Wakeboarding is quickly gaining a larger share of the population of water sports enthusiasts. And with the recent surge of wakeboarding equipment sales, it is apparent that this sport is here to stay. Since many people are trying out wakeboarding either for fun or as a hobby, it is imperative to remember that like all sports, having the right equipment helps keep a person's time on the water fun and safe at the same time. So if you are ready to go to the sports equipment store, here are 10 things you need to know before buying your own set of wakeboarding equipment.
1. Safety first. It does not matter if you are a pro or a novice out there in the water; you need to consider personal safety first. So quit grandstanding and invest in a good pair of lifejackets. Make sure that the lifejacket fits snugly to your body type. Keep one on standby, and make sure that you check your lifejacket before getting onto the water.
2. Read up as much as you can about the sport to determine exactly what kind of wakeboarding equipment you might need. Obviously, you do not need to all equipment you come across with, but beginners would need more rig than the experienced boarder. If possible, try to consult with a more experienced boarder so that you have an apt list of things to buy (and not to buy!) At the same time, try to ask him or her what the board size and weight you would need for your body type, and for your level of experience.
3. Your level of skill should be taken in consideration. As a beginner, you will need a heavier board with longer fins to provide stability. With such equipment (and skill!) you basically can do no more than skim the water and try to stay upright. Once you have mastered those elementary skills, you can switch to smaller, un-finned boards that may allow you to do flips, turns and tumbles - if that is your intention.
4. Long boards vs. short boards? Wide boards vs. narrow boards? High rocker vs. low rocker? Here's the deal: long boards, wide boards and high rockers (curvature of the board) are for novices. Short boards, narrow boards and low rockers are for the pros.
5. It is also important to determine exactly what conditions you might be facing out in the open. Rough water wakeboarding means you need to get boards with larger fins to provide you a stable platform. You can make do with smaller fins on smooth, clear waters.
6. Speaking of fins, there are many types of board fins available. For a universal fit, it is recommended that you buy ramp fins with a size that is suitable for the type of waters you are to board in. If you are a novice, and you know with all certainty that you are only going to one body of water, one set of fins will do fine. Pro wakeboarding enthusiasts have a number of fins with them simply because they test all the waters they can land on.
7. If you are take advice #1 seriously, you would need to pick and buy your own bindings. The ones that usually come for free with the board you buy are cheaply made, and may not provide you the security you would need. It would be best to get your own set, and test these out before you step out to board. Some people prefer tighter bindings, while others prefer bindings that can be easily put on and removed. This is a matter of personal choice. Choose the ones that make you feel more secure.
8. Round rails vs. square rails? Round rails are for pros while square rails are for beginners. It's that simple.
9. Fiberglass vs. plastic boards? Both serve the same purpose actually; but if you are a novice, and you know you will upgrade to a better board once you have your skills brushed up, plastic boards may suit you just fine. Fiberglass boards are more expensive, and can be a worthy investment since these retain their strength and beauty longer - that is, if you have no intention of changing boards anytime soon.
10. Price is never an indication of quality; and popular pieces (or bestsellers, as they are called) are not surefire promises of a great time on the water. Choose the equipment that suits your body weight, level of skill, body type, and the type of action you want to engage in on the water. Those are the criteria that matter most.
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