold an upwards of two hundred pounds, making it suitable for a high range of riders. It’s surf style shape allows the board to pick up speed quickly as it goes down the line, and to prevent any drag form interfering with the overall performance.
If you are looking for speed and a board that optimizes your ability to get some serious air, this is a great choice.
Hybrid Style Boards
The Liquid Force Primo is probably the best wakesurf boards ever made. It doesn't really fit into a single category because it is so versatile. Depending on the set up, it can function as a skim, hybrid, or surf style board.
It is incredibly durable while also being extremely lightweight. It is one of the lightest wake surf boards out there that can still handle light and heavy riders alike. There are 3 sizes to this model, 4’5”, which can handle up to 180 lbs, the 4’9” which can handle up to 200 lbs, and if you’re a big dude, there’s a 5’1” option which can handle up to 250 lbs.
It comes with a 3 fin setup. You can configure it with a twin set up for more drive down the line, or if you want a more laid back ride, you can go with the single fine.
What really makes this board stand out is its vacuum sealed compression construction. This makes the board pretty near bullet proof, while still being extremely lightweight. It is a great board if you want an incredibly fun, aggressive ride sometimes, and a relaxed ride at other times.
There is not anything bad to say about this board. It is effin' awesome.
This board was designed for the seasoned wake rider in mind. The ‘Phase Five Model X Wake Surf Board’ offers top of the line performance and durability, and its fishtail design helps to control the board through any wave.
The board also comes with three fins that can be adjusted to customize the ride, and are formulated to increase speed and stability. Reported to be the perfect hybrid, offering the best of Skim and Surf style boards, the ‘Model X’ is suitable for all levels of wake surfers. Though it is preferred by advanced riders.
This is not a beginner's board. There are many better boards out there that are significantly cheaper for beginners. This is for the rider who is looking to upgrade to something a little speedier and fun.
The ‘Byerly Action Wake Surf Board’ is a light, yet durable board, and can withstand a beating without damage. Also designed to perform stunts and tricks on the water, this hybrid provides a looser feel on the water. Mimicking that of a skateboard.
The board can hold up to five fins, and it is recommended to use all five for maximum control, but four allows a ride with less drag.
You can customize your ride by switching up fin placement, making this board great for someone who wants to fly smooth some days, but other days wants to do big tricks.
This Hybrid style board is perfect for trick riding, and is said to be able to replace any skim board with its superior quality. It comes in three sizes, 51 inches, 55 inches, and 59 inches, and has a foam core for increased air time. The boards design and light core also are ideal for spinning tricks which is what the designers at ‘Liquid Force’ had in mind when creating this board.
If trick riding is what you want to do the most, this hybrid board will get the job done. Since it comes in 3 different sizes, you get the ability to choose the best fit for you so you can get the most out of your board.
Choosing The Best Wake Surf Board
Choosing a new wake surf board can require a ton of research. There are a variety of different styles for different types of riders, along with a broad range of quality and pricing options. If you are a beginner, a surf-style board may be the best option as they tend to be more buoyant and forgiving. Skim style and hybrid models are more suited for experienced surfers.
We hope this review helped narrow down the options for the best wake surf board for your needs. Let us know what you think of our review in the comments section below and share your thoughts on these awesome boards!
Side Note: If you're interested in wake surf boards, you may also be interested in other water sports. We have an updated review on the best fishing kayaks under $500. If you're interested, read our article about it to learn more.