Kneeboarding is one of the oldest forms of water sports, and over the years we’ve seen other sports be spawned. There is no better way to hone in on improving your balance, control, strength and endurance then taking to the water and the amount of enjoyment you’ll get will have you never wanting to get out. They say the kneeboard makes all the difference and with years of experience we fully agree.
Choosing the right kneeboard takes extensive research as each are hand-crafted to offer a specific type of ride. If you’re a thrill seeker taking the time to understanding the sport and best kneeboards to choose will help you make the most of the sport which is what this buying guide intends.
Whether you’re a beginner, intermediate or professional kneeboarder, there is a lot to understand about kneeboard equipment along with some terms you may not have known. The following kneeboard buying guide breaks down everything is to know and then shows you the best options based on your skill level and the type of experience you’re looking for.
Types of Kneeboards
Kneeboards can be broken down into including recreational and competitive. Simply stated, each board is best suited for specific riders while more experienced riders tend to go for competitive kneeboards while beginners and those just looking for an enjoyable time tend to recreational one’s.
The following breaks down each type to give you a better understanding.
Recreational kneeboards typically offer a great balance, but center on control, stability and comfort. Newbies just starting out gain an instant advantage as they make getting up and staying up easier than competitive boards.
Below are some of the most common features:
- More affordable – can range from $50 - $150
- Simple design makes turning and balancing easier
- Larger, thicker platform which makes them more buoyant, but also heavier
- Some models come with fins which aide with turning, best suited for intermediates
- Typically made of rotational molding
Skill Level – Beginner and Intermediate
Price - $50 - $150
Competitive kneeboards are best suited for those looking for speed, turning capability and tracking. These boards tend to be more durable which are best suited for giving riders a better platform for not only landing tricks, but are strong enough to handle them.
Below are some of the most common features:
- More expensive – can range from $150 - $400
- Complex design with sharper edges aiding tricks, tracking and faster turning
- Thinner, lightweight and less buoyant
- Compression molded boards which are great for starting out in deeper water which is where more experienced riders look to go
Skill Level – Intermediate and Professional
Price - $150 - $400
Styles of Kneeboards
There are two common kneeboard styles including slalom and trick. Choosing a style gives you the best chance of getting to make the most of your time on the water you want. Each provide a completely different experience.
Slalom kneeboards provide the rider with improved capability at turning and speed. Sharper edges which allow the kneeboard to effortlessly carve through the water, especially in turns
Trick kneeboards have a distinct appearance then slalom boards. This style of kneeboard has a rounder bottom and edges which are more round then sharp which improve improves the rider’s chance with landing tricks and stunts. These boards don’t usually have fins, but boast a higher degree of rocker which aides in recovery while landing your trick.
Kneeboard Features and Accessories
If you thought the board was only about the board, you were way wrong. There are many features and accessories to consider, some of which are standard on a specific model while others are may be something you can addon.
Below are some of the most common Kneeboard features and accessories.
The hook on a kneeboard is something that all beginners will want to consider. The hook itself holds the handle and allows the rider to get up onto the kneeboard while starting out. The same concept is seen with water skiing and it’s essential for those starting out.
Fins are more prominent on competitive boards, but may be seen on recreational boards. Fins make it easier for the rider to control the board and resemble a fin on a dolphin or shark, but instead of sticking up out of the water it remains under the water. Their located underneath the board and are made of fiberglass which is stronger and more durable or plastic.
A rocker helps define the speed of the kneeboard and is a measurement and not a specific object. In simple turns, the rocker is located on the bottom of the board and measures the distance of the curve itself.
A typical rocker comes in around 5 – 6cm with the higher the number indicating a better turning board and lower rocker indicating a faster board.
The strap on the kneeboard provides for a much safer experience. The strap is located on top of the board, mid-way down and safely secures you to the board, but gives you the ability to free yourself from the strap relatively easy. Made of Velcro and secures around your upper thighs and should be securely fastened before taking off.
Choosing the Right Kneeboard
If you’ve made it this far, you’re truly looking to get a knew board. Take the time to consider what you’re trying to get out of kneeboarding, what type of ride you’re looking for and your experience level. If you’re looking for tricks, choose a kneeboard with a higher rocker.
If you’re looking for a slalom ride, choose a board with a flatter bottom along with hard, narrow rails. The rails allow you to carve through the water easier and are more responsive, even with the slightest of movement.
Hopefully after reading this kneeboard buying guide you have more insight into what the sport is all about and what you need to get the ride of a lifetime. Kneeboarding was meant for people just like you, but it takes a special board to make the ride what you’re looking for.
If you’re just starting out or if you’re a seasoned veteran, we’ve made your buying decision simple while categorizing the top kneeboards this year below.