What You Need to Know about Wakeboarding Products
Get your wakeboarding gear in gear! Kirby Liesmann offers his recommendations and advice for what you need to wakeboard.
When you are getting into a new sport, it can be exciting to buy a bunch of new gear. It’s hard to know, however, which products you should buy at which skill level. There is also always the threat of thinking you’re getting a good deal when you’ve actually bought something useless.
To give you a good barometer for how to buy wakeboarding equipment, we sat down again with Kirby Liesmann, owner and instructor at Kirby’s School of Wake. He offers his expertise on buying products for wakeboarding:
Do you have any product recommendations?
There is a board that I promote from one of my sponsors. It’s called a Ronix wakeboard. It’s a mainstream company, and they’re one of the most popular brands in the industry. They make a board called the Ronix vault (link Ronix store here). It’s an interesting shape for a board because it’s not symmetrical. It’s different on the heel side and toe side to lend itself to most people’s dominate direction and foot position. That is the board we put students on when they are first learning. It’s got good traction, they don’t slip around as much. You’re really gripped in and most people can get on it and ride it right away. Once a student is able to jump a little bit, we try to move to boards with more enclosed boots, tighter shells, and advanced materials like wood core or carbon fiber. It can get very technical when it comes to good products.
Are there any products that should be avoided?
A lot of people will come to a lesson with their own wakeboard. It always makes me nervous, because you can’t be sure about the quality or condition of a board that someone bought of Craigslist. The funny thing is, people sometimes pay the same price for a high end board in poor condition that they would for new equipment that is actually right for them. The only things you can do with a board that’s in bad condition is hang it on your wall or make it a bench. It’s best to buy new and get something appropriate for your skill level. Most people who provide wakeboarding lessons will provide the proper equipment.
Also, a lot of people think that the same rope you use for waterskiing will work for wakeboarding. The ropes for wakeboarding are made of a tight nylon cord with plastic coating, so it doesn’t stretch. It’s solid, there is no give at all. Waterskiing ropes give a lot more slack. You want to avoid using waterskiing ropes for wakeboarding because they won’t give you the intended feel of being on a wakeboard.
What is the best technological advancement you saw in the industry since you started wakeboarding?
The biggest change has been in the boats. When I started we took whatever we could get a ride behind. I rod behind powerboats, an old ski boat, and we had to do everything we could to get a wake. Now we have these wakeboard specific boats. They’re designed in such a way to create drag in the water, so you get the maximum about of displacement and the biggest wave possible. They have a specific hull design – it has what is called V-drive technology where the engine is in the back and the transmission is in the middle. It’s kind of different than your traditional ski boat. We also have wakeboard towers, and we are able to initiate programmed rider profiles that make the right waves for different skill levels
Check out our last two interviews with Kirby here!
Check out the RaftUp blog soon for our next interview with Kirby. You will learn what you need to know if you are wakeboarding for the first time. In the meantime, check out Kirby’s website here.
You can book your own lesson with him there, and you can get ahead of the crowd to RSVP for Kirby’s Awakin Camp from June 3-June 5 2019!