Home kneeboarding 10 Best Kneeboards for Beginners & Pros

10 Best Kneeboards for Beginners & Pros

When you decide to be a kneeboarder, the first step is to get the right board for your sport. Kneeboards can be bought either online or in physical shops but knowing the type, style and size of board suitable to your level is of paramount importance.

In our review of the available kneeboards, the Driftsun Crush Kneeboard comes out as the best. Hydroslide and O’brien kneeboards are also some of the top brands. These are the most versatile boards as they pack many great features for both beginners and advanced users.

While shopping for your kneeboard, you should look out for the materials it is made out of and other additional features such as retractable fins, straps, etc. The following is a detailed look at our top 10 picks.

1. Driftsun Crush Kneeboard

If there’s a kneeboard created to accommodate riders at all levels in kneeboarding, the Driftsun takes that crown resoundingly. Not to be confused with the Driftsun 2018 Kneeboard, this board comes with a tow hook for beginners to start off well and is highly buoyant making it easy to balance.

Even with these features, it’s very easy to perform tricks given its sturdy construction. It has a streamlined profile which makes it easy to gain speed and perform spins, jumps and other tricks on the water.

The kneepads are also very comfortable and easy to adjust to provide the rider with the best possible position for hours of fun. The durability of the board also makes it one of the best no matter the strength of the waves you’re to ride on.

Driftsun Crush Board
Driftsun Crush

Pros

  • Study construction based on a rotomolded shell and an EPS core. The continuous rocker makes it easy to perform some tricks safely.
  • Dual twin-tip design for durability and speed while offering stability in performing tricks.
  • Comfortable kneepads made from flexible molded EVA material to cushion your landings and do away with fatigue.
  • Durable construction with a reinforced knee strap brackets and a tough outer shell.
  • A tow hook to enable an easy start.
  • A rounded square nose to allow for easy control on the water.

Cons

  • The fin is not adjustable.

2. Hydroslide Magna Kneeboard

This kneeboard is built with extra safety features in mind for rookie kneeboarders in mind. Even with that, a seasoned kneeboarder will have the time of their life on the kneeboard given the sleek features it comes with.

It features a deep curvy surface that makes it easy to board at the beginning of the ride or after a fall. It’s also made of highly buoyant material that allows you stay afloat which is usually tough for beginners.

For intermediaries and experts, the shape of the board allows for clever maneuvers and tricks for hours of fun. With a capacity of 120 pounds, most people are accommodated.

Besides the many safety features, you also get deep kneepads that are well-cushioned to ensure you’re always comfortable in your rides. There’s a hook for easy take-offs and thin edges for quick movements when doing tricks.

Hydroslide Magna
Hydroslide Magna

Pros

  • Highly buoyant material for safety.
  • Only weighs 11 pounds but has a capacity of 120 pounds which includes most kneeboarders.
  • Hook for easy starts.
  • Thin edges for quick movements.
  • EVA kneepads for comfort.
  • Perfect shape for learning and performing tricks.
  • Long warranty which is a testimony for the build quality.

Cons

  • The weight capacity of 120 pounds may inhibit some people.

3. ZUP All In One Kneeboard

This Kneeboard by ZUP isn’t named the All In One for no reason. It packs all the features you’ll need in a kneeboard at a fraction of the price you’ll pay for premium brands. Better yet, it comes with its own uniquely-styled tow handle. All you’ll need is a tow boat and and rope and you’re good to go.

The ZUP board can be used also as a wake surf and wakeboard when kneeboarding isn’t the primary objective. This level of versatility is rivaled by very few other boards at the moment. Its color scheme is also one you’ll like when you hit the waters.

It’s made with comfort in mind with the EVA kneepads complementing the padded knee strap. There’s a hook to keep the starts easy especially for beginners.

Zup All in one
ZUP

Pros

  • It comes with a free handle for your rides.
  • Can be used for kneeboarding, wakeboarding and wake surfing.
  • Designed for high competition water sports.
  • Padded kneepads and strap for comfort.
  • Contoured edges to give you better control of the board.
  • Affordable.
  • High quality materials for durability.

Cons

  • Can be quite heavy especially for advanced tricks.

4. Hydroslide Havoc Kneeboard

Another great kneeboard for everyone is the Hydroslide Havoc Kneeboard. While it was originally created for those with intermediate kneeboarding skills, it boasts of great features that kneeboarders all across the expertise spectrum will love.

It’s a thin and lightweight kneeboard that will aid you navigate the water like a pro. It doesn’t have any fins on it and thus requires some level of steadiness on your end. You get the same great kneepads that are cushioned to ensure you’re always comfortable and have proper control of the board.

It also comes with a hook at the front that allows you start off while focused on the motion of the tow boat alone. This is great especially in turbulent waters or for learners who haven’t mastered the basics yet.

The countered edges of this board make it one of the best for leaning the difficult tricks. Given its thin profile, you get better stability and control in tight motions. For most learners, the problem is balance and maneuvering the sharp and quick motions. These features make this a favorite for the new tricks.

Hydroslide Havoc
Hydroslide Havoc

Pros

  • Thin profile allowing for sharper movements.
  • A hydro hook tow point for easy starts.
  • Deep knee wells with EVA padding for comfort.
  • Contoured edges to enable quick tricks.
  • 3-inch padded strap.

5. O’Brien Rush 5150

Another dynamic kneeboard is the O’Brien Rush 5150. It’s meant to accommodate kneeboarders at all levels of expertise by being forgiving to rookies and allowing complex tricks at the same time. You can do all the clever tricks such as moving forward, sideways and even backwards without a hitch on this board.

Owing to its unique shape, the Rush 5150 produces a huge amount of upward force on the water allowing larger riders to have a great time. It’s also large and stiff meaning that it’ll withstand a lot of abuse from a rider no matter their size or the tricks they employ.

For proper comfort, the kneepads are the high standard EVA type that also offer great control for your rides. The underside of the board is also specifically crafted to allow for the proper spinning techniques as it affords a lot of flexibility. The knee strap is also padded for extra comfort and control of the board.

O'Brien Rush-5150
O’Brien Rush

Pros

  • Efficient surface that produces large upward force.
  • Easy to perform tricks.
  • Accommodates even large riders due to a large surface area.
  • Can move back and forward easily.
  • Deep and well-padded knee well for comfort and proper control of the board.
  • Smooth and fluid curves make it easy to maneuver the board.
  • Medium length for ease of doing tricks.

Cons

  • Can be quite heavy for starters.

6. HO Sports Electron Kneeboard

This kneeboard from HO Sports is meant for intermediate to pro level kneeboarders. As such, rookies will have a harder time getting to know it well. However, it still offers great features that most starters will find useful as they learn the ropes.

For intermediaries and experts, the Electron is a joy to use. Besides offering a large surface area to accommodate larger riders, the board also packs features that make it easy to pull off most complex tricks on the water. It’s handling level has been touted by many experts to be among the very best no matter the depth of the water.

It has four molded fins and a diamond-shaped tip which makes it easy to handle tough tricks even at high speeds. As such, a lot of the features for this kneeboard are geared towards providing the skilled rider with the best experience possible 

Pros

  • Affordable for its features.
  • Easy control during delicate motions.
  • Great at handling motions no matter the depth of the water.
  • Well-cushioned kneepads providing the best comfort for riders.
  • 4 molded fins for proper control of the movements of the board.
  • Can accommodate larger riders.

Cons

  • Difficult to learn with as a rookie kneeboarder.

7. SereneLife Water Sport Kneeboard

This SereneLife kneeboard has been crafted with beginners in mind as it offers the best features for starters to enjoy their time on the water. It weighs below 9 pounds and measures 50 by 20 inches. These dimensions make it easy for both experts and beginners to have an easy time on the water.

The knee strap is adjustable to accommodate riders of all sizes while the kneepads have the high quality EVA padding for comfort. They’re also of a universal size to accommodate riders of all sizes. There’s a tow hook to provide easier starts for beginners. The rest of the board is Mae of highly durable materials to last for generations.

SereneLife Kneeboard
SereneLife

Pros

  • Affordable for its great features.
  • Fits all types of riders no matter their size and weight.
  • Light and meant for riders of all classes with a focus on rookies.
  • High quality material for longevity.
  • Comfortable with an adjustable knee strap.

Cons

  • No fins which can make the board unstable.

8. Hydroslide PRO-XLT Kneeboard (52-Inch)

For pro kneeboarders who need the best board for their intricate tricks, few can beat the Hydroslide PRO-XLT. It comes packed with the features that will see you wow crowds and win accolades.

The board is very responsive to the movements of the rider thus making it easy to pull off tricks with it. You get other great features such as the cushioned EVA kneepads, a comfortable strap for the knees, and retractable fins for stability. Even better, it’s among the cheapest boards for its great features.

Pros

  • Affordable.
  • The adjustable strap makes it easy to change the rider without compromising the quality of the ride.
  • Comfortable kneepads.
  • Retractable fins make it easy to control the board.

Cons

  • Only sold in the US.

9. ZUP Rise and Boogie All in One Watersports Board, Kneeboard

The second entry from ZUP is the Rise and Boogie All in One Watersports board. Its unique design makes it one of the best kneeboards around and, from its name, you can easily deduce that it does more than give you great rides as a kneeboarder. It can be used as a water ski and wakeboard as well.

Weighing just 15 pounds and measuring 42 by 35 by 5 inches, the ZUP Rise and Boogie has a unique shape very different from the others on this list. However, this shape, coupled with the highly comfortable kneepads and other features, make it one of the most versatile yet stable water boards ever.

Its design makes both experts and beginners feel right at home with it. It’s also highly durable and will withstand the toughest of tricks and speeds for years on end. You get two handles one on each side making it a very stable board.

Pros

  • Comfortable and slip-resistant kneepads.
  • Highly durable construction.
  • Highly flexible and versatile and can thus be used for kneeboarding, wakeboarding and water skiing.
  • Has two handles for proper grip and control of the board.

Cons

  • Quite small compared to the standard size.

10. Leader Accessories Graffiti

As the name points out, the board is designed with great-looking graffiti to add style to your rides. However, looks aren’t the only thing you get with this board as it comes with great features that earn it a spot on our list.

It has highly durable materials that complement the durable kneepads to offer riders comfort and control over their movements. It’s medium-sized and can be used by experts and rookies alike.

Leader Accessories kneeboard
Leader Accessories Graffiti

Pros

  • Affordable.
  • Hook for easy starts.
  • Durable yet very comfortable kneepads.
  • Beveled edges making it easy to move around fast.

Cons

  • Quite bulky.

On this list, you get all the features you’ll need whether it’s your first day on a kneeboard or you’re about to pull off the greatest trick in water sports with years of experience under your belt. They’re all durable yet affordable kneeboards making it easy to pick among them.

Ultimate Kneeboard Buying Guide

Having a list of the best kneeboards isn’t yet enough. Following is a guide with tips and ideas on what you should look for when buying a new kneeboard.

Kneeboard Type and Style

Depending on your skill level and what you intend to do as kneeboarder, you can choose a specific type or style.

Kneeboards come in two types; recreational and competition kneeboards.

Recreational kneeboards

These are fairly-priced, simple and fun-to-ride kneeboards intended for starters and young children building their skills. Features include;

  • Made out of roto-molded board
  • Designed to act as flotation buoys for riders who are not advanced swimmers
  • Some recreational boards offer fins to help make turning easier
  • Soft and wide edges offer enough space to turn and perform amateur stunts

Competition kneeboards

These are quality and expensive boards intended for advanced kneeboarders

  • Compression-molded with quality materials such as fiberglass to make them more responsive during competitions
  • They offer more performance and durability.
  • They’re usually lightweight, thin, and curvy, making it easier for expert athletes to perform sharp turns and quality stunts or tricks without limitations.
  • Less buoyant.

When looking for a good competition kneeboard, consider one that is dynamic; one that you can use for a lot of the tricks available in this sport. A lot of these tricks require riding either sideways or backwards hence the need to find a board that flows with your movements.

The Board Style

In addition to the type, you should look for the perfect style. The available styles include

Slalom Boards

They have sharper edges and flat bottoms to provide better turning, smooth riding, as well as high level tricks. They are the most common.

Trick boards

They have rounded bottom and sharp edges.  As their name goes, they are used for performing tricks and daredevil stunts.

Features

Once you’ve determined your type and style, you should look for the following additional features can also help you select a quality kneeboard

Material

As you already know, both recreational and competition kneeboards are designed with different materials to improve performance and usability. When buying consider durable materials such as ABS and EVA foam; Such materials ensure the length of it remains light, durable, comfortable and easy to maneuver.

Straps

The protective straps should be padded for convenience while not being too thick. Straps serve the purpose of securing your stance on the board and have to be comfortable, yet secure.

Fins

Fins help you maintain control and movement on the board. There are good kneedboards that come without fins but the fins are still important for both beginners and pros. They aid better transition and enhance the speed and efficiency of the turns for starters. For pros, fins can assist with dare-devil stunts and curves.

Roker

Rocker is the measurement of the curve on the bottom of the kneeboard. It determines how fast and swift your board will ski. More rocker allows easier turns; flatter rocker—more speed. Most kneeboards have a rocker of 5 to 6 centimeters (2″ to 2 3/8″).

Hooks

Most boards come with a hydro hook which allows you to hook the handle to the front of the board, so you don’t have to hold the handle. This means that the kneeboarder can be pulled without having to place your hands on the rope handle. This is a good feature especially for beginners who have a hard time balancing at the start.

Kneeboard Care: Cleaning and Storage

Just like and other equipment, you need to clean, dry and store your kneeboard properly. Following are some maintenance ideas

  1. After use, clean off any sand or dirt then rinse out the board with clean water
  2. Air-dry it in a shed. Avoid leaving direct sunlight for a long duration
  3. Store in a cool and dry place.

Further Reading

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