Guys are simple beings. We like extreme. We like imagining charging into battle shirtless, screaming, swinging a spiked flail, to Barbed-Wire Brawls, on ECW, and now we’re older, ordering food we know will disagree with us but scarfing it down, anyway. There are also water sports, which are extreme no matter what you do. We all know surfing, diving, waterskiing, but you may not have heard of kneeboarding, which may soon be your next favorite water sport, but only if you buy the best kneeboards
These kneeboards are a chance to embrace your inner aquatic warrior, they’re a chance to get out on the water, and they’re a chance to get the adrenaline pumping, and to feel like Aquaman, even if you don’t have the flowing locks of Jason Momoa, not yet anyway.
So we guess you must make do with getting extreme with kneeboarding, but that’s not a bad thing. Those who are already familiar with it will be thankful their buddies are finally taking notice, and newbies will wonder where it’s been all their lives. Refreshing, exhilarating, and oceans of fun, let’s dive in.
The Best Kneeboards
The top pick for the best kneeboard is the Driftsun Kneeboard which is an awesome option for beginners but is also something we’re sure more experienced kneeboarders will love. The integrated hook you can find at the front of the board gives novices the confidence and security they need to get the hang of kneeboarding, while more experts can use it for training, or if they’re just going for a casual run.
The hook doesn’t need to stay attached forever, either, so once your skill improves you’re free to ride along like the pros. You can do this with the Bevel Edge, that keeps the board low and enhances your control in choppy, merciless waters that’ll feel anything but. On the off chance they do – because you can never truly trust the waves and wakes – the 3-inch padded strap gives you stability and saves you from losing the board to the fish.
Three-quarter inch EVA padding
Bevel Edge keeps board low for enhanced control
Integrated hook at the front for beginners
3-inch padded strap ensures stability
Contoured shape for long-ride comfort
So you want to start a revolution? The HydroSlide 2103 Revolution Kneeboard is undoubtedly the place to begin. It comes designed with the classic spoon shape, which gives you an easy ride while still providing the immensely enjoyable pop when you hit the wake just right. When you land, the EVA pad is thick enough to make it a comfortable landing so you’re ready for round two.
If you prefer to twist and turn and show off to the girls giggling on the shore, the patented high profile design ensures excellent control and maneuverability, requiring only delicate leaning to move the kneeboard in the direction you need it to go. For beginners, the HydroHook on the tip of the board gives greater security and allows them to master the basics before they pull out tricks and flips in front of an adoring audience.
Classic spoon shape for an easy ride without sacrificing pop up off the wake
EVA pad with deep knee wells measuring 3-inches
Patented thin profile design for excellent performance
Patented HydroHook makes it easy for beginners
Excellent control and maneuverability
- BrandHydro Slide
- Weight11 pounds
While the name doesn’t sound as extreme as many men would like, this shouldn’t take anything away from the effectiveness of the SereneLife Water Sport Kneeboard, which comes with ultra-lite construction for easy gliding on the waves, and also making it easy to carry from the surf to the sand and back to the bar to bask in your kneeboarding glory.
The universal kneeboard slots can accommodate all ages, shapes, and sizes, and make it much more than just a kneeboard. If you like versatility in your water sports, you can also use it for boogie boarding, boating, waterboard (not that kind, though), or even use it at a handy drinks holder if you’re chilling in the pool. It also comes with a strap for extra safety so you won’t lose your board should you bail, and your board won’t lose you, either.
Ultralite easy to carry construction
The strap provides extra safety
Universal kneeboard slots to accommodate all ages
Corrosion-proof marine-grade materials ensure durability
Water-safe floating and stable platform base
- Weight8.7 pounds
With an integrated beginner hook and three-quarter inch, EVA padding the O’Brien Voodoo Kneeboard offers something for both beginners and more experienced riders from security to comfort and everything in between. Along with this, you’ll also get a padded strap which you can adjust to suit you and your buddies so no one need miss out on the fun in the sun.
For those who’ve been around the waves a few times already, you’ll greatly appreciate the variable beveled edge, which gives you excellent control over your performance. O’Brien go even further to give you the best experience possible by designing their kneeboard with quad-molded fins – located at the hull corners – which make it even easier to track and transition. This could make even the most inexperienced rider look like a pro without even trying.
Integrated beginner hook
Three-quarter inch EVA padding ensures comfort
Padded adjustable strap for security and control
Variable beveled edge enhances performance
Quad molded fins at hull corners provide tracking and transitioning easy
- Weight11.6 pounds
If you’re still on the fence (or whatever the aquatic equivalent of that is), you may be best starting off with our best value kneeboard around. The Leader Accessories Kneeboard comes at a cheaper price than other options we’ve selected, but doesn’t neglect the essential features that make a kneeboard the awesome, extreme experience we’re all looking for, even if we don’t know it yet.
The durable three-quarter inch EVA foam padding provides comfort and longevity, while its padded adjustable strap ensures the stability and safety many beginners may be concerned with when first starting out. To further their willingness to just get on with it, it also comes with an integrated front hook to attach to the line and ensure there are no Total Wipeout-esque catastrophes which may be television gold, but only if you’re not the one experiencing it.
Highly durable three-quarter inch EVA foam padding
Integrated hook helps beginners
Padded adjustable strap provides comfort and stability
Beveled edge ensures fast cuts and low sitting for stability
Multiple color choices for customization
- BrandLeader Accessories
- Weight13 pounds
Moving into the slightly higher class of kneeboards, the HydroSlide PRO-XLT Kneeboard is one that boasts top quality and cements itself firmly as an awesome, rewardable graduation option once you’ve gotten to grips with the sport. It offers a thin profile for easy portability that shows an evolution of sorts in kneeboard design while still offering everything you loved about your old boards to eliminate any tricky learning curves.
It’s best we leave the curves to the water, anyway, and to make it easier to manage these, the padded strap keeps the board close to your body and prevents any unfortunate disappearances, while the deep knee wells in the soft but durable EVA pad ensure better comfort and more control.
Designed for adults
Thin profile for easy portability
HydroHook tow point is ideal for beginners
Three inch padded strap for extra riding security
EVA pad will deep knee wells
- BrandHydro Slide
- Weight16 pounds
As for premium kneeboards, the O’Brien Sozo Kneeboard is a triumph of kneeboard technology, design, and engineering. This board is ideal for those who are ready to take that next leap into kneeboard expertise, and is also an excellent choice for those who want to look like they know what they’re doing, even if they know (and we know, too) they don’t have a clue.
Made with fusion core, with an impact base that completes its sandwich-like construction, it’ is at the forefront of kneeboards, and provides clean and fast movement that leads to excellent, almost interstellar air while still offering soft landings that cushions the blow and keeps you gliding along. There’s also a pad which has been fine-tuned for comfort and stability when in motion. O’Brien have even claimed it is a state-of-the-art, which we’ll trust because they know more about kneeboards than we do.
Designed with cutting-edge kneeboard technology
Clean and fast movement
Gets excellent air with soft landings
Fine-turning pad placement
Easily adjustable to find your preferred position
- Weight16 pounds
The O’Brien Ion Kneeboard perhaps isn’t as cool as the Sozo, but it’s till O’Brien, it’s still in the upper echelon of kneeboard options, so it’s still something to consider, if only because you don’t want to follow the crowd in buying the more expensive model. The Ion is speedy and easily maneuverable with hand bevels set conveniently on the edge for stability and control.
There’s also an all-foam kneeboard, which ensures flexibility and makes you landing much softer than lesser kneeboards. This foam also makes it lightweight, so any long treks to the shoreline won’t be too laborious and are comfortable to carry. The padded and adjustable strap gives you customization if someone forgets their board (as always), while also allowing proper security when on the water yourself.
Easy to turn with hand bevels and set on edge
All foam kneeboard ensures flexibility
Guaranteed soft landings regardless of air time
Speedy, maneuverable construction
Padded adjustable strap
- Weight14.4 pounds
With the fun almost at an end (although we encourage you to sit around learning a little more about kneeboards), the Radar Denunzio Kneeboard is an awesome sub-$300 option that’s ideal for more serious riders or as an awesome little treat for your flourishing kneeboarding buddy.
It provides the maximum width through its unique side-cut body, which isn’t just a cool little quirk from Radar, it also ensures low drag coefficient so you can launch off the wake like Buzz Lightyear soaring with a rocket strapped to him. It’s so effective, in fact, that you might see your life flash before your eyes as you fly through the air with little sign of ever returning to the safety of the water.
Offers maximum width through the side-cut body
Low drag coefficient for wake launching
Carve narrow, slalom style shape
State-of-the-art knee wells and high angled footwalls
Four layers of varied density EVA foam for maximum absorption
- Weight14 pounds
Kneeboard Buying Guide
How We Chose Our Selection Of Kneeboards
Selecting the best kneeboards wasn’t as easy as we’d like, there are just so many awesome options out there that as soon as we thought we’d settled on the best, we found something that blew the competition wide open. We couldn’t show you all of what we’d found though, we’d have been here all day and by the end would never want to read the word kneeboard ever again.
So, we had to decide and to narrow our selection down to the best of the best, we focused on three key factors that helped us determine which kneeboards are the best for you, and any potential kneeboard champion you know.
Brand - Cool, innovative brands are the kind of thing we love here, and the kneeboarding industry has plenty of great options for us to choose from. The usual suspects are all here, but there are also some perhaps lesser known options that offer a variety of possibilities for everybody.
These brands give us the confidence you’re getting your money’s worth. We know their reputations; we believe the hype (without becoming shills), and we trust them to deliver the best quality products to make your kneeboarding experience the best it can be. We’ve got so much confidence in them we’re immensely jealous of you, no matter which brand you choose to conquer the kneeboarding world.
Price - Unlike some products, kneeboards don’t have that wide of a price range, but there’s still a definite discrepancy between low- and high-level options. We want all of our readers to have the chance to purchase a kneeboard if it’s something they think they’ll be interested in, so we looked for a range of prices that allows all budgets to give it a go.
From our research, we also determined that there’s not too much of a difference between the most affordable and the most expensive options, and for beginners, you’re unlikely to have the skill level to recognize such a difference. With this in mind, we found options that work for both newbies and the more experienced riders so no one feels left out.
Reviews - Unfortunately, we don’t live close enough to a large body of water to test these kneeboards out by ourselves, and apparently, it looked too much fun, anyway. To find a way around this, we looked at reviews from experienced kneeboarders to give us an idea of how awesome (or not so awesome) each product was.
Reviews are great for whittling down a selection, especially when there are a few products we can’t decide on. They give us insight into aspects of kneeboarding we would never have known without reviews and make us feel a little more informed.
They also allow us to check the average review score, which ensures we don’t choose something that sounds great but is actually not that good at all.
Features To Look For In Kneeboards
We know the idea of running to the water and strapping yourself into your brand new kneeboard is almost too much fun to resist right now, we suggest you first look at the key features to consider before buying your kneeboard to make sure you’re getting the right one for you.
This will save you buying the wrong size or purchasing something that isn’t suitable for your skill level, which would suck and do little to scratch that kneeboarding itch. It also allows you get out onto the water as quickly as possible by buying what’s best, which is the whole reason you’re still here, right?
Materials - Lightweight but durable materials such as EVA foam are best for kneeboarding as they offer the best of both worlds. More advanced and high-quality options are designed with a hybrid of materials which help with steering, control, and that all important air time, but these will typically cost more and aren’t always necessary, especially for beginners.
Straps - The strap is attached to keep you safe and secure when on the board although this isn’t recommended for kids. The straps are typically three inches wide, but this will vary between brands, although not by much. If you want comfort, look for a padded strap which will ease pressure and the edges digging into your legs, which will make the experience better.
Fins - You’re only likely to find fins on more expensive models, but it’s worth it as the fins help with control and ease of changing direction. With finless boards, it's difficult to alter your course if you see the wake rising and being unmanageable, however, fins, which you can find on the base and are constructed of fiberglass or plastic, allow you to make these changes quickly and efficiently, so you can enjoy your ride for longer, and hit some sweet jumps with major air time.
Q: What is a kneeboard?
A: A kneeboard is a short board used for knee surfing, which is like regular surfing but on your knees. When riding one, you are dragged by a boat with a tow rope and it’s on you to tackle waves and wakes to stay on the board.
Kneeboards are lightweight, comfortable, and suitable for all ages. They’re also loads of fun, and a lot more challenging than you might expect. It takes time to get used to them, and your arms will ache after your first try, but keep it up, and you’ll love it.
Q: How long should the strap be?
A: The strap should be long enough for you to fit your legs in comfortably without causing irritations. Boards with adjustable straps allow a variety of people to use the same board and alter accordingly for their desired comfort.
Straps range from 3 inches to 9 inches, which should be more than enough room to fit all riders.
Q: What kind of kneeboard should a beginner have?
A: Beginner kneeboards will come with a hook to keep you attached to the tow rope to ensure you don’t get lost in the water. This is used by both kids and adults, and it’s also useful for even experienced kneeboarders, just in case.
Hook styles vary between brands, either being built into the board which prevents abrasions, or sticking out, which you’ll typically find with budget boards.
Q: How do I look after my kneeboard?
A: To ensure your kneeboard lasts as long as possible, you need to take care. Kneeboards are typically low-maintenance products, but still, ensure you don’t assume everything will be fine if you leave it after a fun day out. Here are some tips for proper care, cleaning, and storage.
Cleaning and Storage
Clean with Fresh Water - Even if you’re right next to the ocean, saltwater is not recommended to rinse any dirt and grime off the board as it will end up affecting the material. Fresh water is best to clean the board as it will remove any blemishes with ease and keep the surface in top quality
Dry in the Shade - Sun will damage the material and cause cracking, so after cleaning your kneeboard, you want to place it somewhere dry and shaded. This may take more time than drying it in the sun, but it will help the board last much longer this way.
Ensure It’s Dry Before Storage - Placing your board inside the cover (which may be provided but may not be, depending on the brand and price) will protect it, but if it’s still damp, you risk the growth of mold and bacteria, especially if it’s not been cleaned correctly. A fully dry board will also reduce the odor, which we all know is unpleasant after a day at the beach.
Use a Cover When Storing and Transporting - The cover will also keep your board protected during storage and transportation as it stops critters finding it and mistaking it for lunch, while also keeping it free from dust and dirt, which isn’t a massive issue, but helps you get into the water as quickly as possible.
Avoid Letting Kids Use the Straps - As much as they may think they’re the fastest hand in the water, kids don’t have the necessary reaction times to release the strap when they need to. For their safety, don’t let them use it until they improve their skills.
Keep Out of Direct Sunlight - Just like when drying and storing your kneeboard out of the sun, you shouldn’t use it in direct sunlight too. This isn’t always possible, especially when you’re on the water, but during downtime, place it somewhere out of the sun, not just for your board’s sake, but also to prevent you scalding your skin when grabbing it, too.
Keep Your Toenails Trimmed - It sounds silly - and we guess it is a little silly - but too long toenails can scratch and damage your board, which can affect aesthetics and make it appear like you’re not taking this whole kneeboarding thing seriously, come on, man!
Keep Away from Pets - Likewise, dogs, cats, monitor lizards are all curious little beats and so may think your kneeboard is a toy to be torn apart at their leisure. Considering you’re spending more money on your board, you don’t want this to happen, so keep it out of reach of your best friends for your benefit. Besides, we’re not sure their little paws and claws could grip the board, anyway.
- Why Do We Love Extreme Sports? - Outside Online
- Buying Guide for Kneeboards - Water Outfitters
- Kneeboard - Wikipedia
- How to Buy the Right Kneeboard - Water Ski World
- Helpful Hints and Tips on Maintenance of Your Gear - Water Skiers Connection