The Best Kneeboard for Beginners - Comparisons & Reviews (2023)

If you’ve ever wanted to surf or water ski but are unsure if you’d be able to, kneeboarding may be for you. And when you decide to give it a go, you’ll want to find the best kneeboard for beginners that you can find.

Whether you’ve heard of a kneeboard or not, there are options out there to get you started when you want to try out this easy-to-learn sport. Keep reading for information on what the sport entails and the best options out there for you.

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What is kneeboarding?

In essence, kneeboarding is a bit of a cross between surfing and waterskiing and can be enjoyed by people of all skill levels. It involves sitting on a board and fastening your knees in so you are secure. There is also a rope or tow line that allows you to hold onto the boat so you don’t get stranded in the middle of the water. Depending on the model and shape of the board, you can also do tricks and ride small waves.

Things to Know

There are some things to look out for when you’re considering all the different items out there to buy. Here’s a look at the basics.

Board Types

There are two types of boards, slalom and trick boards. Slalom boards are the ones that beginners are more likely to be able to use, since they are designed more or less to just go through the water without you falling off or becoming injured. Trick boards are for more advanced riders, so they are able to do special tricks.

Board Materials

There are also different materials that boards can be made of. Some types are made of plastic, which makes them durable and able to take some roughhousing without messing them up. Others are made of different types of foam or fiberglass. These are more lightweight, but may be easier to dent or damage. Most products have EVA foam on top of the board, however, no matter what the rest of the board is comprised of.

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Body Types

There are a couple of different body types for boards too. There are items that are flatter on the bottom, which help you sit flat in the water for less turbulence. Other items have beveled sides, which allow you to think about doing tricks and hitting waves without spilling.

The Best Kneeboard for Beginners - Comparisons & Reviews (1)

Board Features

To keep you safe and make sure that kids and adults can ride them, most boards have a handful of safety features. Here’s a look at the most common ones.

  • Special knee pads: Since the whole idea is to sit on a board, it wouldn’t make sense if the knee portion was uncomfortable. There are molded legs parts on the top of the board, which allows both the knees and the rest of the leg to lie comfortably without causing pain or bruising to the rider. As a bonus, this foam is quite vivid in color, so you can often find items that stand out and will fit your tastes too.
  • Front hooks: Most of the best models have front hooks to keep you secure while you’re getting up on the board and getting up to speed in the water. The hook holds a rope in place and keeps you secured to the boat. You can then pick up the rope handle whenever you need to so you can start doing tricks or whatever else you want to do.
  • Fins: Fins help you slice through the water without much resistance. This keeps the ride from being too choppy and throwing you off continuously. It isn’t the best feature for tricks, however, but you can still do small tricks, even if there are fins. Furthermore, some models have fins that can be removed or retracted, so you don’t always have to use them.
  • Knee strap: There is a strap that holds your knees in place. It is adjustable and often fastened with Velcro, so it gets a great fit for different shapes and sizes. It’s usually padded as well so it won’t dig into your skin.

What else do I need?

Since this is an activity made to be used in conjunction with a boat, you will need to have a boat as well. The boat has to be big enough to have a wake and must be able to go fast enough for you to board behind it in a safe manner. The speed it must go is different, depending on the weight of the person using the board, so it doesn’t necessarily have to be able to travel at great speeds.

You will also need a rope. The rope has to be connected to the boat and long enough for you to hold it. Many board makers also make ropes for you to use. This may be a good buy after you’ve chosen a specific product since you know that the rope will be suited to your board and will be an adequate length and quality.

As a general rule, you need a rope that is braided so it can be as strong as possible. You’ll also need it to be at least 50 feet in length so you don’t have to travel too close to the boat. There needs to be a bit of distance between you in order to get the desired effect and to use the board as it should be.

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Top 5 Best Kneeboards for Beginners

1. O’Brien Radica Kneeboard with Hook

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This bright blue and black board is good for beginners and for people that are experienced at kneeboarding. It has a few memorable features and extra padding, so it won’t hurt you when you’re using it.

Things We Like

  • Adjustable strap: The strap can be changed to fit anyone from kids to adults, which means there is a bit of safety since you’ll be fastened onto the board properly.
  • Large hook: The large hook on the front allows for the rope to be secured at all times. This means the line can never fall out of your hands and separate you from the boat.
  • Comfortable knee padding: There is special EVA padding in the knee portion of the board which allows you to get comfortable when you’re riding it.
  • Molded fins: There are fins on this one, so you can do tricks with it. The fins help provide a better ride as well.

Things We Don’t Like

  • Better for children than adults: While this one has a lot of protection and padding, it might be better-suited for children to use, as some adults may not be as comfortable when they ride it.


2. Driftsun Kneeboard 2017

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This board is white, black, and blue. Besides just looking good, it also offers support and safety features that will ensure that you’re getting a good ride when you’re kneeboarding. It can sit flat on the water, so you won’t tip over or make you lose your balance easily.

Things We Like

  • Beveled edge: The beveled edge lets it sit on the water properly so you won’t feel like you are about to tip over.
  • Great for different sizes of people: This board is suited to children and adults weighing up to 250 pounds. The entire family should be able to utilize this one.
  • Knee rests are large: The knee portion of this product is large enough for even tall people to use and cozy enough to support those with knee problems as well.

Things We Don’t Like

  • You have to take care of it: If this board isn’t stored properly, it can break down or become unfastened. It’s important that you keep it stored in a cool area that won’t cause it to become damaged.
  • May hurt shins: Some people may experience some pain when they ride this one for a long period of time. It should be enjoyed in short spurts, so you don’t damage your legs or knees.


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3. Hydroslide Havoc Kneeboard

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This board is mainly for adult use and has extra support in the middle to hold up to larger bodies. The striking green and yellow design makes it quite vivid and could help you not lose track of it, in or out of the water.

Things We Like

  • Full padding in middle: The padding on the top of the board extends to most of the board, so it should be comfortable at all times. This also means that it shouldn’t hurt your knees or legs at all.
  • Thin board: The board itself isn’t that thick. You should be able to sit flat on the water in this one, making it very appropriate for those trying to attempt this sport for the first time.
  • Holds up well: Even when you use this one for weeks on end, it will still maintain its integrity and safety. There shouldn’t be any problems with it wearing out unless it is handled improperly.

Things We Don’t Like

  • Front hook may be hard to use: The hook in the front of the board is designed to put the rope handle into, in case your arms get tired. For this model, you need two hands to place the handle into it, which makes it more arduous to use.


4. Connelly Skis Scarab Kneeboard

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This board is made of EPS foam, in case you’re looking for an item that isn’t produced mainly of plastic. It is a black board, decorated with blue and yellow decals, and is a bit longer than some other products at 53 inches in length.

Things We Like

  • Lightweight: Since this one is made from different types of foams, it weighs less than other items out there. It won’t weigh you down when you need to carry it or transport it.
  • Heavy-duty design: The bottom portion is made to be rigid, while the top is softer, so the rider can have an enjoyable experience.
  • Lots of grooves: The knee portion has many grooves and lines to ensure that your legs have the best fit possible. There isn’t hard foam that digs into your skin and causes discomfort.
  • Secure front hook: The front hook on this one is different than other models in shape. You can trust that it will keep your rope in place when you need to use it.

Things We Don’t Like

  • Strap may have problems: The strap, which holds your knees in place, has Velcro to keep it snug on a rider’s legs. You may not be able to use the Velcro in the water well, so you might want to secure it before you leave shore.


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5. O’Brien Voodoo Kneeboard

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This item is a lot like some others in its class, except it looks a little more flashy because the top of it features lime green foam. It also has all the safety features you need, as well as molded fins, so you will be able to have a smoother ride, even in choppy waters.

Things We Like

  • Hard to mess up: This item is made to be sturdy enough for many people to use, no matter your shape and size. It’s unlikely to break while you’re using it, even over the course of weeks and months at a time.
  • Molded fins: The fins on this one allow you to be able to ride the small waves you encounter without the board throwing you off. They are not retractable, however, so you need to be sure you know where they are located.
  • Great for teaching kids: While kids and adults can use this, it is a great one for teaching kids with. This is mainly due to the fact that it’s an easy shape for them to pull themselves up on and is molded so that the board doesn’t bounce around easily.

Things We Don’t Like

  • Fins not for everyone: If you don’t want a board with fins, it’s a good idea not to purchase this one. They are not removable, so you’ll have to use them at all times.



If you’re a beginner when it comes to kneeboarding, but you want to get started using a board that you can count on, the best one is the O’Brien Radica Kneeboard with Hook.

It comes with all the safety features you need and is perfect for people of all sizes and shapes. It even has an attractive design. The features that are most impressive are the beveled edge, fins, strap, and hook, all of which are designed to make sure that you are always safe in the water and having the time of your life.

With this one, you can not only teach someone this sport, you can also learn on it, even if you have never done anything like kneeboarding before. It’s also likely to be able to be used for a long time without fail when you take care of it.

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All in all, it’s a well-made product and something that can keep you coming back into the water time after time. Additionally, it can be shared with all the members of your family, even those that may think they are too old to use it. Buy yours today to start having fun. It really is the best kneeboard for beginners that you can find.


How should a beginner knee board? ›

Start in deep water laying on top of the kneeboard. Place your arms under the kneeboard strap and hold onto the tow rope. Position your torso forward on the board so you can tuck your knees. Once the boat starts moving, wait till the kneeboard gets on a plane.

How do I choose a kneeboard? ›

How to pick the right kneeboard
  1. Shape. Shape is another key factor in choosing a board.
  2. Tip and Tail. A broader tip and tail make the board more buoyant, and gives you more stability and drive. ...
  3. Elliptical sharp. Elliptical and sharp pointed boards are a more aggressive style you generally see this in fibreglass boards.

What length should a kneeboard be? ›

Most kneeboard ropes tend to be 18 – 21m or 60 – 70 feet.

Do airline pilots use kneeboards? ›

A pilot kneeboard is exactly what it sounds like – a small clipboard strapped to a pilot's thigh right by the knee. This is an essential tool of the cockpit, whether you're a student pilot or an airline pilot, and whether you're flying VFR or IFR.

What is a good speed for kneeboarding? ›

When you kneeboard, the boat should be at a speed of 15 to 20 miles per hour for an adult. For kids, the speed of the boat can start out at 10 miles per hour if they are little and go up from there depending on their age and size.

How difficult is Kneeboarding? ›

Kneeboarding is one of the most accessible types of watersports there is. It's easy to start with but it's also fun to progress and even do some tricks along the way.

Can you stand up on a kneeboard? ›

What you'll love: It has side handles to help you hold on and a handle hook. You can use the hook to transition to standing while you're riding. This kneeboard also includes a 60-foot tow rope and foam padding to make the ride more comfortable.

Do you want fins on a kneeboard? ›

Trick kneeboards have no fins, as they would catch in the water, making tricks harder. Slalom kneeboards will have fins as it makes them easier to steer and carve through the water. Beginners may also want fins to give them more control of the board.

Are Ho kneeboards good? ›

The HO Sports Neutron Kneeboard is a great kneeboard for water enthusiasts, no matter whether they're beginner or expert. It is shaped with molded-in fins to offer extra edge hold, whereas a large orthotic pad gives more comfort to a rider.

How do you spin on a kneeboard? ›

With both hands on the rope in a palm-down grip, the kneeboarder should pull the handle to the right hip to turn left or the left hip to rotate right.

How fast do you pull a beginner wakeboarder? ›

Going somewhere between 12 and 15 miles per hour is ideal for beginners learning how to ride as it is steady speed that helps them gain confidence on the board. As they get more comfortable, you can then start going up in speed to 18 miles per hour.

How fast should you pull a wakeboarder? ›

The proper speed to tow a wakeboarder is usually between 15 and 25 mph. The bottom line when it comes to speed is that the faster you go, the cleaner and more firm the wake gets, making it easier and more consistent for riders trying to jump or learn new tricks.

Do kneeboards have weight limits? ›

"There are no weight limits on kneeboards. The Radica is great for kids as it is just slightly smaller. "

Do airplane Jettisons waste toilets? ›

Usually, yes. The vacuum toilet used on planes, patented by James Kemper in 1975, sucks the waste into a holding tank where it is stored until the plane lands on the ground. Blue liquid, called Skykem, disinfects the bowl and helps kill odours.

Do pilots like clapping? ›

You've spent the last hour gripping your seat white-knuckled and the sense of relief you feel as the plane makes contact with the ground is palpable. You bring your hands together, ready to clap - but before you do, know this: pilots hate it when you applaud when the plane lands.

What kneeboard do fighter pilots use? ›

For fighter pilots, the 9G Plus features a negative G strap. Flyboys kneeboards work well for general aviation and military pilots alike and feature 7 eyelets that secure checklists or flight guides. These are sized to work with every military bases spacing.

How long should a tow rope be for kneeboarding? ›

Kneeboarders need ropes that have less stretch and are stiffer than water skiers. These rope properties help them perform tricks and spins. A good multi-purpose tow rope will work great for kneeboarding. The ideal kneeboard rope length is 65 feet.

Can you kneeboard without a tower? ›

No, you do not need a wakeboard tower in order to wakeboard from a boat. However, a wakeboard tower does make it much easier to wakeboard, kneeboard or wakeskate. A wake tower gives much higher tow point that helps keep the tow line elevated.

How many knots do you need for waterskiing? ›

Description. Water skiing involves being towed over water, at a speed of 8 knots or more, by a vessel, supported by a ski, or skis, an aquaplane, other apparatus or feet. This includes being towed on a wakeboard, kneeboard or inflatable device.

How do you get on a knee board without a hook? ›

If your kneeboard does not have a hook, you'll need to hold onto the handle of the towrope with your thumbs pressing down while also gripping onto each side of the board. Make sure the towrope is pulled tight and stretched all the way out between you and the back of the boat.

Where do you put the kneeboard rope? ›

The handle of the tow rope should be in the hook at the top of the kneeboard. Allow the boat to inch forward to create a bit of tension on the rope. Keep your weight back to hold the board tip up while pointed straight at the boat.

What do Fins on a kneeboard do? ›

The fins make steering and turning easier for the rider. Fins are made of the same material as the exterior of the board. While competition boards do not typically have fins, many are highly curved for performing more advanced stunts.

How do you cross wake on a kneeboard? ›

Place emphasis on the proper kneeboarding position with shoulders back with your arms straight and low. Secure your strap over your thighs by letting go with one hand at a time. Cross over to the outside of the boat wake on one side only and return to the center of the wakes.

What is a hook on a kneeboard? ›

The Aquatic Hook is a top mounted hook that is on the front of a few of O'Brien's kneeboards. It helps to hold the tow rope handle allowing the rider more freedom with their hands. Comes with two screws.

Is a quad fin good for beginners? ›

Quad Fin Setup

Not typically ideal for a beginner, but perfect for the advanced rider giving the added speed of not having a center fin and greater hold in higher lines.

Do you wear socks with fins? ›

Even with a well-fit fin, you can get excessive chafing and rubbing around your toes and ankles that can cause blisters. This is especially true if you wear fins for long periods of time. For hiking boots, that's why a good pair of hiking socks (and maybe some Moleskin!) is essential. The same is true for fins!

Can you use a knee board in the ocean? ›

All You Need To Know About Kneeboards

They can be used to catch waves in the surf, or can be towed behind a boat on flatter water. Surf kneeboarders catch waves by first lying prone and paddling or kicking, before popping up onto their knees.

How thick is a kneeboard? ›

The 3/4" thick pad provides plush comfort for your knees and the padded strap locks you in for maximum control.

Can you knee board behind a jet ski? ›

Yes, you can wakeboard or wakeskate or even tube behind a watercraft. Things like rider weight and what jet ski you use do affect it, but most jet skis will allow you to pull something.

How much HP do you need to pull a wakeboarder? ›

While you can wakeboard with as little as 25 HP, a quality wake generally requires a 135+HP loaded boat. What is this? Boat owners often recommend 90 HP on a 16′ boat as the minimum for serious slalom skiing and wakeboarding on a fully loaded boat. 115 HP will generally be comfortable, while 75 HP may barely be enough.

Can a drone pull a wakeboarder? ›

While the drone does have a 20-pound maximum cargo limit, it is able to pull a person across the water (after getting a running start).

Is it easier to wake board or water ski? ›

Wakeboarding may be the better choice with beginners because it is slightly easier to learn. Water skiing requires more skill and athleticism, but offers more opportunities for skill development and competition.

Who is the best wakeboarder? ›

Nic Rapa

Is a smaller or bigger wakeboard better? ›

Choosing for a longer wakeboards

A longer wakeboard is easier to ride and will make for softer landings because of the increased surface area. Also, it will give you more control because of the larger surface area. However, because longer boards are heavier, you have to work harder with air tricks.

How do you pull a beginner wakeboarder? ›

For a struggling wakeboarder, you can initially drive at very low 5-10 mph speed to let them feel the rope pull as it lifts them out of the water, but without the intimidating force of a faster start. Then go a bit faster on each new attempt until the rider gets up.

What are the two types of board materials used in knee boards? ›

The boards made for riding waves are between 150 cm and 200 cm long. They are wider than a standard surfboard and have a round nose, a rubber cover for the knees and are made of plastic and fiberglass. So in many ways they are similar to surfboards.

Is Kneeboarding a sport? ›

Kneeboarding is an aquatic sport where the participant is towed on a buoyant, convex, and hydrodynamically shaped board at a planing speed, most often behind a motorboat. Kneeboarding on a surf style board with fin(s) is also done in waves at the beach.

How do you get on a kneeboard without a hook? ›

If your kneeboard does not have a hook, you'll need to hold onto the handle of the towrope with your thumbs pressing down while also gripping onto each side of the board. Make sure the towrope is pulled tight and stretched all the way out between you and the back of the boat.

What is a hydro hook on a kneeboard? ›

Overview. The Hydro Hook is flush a mount spring loaded hook that is on the front of many Hydroslide kneeboards. It helps to hold the tow rope handle allowing the rider more freedom with their hands.

Is Kneeboarding easy? ›

Kneeboarding is one of the most accessible types of watersports there is. It's easy to start with but it's also fun to progress and even do some tricks along the way.


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