Here are a few tips that may help you choose the best wakeboard equipment for you or your family whether it be online or at your local board shop.
1. If your choosing a wakeboard and you are between sizes according to your weight I recommend sizing up to the larger size as bigger boards are typically more forgiving and provide softer landings.
2. When choosing a binding make sure you take into account that stiff bindings will soften up and soft bindings will get even softer after a few uses. I like to start with a stiff supportive binding knowing that it will soften up after a few sets and not feel blown out when its just getting broken in. This is strictly my personal preference. Cable riders often like softer bindings than boat riders do.
3. Wakeboard ropes and handle choices are abundant as everyone seems to be making them. Handles with a softer grip at the board shop may seem super nice but the harder material handles seem to always last way longer. Also, pay attention to the different diameter sizes of the handles. Little kids will enjoy a smaller diameter handle much more as its easier for them to hold onto. Get a wakeboard rope with a nice slippery rubber or plastic coating as they slide through your hand without burning you and they tangle less!
4. Helmets. If you are hitting rails you’ve got to wear a helmet. Typically adults do not wear helmets when wakeboarding since the chances of the board hitting you are pretty slim. I do not think they help in the way of impacting the water with your head. Kids have a much greater chance of the board hitting their head but you must be careful as bucketing of the helmet over the back of the head can cause the chin strap to choke them. I size my sons helmet so that it is very snug on his head and then loosen the chin strap all the way out. His helmet stays on event when he crashes but he will have plenty of slack if the helmet gets sucked back.
5. Vests are a must 100% of the time. I highly recommend US coastguard approved life vests. No they are not sleek and comfortable as comp vests but, they protect your ribs and float you face up in a worst case situation. If you must wear a comp vest then find one that has a reasonable amount of float and protection. I prefer vests that fit a little snug over one that fits loosely as a wet vest can sag and soften up a bit when its wet as opposed to a dry one in the pro shop where you try it on. Please keep kids in well sized and floaty safe padded vests even when they beg for the comp vest!!!!