Best Kids' Wakeboards

Updated July 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
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How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

15 Models Considered
6 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
100 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.

Buying guide for best kids' wakeboards

Last Updated July 2019

Wakeboarding is to waterskiing what snowboarding is to skiing, so kids are often drawn to its cool image. If your child wants to get into wakeboarding, you'll need to buy an appropriate kids' wakeboard for her to learn and practice on. Although some facilities may rent wakeboards, they don't always have great options for kids. Plus, if your child really takes to the sport, she will eventually want her own wakeboard, anyway, so it works out cheaper in the long run to purchase one, rather than throwing away money on rental fees.

There's plenty to consider when buying a kids' wakeboard, so it can be baffling, especially if you're not a wakeboarder yourself. For starters, the board will need to be an appropriate length for the size of your child and have appropriately sized bindings. You'll also need to consider a range of other factors, such as the rocker, edges, and base style.

Either choose from one of our top kids' wakeboards or read our full guide below to learn more.

Pick a stable and buoyant kids' wakeboard, especially if your child is new to the sport.

Key considerations

Length

Kids' wakeboards are measured in centimeters, and models are often only available in a single length. The exact length varies depending on the brand and model, but they generally measure between 115 and 130 centimeters. As a rule, longer boards are better for kids who weigh more and shorter boards are better for kids who weigh less. So, if your child is of an average weight for their age, younger kids tend to require shorter board than older kids. Slightly longer boards can provide more stability, but this can come at the price of maneuverability, so don't choose any board that's too long for your child's height and weight.

Rocker

The term "rocker" refers to the way that a wakeboard curves lengthwise, from end to end. The majority of kids' wakeboards feature what is known as "continuous rocker." Wakeboards with continuous rocker have a gradual curve from end to end (whereas those with three-stage rocker have a flat bottom with a steep curve at either end). Continuous rocker gives you a smooth ride and easier maneuverability, which is ideal for the majority of kids. However, you can also find a handful of kids' wakeboards with three-stage rocker, which is better for performing jumps and other tricks. Those with a mild three-stage rocker is preferable, which means the upward curve at each end is slightly less pronounced. This gives the rider a better middle ground between a smooth, stable ride and the ability to catch air with ease.

Base

The base, or underside, of a kids' wakeboard may have various protrusions and dips that impact the performance. Channels are long thin ridges that help to break the surface tension of the water for a smoother riding experience. Concaves are dents that create lift, allowing a wakeboard to almost hover on the water. Again, this gives you a smoother ride, which is excellent for young riders still finding their balance. V-spines are meant to help soften landings after jumps, so they aren't hugely common on wakeboards for kids, unless they're designed for intermediate or advanced junior wakeboarders.

Edges

Kids' wakeboard edges can either be rounded or sharp, though the majority are rounded. Wakeboards with rounded edges are slower and have poorer acceleration, but are more stable and therefore excellent for young riders. Boards with sharp edges give better acceleration and overall speed through the water and are great for carving through boat wakes, but are more challenging to master, so they're best left to people with a greater amount of experience on the water.

EXPERT TIP

Teach your child to always rinse off a wakeboard after use in saltwater to avoid corrosion.


Staff  | BestReviews
EXPERT TIP

Consider buying a carry case for your child's wakeboard if one isn't included, as it will help protect the board and make it easier to carry to and from the water.


Staff  | BestReviews

Features

Bindings

Bindings are the boots that keep a rider's feet attached to the wakeboard. Although the bulk of kids' wakeboards have bindings included, some don't so you'll need to buy them separately.

This isn't too hard a task, however, since bindings are universal and should fit any standard kids' wakeboard. In addition to choosing bindings of the correct size to fit your child's feet, you'll need to choose between open-toe and closed-toe bindings.

Open-toe bindings are like boots with the toe part cut off. They give great heel-toe response and tend to be included with more affordable kids' wakeboard packages. Although they're not a one-size-fits-all solution, each pair will fit a range of three to four shoe sizes. This will accommodate quickly growing feet and is helpful if you have two or more kids with different sized feet who'll share the same wakeboard.

Closed-toe bindings are more like a complete boot. They give the rider slightly more control over their board, are more padded and comfortable than open-toe options, and keep the feet warmer. While they're not as versatile, size-wise, as open-toe bindings, they're usually designed to fit two shoe sizes, such as 8 to 9 or 11 to 12. Since closed-toe bindings are more expensive to produce, they tend to only be found on high-end kids' wakeboards.

Fins

Fins are an optional extra for kids' wakeboards. Although wakeboards function perfectly without them, fins provide more grip to the water's surface and overall stability. As such, fins can be useful for beginner riders, especially long fins, which provide the greatest amount of grip and stability. The downside is that fins make it more difficult to lift out of the water for jumps and tricks, though this isn't a huge issue for kids who are just starting out. Wakeboard fins can either be removable or molded into the body of the board.

Kids' wakeboards with removable fins are more versatile, since you can choose between fins or no fins, and a board with the fin removed is easier to transport and store.

Design

While it doesn't affect performance in any way, kids naturally want wakeboards with cool patterns or designs. You shouldn't choose a kids' wakeboard based on design alone, but if you narrow your options down to a shortlist, you could let your child choose which design he likes best. If you find a kids' wakeboard marked as a "blem" board, this means there's a blemish of some kind in the design. Blem boards are cheaper than equivalent unblemished wakeboards, and sometimes the flaw in the design makes a cool or unique effect that you won't find on other boards of the same make and model.

FOR YOUR SAFETY

Your child should always wear a life jacket or personal floatation device while wakeboarding, even if she's a strong swimmer.

Kids' wakeboard prices

Kids' wakeboards need all the same components as adult wakeboards, they're just slightly smaller, so they're not much cheaper than their full-sized counterparts.

Inexpensive: You can find a handful of inexpensive kids' wakeboards between $100 and $150. These are either extremely basic models or are blem boards (wakeboards with some kind of blemish, such as a misaligned design).

Mid-range: You can find some excellent kids' wakeboards for $150 to $250, so the majority of buyers don't need to spend more than this.

Expensive: High-end kids' wakeboards cost as much as $250 to $350. These are generally made for bigger kids and young teens or are for more experienced young wakeboarders.

Tips

  • Choose a lightweight kids' wakeboard. It shouldn't be too heavy for your child to carry or lift out of the water. Young children might still need some assistance, but kids of around 8 years old and up should be able to handle their board solo.

  • Pick a kids' wakeboard that's suited to your child's experience. The majority of kids' wakeboards are designed for beginners, but you can find some suited to more advanced youngsters.

  • Consider where your child will be wakeboarding. Will she be pulled from a boat or riding at a cable park? Boards designed for park use tend to have more flex and fewer protruding features that could catch on hardware at a cable park.

  • Think about how often your child will use his wakeboard. If you live near a place where you can wakeboard year-round (weather conditions permitting) and your child may advance quickly as a result, it may be worth buying a somewhat higher-end board. On the other hand, a budget wakeboard will suffice if your child will only be riding it for a week or two in the summer.
Twin-tipped wakeboards are the same on board ends, so they can be ridden either way. The majority of modern kids' wakeboards are twin-tipped.

FAQ

Q. Is wakeboarding safe for children?
A.
There's a risk of injury with any physical activity, so it's impossible to say that wakeboarding is 100% safe for children, but that shouldn't put you off. As long as you teach your child to wakeboard carefully and don't push them to perform above his abilities, there shouldn't be any major issues. It’s crucial that your child wears a personal floatation device, and we also highly recommend a protective helmet.

Q. How can I teach my kid to wakeboard?
A.
If you're an experienced wakeboarder, you may be able to teach your child yourself. If you're not, or you just don't feel comfortable teaching, look for a local wakeboard instructor that specializes in working with kids. If you have a local cable park, that's a sensible place to start looking for instructors. Otherwise, ask around in watersport supply stores.

Q. Can kids ride adult wakeboards?
A.
Kids' wakeboards are smaller and generally geared towards beginners (though you can find some for more experienced youths), so they're more suitable for young people than adult wakeboards. That said, tweens and young teens may feel comfortable using short, lightweight adult wakeboards.

The team that worked on this review
  • Devangana
    Devangana
    Web Producer
  • Eliza
    Eliza
    Production Manager
  • Enid
    Enid
    Editor
  • Lauren
    Lauren
    Writer
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer

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