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Cable Parks vs. Boats for Wakeboarding

Cable Parks vs. Boats for Wakeboarding
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Did you know you don’t have to have access to a boat to enjoy the thrill of wakeboarding? If you do not have access to a lake and boat at your convenience, you may have access to a cable park. If wakeboarding is the skateboarding of the water, then a cable park is the equivalent to a skatepark. There are a variety of pros, cons, and differences between using cable parks versus boats for wakeboarding. This guide will dive into everything you need to know about the two and help you find the right place to wakeboard.

Utilizing Boats for Wakeboarding

Traditionally, wakeboarding is done when someone is being pulled behind a boat on a board with a tow rope. The rider starts off submerged in the water, with their feet in the wakeboard’s boots while holding a tow rope. As the boat picks up speed, the rider will start to come out of the water and glide on top of it with the board. The rider then will ride along behind the boat in its wake. Depending on their skill level, they may be able to move across the wake and even do tricks if they wish. When doing jumps or flips, the rider will usually land in the wake behind the boat – depending on where they started the trick (i.e. if they jumped outside of the wake, the landing water would be a little different than the wake, still moving water though).

Wakeboarding behind a boat can be challenging not only because of the wakeboarder's skill level, but also the driver of the boat getting the speed and angles just right. Additionally, there can be modifications made to the boat to change the way it rides, pulls, or creates a wake. The type of boat also has much to do with the rider’s experience. A boat specifically made for wakeboarding might offer a slightly smoother ride than a regular passenger boat.

wakeboarding behind a boat

Utilizing Cable Parks for Wakeboarding

A cable park is exactly like a skatepark, just in the water. There are ramps, rails, and other obstacles for riders to enjoy. In this instance, the cable would act as both the boat and the tow rope. Riders start at a dock in these parks and are pulled throughout the course via cable. Most of the time these are short runs of a couple hundred feet. While you can opt for a more relaxing ride, they also offer multiple obstacles throughout the course to enhance your experience if you choose to do so.)

One downfall to being pulled on a cable is that when you go to do tricks, unlike performing them behind a boat that continues to create wake, when you come down to land in the water, it is flat. This can be a little rougher to hit than when you are being pulled behind a boat and hit that water. Many competitions for wakeboarding are done at cable parks because it is much easier to judge.

wakeboarding at a cable park


Unlike boating, when the rider falls at a cable park, they are able to swim to the dock to start again. There is no trying to grab the tow rope as the boat circles you. Additionally, cable parks are known to be easier to learn the ins and outs of wakeboarding and continuously stay up on your board. Since the rider is starting on a dock and the pull is perfect every time, it is easier for the rider to gain the ability to stay up and balance on their wakeboard. These parks are also good for groups of friends because you can all ride alongside one another.

Using a boat to wakeboard, on the other hand, provides the rider more flexibility to do what they want while on the board. Additionally, they can be further away from others on the water, improving safety for all involved. At a cable park, you are enclosed in a smaller area of water with multiple people. Boats are usually in a big, open area of water and when towing someone they tend to stay away from others – and vice versa for other boaters.

Which is better? You get to decide. Let us know if you prefer cable parks or being pulled behind a boat for wakeboarding!

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