by Jon Lindquist | Last updated March 4th, 2020
A kneeboard is a must-have piece of extreme water sporting equipment for beginners, intermediates, and experts. Quite different from wakeboarding and water skiing, knee boarders balance on their knees on a specially designed board, towed by a high-speed boat. As a benefit to my awkwardness in the water, a kneeboard is fairly safe and comfortable for beginners trying to learn stunts and tricks, due to its ability to act as a buoy and a flotation device. (Don’t forget your life vest!)
Best Kneeboards 2020
Beginning kneeboarders should consider using kneeboards made from roto or hard plastic while building their career, for safety purposes. However, as experience advances you up the ladder, you’ll learn about units which are more durable, responsive, and inspiring in terms of design and construction.
Kneeboarding doesn’t require the complex physical skills that one might require for water sports like skiing. This makes it perfect for novices like children, kneeboarding, beach-addicted, enthusiasts, and everyone in between. Recognizing this, customers must make an informed decision when selecting the type of board that will be perfect for their activities. To simplify this process, we will show you everything you’ll need to consider when choosing the best kneeboard for you.
Types of Kneeboard
The first thing you need to understand when choosing a kneeboard is the type of board you intend to purchase. There are two known types of kneeboards available in the market which include recreational and competition kneeboards.
- Recreational kneeboards — Simple, light and smooth kneeboards intended for beginners and young children building their skills in the water sports arena. These boards are usually soft, cost-friendly, and fun to ride, thanks to the sleek edges that offer enough space to turn and perform amateur stunts. These kneeboards are roto-molded and are designed to act as flotation buoys for riders who are not advanced swimmers.
- Competition kneeboards — Boards designed with quality materials such as fiberglass to make them more responsive. They’re usually lightweight, thin, and curvy, making it easier for expert athletes to perform sharp turns and quality stunts without limitations. Competition kneeboards are less buoyant. They are more expensive as they come with several improvements for better performance.
In addition to the type of kneeboard, a customer should look for the perfect style. There are two major styles available: slalom boards and trick boards.
- Slalom boards are more common and come with sharper edges and flat bottoms to provide better turning, smooth riding, and advanced stunts.
- Trick boards are used for performing tricks and daredevil stunts. These kneeboards are designed with rounded bottoms and sharp edges to make them smooth and easier for athletes to do what they do best.
In addition to the type and style, customers looking for a quality kneeboard should consider some other features, such as the materials, the fins and the rockers.
- Materials —Both recreational and competition kneeboards are designed with different materials to improve performance and usability. For instance, competition boards have fiberglass shells to make them light, compact, and more responsive. Recreational kneeboards, intended for beginners/amateurs, are mostly designed with traditional materials, such as hard plastics.
- Fins — Depending on your intended use, a kneeboard may have fins. Apart from rounded bottoms and sleek edges, fins at the bottom can assist professional athletes with dare-devil stunts and curves.
- Rockers—Rockers (the curvature at the bottom of the kneeboard) determine how fast and swift your board will ski. A kneeboard with a high rocker number is easy to turn, while one with lower rocker numbers is usually faster and very swift to move.
A 180 Review: The Best Kneeboards Today
Having said that, this guide will go ahead to review some of the best kneeboards available in the market.
A classically sleek kneeboard with extra safety features for beginners is the Hydroslide Magna. The 2016 Hydroslide Magna kneeboard is an upgraded version of the 2014 Magna. Thanks to the addition of special safety features, it is perfect for anyone learning the sport. The Magna is designed with simple features: thin edges, an EVA pad with a deep knee well for control, a hydrohook for easy control, and a classic shape. It is perfect for beginner and intermediate riders.
Highlights of the Hydroslide Magna Kneeboard
- Deep curvy surface for easy boarding
- Buoyant material
- Good weight design of 11 pounds
- 120-pound capacity
- Curvy, sleek design for learning new jumps and tricks.
- Made in the U.S.A.
- Good customer warranty.
Although the Magna is ideal for stunts and tricks, many have overlooked it due to its design, stating that this unit is designed for kids and beginners rather than expert boarders, due to its heavier weight and lack of key features. Otherwise, this kneeboard is one of the best for beginners looking to advance their skills to the next level.
- Designed for beginners
- Good warranty
- Limited agility for maneuvering and stunts
- Light weight, under 120-pound max
Having teamed up with Ted Bevelacqua, O’Brien has managed to produce one of the most dominant and inspiring kneeboards on the market. The Rush 5150 is one of the latest designs, developed after a merger between two giant manufacturers in the kneeboarding industry. For those ready to showcase their quality kneeboarding skills, the Rush 5150 is a quality piece of equipment for passionate, experienced boarders. Designed with hand-shaped edge bevels and a well-designed surface, it provides a smooth ride and sufficient lift. Super sleek edges provide for optimum maneuverability and its size accommodates boarders of any size.
Highlights of the Rush 5150 Kneeboard
- Large template outline for both small and large riders.
- Deep, shock-absorbant knee wells
- EVA construction
- Versatile construction for both forward and backward riding
- Sleek edges for amateurs and professionals
Among many advantages, the Rush 5150 is designed for both amateur and professional riders. This kneeboard is stiff, large, compact, and has deep, shock-absorbing knee wells that allow expert riders to perform dare-devil stunts on a superb piece of equipment.
- Large template design
- Designed for both amateur and professionals
- Price on the higher end of the spectrum
The PRO-XLT, brought to you by the same manufacturer as the Magna, is intended for adult, expert riders. The Hydroslide PRO-XLT is the answer in the search for a quality kneeboard, for which expert riders have been searching.
The PRO-XLT has been designed with heavy-duty features that make it perfect for dare-devil stunts and tricks. According to most consumers, this unit is not only responsive but also ridiculously low-priced considering the many benefits it offers. Designed with deep EVA pad knee wells, padded knee straps, and slim edges for easier stunt performing, expert riders will appreciate every aspect of its design.
Highlights of the Hydroslide PRO-XLT Kneeboard
- Retractable fins for an easy-to-ride design
- Adjustable Velcro strap one-handed adjusting
- Deep, cushioned knee wells
- Lightweight, 14-pounds design
Though the PRO-XLT kneeboard has been welcomed with positive feedback from the majority of users, some have complained that the screws holding the fins are weak and easy to break. A concern from international riders is that it’s only sold within the United States.
Considering this, those looking for a quality kneeboard to fulfill your boarding dreams without breaking the bank, the PRO-XLT is an obvious choice. I wouldn’t hesitate to invest in this solid kneeboard.
- Easy riding
- Retractable fins
- Velcro strap
- Comfortable knee wells
- Possibly weak fin screws
- U.S. only
The O’Brien Ricochet Kneeboard was one of the latest units available for 2017. According to most experienced boarders, this particular kneeboard is perfect for transitioning from a beginning level to a more advanced level. This high-performance kneeboard was designed by O’Brien with 1 goal: to take pro-level performance to an all-new level, without overspending.
The O’Brien Ricochet kneeboard is constructed with respectable features only available to the flagship boards on the market. Just to mention a few, this lightweight kneeboard weighs in at 15 pounds, has very sleek edges, a pronounced V-hull, and twin-tip design for easy maneuvering. Available with padded straps, an integrated hook, and a quad-fin flex back, the O’Brien Ricochet is the perfect choice for both intermediates and professional knee-boarders.
Hightlights of the O’Brien Ricochet Kneeboard
- Fiberglass, high-performance material
- Unique design for stunts and tricks
- 3-inch padded straps with one-handed adjustments
- Pronounced V-hull and twin-tip design for extra maneuverability and responsiveness
- Budget-friendly price
Although O’Brien is one of the company giants that manufacture the best, high-performance kneeboards in the market, there have been some complaints regarding this unit, especially to foreign customers. First, this kneeboard is designed with boring graphics, and second, it’s only sold in the United States.
All in all, I would recommend this kneeboard to all intermediate and professional boarders due to its spectacular features that are only available in the best kneeboards. Manufactured by O’Brian, a best-selling company, this kneeboard is simple, comfortable, durable and budget-friendly.
- Good price point
- Built for next-step boarders
- Fiberglass material
- Comfortable design
- Limited graphics
- U.S. only
Hydroslide considered a multitude of designs before perfecting the Phantom. Customer satisfaction was a high priority as most of today’s kneeboards are intended for professional boarders. In order to build their name in the market, Hydroslide had to design the Phantom with amazing features for amateur and beginner boarders. Quite different from the competition, the Phantom kneeboard is very light (16 pounds) and is designed with sleek dimensions of 52×20.8×4.5 inches. It is capable of enduring a maximum weight of 250 pounds. Available with deep knee wells, 3-inch padded straps, a perforated surface, and sleek edges, the Phantom kneeboard is what amateur and beginning boarders should still look for in 2019.
Highlights of the Hydroslide Phantom Kneeboard
- Plastic roto design for buoyancy
- Twin tip design for beginning stunts
- Twin tip design for swift maneuvering without reaction force.
- 3-inch padded strap and hydrohook tow point to reduce falling
- Dynamic design for both beginners and intermediates
Although the Phantom is considered one of the best high-performance boards, it has some minor flaws. First, it’s only sold within the United States, and second, its heavy-duty design makes it better suited for expert, adult riders, rather than young, amateur boarders.
All things considered, the Phantom is definitely one of the best kneeboards and worth purchasing. Although it’s intended for adult boarders, not kids, this board has a lot to offer to expert boarders looking forward to advancing their skills. The features are outstanding, the performance is great, and best of all, you don’t have to break the bank for this kneeboard. With a 5 out of 5 stars rating from two customers, the Phantom Kneeboard is one of the best boards still since about 2017.
- Plastic roto-design
- Twin tip design for cutting
- Not for beginners
- Limited international availability
While there are various models of kneeboards available today, most of which being for experts, the Razorback from Hydroslide was designed to offer pleasure and everlasting fun to amateur and beginning boarders.
The Razorback makes kneeboarding both fun and easy! This unit is designed with amazing features that make sliding on water feel like flying through the air. It’s 3-inch padded shock strap, hydrohook, thin profile, and deep knee wells make it safe for most boarders. Available with retractable fins for easy maneuverability, the Razorback is the perfect choice for beginners who want a high-performance kneeboard.
Highlights of the Hydroslide Razorback Kneeboard
- Light, 14-poung weight with dimensions of 52×20.8×4.5
- Generous, 250-pound weight limit
- Usable for kids as young as 9 years of age
- Deep knee wells
- 3-inch padded strap
- Heavy padding for safety and comfort
- Unique construction for easy maneuvering and tricks
Although the Razorback is one of the best kneeboards on the market, a majority of customers have complained that stitching on the padded strap came out after a few uses. If the manufacturer corrects this defect, the Razorback will definitely be among the bestsellers on Amazon.
To conclude, the Razorback Kneeboard is a superior water sport board that deserves respect due to its high performance. In addition to being a great beginner board, experienced boarders and watersport enthusiasts have praised the performance of this kneeboard, calling it a “one of a kind”. Jam-packed with special features, the Razorback is a must-have for all experienced boarders in the watersport arena.
- Holds weight up to 250 lbs
- Adult riders
- Great maneuverability
- Strap stitching is weak
Next we reviewed the Kwik Tek AHKB-3 Wake Shaker kneeboard. Though manufactured by a lesser-known company, this kneeboard is perfect for all customers from entry-level amateurs, to professional boarders. To ensure that Kwik Tek keeps the pace set by other flagship manufacturers, the company has designed the AHKB-3 Wake Shaker kneeboard with high-performance features worth noting. For starters, it has a channeled bottom, making it very easy to maneuver and negotiate corners in the water. In addition, this kneeboard is designed with deep knee wells for comfort, a padded strap, and a low price to make it affordable for more customers.
Highlights of the Kwik Tek AHKB-3 Wake Shaker Kneeboard
- No age limit recommended
- The deep knee wells for comfort, stability, and control
- Integrated EZ-UP hook for beginners
- Unique channeled bottom reducing drag and increasing speed
- Affordable price
After reviewing the Kwik Tek AHKB-3 Wake Shaker, it’s evident that this kneeboard deserves a place with the elites, due to its exceptional features. However, a number of customers have complained about a lack of speed that inhibits their ability to perform dare-devil stunts and tricks. Foreign customers have complained that it is only sold in the United States.
Overall, the Kwik Tek AHKB-3 Wake Shaker may not be the top-selling kneeboard in the market. Recognizing this, the manufacturer has proceeded to integrate special technologies and specifications which are beneficial to all riders. As one of the most stylish, responsive, and high-performance kneeboard on the market, the Kwik Tek AHKB-3 Wake Shaker is what amateur and experienced boarders should go for.
- Channeled bottom for maneuvering
- Great price point
- Deep knee wells
- Padded strap
- Designed for all experience levels
- Possibly low-speed
- U.S. only
Next, we reviewed the Driftsun Kneeboard 2016. Many beginners in the watersport arena have noted a lack of quality kneeboards to for their boarding needs. Well, Driftsun believes they can add a smile to their faces as they have released an outstanding, high-performance kneeboard that meets the needs of novice, intermediate, and expert boarders.
Whether you’re a beginner or professional boarder, the Driftsun allows for struggle-free stunts and tricks. What really makes this unit stand out are the performance-boosting features. This kneeboard is designed with an integrated hook that helps amateur boarders take off with ease. Riders appreciate the bevel edge design that keeps this kneeboard close to the water for easy maneuverability. Finally, the Driftsun has an outstanding ¾ inch EVA foam padding that keeps the kneeboarder comfortable and safe when performing stunts and tricks.
Highlights of the Driftsun Kneeboard 2016
- Versatile design for both learners and expert riders
- Integrated hook for new riders
- 10-pound weight for easier stunts and tricks.
- Easy mastery for kids as young as 9 years of age
- Reasonable price
- EVA foam padding
The first of two major setbacks we noticed about the Driftsun was the number of complaints about the padded strap. Some found that the plastic slot that holds it to the board broke off during the first ride attempt. The second was criticism about the quality of the plastic board that cracked when performing stunts.
The Driftsun Kneeboard 2016 is a good kneeboard for those who enjoy water sports. Designed with quality features for both amateur and expert boarders, this kneeboard has been a popular choice. The strong padding, low profile, and swift maneuverability have been the major selling points of the 2016 Driftsun Kneeboard.
- Light weight
- Integrated hook
- Good for beginners
- Overall quality – Weak strap, plastic structure
Ready to enjoying the hot summer with a unique, high-performance kneeboard? Body Glove won’t let you be disappointed by a cracked kneeboard or broken straps. The Body Glove kneeboard is one of the best-selling boards on the market.
Designed for intermediate and expert boarders, the Body Glove Kneeboard is a unique, patented unit that is perfect for everything from dare-devil stunts to unbelievable tricks. The Body Glove kneeboard spared nothing, with unique features not present with any other kneeboard.
Highlights of the Body Glove Kneeboard
- Design suited for intermediate and expert boarders
- Light, 11-pound weight
- Sleek dimensions of 43×20×4.5 inches
- Deep knee wells
- Comfortable, 3-inch padded strap
- Good manufacturer’s warranty
Although the Body Glove Kneeboard has been welcomed with all the bells and whistles, there are a number of setbacks customers didn’t like about this unit. First, this kneeboard is only available within the United States. Second, it’s quite expensive. Third, it’s only recommended for intermediate and professional boarders.
As we conclude, the Body Glove Kneeboard is a quality high-performance kneeboard that’s suited for intermediate and expert boarders looking forward to advancing their skills. Quite different from other expert kneeboards on the market, the Body Glove kneeboard comes loaded with features that give expert boarders the confidence to board and showcase their skills.
- Light weight
- Good maneuverability
- Good warranty
- Limited international availability
- High price-point
Last, but not least, we have the O’Brien Rush kneeboard. As one of the most dominant kneeboards on the market, the O’Brien Rush is designed with outstanding features that make it the perfect choice for learners, intermediate, and experienced boarders. Quite similar to the O’Brien Rush 5150, this kneeboard features an integrated hook that makes it easier for beginners to ski and try some moves. The manufacturer has also added adjustable straps, deep knee wells, and a ¾-inch EVA pad for comfort and added safety. Having been welcomed with a 4.7 out of 5 stars from 3 customers, the O’Brien Rush kneeboard is the best solution for all boarders looking to take their skiing skills to a whole new level.
Highlights of the O’Brien Rush Kneeboard
- Wide board perfect for new-levelers
- Deep knee wells
- Padded strap
- Integrated hook and quad molded fins for easy maneuverability
- Fairly reasonable price for the quality
The O’Brien Rush is a new unit on the market, and just a few customers have managed to purchase and experience its performance. Although there aren’t yet negative critics of this kneeboard, if O’Brien expands their sales beyond the borders—to Europe and Asia—more customers will have a chance to purchase and experience the high performance this unit offers. With a magnificent 4.7/5 star rating from 3 customers, the O’Brien Rush is among the elite kneeboards of 2019.
- Wide-board great for beginners
- Deep knee wells
- Integrated hook
- Higher price-point
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