What is the difference in surf, skim, and hybrid boards? We get this question all the time! Below we explain the basics. Feel free to reach out to us anytime with any questions you may have! We are always happy to help you figure out what’s best for you and your boat set up.
The style of board you ride is 100% personal preference. There is no “right style” for any individual. What works for you may not be preferred by other riders and vice versa. In wakesurfing, there are 3 main styles of boards: Surf, Skim, and Hybrid.
Surf: These boards usually look like shorter versions of ocean surfboards. They are typically made out of foam and fiberglass (although that’s not always the case). They usually utilise a 2 or 4 fin set up. Surf style fins are larger than skim style fins and usually start around 2.5” and up. These boards are great for making big carves and getting air. Spins are definitely doable on these boards, but the larger fins give it a little more of a learning curve. When starting out wakesurfing with no previous experience, we typically do not recommend surf style as they are more buoyant and sit on top of the water making them not as stable for learning.
Skim: These boards are typically oval in shape. If you can look at the top of a board and wonder “which way is the front?” you’re most likely looking at a skim style board. These boards can be made by hand or compression molded, it just depends on the manufacturer and model. They typically utilise a small single fin, tri fin or no fin at all set up and have sharper rails (the sides of the board) with a flatter profile. These boards are great for spins and shuv based tricks (spinning the board underneath you while you jump). The smaller fins can make these boards feel very “slippery”. However, if you feel like you have a board that is too advanced or too slippery, simply try a larger (2”) fin! It can make a huge difference.
Hybrid: These boards are the middle ground between Surf and Skim. They will have some characteristics of both. In general, they have a skim style shape but more buoyancy like a surf style. Fins are typically on the small end of a surf style fin and usually in a tri fin set up. They can offer great stability thanks to the large fins and offer ease of use thanks to the sharper rails and flat profile. Why doesn’t everyone use a hybrid? Just because it has characteristics of surf and skim doesn’t necessarily mean it does either of them at the highest level. We typically recommend this style of board for beginners.
Conclusion:Determine what style of riding you would like to do and pick the style based on that. Just be sure to check sizing. Boards really aren’t a One Size Fits All thing. For maximum enjoyment, the boards need to be fitted not just to your height and weight but also your boat wave. If you have a smaller wave, you will want to size up somewhat with your board to accommodate that. Still not sure what to get, email us at email@example.com or call or text us at 423-505-1367. We are always happy to help!
Beginners: Some of our favourites are the Liquid Force Primo, Phase 5 Diamond, Phase 5 XB and Phase 5 Oogle.
Kids: We like the Liquid Force Foamie Skim 3’8”, Phase 5 Shrimp(for the very littles) and Scamp. For a high performance board for the kids, the new Phase 5 Mindset is amazing. Surf style for kids, The Pure Wakesurf Lil G, Juice Box, and Pocket Change are top of the line. These can also be custom ordered for any color, design or size.
Larger Riders: The Doomswell Falcon, Phase 5 Trident and Doctor are great choices. The 5’6” Liquid Force Guapo is a ton of fun. For a high end experience, take a look at the Pure Wakesurf lineup. You can custom order any size for the perfect ride every time.
Intermediate/Advanced: Surf - Pure Wakesurf Tripp, Zero G, Money or Knockout. All can be purchase stock or can be custom ordered for size, color or design. For an excellent affordable surf style, we recommend the Doomswell Neo and Nubstep! Skim -Take a look at the Phase 5 Key, Matrix, MVP or Hammerhead. Liquid Force has a great lineup as well with Neo, Reign or TC Skim.
Please keep in mind that this is just a few of our recommendations. There are many great boards out there! These are just a few of our recommendations to get you started in the right direction!