Wakeboard Critic

The Best Places for Wakeboarding in California

Warm weather year round, beautiful scenery and the place where wakeboarding became popular

Whether you new to wakeboarding or you are a seasoned boarder, you’re always going to want to know the best wakeboarding spots wherever you may be, whether that be on the east coast or the west coast, or anywhere in between. Arguably one of the best places to go wakeboarding is in sunny California. Wakeboarding in California is an experience you won’t forget. It’s often warmer than other states, and you can wakeboard year-round. Plus, the state offers a wide variety of stunning scenery around its lakes, differing vastly from lush green Northern California to the deserts of Southern California.


Not only is the weather great, but wakeboarding originated in California. There’s no true founder of the sport, but Tony Finn, a surfer in California, made the sport popular, and invented the first wakeboard, which he called the “Skurfer”. What better place to ride your board than in the place where it all started!


If you live in the state, or are just vacationing there, you’ll want to know where to go wakeboarding in California, and we’ve got you covered. Here’s a list of some of the best spots to bring your board in the golden state. You can’t go wrong with any of the options on the list; you’ll get spectacular views and a great time at any of them.

Top spots for wakeboarding in California

  • California Delta
  • Lake Tahoe
  • Lake Shasta
  • Colorado River
  • Canyon Lake
  • Wake Island Waterpark
california wakeboarding

California Delta

The California Delta is located in Northern California near San Joaquin and Sacramento, and it’s one of the best spots for all types of water sports, including wakeboarding, boating, fishing, and more.


The California Delta is an ideal spot for several reasons. First is the weather, which is temperate with very little wind. Because there’s little wind the water is generally pretty flat, giving you a smooth ride. Then there’s the way it’s shaped: the lake has large open areas as well as tributaries, and it doesn’t get crowded. During the week there’s hardly anyone out on the water so you’ll have plenty of space.

Lake Tahoe

Located in northern California near the California-Nevada border, Lake Tahoe is one of the more popular California wakeboarding spots. Lake Tahoe wakeboarding is going to be a different experience than other lakes, partly because so many people visit it. Many people like to vacation there, meaning you won’t have the lake to yourself if you go there on the weekends.


Since there are so many people out on the water, it can be choppier and make your ride a little rougher, but if you have some experience it won’t be a problem. If you’re looking for a smooth surface for wakeboarding, Lake Tahoe probably isn’t your best bet on the weekends, but if you are able to go there during the week you’ll have a smoother ride.

Lake Shasta

Lake Shasta is another great lake for wakeboarding in California, located seven miles north of Redding. It’s incredibly scenic with trees, mountains, and rock formations all around. It’s a lake that’s highly enjoyed by wakeboarders because the water is smooth year-round.


Because it’s so popular, the lake fills up quickly in the afternoon, so if you’re looking for more of a solitary experience, try going in the morning or evening when there are a lot fewer people around.

Colorado River

If you prefer river wakeboarding to lake wakeboarding, definitely try out the Colorado River. The river runs from the Rocky Mountains in Colorado all the way down to Mexico, and creates a border between California and Arizona.


There are many different stretches of the river that offer different experiences. Some stretches will have fewer people, while some have more. The depths of the different stretches are controlled by a series of dams, so some are shallower and some are deeper. It’s a good idea to talk to locals or do some internet research to find out where you want to go.


If you still want the lake experience, the Colorado River feeds into Lake Havasu, which is almost directly east of Los Angeles. The lake offers beautiful scenery for some enjoyable wakeboarding in California.

Canyon Lake

Moving down to Southern California, one the best lakes in that region is Canyon Lake, located between Los Angeles and San Diego. The lake offers smooth, glassy water and beautiful weather.


Unfortunately, the homeowners around Canyon Lake want to keep the area quiet and private, and that has led to some tension between homeowners and visitors. For now the lake stays open, but if you’re planning to spend some time wakeboarding on Canyon Lake you might want to make your trip soon.

wakeboarding california

Wake Island Waterpark

If you want to go wakeboarding in California but aren’t really into the lake scene, you’ll probably want to go to Wake Island Waterpark. The park is located on the northern end of Sacramento, and offers a variety of fun activities and experiences for water lovers, including a floating obstacle course, beach volleyball, paddlebaording, and pedal boats. And of course wakeboarding.


The wakeboarding part of the park has lots of different options for wakeboarders. There are a variety of different boxes to jib and grind on, and there’s a kicker to help you get some big air. There are several different types of launching styles at the docks for beginners and experts alike.


No matter what your skill level is, Wake Island is a great place to spend some time out on the water. With all of the different options, you’ll be sure to find something fun to do.

Start with the right techniques and foundations

wakeboarding lessons

Grab your board for some California wakeboarding

Whether you’re a California native or you’re spending some time vacationing in the state, make sure to bring your wakeboard. There are many places where you can go to catch some wakes, from stunning, glassy lakes to rough-and-tumble rivers, to cool wakeboard parks.

No matter where you end up, wakeboarding in California is always going to be a fun and rewarding experience. So wherever you are, grab your board and hit one of the best places for wakeboarding in California.

wakeboarding california