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

Types of Kneeboards

In the beginning, kneeboarding was just a fun water sport, but it soon also became a competitive water sport. When that happened, various additions had to be made to make kneeboards more for competition than their original design. That is why today there are two types of kneeboards. One type of kneeboards is like the original one, made for people to have fun kneeboarding without thinking about beating the other team or individuals, with no need for special tricks and stuff like that. The other type of kneeboard is made especially to be used in various competitions. These kneeboards are made for advanced kneeboarders to be able to do some awesome tricks and stunts with their kneeboards. Because of certain specific differences between these two types, as you will see, there is also another important difference, which is related to the cost of each type. As one would expect, beginner kneeboards are much cheaper than professional kneeboards, which have various additions to make them more professional in look and feel. I will go into further details about both of these types in the following paragraphs so that in the end, you’ll have a better understanding of the two types.

Regarding kneeboards for fun, they tend to be a rotomolded board, which is much cheaper than various other high tech models and it also has soft and wide edges that are great for beginners who aren’t planning on doing any advanced water tricks or stunts. Another good aspect is that this type of design offers easier turning. Basically, thanks to certain design characteristics, turning is possible to be performed by beginners in a much easier way than one would expect and it has great control, so beginners do not have any trouble in preventing loss of control. These boards are relatively thick and they float easily. There are also some additions offered as extra help for beginners with regard to turning of the kneeboard.

Regarding kneeboards for competition, they are molded by compression and offer much more for execution of various stunts and added durability. Unlike the kneeboards for fun, these are much thinner and lighter - plus they have sharper edges so that advanced kneeboarders are able to do quick turns and various other advanced water tricks and stunts. These kneeboards are also much more expensive than the beginner ones, because of all the high tech manufacturing the various additions. Another important thing with this type of kneeboards is that they aren’t as buoyant as the kneeboards for beginners, which mean they don’t float as easily and thus it allows advanced kneeboarders to use deepwater starts.

After you’ve read this it’s up to you to choose what type of kneeboarding are you interested in. Also, keep in mind that if you aren’t ready to dedicate extra time to kneeboarding then you shouldn’t even consider the competition type, because of it extra cost - and if you aren’t going to invest your time and to be serious about it, then it’s best to go with kneeboarding for fun.