New Wave Wakesurfing: Pro Tips & Board Styles Explained
Matt Anderson, Seattle, WA: Wakesurfing is wacky, goofy and a great way to have fun with family and friends out on the water. This spring saw a huge variety of different wakesurf board shapes and styles come onto the market. A direct result of its increasing popularity, this “new wave” of product for you to choose from can be difficult to wade through. At evo, we’ve classified wakesurf boards into major categories so you can find the perfect board or boards for you and your boat.
Although there are hundreds of different shapes, styles and types of wakesurf boards, there are 3 major categories that stand out: Surf style boards, Skim style boards, and Hybrid style boards. Boards fall into each category based largely on their shape and size, but fin configuration and the total number of usable fins also plays a huge role in determining a board’s style.
Surf style wakesurf boards are usually the largest in size and total volume, often resembling a classic ocean-going surf board’s directional shape and fish or square tail (but not always). Surf style boards often have a lot of fin options, helping riders 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.
Surf style boards exist for all ability levels. Larger compression mold surf style boards will help beginners get their feet under them while smaller, more performance oriented epoxy construction boards will cater to advanced riders in order to pump down the line, ollie and carve slashing surf style turns.
Staff Tip: It’s all about the fins! Move them forward and towards the rails and this will loosen up the tail and make the board more playful. Moving fins back and closer to the center will lock the tail in and provide a more responsive wakesurfing experience. Add or subtract fins for even greater effect.
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!
Intermediate to advanced riders surfing a clean wave will absolutely love this category of board.
Staff Tip: Skim style boards aren’t just for advanced riders. Due to their decreased volume, beginners and smaller riders alike will find it much easier to dig their heels down and get up out of the water. And by adding fins, you will create the traction needed for beginners to progress.
Just what you might imagine: a mix between surf and skim. There are a huge variety of hybrid shapes, but skim style shapes equipped with surf fins and surf style shapes with 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.
This category offers tremendous versatility and can be a great option as a shared board, or on a boat with lots of intermediate riders who are still trying to figure out the wave. Many boards in this category have increased volume for riders to easily recover or catch back up with the wave. These boards will often have multiple fin options, allowing you to drastically change the feel of the board.
Staff Tip: A bigger board is more forgiving and allows you to keep up with the wave. If you are riding a smaller or crumbly wave, or are a bigger person, think about sizing up.