One of the most important pieces of equipment for a rider, the board is composed of a core
made from foam or a honeycomb mixed with resin, which is then coated with fiberglass. Metal nuts are inserted into the core
of the board. These allow the fins and bindings
to attach to the board. There will usually be about 8 holes for the bindings
so you can position the bindings
at different widths. This also allows a rider to change the fins on the board to better fit their riding style. Deeper fins let the board track better and get the board on edge more. A shallower set of fins allows the rider to perform surface tricks better. Over the years wakeboard graphics have improved from simple colors to intricate designs.
All wakeboards have a rocker, the bend in the board from the tip to the tail. The main rocker shapes are continuous and three-stage. A continuous rocker is a smooth curve that does not change from tip to tail, while a three-stage rocker has two distinct bend points, almost like a skateboard deck but not nearly as drastic. Wakeboards with continuous rockers are faster to ride because the water flows without disruption across the bottom of the wakeboard. Wakeboards with a three-stage rocker push more water in front of the wakeboard, making the ride slower but allowing the rider to jump higher off the water.
The length of the wakeboard is based on the weight of the user, the ability of the user, as well as some personal preference. Board length determines how the board will "ride". If you have a longer board it will be less responsive and slower when performing tricks, but is a more stable platform for landing tricks. A shorter board is going to be more responsive and allow the rider to edge faster. The board will spin faster and allow the rider to perform more complex tricks.
Fins and Placement
The closer the fins are placed towards the center of the wakeboard, the quicker and better the wakeboard releases from the wake. The farther out towards the tip and tail they are placed, the longer the wakeboard will stay hooked into the wake.
The effect of long-based fins is almost the same as a short fin with a long base
because they have a similar surface area. Long-based fins release better, give the wakeboard a loose, snowboardy feel when riding flat through the water, and hold up better on rails and ramps.
Molded fins are big channels in the board that act like fins and hold up on rails and ramps. Molded fins tend to be slippery. Most boards also have a removable center fin. Multi-finned set-ups capture the maximum edge hold and aggressiveness into the wake and through the wake.
Canted side fins are fins that lean out on an angle. These are not as active when the wakeboard is riding flat through the water, but the more you lean on edge the more the wakeboard hooks
up. The inside fin digs while the outside lifts, creating leverage to help the wakeboard edge hard. Great for 50-50 grinds, nose presses and tail presses.
Cupped side fins have the same effect as canted fins but add more of a push-pull effect. The cupped fin allows you to use a smaller fin while still getting the hold of a bigger fin due to the increased surface area of the cupped side of the fin. These fins are very deceiving – they look small and loose but really aren’t.
Having no fins gives you a looser more snowboard-like feel. This allows you to do surface tricks more easily without having to worry about your fins grabbing and preventing you from doing your trick. Also, because you have to rely on your edges more it helps you develop as a rider.