Kneeboarding is an intense water sport that is similar to waterskiing in that a rider is towed behind a boat at high speeds while balancing on a board. As the name implies, kneeboarders ride on their knees as they fly through the water behind a boat.
Types of Kneeboards
- Beginner Kneeboards – Boards for beginners have wide, soft edges that allow new kneeboarders to maintain control while they are in the water. Because of the thickness of a kneeboard, it is highly buoyant, meaning that it floats well. If you take a spill in the water, you’ll be able to rely on your kneeboard to help you float while the boat comes back for you. Beginner kneeboards are rotomolded. Meaning, they are made with a hollow center from a strong plastic. This manufacturing process is less expensive, which means customers pay less when they buy their own kneeboards. Your kneeboard has been designed to help you make smooth turns in the water, so you can control it and keep from falling over in the water. Your kneeboard may have been made with fins, which help you to turn more easily while you’re skiing in the water.
- Competitive Kneeboards -Rather than being rotomolded, these kneeboards are compression molded. What this means for you is that you’re going to be able to pull more performance out of your board as you race and compete. A compression molded kneeboard is also more durable. You’ll notice that a competitive kneeboard has sharper edges, allowing you to turn more quickly during competition. These sharp edges also make performing competitive tricks easier. These kneeboards may also be lighter and thinner. Because your kneeboard doesn’t have a hollow core, it won’t be quite as buoyant, but as a competitive kneeboarder, this shouldn’t matter as much for you; you’ll be able to make deep-water starts.
You’ll find two styles of kneeboards as you’re shopping for your own board.
- A slalom board is used just for slalom-skiing. Look for sharper edges on this board. These sharp edges enable you to turn more easily. As you move through your turn, you’ll also be able to hold your edge better.
- Trick boards have two features different from slalom boards. First, the edges are rounded. Second, the bottom of a trick board is rounded. Both of these features make performing stunts in the water easier.
- Board Size and Shape – as a beginner, try and look for a roto-molded kneeboard board that fits your budget as these are the easiest to learn on and are more forgiving. Also try and look out for one with and Aquatic Hook/Hydro Hook (see below).
- Aquatic Hook/Hydro Hook -the Hydro Hook (or Aquatic Hook as it is sometimes called) is a simple plastic hook (or block) attached to the nose of a kneeboard to enable the handle to take the load during deep water starts. The handle is simply placed behind the hook, which takes all of the load off the rider when the tow vehicle powers up. Once up to speed and composed, the rider can then pull the handle toward them, which detatches it and gives them full control.
- Rocker -rocker is the measure of how much a Kneeboard curves from nose to tail (kneeboards are somewhat banana shaped when viewed side-on). The higher the number (e.g. 5cms) the greater the curvature. As a beginner it is best to choose a board with quite a lot of rocker as this makes the board slower in the water, more forgiving, and easier to turn. A lower rocker makes the board faster in the water, which is not necessarily a good trait in the early stages.
- Edges – kneeboards have soft rounded edges or quite sharp ones. As a beginner you should be looking for a board with softer more rounded edges as this makes it less likely that you will catch and edge and take a tumble. It will also make turning slower and more predictable. Most roto molded kneeboards have soft rounded edges.
- Fins -fins provide straight line stability and can also assist with turning while you are learning. When you progress to the point where you are doing tricks then fins are often no longer needed. Channels in the base of a kneeboard also provide straight line tracking without compromising the loose feel needed for tricks.
Check out the 8 Best Kneeboards on the market right now:
1. O’Brien Radica Kneeboard with Hook
2. O’Brien Black Magic Kneeboard with Hook
3. HO Sports Joker Kneeboard – Orange/Multi – NEW
4. Nash 2158 Pro XLT Marine Kneeboard
5. O’Brien Voodoo Kneeboard with Hook
6. Kwik Tek AHKB-3 Wake Shaker Kneeboard
7. Driftsun Kneeboard