I stepped on the front of my board to make it faster, and I thought about how awesome it was to ride the waves without being in the actual ocean.
See, being in an area surrounded by acres of land, I’ve always thought that it’s impossible for me to become a surfer. But there I was, surfing on Lake Anna, about to let go of the rope’s handle and let the boat wakes carry me until I fall out.
How did I do it, you ask? Wakesurfing. This low-impact watersport is one of the most popular nowadays.
The reason why is because you don’t need experience to wakesurf. It’s simpler, slower, and it doesn’t require vast oceans to surf. All you need is a rope with a handle attached to an inboard boat, and of course — a good wakesurf board.
If you also want to fulfill your dream of surfing minus the beach like I did, then you shouldn’t wait any longer. This article contains wakesurfing beginner tips and basics, a buyer’s guide, and my in-depth reviews of cheap and good-quality wakesurf boards under $500!
Top 7 Best Cheap Wakesurf Boards
Wakesurfing can be expensive, but with the right equipment, it’s worth the investment in the long run. Wakesurf boards for advanced surfers go over $600 to $1500. While starter boards usually range from $200-$500. To get you started, here’s the summary of my Top 7 Best Cheap Wakesurf Boards:
- Hyperlite Landlock Wakesurfer — Editor’s Choice
- Boardworks Froth Soft Top Wakesurf Board — Best Budget
- Hyperlite Buzz Wakesurfer — Best High End
- Driftsun Throwdown Wakesurf Board
- Airhead Bonzai Wakesurfer
- Connelly Ride Wakesurf Board
- Hyperlite Broadcast Wakesurfer
#1: Hyperlite Landlock Wakesurfer — Editor’s Choice
- Price: $399.99
- Size: 5’9”
- Volume: 20.1 liters
- Style: Surf
- Weight limit: up to 300 lbs
- Other features: Rolled edge profile, EVA traction pad, Single concave forebody, Biolite 3 core
Every first-time rider deserves an awesome board for a great wakesurfing experience. To make this happen, Hyperlite created their beginner-friendly wakesurf board — the Landlock Wakesurfer.
This wakesurf board has a wider surface area that’s shaped to catch any wave size. It also features Hyperlite’s thickest, yet softest rail with a concave top deck for mellow transitions and more speed control when turning.
The Landlock Wakesurfer is well-suited for freshwater rides. It’s made by integrating fiberglass layers throughout the board to make it durable and prevent damages such as delamination. Because of this innovative monocoque construction, this board can effortlessly carry bigger riders weighing up to 300 lbs, even during strenuous sessions.
A molded EVA traction pad and fins also come with your purchase, you just need to assemble them on your board. (Weirdly, the listing says those are sold separately.) The tri-fin provides more stability when maneuvering, while the traction pad helps in keeping your feet planted on the wakesurf board.
|Sturdy and durable wakesurf board for heavy and light riders||Delivery issues|
|Made with good construction materials|
|Affordable, good value for money|
|Comes with traction pads|
#2: Boardworks Froth Soft Top Wakesurf Board — Best Budget
- Price: $259 – $289
- Sizes: 5’, 5’6”,
- Volume: 30 liters for the 5’, 37 liters for the 5’6”
- Style: Surf
- Weight limit: 100 lbs to 160 lbs
- Other features: EVA outer wraps, EPS foam core, Thruster Fin Setup, Futures G5 Fins
For this list’s best budget pick, I’ve chosen a wakesurf board from the brand that’s hailed as a ‘Game-Changing Gear’ by a column in the Wall Street Journal — Boardworks.
The Froth Soft Top Short Board of Boardworks is best for beginners because it has everything that you look for in a board. It’s cheap, fun, and versatile. The Froth comes in different thicknesses and sizes, and aside from shortboards, they also offer longboards. What’s better is you can use these boards either for wakesurfing or surfing.
There are Future fin boxes and fins that are included with this wakesurf board, along with high-density EVA traction on the nose and tail area for added safety. It also comes with a boxy rail and decent rocker, which is very useful if you’re still learning how to balance yourself on the water.
The Boardworks Froth wakesurf board features a fully-glassed EPS core covered in a foam deck to make it lightweight and buoyant. It’s also squishy and gives a good grip when threading the waters. For added traction, you can put wax on it’s deck.
|Comes with three narrow base and stiff plastic fins||Screw for the fins are additional cost|
|Easy to maneuver, good balance||Delivery issues|
|Sleek and well-made|
#3: Hyperlite Buzz Wakesurfer — Best High End
- Price: $499.99 – $519.99
- Sizes: 4’8”, 5’2”
- Volume: 15.7 liters for the 4’8”, 19.5 liters for the 5’2”
- Style: Hybrid
- Weight limit: 190 lbs to 240 lbs
- Other features: Durashell construction, Machined EVA traction, EPS core, Monocoque construction, SIngle Concave Base
This may come off as a partiality, but truth be told, Hyperlite just makes really excellent boards! Here we have another product from this brand, the Buzz Wakesurfer — a hybrid of the skim style and surf style wakesurf boards. This board is made by combining the shape of a surfboard and the slippery features of a skimboard.
The Buzz Wakesurfer is also constructed with Monocoque technology, which is done by integrating fiberglass onto the top and bottom parts of the board. This makes it more durable and less prone to delamination. It’s also made with an EPS core that’s combined with Durashell technology for lighter weight and buoyancy.
Wakesurf beginners won’t have a hard time balancing themselves with this board because of the fins that come with it. It’s got a large one in the center and two side fins meant for generating speed and holding a wave. Lastly, this board also includes mellow tail channels for responsiveness and easy steering. If you want power and performance, this board will suit you best!
|Very maneuverable for performing tricks||Not for aggressive wakesurfing|
|Made from high-quality materials||Expensive|
|Lightweight and stable|
|Great for beginners|
- Price: $399.99
- Size: 4’6”
- Style: Surf
- Weight limit: up to 250 lbs
- Other features: EPS Core, Full Natural Stringer, Double concave base, Textured EVA traction pad, Quad fins
You can’t go wrong with the Driftsun Throwdown if you’re looking for a cheaper board that’s built for power and stunts. It’s a surf-style wakesurf board, but it can also perform tricks and stunts just like skim-style boards.
Both beginner and intermediate riders can enjoy this board because it comes with removable quad fins. Riders who are still on the learning curve can make use of the four fins, while experts can remove them to gain more control of their board.
The Driftsun Throwdown is made with a hand-finished EPS core that’s integrated with a natural wood stringer. It is then layered with fiberglass and coated with epoxy resin for added strength against scratches and damages. To increase foot grip, this wakesurf board features a diamond-cut EVA traction pad.
This is a solid wakesurf board that won’t leave you hanging — literally. It’s easy to ride because of its dual concave channels, and because of its 2.5″ x 14.25″ rocker line, it’s more responsive in the water and easier to steer. With the Driftsun Throwdown, you’ll surely be riding the waves and throwing in the rope in no time.
|Has square tip that displaces more water||Comes in only one color option|
|Suitable for beginner to immediate riders||Fragile fin boxes|
|Comes with a separate bag for fins|
|Great value for money|
- Price: $293.24
- Size: 5’2”
- Style: Skim
- Weight limit: up to 250 lbs
- Other features: EPS core, Molded fiberglass, Diamond-cut EVA traction pad, Dual hook grooves, Removable fins
If Cadillac is for cars, then Airhead Bonzai’s for wakesurf boards. Inspired by the ‘Woody-style’ surfboards of the 1960s, this board features a classic skim-shape board that’s easy to get up on and do stunts with. It’s made for beginners and for more advanced riders looking for a stylish way to surf the waves.
This board is made from a compressed fiberglass board that’s layered with diamond-cut EVA traction for grip during cruising and control. It also features three removable fins with fin boxes for a more stable ride and speed when shredding. Surprisingly, this board can carry bigger people weighing up to 300 lbs without losing balance. (The recommended weight limit is only 250 lbs.)
Here’s the thing. The Airhead Bonzai is so good, some users complain that they easily learn how to wakesurf. Because of this, they have to advance to a board that’s more suited for intermediate riders too soon.
You may see this scenario as an advantage, but for those who want to take their time enjoying their money’s worth, this may come as a bit of a downer.
|Stylish board and well-made||Delivery issues, missing fins|
|Has a high weight capacity|
|Best for beginners|
- Price: $289.99 – $299.99
- Size: 5’2″
- Style: Surf
- Weight limit: up to 200 lbs
- Other features: EPS core, Double edge rail, Diamond-cut EVA pad, Comes with a surf rope
If you’re a beginner who’s looking for a board that you can grow with, you might want to check out the Connelly Ride Wakesurf Board.
This board’s fins are customizable, it’s got three 1.75” fins that you can remove according to your preference and skill level. Keep all three on the board for more stability, or remove the one in the center or the two mirrored fins on the side for more speed.
The Connelly Ride also has a wider surface and double-edged rails that help in stability and cruise control, but it can be a drawback if you’re looking for a fast ride. Finally, this wakesurf board is made from a lightweight EPS foam core and can carry a weight of up to 200 lbs. It comes with a full-length EVA traction pad on the deck, as well as its own surf rope. (But compared to the quality of higher-end ropes, this one is subpar.)
|Compatible to use for beginners to intermediate skill levels||Delaminates after a while when not in use|
|Comes with its own surf rope||Surf rope is below average|
|Fairly priced||Missing fins upon delivery|
- Price: $359.99
- Sizes: 4’8”, 5’4”
- Volume: 12.1 liters for the 4’8”, 15.8 liters for the 5’4”
- Style: Hybrid
- Weight limit: 190 lbs – 250 lbs
- Other features: Rolled edge profile, EVA traction pad, Swallow tail, Dual concave base
For the last one on this line-up, I give you the best-selling wakesurf board of all time! Yet again, we have another Hyperlite product — the Broadcast Wakesurfer, a Shaun Murray-certified board that’s best for beginners and family use.
(I mean, if Shaun Murray — the four-time Wakeboarding Champion — recommends a wakesurf board, then you can be 100% confident that it works really well.)
Alright, let’s break down the Broadcast’s features one by one.
The Broadcast Wakesurfer is a hybrid. This means that it has the power of a surf-style board and the performance of a skim-style. It has a dual concave base feature that enables intermediate riders to gain speed for tricks. It also gives beginners more stability and control over their board.
As a beginner, I know it’s difficult to stay in sync with the waves. But with the Broadcast’s rolled edge profile, you won’t have a hard time keeping momentum and staying on the curls. It provides just the right amount of rocker so you can easily cruise the waves without falling out.
Finally, this board is constructed by integrating the top and bottom fiberglass to create a more sturdy, impact-proof wakesurf board. It also has a molded EVA traction pad for its outer layer, so you can place your foot anywhere on its surface.
|Best for beginners looking for hybrid wakesurf boards||Doesn’t come with fins|
|Full-length traction padded deck|
|Excellent value for money|
|Responsive and fast|
Buyer’s Guide: Which Wakesurf Board Is Best for You?
There are three different types of wakesurf boards — surf style, skim style, and hybrid.
The surf style boards are mostly similar to regular surfboards, only smaller. They have multi-fins, rounded tails, and more rocker for speed and easy maneuvering. Since they’re easier to learn and more stable, they’re the best fit for beginners.
Next are the skim-style boards. From the name itself, these boards are similar to skimboards. They’re slippery because they’re designed for movements and for performing tricks in the water. Hence, they’re more suitable for intermediate and advanced wakesurfers. Unlike the surf style, these boards only have one or no fins.
Last, we have the hybrid boards, the combination of the design and shape of the surf and skim style wakesurf boards. These are playful, yet powerful boards, so they’re more suitable for intermediate to advanced riders.
Shorter wakesurf boards are for speed and easy steering. They’re lighter, so they’re best used in bigger wakes. These kinds of boards are more fitting for lighter and more advanced riders.
For heavy riders and beginners, I suggest riding longer boards because they are more buoyant and stable. They’re also slower compared to shorter wakesurf boards, so they’re more suitable for riding smaller wakes.
The rocker is the board’s curve from the tip to the tail. More rocker means it will plow right through the water, resulting in slower speed. While less rocker on the board will make for faster and smoother surfing.
3 Wakesurfing Tips for Beginners
- Use your dominant foot as the leading foot for easier maneuvering. Don’t know which one’s the dominant? Pick the foot that you’ll use in case you have to kick something. That’s the foot that you should place in front of your wakesurf board.
- You must know the right body position to avoid waterboarding yourself during deepwater starts. Lean slightly on the water with your knees drawn into your chest, then push your heels to the board and wait for it to flip a bit. Once it does, dig your heels for an easier vertical pop out.
- Think of your wakesurf board as a car. For faster rides, shift your foot towards the front of the board like it’s gas. To make it slower, gently shift your force towards the back end as if you’re stepping on brakes.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How much is the cheapest wakesurf board for beginners?
Entry-level wakesurf boards often cost around $200-$500. There are other brands that offer much cheaper prices than that, but usually, these kinds of boards are made with low-quality materials and poor workmanship.
Q: How do I maintain my wakesurf board?
To clean your wakesurf board, always rinse it with fresh water after every use. You must also remove old wax from your board before you keep it for storage. Put it inside a wakesurf bag or sock when not in use to avoid damages or scratches.
Q: Do I need to wax my wakesurf board?
Yes, you can apply wax for added grip and to keep your feet from slipping off the board. If you wakesurf in different places, make sure to change the top coat of your wax according to its more suitable wax rating.
Q: What is the best wakesurf board for doing tricks?
Skim-style wakesurf boards are best for performing surface spins and rotational tricks. This is because they’re slippery, smaller, and less buoyant in water.
Q: Is wakesurfing the same as wakeboarding?
Although wakesurfing and wakeboarding have similarities such as the use of shapers and the way their riders hold on to the surf rope while surfing, these two watersports vary in a lot of ways.
First, they use different kinds of boards. Wakesurf boards only come in 4 to 5 ft, and they have less rocker for smoother and slower rides. Wakesurfers also let go of the rope handle as they ride the wave.
Their main difference, however, is the usage of bindings. Wakeboarders use them, while wakesurfers use their bare feet for grip and hold of their board.