How To Wake Surf .com
There are 2 basic styles of wakesurfboards, skim board style and conventional style.
Skimboard style wakesurfboards are thinner and smaller than surfboard styles.
Advantages: Easier for a beginner to get up on. Easier to spin (180s, 360s etc.). Easier to do shuvits. Easier to stow on the boat. More likely to fit into a wakeboard rack. Less tendency to roll and nose dive.
Disadvantages: More difficult to learn to freeride. Boat typically has to go back to get a fallen rider.
Conventional style wakesurfboards are thicker than skimboard styles and have greater buoyancy.
Advantages: Easier to freeride. Will freeride in a smaller wave than a skimboard style. Easier to recover from far back on the wave. More adept at classic surf moves that require bigger turns and cutbacks. Fallen rider can paddle quickly back to the boat (assuming the driver stopped soon after the rider fell).
Disadvantages: More difficult for a beginner to get up on. More difficult to spin. May not be able to do shuvits. Requires special racks to stow on the tower. More difficult to stow in your car without surfboard racks. Some have a significant tendency to roll and nose dive (not all). Shred Stixx boards (for example) do not have this roll and nose dive tendency.
A beginner may have difficulty getting started and standing up upon a conventional style surfboard. The same person may just pop up on the skim board style. They may not freeride as quickly, but they can still have lots of fun lineriding.
Volume and Buoyancy.
Another difference between conventional style boards and skim style boards is buoyancy. Buoyancy is how well the board floats you. In the ocean, buoyancy is essential as the board has to float you while you paddle to catch the wave. Ocean surfboards are defined in part by their volume and resulting buoyancy. Bigger riders require a greater volume board.
On a wakesurfboard, buoyancy is not all that important (there are those however that will argue this). The skim style boards have very little buoyancy, yet Trick Boardz and Phase 5 (both skim style) have riders that have no problem surfing and performing advanced tricks on them. Trick Boardz has one model board that comes in wood construction and fiberglass construction. The wood model, Velocity, has little buoyancy. The fiberglass model, Velocity Pro, has more buoyancy. The main difference in the ride is that the Velocity Pro, being lighter in weight, is easier to pop off the wave. Beyond that, they ride very similar.
Single tip vs. Twin tipped
Single tip boards are difficult to surf backwards; they are not conducive to 180s and 540s. To ride switch stance on a single tip board you must turn around on the board. To ride switch on a twin tipped board, simply turn the board. There are a few boards that have a single fin on the nose of the board, but they are not twin tipped. They definitely have a front and a back and rider better going forwards. Trick Boardz are the only true, twin tipped wakesurfboards. Either end will ride forward exactly the same.
Roll and Nose Dive
As mentioned previously, some of the bigger boards have a tendency to roll and nose dive, also called pearling. To compensate for their boards tendency to pearl, some manufacturers have added additional rocker to the nose of the board. It does not fix the inherent problem of the design of the board and it causes the board to slow down. Another "fix" is to keep the rider towards the back of the board. These boards typically have traction deck only towards the rear of the board.
On most boards, once the nose pearls, the ride is over. Trick Boardz unique design has very little rocker and does not have the tendency to pearl. Even when they do pearl, you may be able to keep surfing. Their video shows a team rider, Adam Roten, actually surfing from the wrong side of the wave, underwater.