Best Wakesurf Board for Beginners

We were once beginners too.  It is hard to know what the best way to start with it all the while just learning how to stand and stay up.  You’ll certainly need to feel your way around to get comfortable.  These boards will ease the pain and are a bit more forgiving.  That being said, make sure your board has a 3 fin configuration to give you more control of the board as you begin surfing.  We go more into depth at the bottom of this article about how to choose the right wakesurf board, but you’re probably most interested in our list of the best wakesurf boards for beginners so without delay here it is.

Hyperlite Broadcast | Editor’s Pick

Without mincing words, when I was brand new to wakesurfing, this is the board I learned on. I love this board! I have advanced beyond it and am now using a Phase 5 Hammerhead, but this is the board that got me up. This is the board I got for my kids. I can’t speak highly enough from personal experience with this board. If you stop reading the article here and buy this board, you will not be disappointed, I can promise you that.

The 3 – 2 inch fins make staying in control easy once you are up. Once you are ready, you can remove the fins, giving you the ability to do more tricks. The machined EVA traction pad is great and really increases your grip and feel of the board. This board also has a dual concave base feature and new rocker line which gives a speedy responsive ride. Do yourself a favor – click the link above or go to your local shop and get this board. It is the best beginner board out there, hands down.

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Currently some sites are offering the 2021 version of the Hyperlite Broadcast at discount to get rid of inventory. If you don’t mind not having the latest version of the board, this may be a great way to save a few dollars because aside from the color designs they are very similar boards.

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Ronix Marsh “Mellow” Thrasher | Runner Up Pick

The Ronix Marsh “Mellow” Thrasher is a perfect board for the entry level surfer that does not want the longboard. We really like this board for its ability to grow with the rider as they become better surfers. The board comes in a tri fin setup with 2 – 2.3″ fins and 1 – 2.9″ fin which is very important. The tri fin setup (which is the best setup for a beginner) along with the large volume of the board (20.2L) creates a stable environment to surf. The board is available in two sizes 56″ and 62″ (see sizing chart below to see what board size is best for you).

The Ronix Marsh “Mellow” Thrasher board comes with a machined EVA traction pad so your feet will stay planted and give you the extra comfort. This is a fantastic beginner board because it is extra forgiving with any mistakes and will allow you to catch up to the wave if you fall back. The board also features full rails, which means that it will give the classic surf feel.

Ronix Marsh Mellow
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Ronix Koal Classic Longboard | Reviewer’s Favorite

The Ronix Koal Classic Longboard Wakesurf Board provides a beginner / intermediate rider with an insane amount of buoyancy and control. Normally we say the more fins the better for beginners, but because of the thickness and length of this board, one fin is all that is needed.

The board itself has all the bells and whistles with a rocker line that has a 3.9″ nose and .2″ tail, EVA concave pads with air vents, and Liquid Lava High Temp Surf Resin (so the board will hold up in the hot sun). The base and rocker line allow the rider to adapt freely to wave patterns. Most importantly, the board is designed to age with the rider, so that when the rider improves they will not be limited by their board’s design.

One of the coolest things we love about this board is because it is so big and buoyant, you should have no problem dropping to a knee or just cruising. The Ronix Koal Classic Longboard Wakesurf Board will empower you to ride up and down the wake, while still being able to carve out and do a giant bottom turn. This is just a stellar board, hands down.

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CWB Connelly Ride Wakesurf Board | Budget Pick

On a personal note, I picked up the 2019 version CWB Connelly Ride on sale at Academy Sports. From personal experience I can tell you, this is a fantastic board to learn on and we will typically grab this board to teach friends from out of town how to wakesurf on our lake.

As for specs, it was designed using compression construction technology and has a polyurethane resin core. The CWB Connelly Ride Wakesurf Board offers its rider the ability to catch and ride waves with ease because it is so large and buoyant. Equipped with a two piece EVA pad, the Connelly is a great beginner/intermediate board for anyone looking to get started with wake-surfing.

What makes this a great beginner board is that it is considered to be a surf style board and is relatively long in length (62″). The excess length provides extra stability and control for beginners to get up and stay up while surfing. Reasonably priced, makes it one of the most affordable boards on the market for beginners.

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ZUP You Got This 2.0 All-in-One Board – Best Multi Use

The ZUP 2.0 is not solely a wakesurf board, but falls into this category for the purposes of our list. For those out there that are looking for something different for the kids the Zup 2.0 is a pretty cool board. We love the fact that it can offer riders of all-ages the opportunity to experience kneeboarding, wakeboarding, wakeskating, and wakesurfing all in one board.

The ZUP has two foot straps for riders still getting comfortable with balance when riding the board at higher speeds. It is highly rated as one of the most user friendly boards as the ZUP 2.0 is multifunctional, allowing the rider to experiment with different riding postures and gain better control of riding while practicing. It is extremely well designed and reasonably priced. The ZUP 2.0 is a great choice for kids who want to experiment with wakesurfing, but also want the flexibility of learning other water sports.

ZUP all in one
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Hyperlite Landlock | Best For Big Guys

The Hyperlite Landlock Wakesurf Board is a versatile board that can accommodate anyone regardless of their surfing abilities. It comes with a mid tail profile so that you can rip turns when riding without losing your speed. This board is a good option for anyone looking for a stable cruising board that can stay in the pocket. Constructed with layered glass wrap and high density woven multiple layers, we know that it’s a strong board made to last. 

Shaped as a directional cruiser, the Hyperlite Landlock Wakesurf Board comfortably stays in the wave and allows for a lot of push. It is recommended for beginner-intermediate ability level, but can still take on advanced riders.

The Hyperlite Landlock Wakesurf Board comes with 3 fin thruster setup and takes up to 300 lb rider weight. At 69 inches, this board made it to our list of wakesurf boards we recommend.

Hyperlite Landlock
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Hyperlite Speedster Wakesurf Board – Best Hybrid Style

Similar to the majority of the boards here, the Hyperlite Speedster board has a customized tri fin setup. The Hyperlite Speedster has a Biolite 3 Core which is relatively new, making it one of the lightest and strongest cores that is one the market.

Some of the best aspects of the Hyperlite Speedster is its unique feel, making it another board for beginners to stand out from the rest. Even more exciting is that this board supports growth development where riders are able to make modifications to their board design as they improve overtime.

Standing at 4 feet 6 inches or 5 feet 2 inches tall, the Hyperlite Speedster offers great potential for new riders looking to start training with this excellent hybrid board design. This board covers the market with all the needed necessities for beginners starting off with wake-surfing. 

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Lib Tech Manna Tee Wakesurf Board – Best Surf Style

The Lib Tech Manna Tee Wakesurf Board bears Lib’s legendary tough construction, a smooth rocker and dynamic rail line from nose to tail. It is made with Lib’s new construction material – Magnesium Basalt Carbon (MBC) which helps to bring out the board’s liveliness. Aside from that, the main benefit of this construction (a blend of epoxy and polyester for dampness and flex) is that you get a board that is not only durable, but performs optimally. 

While testing out the board, we found that it has good impact resistance. This means that truly, they added magnesium fiber as they claimed. Unexpectedly, this board matches the flex of most of the high performing boards. No doubt it’s the carbon composite stringer at work.

The Lib Tech Manna Tee comes in a “surfy” round tail design for good control and aggressive carving. It also features two single foil fins and one lead fin. And then there are the two double foiled trailing fins.

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Connelly Cuda Wakesurf Board | Best Dual Tail Board

The 2022 Connelly Cuda is a great option for beginner wakesurfers. Known for its excellent reviews by rider’s, the Connelly Cuda is surprisingly affordable and has been known to hold riders up to 280lbs without issue. Being that the board is quite quick it can accommodate boats with smaller wakes or larger riders looking for a shorter board to slash the wake. Like the rest of the boards on our list, it also is designed with an EPS foam core and natural wood stringer platform.

Only a dual fin board, the Cuda should excel at turns and wave traversing. The board design reduces the distance between the both tail points, enabling the board fins to act as two separate tails. It also has a strong “push” factor, which allows the rider to surf all sized waves, edge to edge. 

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How To Choose The Right Wakesurf Board

Whilst there are no set length recommendations, rider weight and wake size are effective guidelines. Other factors that influence this decision are the board shape, rail, and tail shape. Here is some further information that should assist you when choosing between different sizes.

Larger wake surf boards have increased surface area with increased float and are therefore best suited to larger riders. If trailing a boat that produces a smaller wake, pick a bigger board. Large wakeboards move much slower through the water and are therefore easier to control, ideal for beginners.

Smaller wake surf boards are more playful and can maneuver faster on the wave. These make for an ideal choice for more advanced riders and lighter riders. Bigger waves will suit a smaller board.

Wakesurf Board Size Chart

Rider WeightSurf StyleSkim StyleHybrid Style
Up to 110 lbsUp to 4′Up to 4′Up to 4′
100 – 170 lbs4′ – 4’8″4′ – 4’4″3′ 9″ – 4′ 8″
150 – 200 lbs4’8″ – 5′4’4″ – 4’10”4′ 8″ – 5′ 3″
190 – 250+ lbs5’+4’10″+5’+

Length

Boards that are longer in length are usually better for beginners since they are much easier to control thanks to simplified front-back weight distribution. This factor alone makes catching waves much easier and prevents nose-diving. Despite this, advanced riders may also opt for a longer board if they are particularly tall or heavy. Longer boards are more difficult to carve on due to their larger turn radius.

Board type (Skim, Surf or Hybrid)

Wake surf boards can come in three different styles: surf, skim, and hybrid. Figuring out which style suits your needs best is the first step to obtaining the best board for you. Let us discuss each board style to help you work out which style best suits your requirements. 

Surf style wake surf boards

The surf style board is the most popular style that people go with when purchasing a wakesurf board. This style closely resembles the boards that you will often see at the beach, however, these are slightly smaller and are designed to effectively wake surf following a boat. This style is often regarded as the most user-friendly due to its sturdy construction and ability to reach higher speeds at a faster rate. That said, this style is perhaps more ideal for beginner surfers because they offer stability and can catch waves easier than the other board styles. More advanced riders choose this style to enjoy the high-speed maneuverability it delivers and execute big turns, slashes, and jumps. Although they are not as suited to performing tricks as the skim style board, the surf style board is still more than capable of executing 360’s.

Skim style wake surf boards

The skim style board is considered the most playful of the three styles and is preferred by riders looking to perform tricks and gain airtime trailing the boat. This style board is usually smaller in size compared to the surf style board, with smaller fins that create a looser experience on the wake, allowing the rider to execute big jumps and perform spins and various tricks behind the boat. This style board is best suited to a rider that has the experience and is comfortable surfing the wake, therefore, this style is a good choice for intermediate-advanced riders.

Hybrid style wake surf boards

The hybrid shape alludes to a board that encompasses qualities of both the surf and skim styles. This style aims to incorporate the best features of each board to create a board that is capable of fulfilling most requirements. The board features the stability and user-friendliness of the surf combined with the playfulness of the skim style to create a board that can do both. Hybrid boards are available in a variety of shapes and sizes and since they offer a bit of everything, they are ideal for those who want to experience both sides of the wake.

Fin Setup

The fin setup of the board is often undervalued but it plays a huge role in the riding experience and overall feel of the board. The modern boards have much more emphasis on the wake surf fins, and as a result, today’s boards glide better and provide a much higher quality experience on the wake. Fin systems can range from high-quality carbon fins to the newer tool-less fin setups, the majority of boards on the current market feature the most advanced fins which significantly improves the surfing experience.

Once you have deciphered which style you would like, the next thing is to understand which fin setup will provide you an optimal ride. Various factors influence this decision such as riding style, ability and wake size. Here we discuss the different fin setups, how they influence the ride and the board styles that most commonly feature each setup.  

Single fin

The single fin style is most common on boards with a skim style but sometimes features on longboard surf style ones also. It performs a similar role to a rudder, offering stability and lots of control whilst not compromising the playfulness of the board. This means that the board can still perform tricks. The single fin is best suited for use on medium to large-sized waves.

Twin fin

The twin fin provides the rider with a playful ride but offers enough hold for turns whilst still being capable of executing 360’s. This setup usually comes as standard on most surf or hybrid boards with many also featuring three fin setups. With these boards, the center fin can be removed to use the board as a twin fin. This setup performs very well against waves of many sizes.

Thruster

The thruster setup is the most popular setup with most surf style wake surf boards featuring it. The outer fins play a key role in generating speed as you progress across the waves whilst the middle fin keeps things stable and controlled. This setup is very versatile, removing fins can turn it into a single or twin fin setup. This setup is capable of use on all wave sizes.

Quad fin

This particular fin setup is exclusively found on surf style boards. The quad fin setup provides the rider with serious speed with the fins enabling the surfer to pump and generate speed quickly. The setup is also versatile with the option to remove two fins and ride as a twin setup. It excels when faced with bigger waves.

Five fin

This is a rare setup, but it provides an endless amount of options. It is also exclusive to surf style boards. This fin setup offers utmost versatility, allowing the rider to surf using any fin combination they desire. It is not wise to ride with all five fins since this will introduce increased drag and significantly slow down the board’s progression. It can be used on waves of all sizes.

Tail shape

There is more to your board’s tail shape than just aesthetics. Since the inception of wake surfing, the tail shape is something that has been extensively experimented with to discover optimal shapes that perform on a variety of wave types. The tail shape directly influences hydrodynamics, controlling the way the board feels on the water surface, but do not worry, we will not delve too deep into the physics here.

By far the most common tail shape on surfboards is a big, wide tail which catches the wave easily and gives the rider more push to surf the wave. The increased push that a square or large, rounded tail offers affords the rider with additional acceleration and speed. This makes for a great option for those who do not have a massive wave trail behind the boat.

A small, round tail shape has much more responsiveness when turning and has a looser playful feel on the surface. These round tails are found on pretty much all board styles, but skim style boards feature a much smaller, pointy tail which is perfect for executing spins and tricks. The round tails are most suitable for medium to large waves; however, they do not provide the same push that a larger, square tail does.

The final tail shape is the fish (or swallow) tail. This shape has been a staple in surfing for decades and now many wake surf board manufacturers are jumping on the bandwagon. It provides a good amount of push due to its wider tail whilst also being responsive in controlled turns. This is the best option when tackling waves that are smaller and do not possess much push.

Rail design

The rail on a wake surf board is vital since it influences the flow of water past the board and therefore plays a significant role in how the board rides when making turns. Typically, a thinner, sharper rail provides increased speed and is more responsive whilst a thicker, rounded rail offers a more stable, controlled experience. The following rail types contribute to unique rides, so you need to find which one best suits you.

Full rail

The full rail is featured on the majority of surf style boards. It is very user-friendly for beginner to advanced riders due to its stable, controlled profile whilst taking turns. The softer, larger rail hugs the wave better, making wave riding easier and increasing overall speed.

Hard rail

The hard rail is featured on the majority of the skim style boards. This rail features a harder edge which cuts through the water much easier providing increased board speed but breaks free easily to perform spins. This rail does not provide the same hold as the softer, full rail and so it feels much looser and playful to ride.

Blended rail

A blended rail is a hybrid of both the full rail and hard rail designs. It is found on a lot of the hybrid style boards. It represents a good versatile option that offers stability but still maintains enough playfulness to spin the board and execute 360’s.

How To Wakesurf

You’re on this page because you are looking for a beginner wakesurf board so I figured why not share a quick “how to” guide for how to wakesurf.

  • Start with the board floating flat on the water, perpendicular to the boat. The front of the board should be facing towards the outside of the boat. Looking at the back of the boat, think about which foot will be your front foot. If it is your left foot (regular), then you will want to be on the left side of the boat. If your front foot is your right foot (goofy), then looking at the back of the boat you’ll want to be on the right side.
  • As you are floating in the water, place your heels on the board slightly wider than shoulder width apart. Sit back and float and try to be comfortable as this takes some getting used to.The rope should be held in whatever hand is on the outside so regular riders will hold the rope with their left hand and goofy riders with their right hand.
  • Once your feet are set, tell the captain to “take the slack out”. They should move the boat slowly forward until the rope is taught. Maintain your composure and as this will create water pressure with the board pushing back against your feet. The board will flip up under your feet so the bottom of your feet have full contact with the board.
  • Your knees will be bent with your eyes and shoulders facing the boat as you are being pulled along in the water. When you are ready, let the captain know to “hit it”. Don’t fight against the boat and just let the boat pull you and keep your arms straight.
  • As you start planing, stand up on the board. The boards fins will have to give you stability which is why we encourage beginner riders to have more fins on their boards. With the fins straightening you out, keep your knees bent and locate the center point of the board. It is better to lean further backwards than forward, as leaning too far forward will cause the tip of the board to nosedive.
  • As you surf, be sure to keep your feet pointed toward the wake slightly wider than shoulder width apart. Your front foot is your accelerator and back foot is your brake. Putting weight on your front foot will cause you to go forward toward the boat. If you want to slow down, shift your weight to your back foot.

The “Sweet Spot

As you get the hang of surfing there is something called the “sweet spot”. That is the area where the wave can push you so you can surf without the use of the rope. Honestly it took me the better part of the summer to find it when I first started riding so don’t get discouraged. Just practice making the board accelerate and decelerate while holding onto the rope. See if you can make the rope go slack and stay slack while surfing. That is the best way to practice.

Some great advice I got when I first started riding regarding the “sweet spot” was to pick a spot on the back of the boat and focus on it. By focusing on a specific spot your body just naturally tends to move toward it. If you need to accelerate and continually fall out of the wave, use your arms. Stick your front arm out like Superman and your back arm on the center of your back and lean your body forward. Use your hips too and do the “hula”. You’ll be surprised how these small changes can really help you find and stay in that sweet spot.

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