Throughout my adolescence and into my early twenties, I enjoyed waterskiing as a professional show skier. After gaining access to graduate school I unintentionally quit waterskiing for the next 22 years. As my son grew older and expressed an interest in waterskiing I returned to the lake, but now primarily as coach and driver. Through the twenty plus year break I new things had changed dramatically, but I really had no idea. While purchasing a life jacket for my son, I saw a video of wake surfing. I had to rewind and watch it several times to get over the idea that the skier was not attached to the boat at ALL. I knew then I had to try this. Thankfully, the boat we bought was capable of producing the wake necessary to surf. When it came to equipment, I was clueless. I had never surfed. Unfortunately, the pro-shop we used didn’t have a demo program so I was forced to buy a board on their recommendation. They recommended the Liquid Force 5.0.
After a lesson and lots of practice, I acclimated to standing sideways in the surf position behind the boat and eventually was able to toss the rope in the boat and surf like the video I saw ca intermediate coaching. The liquid force was very stable and great for learning. It has long padded deck with traction so it holds your feet well but also gives you plenty of room to vary your stance. My wife and several friends also learned using this board over the summer. As my comfort improved I began trying 360 spins. The liquid force has three fins so I played around with removing one or two of them to allow the board to spin easier. I found it best to remove the center fin, leaving the outside two.
Professional surfers most often recommended a shorter lighter board for advanced tricks. I then purchased a 4’2 ultra-lite fiberglass board from Liquid Force. This board certainly spun much easier but I found that it took a lot more work to stay in the sweet spot and was actually less fun to ride when I wasn’t trying to spin it, so I returned it to the pro-shop and resumed use of the 5.0. Since then I tried another shorter board only to return to the 5.0 again. There is also a 5’6 version of this board which is great for learning and cruising but it’s length makes it far less than ideal for tricks.
As a novice to intermediate surfer, with a strong background in skiing, I would highly recommend the Liquid Force 5.0 to anyone who wants to learn but also wants the option to begin working on more advanced tricks. Most wake surfer boards range in the $250.00 plus range, which makes having numerous boards unrealistic especially for beginners. I found the Liquid Force 5.0 to be the best of both worlds.
Another consideration is durability. The heavier epoxy boards like the 5.0 are more durable than the lighter fiberglass boards. This is important in our boat because we usually have a couple of 6-7 year old boys with us, and if you aren’t aware, this group is hard on equipment theirs and yours. If someone drops a fiberglass board on the dock it will dent, if you step on it just the wrong way it will break.
I have not tried similar length boards from the other major manufacturers but I imagine they would perform similarly. I was fortunate that the pro-shop gave me a great recommendation. Without it, I am confident that my learning and enjoyment curve would not have been as steep. Hopefully, my experience will be helpful to other novices.