If you’re a newer wakeboarder, or one who usually rides behind a boat, there are important wakeboard gear differences to consider when choosing gear for the cable park.
A good cable park wakeboard will generally differ from a boat wakeboard in terms of base construction, length, flex, rail design, fins and bottom features, and rocker.
Here’s a quick rundown of my top wakeboards for cable park:
|Ronix Press Play||Stiffer||Continuous||139, 144, 149||$400|
|Slingshot Coalition||Medium soft||Hybrid||141, 145, 149, 153, 157||$450|
|Hyperlite Dipstick||Medium soft||Continuous||139, 143, 147||$330|
|Liquid Force Butterstick Pro||Soft||3-stage||140, 144, 148, 152||$480|
|Ronix Spring Break (women)||Soft||Continuous||133, 138, 142||$450|
|Ronix Top Notch||Soft||Continuous||138, 143, 148, 153||$450|
Before we take a close look at each of these boards, let’s briefly go over the things to look for in a good cable park board.
Wakeboard base for cable park
Riding at the cable park typically involves rail riding over plastic or metal park features. Cable wakeboards are therefore designed to have a much stronger, more durable base compared to boat wakeboards – the latter won’t last very long if used for sliding on park elements.
Many dedicated cable park wakeboards have a sintered or “grind” base, a special type of manufacturing process that makes the board a lot more resistant and slideable on most surfaces. As a result, good cable park boards withstand impact from rails, kickers, and boxes much better.
Cable park-specifc wakeboards are also genereally flat on the bottom to facilitate landings from jumps and air tricks.
Cable park wakeboard size
Another specific aspect of wakeboards designed for cable park is that they’ll generally be larger for a given rider size. The most popular lengths for cable park wakeboard are 141cm, 145cm, and 149cm depending on the wakeboarder’s size and height.
Bigger boards e.g. in the 148cm to 155cm range will soften the impact from landings when jumping off kickers. A bigger board, however, can make other tricks harder, such as spinning off a rail.
A large board with a flatter bottom will also make it drag less in the water, which is desirable when being pulled by a cable vs a boat.
Cable park wakeboard flex
Cable park wakeboards also have significantly more flex compared to boat boards. Medium to soft flex patterns facilitate park tricks such as butterslides, taps, and presses. The softer flex of a cable board allows you perform nose and tail presses when on a rail.
Board size and flex are somewhat related since a bigger cable park board (e.g 147cm) will generally have more flex.
Cable park wakeboard rails & fins
Good wakeboards for cable park typically have chined rails angling upward for extra clearance when riding over a rough feature.
Unlike boat wakeboards, cable boards generally have no bottom features to allow for butterslides on flat water and sliding on any features without catching or hanging up.
Boat boards, in contrast, generally have fins and channels to keep the board riding straight, but those are not suitable for sliding as they will hang up on rails and ramps.
Cable park wakeboards generally have removable fins (unlike boat boards) as many parks prohibit the use of fins which can ruin the park’s kickers and slides. Riders are required to take the fins out when riding rails and kickers.
Some wakeboards have subtle molded in fins which are acceptable for park riding.
Cable park wakeboard rocker
The rocker of a wakeboard refers to its lengthwise curvature. The rocker affects the way the board rides, mostly speed, pop, and landings.
A 3-stage rocker gives you a lot of pop and helps you shoot straight up off of a boat wake. On the flip side, it makes the board a bit slower riding on the water, and the landings are a bit rough with your legs absorbing most of the impact.
A continuous rocker lets you ride faster and smoother, but gives you less pop for getting air compared to 3-stage. Continuous rockers make landings softer by absorbing the shock, making them a valid option for cable park riding.
A 5-stage or hybrid rocker is a mix between the above two. It’s similar to a continuous rocker but with extra pop. The biggest part of the board (e.g. about 3/4) is stiffer, while the tip section on both ends of the board is flexier, resulting in softer landings. Hybrid rockers are also well-suited for cable park wakeboarding.
My top 6 best wakeboards for cable park riding
In this section, I take a closeup look at a few of the best wakeboards on the market for riding cable.
Ronix Press Play cable park wakeboard – $400
The Ronix Press Play is a hot-looking affordable board specifically designed for wake park. It has a classic proven shape with a thinner tip and tail design. The construction is 100% paulownia wood with a relatively stiff flex compared to other (generally soft) cable park boards .
The Press Play is a great wakeboard for newer cable park riders as well as more advanced wakeboarders who like the contact from riding on a more rigid board. It features a park-friendly slider/grind base and a continuous rocker well-suited for sliding and jumping off park features.
The Press Play, aka the Guy Firer pro model, has an attractive design, a combination of modern graphics on a dark background and natural wood tones. It’s available in 139, 144, and 149 cm lengths.
Check out the Ronix Press Play cable park wakeboard
Slingshot Coalition cable park wakeboard – $450
The Slingshot Coalition is designed exclusively for the cable park with a 100% vertically laminated wood core. This board has chined rails for sliding on uneven surfaces without catch or rail damage. It has medium-soft flex (softer than the Ronix Press Play) for a balanced mix of easy pressing and rebound.
The Coalition has a solid grind/slider base for free sliding on park features. The board construction is reinforced with carbon inserts.
This park wakeboard is designed for more advanced riders, with its hybrid rocker that allows for more pop but slightly harder landings compared to more beginner-oriented boards with mellower rocker.
The Slingshot Coalition comes is a wide range of sized from 141 to 157 cm. The 153 & 157 cm versions are new and come with a 5th insert allowing for a narrower stance for more control and power in slides.
The Slingshot Coalition’s base has stunning blue, red, and yellow graphics designed by Wesley Mark Jacobson. At $450 it’s a relatively affordable cable park wakeboard.
See the Slingshot Coalition cable park wakeboard
Hyperlite Dipstick cable park wakeboard – $330
The Hyperlite Dipstick is a very sturdy, affordable, and forigiving board geared at new cable park riders and frequent board-wreckers. The all-wood core and urethane layers molded between the top and base laminates gives this board its great flex and strong impact resistance for cable park and winch riding.
The Dipstick has a continuous rocker for optimal speed, minimal drag, and soft landing, and the rail flex adds more pop to the board. The tip and tail shape is optimized for better ollies and improved press lock-in.
Part of the Cable Collective series, this board features Hyperlite’s sintered base material well-known for its strength in cable park settings. The Dipstick comes in 139, 143, and 147 cm.
Check out the Hyperlite Dipstick cable park board
Liquid Force Butterstick Pro cable park wakeboard – $480
The Butterstick Pro, like its name implies, is a super soft and smooth, advanced pro model wakeboard for cable park, offering a highly responsive feel particularly when coupled with soft bindings.
The flex and responsiveness stem from the 100% paulownia wood core and triaxial glass layup. The wakeboard’s solid wood core is further reinforced by the elastomeric sidewalls and the gind base molded to the contours – these add a lot of strength when riding park.
The Butterstick features a 3-stage rocker for maximum pop, beveled rails, and special flex tips. The wakeboard is diamond shaped and comes in 140, 144, 148, and 152 cm sizes.
Check out the Liquid Force Butterstick pro 140 cm, 148 cm, or 152 cm on Evo
Ronix Spring Break cable park wakeboard (women) – $450
The Ronix Spring Break is the Jamie Lopina pro model wakeboard for women. It’s a very soft board from tip to tail that works well for skateboard-type riding and press at the wake park. The newest update has an 143 cm version very suitable for wake park features and sliders.
Like most cable park boards, the Ronix Spring Break has a flat-ish, featureless bottom. This board has a solid grind/slider base and mellow continuous rocker for speed and soft landings in jumps.
The soft flex encompasses the full length of the board (vs only tips in certain boards), making for a smooth and pleasant feel for beginner to intermediate cable park female riders.
The Spring Break comes in 133, 138, and 143 cm sizes. See it here on Evo
Ronix Top Notch cable park wakeboard – $450
The Ronix Top Notch is the men’s counterpart to the women’s Spring Break model. Like the latter, this board has a 90s-style full-length flex layup designed for skate-style cable park riding and hard presses on park rails.
The Top Notch is a nice and flexy all-wood wakeboard with a featureless grind base and a pronounced continuous rocker for fast and fun riding on the cable and smooth trick landings.
The Top Notch has really awesome artwork both on the bottom and top side, with an attractive blend of grey, wooden, and black shades and graphics. It comes in sizes 138, 143, 148, and 153cm.
Check out the Ronix Top Notch cable park wakeboard here on Evo
(1) Featured image: “KITEACADEMY – Mystic Shooting” (CC BY 2.0) by kite academy
(2) “EAWakechampion17 (93)” (CC BY 2.0) by thegapmagazin