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Buying Guide | KneeboardsKneeboard Guide


By Steve Kopitz


It’s fun! It’s thrilling! It’s unique! It’s Kneeboarding! The unique sport of kneeboarding tests your skills of balance and focus while providing immeasurable amounts of fun while on the water. However all of the enjoyment can be pushed aside if the right equipment is not purchased to meet your size and ability level. Outlined below are tips and guides to help you in your selection of the proper kneeboard and other essential equipment.



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Types of Boards Board Styles
Board Construction Rope Selection



Types of Boards


RecreationalTypes of Kneeboards


The majority of recreational kneeboarders use boards that are manufactured using rotational molding. This form of kneeboard board is widely available and is less expensive than competitive boards.


Rotationally molded boards provide soft, wide edges that make them best suited for beginners.


The recreational design allows for smooth turning and sustained control for beginners.


Recreational boards are relatively thick and quite buoyant as well. This makes the board a suitable flotation device after a spill.


Some rotationally molded kneeboards will offer fins for increased eas-of-turning.




Competitive kneeboards are manufactured using compression molding, providing greater performance and more durability for competitive riders.


Competitive boards are thinner in comparison to recreational boards. They are also lighter in weight and have sharper edges for quicker turns and better tricks.


Unlike rotationally molded boards, compression molded boards are less buoyant. This makes competitive boards better suited for advanced riders who prefer deep-water starts.



Board Styles


Regardless of the level of rider you are, it is important to understand that there are only two general styles of kneeboards. The style that you select is based on what you plan to do on the water.


Slalom Board


Slalom boards have sharp edges that provide for better turning and edge-hold through turns.


Slalom boards are designed for the specific use of slalom boarding.


Trick Board


Trick boards have a round bottom with round edges that make tricks easier to perform.

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Board Construction


Just like a car, a computer, or a pair of inline skates, there are specific parts of every kneeboard that affect the performance of the board.




The materials that compose a kneeboard are similar to those used in water skis.


Materials of kneeboards are a polyurethane or foam core that is wrapped in fiberglass or a fiberglass/graphite composite exterior.


Fiberglass/graphite exteriors are most commonly found on advanced boards.




Fins may or may not be present on recreational boards. When present, fins are located on the bottom of the board to make steering easier.


Fins are commonly constructed of hard plastic or fiberglass composite material.




The rocker is an important measurement when comparing the speed of kneeboards.


In its simplest definition, the rocker of a kneeboard is the measurement of the curve on the bottom of the kneeboard.


A high rocker number indicates an easier turning board.


A lower rocker number signifies a faster board. The lower the number, the faster it is.


A common rocker measurement that is found on kneeboards 5-6 centimeters.

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Rope SelectionKneeboard Rope


If you are a water skier, that believes the rope you use for water skiing is suitable for all styles of kneeboarding, we recommend that you read on. In some cases, kneeboarding requires a stiffer rope than ropes used for water skiing because it helps a rider’s ability to perform tricks. To select the proper rope, it is imperative to understand that a tighter, stiffer rope that does not stretch is ideal for getting more air. Additionally, such rope characteristics help a rider’s ability to pull through flips and spins.




The construction of a no-stretch rope is made from material called Spectra.


Spectra Rope is an extremely durable material with practically no elasticity. Meaning that a no-stretch rope will do just that. It will not stretch, making ideal for use in kneeboarding.


Spectra Rope also has extremely low moisture absorption, providing a perfect compliment to use on the water. It keeps the rope lighter and does not accelerate fatigue while holding on to the rope handle.




The construction of a low stretch rope is generally composed of polyethylene or polyethylene blend material.


This type of construction provides more elasticity than a no-stretch Spectra rope.


This type of construction proves beneficial to most recreational riders.




If you’re a kneeboarder who primarily works on honing your skills performing tricks, a no-stretch Spectra rope is best.


For those who enjoy both waterskiing and recreational kneeboarding, low-stretch ropes will be the best rope choice. Low-stretch ropes provide enough elasticity for recreational waterskiing, while maintaining enough stiffness for kneeboarders riding for recreational purpose.


Rope Length


Typical kneeboard ropes will range between 60-70 feet in length. However, rope length can vary.




Just as rope type differs between kneeboarding and waterskiing, so do kneeboarding handles.


Kneeboard handles are more specialized; offering more features aimed at making tricks and aerials easier.


Kneeboard handles tend to have a wider grip than waterskiing handles. Ranging from 13-15 (in) in width. By comparison, water skiing handles typically measure 11-12 (in) wide.


Wider grips help riders when performing tricks because of the necessity to pass the handle behind the back.


Kneeboarding handles will have features that make spin tricks easier. Often in the form of a rope braid or second smaller handle grip built into the rope.


Kneeboarding handles commonly have a neoprene foam float that makes them float.


Slower speeds of kneeboarders in comparison to water skiers allow for foam floats to be present on handles without concerns of the water ripping the floats off.

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