Kneeboard Buyer’s Guide – What Features Do You Need?

Ross Angel asked:

Kneeboarding is a great way to begin with tow sports - you only have the balance of half your body to be concerned with, and psychologically, the feeling of being closer to the water if you fall gives you much more confidence. However there are nearly as many wicked tricks that can be pulled off on a kneeboard as on skis or a wakeboard and just as much fun to be had. If you've never felt the need to get off your knees and want your own board to progress with, here's a guide to the features you should look for.

Sizing
This is less important when buying a kneeboard compared to buying waterskis or a wakeboard. The lower centre of gravity is one reason that weight is less of an issue; another reason is that kneeboarders generally move at much slower speeds than waterskiiers. That doesn't mean that kneeboarding isn't as hard - often the balance required to kneeboard surpasses what skiing requires. You won't usually find boards classified according to size when you're buying a kneeboard.

Nose shape
The standard or pointy-edged nose shape helps you cut in and out of the wake, and makes turning nice and smooth. Square nosed boards are great when you'll be doing tricks involving riding the board backwards, and other surface tricks become easier with a square nose shape and the extra width help to generate more pop or lift off the wake.

Edge shape
Flatter or sharper edges will give you better turning impetus, and more aggressive edge hold. Rounded edges are more forgiving, but make for slower turns when you are kneeboarding.

Straps & Pads
Kneeboard straps and pads come in many different shapes and quality. Fully contoured pads that use a good quality EVA rubber and generally more comfortable. Padded neoprene straps vary and width and normally come in single locking or double locking for the more advanced riders that need extra security.

Fins
Some models of kneeboard have fins that are retractable so you can ride with them down for better control and more aggressive slalom turns or fins up for surface turns and riding backwards.

Construction
The construction you choose will differ depending on what you want your board for. Advanced recreational users and those buying kneeboards for competitive use will want compression moulded boards. These are thinner and stiffer, and less buoyant but give optimum performance. Roto moulded or plastic boards are great for recreational boarders who aren't as confident in the water. They are more buoyant, and usually thicker and lighter and give a more stable controlled ride.

Homebrew Kegs

O’Brien 2010 Radica Kneeboard

Taking cues from O'Brien's leading wakeboard and water ski designs, the 2010 Radica kneeboard delivers a super-stable ride for an affordable price.

The Radica is equipped with wakeboard-style, molded quad fins that make edging and carving a breeze, while also allowing your legs to release for spin-type tricks. The water-ski-influenced bevel, meanwhile, helps the board sit low in the water, adding stability and supporting quick edge-to-edge transitions when carving. And riders will love the built-in hook and 3-inch padded strap, which make it easy to get in position. Made of entry-level plastic, the Radica is designed for beginning- and intermediate-level kneeboarders.

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