Top 7 Best Kneeboards | 2020 Reviews (Zup, Hydroslide)

Watersports are fun. Not just because it keeps you cool in summer but because they simultaneously get you in a great workout. We all heard about surfing, diving, waterskiing. But not so much about kneeboarding. 

Kneeboarding is a fun watersport, which could just be your next favorite if you have got yourself the best kneeboard. 

Your kneeboard will shape the experience you have as a rider, therefore having the best is crucial. This fun tow watersport is popular that there are about 100,000 kneeboards sold each year. With that huge amount of sales, how will you know those kneeboarders got themselves the best kneeboards?

We’ll all find out as we go along. 

Top 7 Best Kneeboards in Review

Kneeboarding can be likened with wakeboarding but as the name suggests, you ride using your knees instead of your feet. A favorite summer activity, kneeboarding is best experienced with the best kneeboards. 

As you plan to pick out the best kneeboard, be sure to keep in mind its different types and styles that are depending on your kneeboarding skills. Don’t forget about the materials that tell you about the board’s quality too.

Too much to consider? Here’s a list of the kneeboards we’ve picked that gives everyone a fair chance of getting the best. 

  1. COMBO – YouGotThis 2.0 + DoubleZUP by Zup
  2. 2017 Crush Kneeboard by Driftsun
  3. Thunder Wave Water Sport Kneeboard by SereneLife
  4. Razorback Kneeboard by Hydroslide
  5. Black Magic Kneeboard by O’Brien
  6. Wake Shaker Kneeboard by Airhead
  7. Magna Kneeboard by Hydroslide

#1. COMBO – YouGotThis 2.0 + DoubleZUP by Zup – Best Overall Kneeboard

Zup Kneeboard

Specifications:

  • Length: 57 inches
  • Width: 27 inches
  • Height: 5”
  • Weight: 15 pounds
  • Weight Limit: 350 pounds
  • Construction: Blow-molded plastic board with EVA (Ethylene-vinyl acetate) foam deck
  • Designed for: Beginners to intermediate riders

If you’ve been watching ABC’s reality show Shark Tank, you must have heard of ZUP. Based in Williamsburg, Virginia, ZUP has been inspired by the desire to see every Tom, Dick, and Harry be successful as they learn how to ride and participate in any watersport. 

What started as a daydream in a small home garage led to prototypes made from wood. Now, they are ultimately the brand ZUP that everyone knows and loves. Especially after that stint at the Shark Tank. 

ZUP keeps in priority the quality, safety, and functionality, making sure their products work well for all ages and levels of experience. 

One of their most popular board is COMBO – YouGotThis 2.0 + DoubleZUP. Considered the highlight of summer, this kneeboard is ideal for all ages, easy to use, smooth, fun, and comfortable. 

It offers riders the largest variety of ways you can ride it – lay, kneels, stands, whatever you can think of! Friendly and stable, it is the most versatile kneeboard available for beginners to intermediate riders. 

COMBO – YouGotThis 2.0 + DoubleZUP is so versatile, it can be used not just as a kneeboard but as a wakeboard and wakesurf board too. It comes loaded with features and color schemes that will lighten up your ride. 

This kneeboard has been designed based on high-tech competition boards at a price very friendly to your pocket. 

No more hurting your knees and legs no matter how long you ride your kneeboard. The adjustable straps that are padded won’t chafe or hurt your legs. Coupled with ¾ inch EVA (Ethylene-vinyl acetate) knee pad, it will make you feel as if you are floating on a cloud. 

COMBO – YouGotThis 2.0 + DoubleZUP’s edges have been fine-tuned so that you can ride lower in the water without worrying about stability and maneuverability. It’s high-quality and patented hook sits just in the perfect position to help you get up in the water effortlessly. 

ProsCons
Hook helps kids and beginners ride without fear of falling
Too heavy and big for a wakeboard rack
Soft EVA (Ethylene-vinyl acetate) foam paddingAvailable in one color scheme only
Kneeboard with good floatation
Short warranty period
Amazing versatility
Easy to use

#2. 2017 Crush Kneeboard by Driftsun – Best for Kids

Driftsun Crush Kneeboard

Specifications

  • Length: 52 inches
  • Width: 22 inches
  • Profile: Rounded square nose
  • Weight: 12 pounds
  • Weight Limit: 250 pounds
  • Construction: Durable Rotomolded Shell w/ EPS (expanded polystyrene) Core
  • Designed for: Novice, intermediate, and expert riders

Most surfboard companies started out with a group of likeminded riders who had the same level of passion for outdoors and watersports. Driftsun was no exception. Established in 2014 on the lakes of Northern California, Driftsun had a goal to inspire adventure in each of their creations. 

Their passion and desire resulted in superb creativity and quality products. They bring their own products directly to the marketplace to make sure they remain to be of the best value and that quality is handed directly to the customers. 

Driftsun’s idea of the best all-around kneeboard manifests in the 2017 Crush Kneeboard. Delivering high performance, it is ideal for the entire family. An absolute steal especially if you are just starting out with your kneeboarding adventure. 

Well suited for beginners, 2017 Crush Kneeboard remains highly usable as the rider progresses to becoming a more advanced rider. This kneeboard just keeps on giving. 

Its ¾ inch EVA (Ethylene-vinyl acetate) foam makes up all the fun for new riders. It makes longer rides more comfortable with its streamlined shape. The strong cushioned strap keeps the board in place as it supports stability and comfort for the rider. 

One interesting feature is the pull-hook that is built-in at the front of the kneeboard allowing for easy takeoffs, particularly for beginners. This also helps in the ease of being able to get onto the board. 

2017 Crush Kneeboard’s dual twin tip design presents speed and performance all while its rotomolded shell delivers added durability. Land tricks, jumps, and spins are all too easy to achieve with its continuous rocker profile too. 

ProsCons
Soft molded EVA (Ethylene-vinyl acetate) knee pad
Plastic structure
Comfortable usage, control with knee straps
Limited jumping 
Freedom of movement, smooth performanceWeak strap
Built-in easy-start aquatic hook
Strong and durable

#3. SLKB30 Thunder Wave Water Sport Kneeboard by SereneLife – Best for Your Budget

SereneLife Thunder Wave Water Sport Kneeboard

Specifications

  • Length: 50 inches
  • Width: 20 inches
  • Height: 4.5 inches
  • Profile: Rounded square nose
  • Weight: 8.7 pounds
  • Weight Limit: 120 pounds
  • Construction: Corrosion-proof and marine-grade fiberglass materials 
  • Designed for: Beginner to intermediate riders

SereneLife has in its line of Sports and Outdoors SUPs and kneeboards. They envisioned to have consumers be water ready with everything they need in one shop. 

While SereneLife doesn’t even come close to sounding sporty as most riders would assume to be, it should not take anything away from how effective their kneeboards are. Coming with an ultra-lite construction for easy sliding and floating on the waves, it also allows for easy transport from sand to surf and vice versa. 

SLKB30 Thunder Wave Water Sport Kneeboard is the perfect choice for beginners. Not only that, but it can also be an all-around board. More than kneeboarding, you can also use it to waterboard, kneel boogie board, and knee surf when at a lake, beach or out on a rushing river. 

Getting started is easy especially with the built-in hook to hold the tow rope handle. Constructed with corrosion-proof and marine-grade materials, SLKB30 Thunder Wave Water Sport Kneeboard is strong enough to be used by pros and beginners alike. Enough to take the bumps and dents for anyone who is just learning to ride.

Its twin tip design is not just for the aesthetic bottom it ensures a smooth ride for you every single time. Comfort and painless landings are ensured by the 3-inch padded strap with comfort molded flex for a secure fit. 

What a lot of kneeboarders love about this product is its dimensions are perfect making it the super-fast kneeboard. Riders have reported SLKB30 Thunder Wave Water Sport Kneeboard as maneuverable regardless of speed. 

Perfect for beginners at such a reasonable price.

ProsCons
Easy to maneuver, great for stunts
Bounces a lot during trips over choppy water
Tough materials construction
No warranty
Sturdy hook for towingLacks fin
Lightweight but sturdy
Wave cushion

#4. Razorback Kneeboard by Hydroslide – Best Beginner Kneeboard

Hydroslide Razorback Kneeboard

Specifications

  • Length: 52.25 inches
  • Width: 21 inches
  • Height: 4.5 inches
  • Profile: Thin profile kneeboard
  • Weight: 6.8 pounds
  • Weight Limit: 250 pounds
  • Construction: PE (polyethylene) deck  
  • Designed for: Beginner to expert adult riders

A touch of kneeboard history is what you get as you ride kneeboard by Hydroslide. Its past goes far from having John Taylor, one of the forefathers of kneeboarding, decided to sell his own boards under the name of Glide Slide. 

His new approach at blow molding plastic shell and filling it with foam proved unstable resulting in Glide Slide faltering. It was also the same time that the oil crisis slowed the water industry. 

Not long after, Taylor sold Glide Slide to Danny Churchill, a quarter-mile speed ski record holder and a former Glide Slide employee. Churchill redesigned the company into producing more stable boards and renamed the product Hydroslide in 1976.

Fast forward to today, one of their innovations is the Razorback Kneeboard. The design alone aimed for riders who have not much training nor expertise. It simply just required anyone who wanted to ride, set themselves properly on it. 

This superior board has commanded respect from some of the most experienced watersports enthusiasts. Its unique design and amazing look add up to the gratifying feeling of riding it. Not a lot of kneeboards will let you feel that especially some of them require a certain skill level to have. 

Razorback Kneeboard’s amazing performance comes from the soft and comfortable deep knee wells. The comfort and pleasure allow you to concentrate more on the movement of the kneeboard than being self-conscious about holding on and balancing over. 

You won’t worry about knees getting grazed, as well as other health hazards with the EVA (Ethylene-vinyl acetate) pads. Overall, this long-lasting kneeboard will give you enough confidence and assurance that you are going to get the thing you admired for when you first laid eyes on it – modern, well-designed, and highly effective kneeboard. 

ProsCons
Holds weight up to 250 pounds
Not available for outside US shipping
Good manufacturer’s warranty
Strap stitching is weak
Excellent maneuverability
No warranty 
Wave cushion

#5. Black Magic Kneeboard by O’Brien – Best for The Entire Family 

O'Brien Black Magic Kneeboard

Specifications

  • Length: 51.50 inches
  • Width: 22.3 inches
  • Height: 0.8 inches
  • Profile: Thin profile kneeboard
  • Weight: 8 pounds
  • Weight Limit: 250 pounds
  • Construction: PE (polyethylene) deck  
  • Designed for: Beginner to expert adult riders

Since 1960, O’Brien has been producing watersports goods specifically for the family’s ultimate fun on the waters. Their engineering team works hard to provide the newest technology and the latest manufacturing techniques to achieve the most advanced watersports products.

The ideal board for the whole family, Black Magic Kneeboard by O’Brien has been designed to teach the young ones and the newbies how to jump up that board. Its heightened stability makes it a great ride for intermediate riders as well. Best for perfecting jumps and tricks. 

Black Magic Kneeboard by O’Brien is famous for its cable-actuated retractable fin system and the aquatic hook. Its size is just right for adults and kids to ride it with ease. The smooth bottom allows for a super stable and extremely comfortable ride. 

This kneeboard is ideal for all riders, but it also stands out as a specially selected board for experts and larger riders. The increased surface area added with just the right stiffness gives extra buoyancy. You will experience the comfort as the dual-density EVA (Ethylene-vinyl acetate) surface gives supreme support and deep knee wells. 

Its knee wells let you do more stunts in the water since it effortlessly absorbs the shock of your landing. Take full control of your ride. Aside from the knee wells, the board’s shape and rail system makes turning and spinning become a breeze. 

Black Magic Kneeboard by O’Brien, designed by kneeboarding legends, targeted any skill group and body size. It can be forgiving enough for learners while keeping the technology and features professional riders can appreciate too. Ride it forwards or backward, and you will still get the same amount of comfort, control, and ease. 

Don’t worry about scraping off your knees. Its large knee area has straps and extra padding that will let you board for hours without hurting.

ProsCons
Can do forward or backward ridingExpensive than most kneeboard brands
Made with optimal thicknessLimited colors
Durable and comfortable
May tip over
Low profile board style
Patented design

#6. Kwik Tek Wake Shaker Kneeboard by Airhead – Best for All Skill Level

Airhead Wake Shaker Kneeboard

Specifications

  • Length: 50.5 inches
  • Width: 20.2 inches
  • Height: 4.5 inches
  • Weight: 8 pounds
  • Weight Limit: 150 pounds
  • Construction: PE (polyethylene) deck  
  • Designed for: Beginner to expert riders

Airhead has under its umbrella different lines of products like towables, water mats, life jacket and PFDs (probability of failure on demand). They base their engineering, manufacturing, and production from their passion for watersports. Ensuring constriction of high-quality watersports products, such as wakeboarding. 

With most of their wakeboarding constructed with tough 840 D (denier) nylon covers and heavy gauge PVC (Polyvinyl chloride) bladders, Airhead is confident they can’t be beaten. Whether you are a beginner learning to balance your weight out of the board or an expert looking for a toy to perform his newest tricks with, Airhead has an item just for you. 

One of which that they have under their wakeboarding line of products is their Kwik Tek Wake Shaker kneeboard. With this nice kneeboard that has fantastic and outstanding performance in the water, kneeboarding looks and feels so easy. 

Getting into the water With Kwik Tek Wake Shaker kneeboard allows you to let out many tricks and perform them with confidence while controlling them with ease. Thanks to its stability optimized by the deep knee wells that allow for more time staying on instead of falling off. 

Airhead using Kwik Tek’s technology on this kneeboard adds to the enjoyment of riders in all skill levels. It packs in a whole lot of features for a kneeboard for an incredibly low price tag. It might not be the most versatile nor highest performing kneeboard there is, but it meets most of what riders (with different skill types) need. 

A great deal for your money, you won’t find a lot that will provide you a channeled bottom kneeboard, with deep knee wells, an EZ Up hook, contoured EVA pad, and so on. Its lightweight design makes it appeal to younger riders while maintaining a charm with adult riders at all skill levels. 

Beginners can learn how to balance and make their way through being dragged. Intermediate and advanced riders can take pleasure in doing tricks, jumps, and going into the wake with style and grace too. 

ProsCons
Recommended for riders of all skill levelsAvailable and can only be shipped within the US Territory
Affordable yet durable and reliableTough with jumps and some tricks
Comfortable and easy to control
Slower than a lot of kneeboards
Pocket template design
Deep knee wells

#7. Magna Kneeboard by Hydroslide – Best for Intermediate Riders

Hydroslide Magna Kneeboard

Specifications

  • Length: 43 inches
  • Width: 20 inches
  • Height: 4.5 inches
  • Profile: Thin profile kneeboard
  • Weight: 12.2 pounds
  • Weight Limit: 120 pounds
  • Construction: Full-size EVA (Ethylene-vinyl acetate) pad 
  • Designed for: Kids and beginner riders

What makes a brand credible is when more than one of their products makes it to a “best of” list. And that says a lot about Hyrdoslide. 

Their 2nd kneeboard on the list, Magna is designed particularly for intermediate riders. A classic shape that delivers a smooth and easy ride with no sacrificing any pop off the wake. 

Kneeboards are either very simple or sophisticated with high technology. Deciding which kneeboard to get should not be based on how classy and complex they are described to be. Each kneeboard, due to its design and make it suitable for different groups of people. 

Hydroslide kept Magna Kneeboard simple. But, don’t get its simplicity for being an underperformer. Magna Kneeboard by Hydroslide is a real player that creates a performer in you with kneeboarding. Despite how simple it is, Magna Kneeboard is created uniquely that you cannot find its features in any other kneeboard. 

Patented to avoid dishonest players in the market, Hydroslide keeps quality control very vital in all their production to keep the clients’ confidence in every kneeboard they produce. Its blocked shape that has a tip makes it very relaxed and comfortable to keep your knees and shin from getting bruised or grazed. 

Aside from its appealing Bermuda blue color, Magna’s simplicity makes it a desirable kneeboard to ride for more than your learning period. It is what you keep for a few more months as your skill continues to get sharper day after day until you become a pro. 

The impressively thin board that weighs just a little above 11 pounds features a full-sized EVA (Ethylene-vinyl acetate) foam pad with deep knee wells. Despite how light it is, it can hold up a maximum weight capacity of up to 120 pounds.  

Young riders who are new to the sport will be encouraged to ride it more with its hydro hook towing system that makes it easier to get up. This system keeps their time and energy focused on the drive instead of trying to keep balance. 

ProsCons
Cheaper than other brands, but packed full of featuresNot available and cannot ship outside US Territories
Designed for beginners and intermediate
Not suitable for adults beyond 120 pounds
Heavy-duty EVA padding
No warranty
Pretty packaging
Versatile

Kneeboards 101

Kneeboarding is not as simple as it appears to be. It is a water boardsport that combines characteristics from surfing, water skiing, and wakeboarding. As history tells it, it was invented as an alternative to wakeboarding, water skiing, as well as barefooting. 

The two main disciplines in kneeboarding are wave riding (surfing) and water skiing (wake style or wakeboarding). Kneeboarding is frequently deemed as a discipline of surfing. This is due to the rider getting dragged with the board in a kneeling position – in a way that is similar to drop knee bodyboarding, as tricks are being performed in open face waves. 

Ranging between five and six and a half feet, kneeboards are wider than an average surfboard. It also features a rounded nose, rubber pads for the knees (very important), and are often made of PU (polyurethane) or fiberglass – very similar to surfboards. 

Riders usually wear lashes and swim fins with kneeboards. Kneeboarders have a slight advantage over other riders when it comes to getting barreled. They need less tube area and the kneeboards’ dimensions allow for better handling during steeper take-offs. 

Competitions and matches have been established for kneeboarding. Unfortunately, during the early part of the 20th century, kneeboarding lost some of its thrill and verve because of the rise of wakeboarding parks. Nonetheless, there is still a strong community that continues to run competitions and crown world events. 

Two of the most active kneeboarding organizations are USA Water Ski and Kneeboard Surfing USA. Both groups put in so much effort to keep the kneeboarding spirit alive.


The Coolest Towsport: Kneeboarding History

First introduced commercially in the 1970s, kneeboarding is an aquatic sport that remains popular even up to this day. The idea is to have the rider towed on a buoyant, convex, and hydrodynamically shaped board at a leveling speed, usually behind a motorboat. 

Kneeboarding was invented by Southern California surfers. It was when they were finding out alternatives from wakeboarding, water skiing, and barefooting to try out on flat water surfaces. Originally, riders got dragged by recreation boats using plain bellyboards, most often when the ocean was flat.  

The initial models that were produced in the 1950s were too avant-garde for their time, however, wake and motorboats were not easily accessible then. In 1972, a couple of years after it was commercially released, traction with Knee Ski was started. 

Surfer Bud Hulst and skier Mike Murphy developed the first kneeboard that was made from molded fiberglass developed and marketed. A year later, Knee Ski’s former employee, John Taylor shaped Glide Slide – a blow-molded plastic shell filled with foam. This instantly became a hit. 

The rules for kneeboarding as a watersport became official when Roland Hillier established the IKA (International Kneeboard Association) in the early 1980s. This organization set and defined the initial rules of this watersport.


Getting the Best Kneeboard – Buyers Guide

This fun and thrilling watersport will test your skill of balance and focus. However, as exciting as it may sound, if performed with inappropriate equipment, enjoyment can easily be pushed aside. 

It is vital to have a kneeboard that matches your size and ability level, as with most boards. 

Here is an outlined reference to help you in picking the best kneeboard for your next watersport adventure. 

Types of Boards

Recreational

Recreational boards are manufactured mostly by using rotational molding. They are widely available and are cheaper than most competitive boards. Rotationally molded boards are best suited for beginners since they deliver soft and wide edges. 

The design for the recreational board is made specifically to allow for smooth turning and supported control for beginners and kids. They may be relatively thick, but they are buoyant and can be a floatation device after a spill. 

Competetive

Manufactured by using compression molding, competitive boards provide greater performance with durability, perfect for competitive riders. They are thinner than recreational boards and light for quicker turns and better tricks. 

The construction competitive boards are used to make them best suited for advanced riders who favor deep-water starts. 

Board Styles

Slalom Boards – have sharp edges that allow for better turning and edge hold through turns

Trick Boards – have a round bottom with round edges that make tricks easier to perform. 


Board Construction

Materials

  • Materials used for kneeboards are almost similar to those used in water skis
  • They can be PU (polyurethane) or foam core wrapped in fiberglass or graphite composite
  • Fiberglass and graphite exteriors are generally found on advanced kneeboards

Fins

  • May not be required for recreational boards, but when present, it is located at the bottom of the board for easier steering. 
  • Usually constructed from hard plastic or fiberglass composite. 

Rocker

  • Important measurement in comparing speeds for kneeboards. 
  • The higher the rocker number, the easier the board can turn. The lower it is, the faster the board becomes. 

Rope Selection

Kneeboarding gets you dragged by a motorboat as you ride your kneeboard, therefore rope selection is just as important too. This part of kneeboarding helps you perform tricks as it aids you in pulling through flips and spins. 

You may choose from:

  • No Stretch
    • Usually made from a material called Spectra
    • Has extremely low moisture absorption, helpful in keeping the rope lighter
  • Low Stretch
    • Usually constructed with PE (polyethylene) or PE (polyethylene) blended material
    • More elastic than Spectra
  • Multi-Purpose
    • Perfect for kneeboarder honing on skills and performing tricks
  • Rope length
    • It should be between 60 to 70 feet. Although may work according to your preference
  • Handles
    • Handles are more specialized according to the features it has that are aimed at making tricks and aerials easier. 

Top Pick – Best Kneeboard

The modern, high-quality, and easy to use kneeboard that is unlike most water sports boards that are tiring to operate – COMBO – YouGotThis 2.0 + DoubleZUP by Zup accommodates all ages, any skill level, almost anybody ranges with excellent stability and control. 

This kneeboard makes it to our top pick, not because it appeared in some reality show but because it is constructed durable and sturdy from high-grade materials. 

The high reviews it garnered from retail sites establish this kneeboard as one of the best in the market. Most consumers claim its dimension allowed them to perform all sorts of tricks with precise maneuverability and power. 

Unlike most brands listed above, ZUP guarantees quality by backing their products up with a limited warranty. 


Conclusion

There is every reason for any water sports enthusiast to get a kneeboard. Their versatility is ideal for use by any rider, young and old, whether with experience or not. 

Just be sure to have a clear idea of what you need in a kneeboard. This is the basic in picking the best, no matter what stick it is. Plus, always follow the rule of thumb wherein the wider the tail, the faster and more stable the kneeboard will be. 

Although, you don’t have to just stick with the notion of picking which is the widest. Above all, make sure you pick the one constructed with the highest quality and the finest of materials. You wouldn’t want to pick a bard that won’t last a ride or two. 


FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q: What is a good speed for kneeboarding?

A: The ideal speed for riding a kneeboard depends on the rider’s skill level. Kids and beginners should be able to kneeboard at 5 to 10 miles per hour, while intermediate and advanced riders can go up to 24 mph. Experts are able to generate more speed at the wake while the boat speed increases to allow bigger jumps. 

Q: Is kneeboarding easier than wakeboarding?

A: Both have different levels of difficulty but as long as you have the right equipment, it should not be so hard. Most people would say kneeboarding is easier. This may be due to the additional balance required as you try to stand when you wakeboard. 

Q: How long should the kneeboards strap be?

A: There is no definite length advised for straps. It is mostly about personal choice. How long or short you can work with. Keep in mind the comfort you need so you can decide just the right length for your strap. Go for longer than smaller. As the saying goes, it is better to have it and not need it than not have it and need it. Longer straps are also helpful when you are sharing the board with someone else, especially with a larger person. 

Q: How do you take care of kneeboards?

A: Taking care of your kneeboards helps prolong its lifespan. Most of the kneeboards we listed can be used from the time you are just starting to learn until you become an expert. And you would want to have that board last for that span of time.  The very basic steps include:
rinsing the board out with fresh water after every use and air drying it away from the harmful sun rays

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