How to Buy a Wakeskate
Wakeskating is the latest towed sport to take the nation’s lakes and rivers by storm. It’s best described as skateboarding on water and offers its participants the freedom of riding without bindings. Being strapped in on a wakeboard is great for getting big air, but there are a host of tricks you can do on a wakeskate that aren’t possible on a wakeboard. For beginners, falls are generally much more tame as well because you don’t get the pendulum effect that you do on a wakeboard when you catch an edge (YouTube ‘wakeboard scorpion’ if you’re unfamiliar with this devastating fail). Wakeskating is also a great way to learn board control because wakeskates generally have small fins that don’t track as solidly as a wakeboard, so learning to use your edges to turn is a must.
Wood vs. Composite
There are two main types of wakeskate materials: wood and composite. Composite can be great because it’s generally lighter and more durable, but wood is often favored by advanced riders because it’s usually heavier, so it sits lower in the water and is more comfortable to manage during shove-its and kickflips. Wood wakeskates can also offer more spring because of the natural rebound of their materials.
Foam vs. Grip Tape
Traditional wakeskates can be covered with foam or grip tape. Foam is usually the best option for beginners because it’s much more forgiving during falls. Grip tape provides excellent traction for tricks, but that same traction can grab on to your shins during falls. Non-concave wood or composite skates covered with foam are going to be the most cost effective options.
Weight is the biggest determining factor when it comes to the size of your skate. You want a board that’s big enough to keep you comfortably on plane at riding speeds, but not so big that you can’t evolve into doing flip tricks and shove-its. A general rule of thumb is that you can ride a slightly bigger wakeskate, but if your deck is too small you’re going to have a very difficult time. There’s no substitute for a ride test, but this chart will get you started:
|Your Weight||Your Wakeskate Size|
|90-160 lb.||39-41 in.|
|160-200 lb.||42-43 in.|
|200-plus lb.||44-46 in.|
Do I Need Shoes?
When it comes to wakeskate shoes, you don’t need them right away if you have a foam deck. You can go barefoot, but you run the risk of cutting yourself on your fins or breaking a toe if the board hits you. You can use an old pair of regular shoes, skateboard shoes, or anything that is lightweight and doesn’t retain a lot of water.