Wakesurf Buying Guide
Wake surfing is one of today’s fastest growing watersports and once you get out there, you will know why!
Board size is slightly dependent on the size of the rider, however, a bigger determining factor is actually the size of your wave. If you are throwing a big enough wave, there is no such thing as a board that is too small for you. When your wave gets bigger, more water is pushing on your board, making the board go faster, have less drag and keep you in the pocket.
a. SMALLER BOARDS
The smaller the board is, the more maneuverability you will have. For surface spins and wakeskate style tricks, such as shove-its, a smaller board is better and more versatile.
b. BIGGER BOARDS
The bigger your board, the easier it will be to surf without the rope. Since a bigger board has more surface area, it will be more buoyant and you will not need as big of a wave as you would to surf on a smaller shape. A bigger board will also be more stable for the rider.
There are many different shapes of wake surf boards. Shape is 100% a preference and is determined by what you are trying to do on a wake surf board.
a. SURF SHAPE
A surf shape has a more directional feel and has more rocker towards the nose of the board which gives the board better reaction off the wave. These boards are generally geared towards bottom turns, slashing the wave, building speed and skying airs. Surf style boards usually have pointy noses. Tail shapes and fin patterns will vary and be discussed below.
b. SKIM SHAPE
A skim shape is more symmetric and has less from tip to tail (they look like skim boards). These boards may have fins on both the tip and tail and can be ridden either way. They are generally geared towards surface spins and skate style tricks such as shove-its. Skim style boards usually have rounder noses and rounded or pointy tails.
III. TAIL SHAPE
There are many different tail shapes and they are all designed to react in different ways.
a. PIN TAIL
This is designed for maximum traction and control on the wave. Pin tails have the narrowest width of all the tails. Less width minimizes the tail's surface area allowing you to sink and dig into the water causing the board to track and maintain direction. Notice the shape is a straighter curved line that converges to a point, thus called the pin tail. This design gives you maximum water flow without any abrupt release for better hold. Pintails are ideal for steep wakes where traction is more important than manueverablity.
b. ROUND TAIL
This shape is similar to a pin tail because it allows water to wrap around its contour for better traction. It is more versatile with more width than the pin tail. The added width increases the surface area and results in more lift. More lift allows the board to be looser and break free from the water easier than its pin tail counterpart. With the curve shape you should expect smoother, slower, more drawn out turns.
c. SWALLOW TAIL / FISH TAIL
Notice the shape of a swallow tail resembles two miniature pin tails joined together side-by-side. Its design is similar to the pintail in that the two points will give the board more hold and traction. The upside down vee that is cut out of the tail allows for bite and control when the board is going in and out of turns. Notice the shape allows for a much wider tail and larger surface area, making it easier to maintain speeds in softer parts of the wave. This is more ideal for smaller waves. The wider and more pronounced the swallow tail, the stiffer it is in transition from rail to rail. When making radical changes in direction, the pin of one side has to disengage before the tail can reengage on the other pin to pivot.
d. SQUARE TAIL / BLOCK TAIL
The square or block tail is the parent of all other tail designs. The square tail is wide and provides stability to a surfboard. The added surface area created by a square tail along with the added stability.
IV. FIN CONFIGURATION
a. SINGLE FIN
A single fin set up is one, usually long, fin set up towards the tail, in the center of the board. A single fin offers stability and traction and will result in smooth arcing, mellow turns and is a perfect set up for taking a sunset cruise on the way back to the dock.
The twin fin set up usually consists of two equally sized fins on each side of the tail, close to the edge of the board. This set up offers increased speed and maneuverability while also being more stable than a single fin. This board design also produces a looser board than a thruster.
A thruster fin pattern utalizes three (usually same sized) fins set up in a triangular pattern with the center fin closer to the tail of the board. A thruster set up combines the traction of a single fin with the manueverability and speed of a twin fin set up to create a hybrid feel that screams performance!
A quad fin pattern consists of basically two twin set ups. A quad pattern generates a lot of speed on the wave. Also, a quad pattern will have a looser, skatier feel on the water. This is because it lacks the back fin, which also acts as a tracking fin on thrusters. You may notice your quad is very responsive, but you may not always feel that you have complete control in the wave's face.