For Comparison's Sake: Boards

Three standout tow sport boards for 2012.

As what we do behind a boat continues to mutate into new tow sports, there’s a lot you can do being pulled behind a boat with a rope. With so much potential fun, we picked one board from each tow sport as a standout for 2012.

Wakeboard: Ronix One (with Ronix One boot bindings)

The Ride: A fast, responsive board for an advanced rider or pro throwing inverts and spins up and down the lake, with a thinner profile board with a varied edge, deep channels in the bottom of the board and a bit wider tip and tail. The wider sweet spot on the board makes for smooth landings and transitions.

The One boot-style design features an inner liner to provide the ultimate in comfort. Two cinch straps pull tight for an exact fit and to make energy transfer from feet to the board more effective.

Face Plant: A higher retail price than more basic boards and bindings on the market.

$939.99; ronixwake.com

Wakeskate: Liquid Force Faction

The Ride: The nine-ply wood construction makes the Faction a highly responsive wakeskate.

The three-stage rocker with a huge sweet spot in the middle of the board helps you get more air for tricks. The variable edge on the board adds to the control. Just put on some wakeskate shoes or stand on the EVA (ethylene-vinyl acetate) deck, and you will have plenty of grip to start spinning the board around or flipping the board in midair. It comes in 40, 42 and 44 inches.

Face Plant: Wood boards typically break sooner than fiberglass, especially with frequent tricks on sliders.

Wakesurfer: Hyperlite Idylwood

The Ride: Features added surface area with its 5-foot-4-inch length and a bit wider profile that accommodate the entire family by fitting a wide weight range. The added size also makes it an excellent choice for wakesurfers riding a smaller wake.

It includes features like a narrow tail and three fins for stability. The adjustable tri-fin setup also allows you to vary the performance of the board by changing the fin configuration to two outer fins or just one fin in the center.

Face Plant: Hyperlite designed the Idylwood to be quick and responsive, and it may be a little too much for the first-time wakesurfer.