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So you have been carving and cutting for awhile now, maybe even have hit up the cable park, and are looking to—literally—up your wakeboarding game by doing some higher tricks.
Or, you are an intermediate learner, skilled with the basics, who wants to learn how to get big air to do big tricks.
In either case, what you are probably hoping for is more of the “pop” often associated with wake boarding: that feeling of springing off of the wave, almost effortlessly done by professionals doing their tricks with any sort of wake.
There are many factors that go into getting more pop, but one of the most important ones is the type of board you are riding on.
So what’s the best wakeboard for pop?
This article will look a bit into what brings on this pop, how the board you ride can help you maximize that air, and highlight several products that may work for you. We hope this guide will help you on your quest to pop bigger and higher when you are out on the water.
What is “pop”?
Even on the smallest waves, skilled wakeboarders somehow manage to get themselves way into the air. Does this mean that they have the best board on the market? Is it because of their strength and athleticism?
Pop is not something that happens because you have a specific board. It is not something that happens because you are riding on a specific kind of wake.
In an article on Wake World, it is wisely labelled as an effect of certain factors that come together to get you that life into the air. The board you ride is only part of the equation.
While bigger wakes definitely make it easier to get pop or air, it is not only the fault of the boat driver if you are not getting as high or popping as aggressively as you would like.
Learning how to achieve pop on medium or small wakes involves both specifics of your technique as well as particulars about your board.
Technique, strength, and balance
One major importance is your technique and your stature. You can maximize the amount of pop you get by making sure the rope attached to the boat is not too loose.
When the rope is tight and you are about to carve up on to the wake, stand up straight, stay balanced, and focus your strength on the rope and concentrate on the way ahead of you.
Building up your speed gradually, giving yourself time to accelerate once you reach the wake, also affects the amount of pop you achieve.
Working on your technique can greatly improve the amount of pop you get off of a wake.
As with anything, practice makes perfect, and it is important to spend time on the basics if you are not completely comfortable on your board.
You do not to be a professional wakeboarder with your own board sponsor to be riding on something that gives you maximum pop.
The next section will focus on what to look for a wakeboard when looking for the best wakeboard for pop.
What to look for in a good wakeboard for pop
To achieve maximum pop on a wakeboard, your board should have a few specific features.
Perhaps the most important involve the type of rocker, as well as the flex level, or stiffness, of your board.
Type of rocker
One of the primary things to consider is the rocker, which is the shape of the board from end to end.
There are generally four types of rocker: continuous, hybrid, three-stage, and five-stage, with continuous and three-stage rockers being the most common.
Abrupt/aggressive and subtle/progressive versions of these two also exist, providing even more variety for riders to choose from.
Continuous rockers, shaped like a U, give riders a smooth release off of the wake and gentler landings.
This contrasts with three-stage rockers, with three distinct lines forming a sharply edged U-shape.
Three-stage rockers offer greater pop and speed than continuous rockers, making them more ideal for tricks and precision handling, though landings can be harsh.
The flex level of a board is how much it “gives” when pressing against it. For getting a lot of pop, boards tend to be on the stiff side.
This makes the board responsive, basically ensuring that it does not sink too much into the water when you are trying to get into the air.
Best wakeboard for pop
The next three boards to look at are all great for achieving maximum pop.
Just a note: if you are investing in a new board to start getting more pop, getting more air, and doing higher tricks, you are of course setting yourself up for more intense and potentially painful bails and falls. Consider checking out our guide on the best impact vests for wakeboarding so you are protected during bails from getting a lot of pop.
Here are three of the best boards for you to consider when you look for a good wakeboard for pop.
Ronix Vault Wakeboard, Blank
The Ronix Vault’s tagline is “a shape that recognizes your shoulders and hips are not aways parallel in wake boarding,” so you know that you can get up high and around on this board.
This intermediate board features a three-stage rocker and a heelside construction, making for a more natural position when riding behind a boat.
This board is thinner than other models in the same line, which brings you closer to the water for more control.
It features deeper, longer toe side fins to help keep the board stable on edges as you get up to the wake, while heel side fins are shorter for a more rapid release on tricks where you spin.
More important are the specific features of its three-stage rocker, though. The rocker line is exaggerated, and the higher angle gives the board a vertical sort of pop.
This is especially helpful if you are frequently riding at lower wakes, or want to practice your skills while riding on lower ones.
The board also features “G&R Technology”, which provides traction and stability so you can more easily control a flick without excess drag.
More advanced riders might find the added stability features a nuisance. Still, its exaggerated rocker really makes this board stand out.
Another advantage of this board is its availability in three sizes. The 134 suits riders up to 170 pounds, while the larger ones can handle riders over that amount.
Male and female riders of any stature will be able to feel the pop that the board provides with its unique construction. The fins are included with this board.
View at Amazon for more information on the use of this product for your next adventure.
Liquid Force Harley Classic Wakeboard, Blank
This aggressive board is definitely the Harley of the water. Its namesake being Harley Clifford of the Liquid Force team, this low-volume board gives you the gas you need to get awesome pop.
First, it features an aggressive three-stage rocker that gives you the shape you need to get yourself up high.
The Quad V channels helps you carve confidently, setting yourself up to get great air and quick release from the hull. It is among the stiffest boards that Liquid Force offers, so you can be sure of quick, responsive performance.
Finally, its quad fin set up give the Harley Classic the rev it needs to get you amazing pop and carving ability.
Unfortunately, this board is not part of the Liquid Force 2020 lineup.
Like the Ronix Vault, it was built in several sizes, making it a possible purchase for riders of a variety of sizes, and includes the fins.
This board is great for boat riders hoping to improve their skills, get to faster speeds, and get great pop while they are doing it.
View at Amazon for more information on how this product could work for you.
Slingshot Sports 2020 Pill Wakeboard
This Pill will definitely get you high. It is the most advanced board in this list and is designed primarily for boat riders.
Its stiff construction gives you great stability. What you might not be ready for is the explosive pop that comes from a combination of its features.
Like the other boards on this list, this board features a three-stage rocker and a stiff flex pattern that delivers immediate response.
Naca Tech Channels guide the water smoothly along the lines to improve traction, while still maintaining speed.
Intermediate users might have trouble adjusting to this board because of the aggressiveness of both the popping and handling, so the two boards reviewed above might be better options for riders who need to further develop their handling and carving skills.
Also, this board comes in three sizes, though smaller riders might find all of the options too large as they start at a 138. The edge enhancing fins are included on this board.
View at Amazon to learn more about how this product may work for you.
Featured image credit: DepositPhotos.com @DelmasLehman