How to Choose a Wakesurf Board & Wakesurf Size Chart (2023)

Wakesurfing has blown up in recent years, providing another awesome way to play on the water. With slower speeds than wakeboarding, wakesurfing is often more beginner-friendly, and doesn't require that picture-perfect glassy water either.With a new sport comes a new board, with tons of options available for all different types of riders. From surf style to skim style, legth option and shapes - choosing the right wakesurf board can be a imposing task. That's why we've broken it down to the basics, helping you choose the board that will help you have the most fun on the water.

Shapes of Wakesurf Boards

Wakesurfers span a wide array of shapes in order to accomodate for different riding styles and ability levels. In general, wakesurf board shapes come from the surf and skimboard worlds, and tend to fall into 3 general categories: thruster style surf shapes, skim board style shapes, and "hybrid" shapesthat combine the two.

Surf Shape Wakesurf Boards

These shapes are often reminiscent of surf shortboards but in a smaller package, with adirectional shape and fish or square tail (but not always).These boards come in a wide variety of materials, lengths, and configurations.Surf style wakesurf boards are usuallythe largest in size and total volume. Surf style boards often have a lot of fin options, helpingriders tighten up the on-water feel and to generate power and speed to pump the wave. The added volume of surf style boards helps them stay fast and on the surface.

Skim Shape Wakesurf Boards

Smaller in size and with less buoyancy, skim style wakesurf boards are made to be more playful in the water. They also have smaller fins and fewer bottom (hull) features, creating a board that is slippery and borderline rowdy on the water. Unlike surf style boards that track up and down the face of the wave, a skim board wants to spin, slide, and do anything but stay on the straight and narrow!

Hybrid Shape Wakesurf Boards

Just what you might imagine: a mix between surf and skim. There are a huge variety of hybrid shapes, but skim style shapesequipped with surf fins and surf style shapeswith smaller skim fins fall into this category, too. The goal of these boards is to combine the playfulness of a skim board with the power of a surf board.

How to Choose the Right Size Wakesurf Board?

Wakesurfers are measured in feet and inches like surfboards. There are no strict length recommendations, however, rider weight and wake size offer good guidelines. Other factors that influence size are the shape of the board, rocker, and nose & tail shapes. Below is some information that will help you decide between sizes.

Bigger wakesurfers have more surface area and more float, which means they work well for heavier riders. If you are riding behind a boat that throws a smaller wake, choose a bigger board. Larger wakesurfers move more slowly through the water and are easier for beginners to learn on.

Smaller wakesurfersare more maneuverable, spry and faster on the wave. These are an excellent choice for more advanced riders and lighter weight riders. Big wakes will support use of a smaller wakesurfer.

Wakesurf Board Rocker

How to Choose a Wakesurf Board & Wakesurf Size Chart (1)
By setting the board on a flat surface, looking at the side of the board, you can see that the tip and tail will rise off of that surface - this is rocker. Rocker on a wakesurfer is similar to on wakeboards or skis and snowboards. More rocker will make your wakesurf board to be slower and tend to plow through the water but react more dramatically with the wave. Less rocker makes the board faster on the wake and give you a smoother feel.

Wakesurf Board Rails

The rails are the edges of your wakesurf board. The design and shape of the rails affect the way that the board moves through the water, and how it turns. Thinner rails bite into the wave more, offering turning precision - they arequicker and less forgiving. Thicker rails are slower and more forgiving.How to Choose a Wakesurf Board & Wakesurf Size Chart (2)

Wakesurf board rails can be "hard, "soft" or "blended." Hard rails mean that the board has an abrupt edge. This gives the board more responsiveness and speed, which is great for more advanced riders. Soft rails, meanwhile,have a somewhat rounded edge. This is also sometimes called a full rail. This makes the board more consistent and stable, great for beginners. Blended rails incorporate both.

Wakesurfing Boat Setup

Now that you've picked out the perfect wakesurf board, it's time to go out and shred! If you're not sure what your next steps are, check out our guide to wakesurfing boat setup and towing speed.

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How to Choose a Wakesurf Board & Wakesurf Size Chart? ›

Well, if your riders are relatively new to wakesurfing, you likely want to opt for the longer end (5'0”-5'3”) of this range. A longer board will give them better balance, more control, an easier time standing up out of the water, and make it easier to stay in the wake as they learn to surf without the rope.

How tall should your wakesurf board be? ›

Well, if your riders are relatively new to wakesurfing, you likely want to opt for the longer end (5'0”-5'3”) of this range. A longer board will give them better balance, more control, an easier time standing up out of the water, and make it easier to stay in the wake as they learn to surf without the rope.

How do I choose a wakesurf? ›

Wakesurfers are measured in feet and inches like surfboards. There are no strict length recommendations, however, rider weight and wake size offer good guidelines. Other factors that influence size are the shape of the board, rocker, and nose & tail shapes.

Which Phase 5 board is right for me? ›

BoardBoard LengthRider Height Range
LARGE WEDGE49”4'11” – 5'9”
FISH47”4'9” – 5'7”
PRO 5252"5'2” – 6'0”
PRO 5454”5'4” – 6'2”
42 more rows

What is the difference between wakesurf boards? ›


Counter to skim shapes, surf style wakesurf boards typically have thicker profiles, wide or shaped tails, and larger fins. The thicker profile, or higher volume, of a surf style wakesurf board creates more buoyancy allowing the board to float higher on the water.

Can a wakesurf board be too big? ›

Size. The size of your wakesurf board is one of the most important factors to consider. A board that is too small will be difficult to control and may make it harder to learn how to wakesurf. On the other hand, a board that is too large will be slower and less agile, which can be frustrating for more advanced riders.

How do I choose a wakesurf board for beginners? ›

Choosing a Beginner Wakesurf Board

When you are first learning how to wakesurf, the general recommendation is to go for the most common style of board – the surf style. These boards are stable and buoyant, which will help you learn wakesurfing basics, such as getting up on the board and staying with the wave.

What is proper wakesurf speed? ›

How Fast Should the Boat Go? Most people wakesurf around 10mph, but sometimes as slow as 9mph and as fast as 13mph depending on a few things including the hull, length of the boat, and amount of ballast. Additionally, each board has an ideal speed depending on length and rocker.

What is the best speed for a wakesurf board? ›

Boat speed for wakesurfing will vary with the make and model of boat, and the amount of ballast, but usually good waves form around 10 mph and professional surfers will cap out around 12.5. Skim-style boards perform best at about 1.5 mph slower than surf-style boards.

How much weight do you need to wakesurf? ›

If the wake feels long and like your having to fight to keep up with the boat, add more lean or weight to the back of the boat to give the wake more push. The bigger your boat is, the more aftermarket ballast you will need. On most 20-22ft V-Drive wakeboard boats, adding 1500 - 2500 is ideal.

What board should an intermediate surfer get? ›

The best shortboard designs for intermediate riders are called fish surfboards and grovelers. Both of these shortboard designs are great because they have ample volume and width. Shortboards with more volume will be easier for catching waves and offer you a more stable platform to stand on in the water.

What board should I get as a beginner? ›

Generally, beginner boards should be between 7 and 9 feet long. The exact length will depend on the height and weight of the rider, as well as the type of waves they'll be surfing. Shorter boards are easier to maneuver and control, making them ideal for beginners. They're also better for catching small waves.

What kind of surf board should I use? ›

Every surfer should own a longboard. They're perfect for every age and skill level, and have some serious advantages over shorter boards. Longboards are the easiest to paddle, most stable, and catch the most waves.

Should you wax your wakesurf board? ›

Get the best performance out of your wakesurf board by building up an even coat of wax that gives you great traction all season. The process isn't difficult, and in a short time you'll be power sliding along that perfect crest.

What board do you use for wakesurfing? ›

There are many shapes available for wakesurfers to suit different riding styles and abilities. The majority of wakesurf boards are a combination of the skimboard and surf worlds. They fall into three main categories: the thruster-style surf shapes, the skim board style shapes and the hybrid shapes.

How much taller than me should my surfboard be? ›

As a general rule of thumb, the right surfboard for an intermediate surfer is usually one foot taller than his height. If you ride small-to-medium-sized waves, you can always pick a longboard or a funboard/malibu.

Is it hard to surf a 6 foot board? ›

Learning to surf requires spending a lot of time on your board, and that's much harder on a 5 or 6-foot shortboard that doesn't have enough buoyancy for your weight. Even on a longer surfboard, it can take at least 6 months to learn to consistently catch a wave, pop up, and get to the shoulder of the wave.

Should my surfboard be taller than me? ›

Go 2 inches shorter or same height for average build surfers. 2 to 4 inches shorter for leaner surfers, and same height to 2 inches taller than you if you're a larger framed surfer.

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