So, you (or your loved one) want to start wakeboarding?
Wakeboarding was first popularized in 1985 when Tony Fin created his first prototype that was a board designed to combine the best aspects of water skiing and surfing into one. The result was basically a water snowboard with fins.
For all intents and purposes, wakeboarding requires a very similar setup to water skiing and kneeboarding (two of the other popular “tow-behind” boat sports). The main reason why people choose wakeboarding over skiing is that it offers more opportunities for fun tricks and stunts that are next to impossible to execute while skiing!
Finding the right board to start with is an important part of the process. Unfortunately, it can also be the most confusing! Depending on how familiar you are with the lingo and technical specs, the sheer number of options on the market can make picking the perfect board a difficult task.
We’ve put together a conclusive list of some of the best beginner wakeboards on the market! Whether you’re searching for youth wakeboards, men’s wakeboards, or the best women’s wakeboard, we’ve got you covered! We’ll start with the Best Beginner Wakeboard, the Slingshot Sports Coalition Wakeboard.
Best Beginner Wakeboard
Our Top Pick: Slingshot Sports 2019 Coalition Wakeboard
Key Points at a Glance
- Singleshot fusion sidewalls for durability
- Ballistic base protection
- Light and flexible carbon bedrock inserts
- Reliable chined rails
- Space theme design: Artist- Wesley Mark Jacobsen/ Quinn Silvernale
- Hybrid Rocker designed for easier and quicker press
Slingshot Sports made a truly incredible wakeboard when they first designed the Coalition back in 2019. That’s why it’s still selling so hot today! This board is available in three different sizes: 141cm, 145cm, and 149cm ranging from 7.4-lb deck weight to 8.1-lb deck weight.
At first glance, most people immediately are drawn to the crazy art that features an alien-abduction happening around the great pyramids. This was the work of artists Mark Jacobsen and Quinn Silvernale who wanted to make a play on the term “alien abduction” relating to “getting more air.”
If you’re a beginner with hopes of doing your own stunts, then this is the perfect board! It features a hybrid rocker profile that’s perfect for beginners and gives a smooth ride while still providing enough “pop” to make the ride interesting and fun.
The Coalition features a “buttery” nose design that’s meant to give the rider a smooth carve as they bounce from wave to wave.
When it comes to durability, this board also has it where it counts. The underside features a .7mm ballistic-layered base designed to protect it from scratches, dings, and dents if you ever drop it in the parking lot or knock it into a stick in the water.
While the Coalition is one of the more expensive beginner wakeboards reviewed in this article, it’s incredibly affordable when compared to similar-quality hybrid wakeboards produced by competing brands.
- Buttery nose and tail design for flat water fun
- Medium / Soft flex
- Singleshot Fusion Sidewalls
- Hybrid Rocker Profile
- Chined Rails
Our Runner Up: Hyperlite HyperPro Wakeboard
Key Points at a Glance
- 155cm board
- 4 sturdy bolted on side fins
- Continuous rocker type
- Foam is the core material
- 6 inch mounting system
- 1 year manufacturer warranty
Priced just a little lower than Slingshot’s Coalition, Hyperlite’s HyperPro is one of the best beginner boards for those looking for a smoother ride. It features a continuous rocker which is designed to provide a predictable and smooth response to both wakes and flats. This continuous rocker profile also means that the HyperPro is going to be marginally faster than the Coalition.
Hyperlite hasn’t neglected their artistic design either. The HyperPro is actually a 25th-Anniversary model for the Hyperlite brand and it features some crazy psychedelic-like art that can be seen from a mile away, which is great if you ever lose the board and have to drive around looking for it in the water!
It features 4 bolt-on side fins with a larger bolt-on center fin that’s designed to aid in smoother transitions and compliments the continuous rocker. Its sharp nose helps keep the board on a straight and narrow path, while the fishtail gives a great response for when you are ready to carve into a turn.
This is a 155cm board, so it’s designed for larger riders who weigh up to 200 pounds or more. While a 180 or 190-pound rider could use it almost as well, 200-220-pound individuals will likely have the most control over this particular board.
Best Budget: CTRL Imperial Wakeboard
Key Points at a Glance
- 136cm or 140cm length
- Removable center fin
- 3-Stage Rocker profile
- Variable edge design
- V Hull technology
- Step cap rail
- Nexus base
- PBT deck
- 6” insert pattern
CTRL is one of the cheaper wakeboarding brands, but they’re also known for making a decent quality beginner board, so we’re not going to knock them. Definitely not a competition board, but it’s also several hundred dollars cheaper than other similar-sized brands, has a great look, and provides a fun ride that’s perfect for first-timers.
Their Imperial wakeboard is available in either a 136cm length or 140cm. It features a 3-stage rocker profile that’s designed for whipping, carving, tricks, and aerials.
It’s not quite as smooth as the HyperPro we just looked at, but it’s got a lot more “pop” for when you want to show-off.
The board’s V-shaped hull and variable rails are perfect for beginners as well. These features help the board to stay straight and require slightly less balance and finesse to control than professional-style wakeboards.
- Variable Edge Design (VED)
- V Hull
- Step Cap Rail (SCR)
- Nexus Base
- PBT Deck
Best for Kids: Airhead SHRED TIME WAKEBOARD
Key Points at a Glance
- 124cm board
- Lightweight material
- Twin tip freeride
- Two removable fiberglass nylon fins
- Fast continuous rocker
- Can hold up to 130lbs
If you’re trying to get your older kid or young teenager into wakeboarding, then this is one of the best youth beginner wakeboards that you’ll find. It’ll immediately get your kid’s attention thanks to the vibrant comic-like art on the face and the giant Airhead label emblazoned on the bottom in bright electric blue.
If you’ve seen how many times kids fall and lose their boards when they’re first learning, then you’ll know exactly why this is a perfect choice- it’s impossible to lose!
Beyond the looks, the Airhead is designed to provide a smooth ride with its continuous rocker design. This is best for first-timers as it allows them to gain confidence through a more predictable ride before they move on experimenting with hybrid and 3-stage boards.
It’s 124cm-long and claims to support individuals up to 130-lbs, but to stay on the safe side, we’re going to recommend 120 pounds.
Last but not least, the Airhead Shred Time is affordable. When you’re already spending money on an expensive setup for your kid, it’s great to be able to buy a cool, high-quality board at a great price point!
- 124cm lightweight twin tip free ride wakeboard...
- Two removable fiberglass reinforced nylon fins...
- Continuous rocker is fast and forgiving with...
- Package Weight: 7.599 pounds
Best Multi-Purpose: ZUP You Got This 2.0 Board and 1.5 Handle Combo
Key Points at a Glance
- Includes hybrid board and handle
- Multi-purpose: wakeboard, wakesurf board, kneeboard, boogie board, and more
- Soft rubber side handles
- Durable EVA padding
- Built-in handle hook
If you’re looking for a great starter board for your whole family, then the ZUP 2.0 is perfect. This innovative board is a hybrid combination between a kneeboard and a wakeboard. While it’s not meant for serious aerial or high-speed wakeboarding, it’s perfect for “wakesurfing” at lower speeds.
The reason it won’t perform well at higher speeds is that there aren’t any solid footholds, just a sticky grip.
This board is perfect for building confidence, though- especially when it comes to younger, first-time riders. For those just starting out, they can start on their knees while holding onto the handles. As they gain more confidence and balance, then they can gradually start to stand up on the board and hold their own.
Once the rider reaches mastery standing on this board, then they’re definitely ready to perform on a traditional wakeboard!
While the ZUP board is a bit expensive compared to some of the other boards we’ve looked at, the fact that it can support any weight (kids and adults) and also doubles as a fun kneeboard definitely makes it worth the cost.
- BOARD AND HANDLE COMBO: You Got This 2.0 Board and...
- EASY TO USE: Integrated side handles are covered...
- FUN FOR EVERYONE: All riders, regardless of skill...
- DURABLE: ABS Molded construction will keep the...
- INTEGRATED TOW HOOK: Built-in handle hook allows...
Beginner Wakeboard Buyer’s Guide
Let’s take a quick look at some of the most important features to consider when you’re shopping for a beginner’s wakeboard for the first time.
Wakeboard Length/Weight of Rider
The length of the wakeboard in regards to the weight of the rider is probably the most important thing to keep in mind. If you put somebody on a board that’s too small for them, then the board will sink or present too much drag, likely ending in a quick and painful faceplant.
On the other hand, if you put somebody on a board that’s too big for them, they may not be able to properly control it, limiting their movement and increasing the likelihood of them falling.
Always make sure to double-check the board’s measurements and compare your height/weight against a standardized wakeboard size chart!
How Much Flex the Board Has
This can often be hard to measure when shopping online as it’s more of a “feel” thing. Flex essentially describes how bouncy or pliable the board is in the water. It’s kind of like how some riders prefer loose skateboards, while others prefer tighter boards requiring the rider to lean into turns more.
Wakeboard Rocker Type
The board’s rocker type indicates how curved it is. Wakeboards with a more flattened bottom tend to be better for going fast and making long, sweeping carves through the wake, whereas boards with a more curved bottom tend to have more “pop” and are better for effortlessly weaving through the choppy wake and doing aerial stunts.
Here are the three main rocker types:
- Continuous: These feature the most curved bottom and provide an easy, predictable ride through the water.
- Three-Stage: These aren’t quite as fast as a more curved continuous rocker board, but they are a lot better for tricks and give a more aggressive feel to the ride.
- Hybrid: This rocker type is in between a continuous rocker and a three-stage rocker. It gives the smoother ride profile of a continuous rocker, while still allowing you to get some good “pop” from your aerials.
Some wakeboards have built-in fins that are designed to work with the board’s design for maximum efficiency. Others have removable fins that are meant to be swapped out for different water conditions.
Generally speaking, the more fins that a board has, the more control the rider has when it comes to carving out turns. The depth of the fins will also help determine how hard or soft the board is able to turn.
Frequently Asked Questions
Before getting into our second batch of products, let’s take a brief look at some of the more commonly asked questions regarding beginner wakeboards.
Are Short or Long Wakeboards Better?
You need to make sure that the length of the wakeboard matches up with the rider’s weight. Once you find that perfect sweet spot, you can ensure that you have a great riding experience. While you can use a board that’s too short or long and make it work, doing this will often hinder your learning experience and teach you wrong movements that won’t apply once you have a board that actually fits you.
Is Brand Really Important?
Ultimately, the brand isn’t all that important. There will always be the big name brands that are celebrity-endorsed and used in competitions, but beginners don’t need to be concerned about all of these expensive options until they’re ready to start wakeboarding at a more professional or competitive level.
If you’re just getting into the sport of wakeboarding, it’s often overwhelming once you start seeing just how many options there are on the market for different boards, wire and handle setups, personal floatation, etc.
When it comes to wakeboards, in particular, prices can range upwards of $1,000 or more for a single board. Numbers this high are usually enough to dissuade a number of would-be wakeboarders from starting in the first place!
If you’re just starting out, though, then there’s no need to purchase the most expensive high-performance model out there, though. It’s just not necessary. In the beginning, you want a board that’s cheap enough to break (or lose) in case the worst does happen. You also want a board that’s easy to ride and forgiving to beginners’ mistakes.
All of the wakeboards featured in today’s article fit just that description!
Other Products We Looked At:
If you’re looking for the perfect beginner’s wakeboard for women, then this is a perfect starter. It features a continuous rocker for a smooth, quick, and controllable ride. If you want, it will still provide a nice, small “pop” for those who want a bit of action, but nothing that’s too crazy or out of control.
This board features long under rails, a wide edge, and a wide, semi-fish tail nose and tail that make this board perfect for wide, sweeping carves through crisp waves. The ride is probably best compared to a snowboard carving down a powdery mountainside.
The Liquid Force Angel also looks really cool as well. With its pink galaxy background and black tribal shapes covering it, it’ll look just as good on your wall as it will swishing through the waves.
Key Points at a Glance
- Continuous Rocker
- Tri-position M6 inserts
- Precision PU core
If you’re looking for a great middle of the road board that’s able to provide the smooth ride of a continuous rocker profile with some added “pop” then Slingshot Sports’ Water Gunn is a great option. It has a great soft flex that allows you to get some great air once you get the feel for it and its carbon stringers ensure a smooth landing every time.
The Water Gunn’s design is certainly a little bit more modest than the other boards we’ve looked at thus far with its all-white paint and simple Slingshot monogram, but don’t let it fool you. This model is available in 140cm and 144cm giving it the same size as Slingshot Sports’ Coalition board that we reviewed as our top-pick.
The main difference is that the Water Gunn is designed for speed and a smooth ride whereas the Coalition is designed for a more active, engaging ride.
Key Points at a Glance
- Singleshot fusion sidewalls
- Heavy-duty carbon bedrock inserts
- Continuous rocker profile
Wakeboarding is a truly awesome sport that caters to two entirely different moods. If you’re looking for a luxurious cruise, then you can get a continuous rocker wakeboard, but if you’re looking to really cut-up a hybrid or 3-stage rocker will give you just the rush you’re looking for!
Wakeboarding is great for all ages and is one of the best ways to spend a warm summer day by the lake, river, sound, or bay. Just make sure that you research all of the right safety tips so that you know what you’re doing.
Your first board is like your first car. Make sure you get something reliable, easy to fix, and easy to ride. Once you’ve earned your tiger stripes, you can upgrade to the crazier boards.
These are some great beginner wakeboards that are perfect for those who are just learning their technique and moderate skill levels as well!