Sturtevant's – Wakesurf - By Lucas Fiebig
How to choose the right wakesurf board
There are a lot of good wakesurf boards out there and here at Sturtevant’s we want to help you pick the right one. The first things we want to know are your ability level, what type of wake your boat makes, and what style of surfing you want to do. Each of the following sections are meant to give you a general idea of the differences between wakesurf boards. Come in and talk with our staff so we can get to know you better and put you on the perfect board for this summer!
types of boards
Surf Style Boards:
This style of board is usually the most common for riders to learn on because they catch the wave easily and are the most stable. Although, surf boards are still one of the most popular styles for intermediate to advanced riders. If you like making large turns, slashing the wake, and doing aerial tricks, then this is the right type of board for you.
Skim Style Boards:
Skim boards are more freestyle oriented. They really like to do surface spins, ollies, pop shuvits and many more. There is no end to the tricks you can learn. These boards are typically better for intermediate to advanced surfers because they ride a lot looser, make tighter turns, and are very playful.
Hybrid Style Boards:
Hybrids like the name suggests, are a combination of surf and skim style boards. They’re perfect for riders who are not sure which style they want. While being much more stable than a truly dedicated skim board, they are still playful depending on how you choose to ride it.
Shape of board
Boards have a wide variety of shapes. A wider board will be much more stable and catch the wave easier, where a shorter board will be more nimble by making tighter turns. The shape of the tail changes how the board performs as well. These are the 3 most common tail designs:
Thruster or Power Tail:
Tails like this increase the board’s stability and acceleration down the face of the wake, making it easier to stay in the ideal sweet spot of the wave. They also help a board track straighter through the water, so these types of designs are great for beginners or those who have smaller wakes.
Fish or Swallow Tails:
Probably one of the most well known tail shapes on a surfboard. They help the back of the board sit deeper in the water, giving the rider more ability to dig in the tail and drive powerful turns up and down the wake. Depending on the overall shape of the board, fish or swallow tail boards are usually very versatile and can be enjoyed by a wider variety of ability levels.
Pintails are most commonly found on skim-style boards. The sharp point digs into the wake when riders are doing surface tricks helping them turn the board all the way back around. Many advanced surfers enjoy this design because they are the loosest and most playful type of tail.
type of Rail
Rails can be identified by running your hand down the sides of the board to feel how thick/thin or smooth/sharp they are. Thick rails tend to make a board more buoyant and are mostly found on surf style boards. Thin rails tend to sit deeper in the water and are usually a component of skim style boards. Sharp rails help the edges of the board dig into the water and make the board more responsive. Smoother rails are more forgiving and stable, but they can still be used to make tight turns as well. All the different rails can be found on a variety of boards so its important to consider how they will change the way each board rides.
Boards typically have anywhere from 1-4 fins, although you can normally choose how you want them to be set up. Riding with more fins makes a board more stable by tracking straighter through the water. Riding with only the two outside fins is usually the most advanced way to ride a board because it will be much looser. All manufacturers make it easy to switch out fins so it's important for each rider to try different layouts to see what they like best.
choosing the right size
Most sizing charts you will find online only base the size of the board off the rider’s weight, although you should not only base your decision on this. Picking the size that is best for you also depends on your height, the model of board you choose, the type of wake your boat produces and your ability level. Talking to one of our surf specialists will increase your confidence in the final decision and help you to have the most fun on the board you take home.