You’ve no doubt heard the expression “a carpenter is only as good as his tools.” The same idea applies to wakeboarding. That board you bought three summers ago just isn’t going to take you as far as a 2017 board that features the latest in design and lightweight, responsive materials. The collection of next-level gear on these pages will help you pop a little higher, spin a little faster, move a little more freely, and look a little cooler. Now, let’s be clear. Are we saying that you need the latest, greatest gear to have fun on the water? Not for a second. Nor are we saying that one of these wakeboards or wakesurfers will make you the next Mike Dowdy or Keenan Flegel. What we are saying is that this new gear could very well make it easier for you to stomp that trick you’ve been chasing or add a little extra swagger to your stalefish. In short, it has the potential to make you a slightly better version of yourself on the water tomorrow than you are today. And isn’t that what we’re all after?
The Space Blanket is all about speed. In fact, this next-generation camber board from Ronix was designed with one goal — increased glide speed — and the Erik Ruck and Shota Tezuka pro model delivers with 30 percent less water resistance than its predecessor, the Bandwagon. Since it comes standard with Ronix’s lightest-ever core, the Space Blanket yields the least amount of swing weight possible, so you’ll spin faster, too.
Sizes: 134 cm, 137 cm, 141 cm
Completely redesigned for 2017, Slingshot’s new Shredtown and KTV boots sport a trio of all-new features. The new Gummy Strap closure system allows riders to tighten their boots to their heart’s content without sacrificing comfort. New Direct Connect soles jettison traditional base plates in favor of a lower profile, enhanced flex underfoot, and increased responsiveness. Finally, the new K9 mounting system lets you completely customize your stance.
MSRP: $460 (Shredtown); $399 (KTV)
Someone at Jobe may have been watching a little too much True Detective, season one, because the teaser videos for the new Knox wakeboard look like they were filmed in Carcosa. The gloomy setting of the videos contrasts with the Knox’s most illuminating characteristic: a first-of-its-kind see-through rocker system. In addition to its clear calling card, the Knox features an aggressive three-stage rocker and a wider profile for a stable ride and tons of takeoff.
Sizes: 139 cm, 143 cm
With an aggressive three-stage rocker and CWB’s super-lightweight Pro Core with carbon-torsion tech, the new Dowdy wakeboard is the perfect fit for advanced riders chasing the go-huge, spin-for-days style of its namesake. The rocker delivers more straight-up pop than any board in the CWB line, the techy interior yields a snappy feel off the wake, and the spooned tip and tail reduce swing weight so you can add an extra 180.
Sizes: 136 cm, 142 cm
Anytime you opt for a comp vest over a USCG-approved life jacket, you’re choosing maximum mobility over potentially lifesaving flotation. This women’s comp vest from Body Glove has the former on lock, thanks to its super-flexible shell and segmented Aerolite foam construction. Just make sure you ride with a rescue crew, because this low-profile design isn’t guaranteed to keep you afloat should something go wrong.
Looking for a nice, mellow cruise? This is not the board for you. A hand-shaped carbon-fiber and epoxy layup not only makes the Censor lightweight and durable, but snappy and responsive too. The ultrawide design and lightning-quick rocker line yield added stability and effortless speed on the wave. Enjoy ultimate customization thanks to FCS-compatible fin boxes, which allow you to fine-tune the board’s performance to your riding needs.
Sizes: 50 in., 55 in, 60 in.
A 100 percent hardwood core is at the heart of the Indie’s park-conquering performance. Aggressive center channels help you lock onto rails with ease, the finless design gives you the perfect amount of traction on the water without sacrificing your dominance over obstacles, and O’Brien’s super-durable Impact base and TPU Dura-Rail edges ensure the Indie can handle everything you throw at it.
Sizes: 136 cm, 140 cm, 144 cm
If you like to dress for every session like it’s a Pro Wakeboard Tour final, then Harley Clifford’s pro-model comp vest is a can’t-miss addition to your on-water wardrobe. Segmented Aerolite foam lends the vest an ergonomic fit, mesh drain panels keep it light, and the Magnaflex shell affords you maximum mobility.
Ronix managed to cram all of its top tech into a single boot. The result is the new RXT. This binding’s long list of superlative features includes Ronix’s breakthrough Brainframe platform, the make-it-yours customization of the Intuition+ liners, and the all-over breathability of Ronix’s Naked technology. The boot’s asymmetrical support offers soft ankle mobility with a supportive foothold.
This Parks Bonifay pro model delivers the same shape as the Parks Air Core at a more affordable value. The new shape yields increased top water speed with a sharp rail design that ensures you’ll get wherever you’re going post haste.
Sizes: 134 cm, 139 cm, 144 cm
The core of Julian Cohen’s pro model blends paulownia wood and polyurethane, yielding a unique combination of flex and strength. Combine that with a three-stage rocker, and you have a super-stable ride that’s not only fun in the park, but completely capable behind the boat as well.
Sizes: 127 cm, 134 cm, 138 cm, 142 cm, 145 cm
Designed by Dylan Miller, this all-new crossover board features a ton of Slingshot’s all-new tech. Among the advances is Slingshot’s Flex Tip technology, which outfits the tip and tail with 100 percent vertically laminated wood, allowing riders to lock into presses without sacrificing rigidity at the center of the board. The new super-durable Ballistic base and Fusion sidewalls keep the Solo virtually indestructible in the park, while the center V-spine helps break up big landings behind the boat.
Sizes: 138 cm, 142 cm, 147 cm
CWB named this new skim-style wakesurfer the Habit because it’s confident that sessions aboard this fast-reacting, low-profile design will be tough to quit. With no bottom features and a single 1-inch fin, the Habit is easy to break free for shoves and spins, so it’s a great fit for techy riders who like a looser feel.
Sizes: 48 in., 52 in.
This aptly named boot is all about making wakeboarding accessible for up-and-coming riders. It all starts with a sticker price just north of $200, but the Access’ affordability is just the beginning. The low-profile design and 2-degree canting of the entire platform create a comfortable feel that’s designed to keep you on the water until the sun goes down.