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Wakeboarding vs. Other Board Sports

Wakeboarding vs. Other Board Sports
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If you’re thinking about getting into wakeboarding and you know a little bit about other board sports, you’re in the right place! Wakeboarding is commonly compared to a variety of other board sports, including snowboarding, water skiing, and kneeboarding. We’re delving into how similar or different these board sports actually are to help those who are familiar with board sports know what to expect when trying out wakeboarding for the first time.

Wakeboarding vs. Snowboarding

snowboarder on a mountain

If you’ve ever been snowboarding, you are already prepared to start wakeboarding. When comparing wakeboarding and snowboarding, you’ll find that there are some similarities, which include:

  • Stance on the board - You stand on a wakeboard the same way you stand on a snowboarding. Your knees will be slightly bent and your weight will be evenly distributed between both legs. You’ll stand perpendicular on the board with one foot in front and the other foot in the back.
  • Bindings - Wakeboarding and snowboarding both require bindings to keep the rider’s feet connected to the board.

While there are some major similarities between wakeboarding and snowboarding, you’ll also find significant differences when comparing these two sports. Some of the differences are:

  • What You Need - Wakeboarding requires a large body of water a wake boat can easily drive on, as well as a wakeboard tower to connect the tow line to the boat, in turn keeping the rider connected to the boat. For snowboarding, you’ll need a large hill full of compact snow, and you as the rider will use your weight and gravity to go down the hill.
  • Clothing - What you’ll need to wakeboard is a swim suit and a life jacket. When you go snowboarding, you’ll need many layers of clothes, a heavy jacket to stay warm, goggles to protect your eyes, gloves, and a hat.

Want to try wakeboarding but you’re only familiar with snowboarding? There are a few things you will need to keep in mind before heading out to the water. When wakeboarding, you will be using your arms to help pull yourself out of the water, whereas when you snowboard, you only use your arms for balance. The stance on the board will be familiar, but trying to get up on the board in the water is a very different feeling than just riding down the hill on snow.

Wakeboarding vs. Water Skiing

Water skiers are often interested in trying wakeboarding. If you’ve been water skiing before, you might think it would be simple to make the switch to wakeboarding since both board sports take place on the water. There are quite a few ways in which water skiing and wakeboarding are similar, including:

  • Requirements - Wakeboarding and water skiing both need a large body of water a boat can easily be driven on. They also both use a tow line to connect the rider to the boat.
  • Equipment - Boards for wakeboarding and skis for water skiing are designed to easily slide over the surface of the water. Riders for both sports will need a swimsuit and a life jacket to wear out on the water. Bindings are used to keep the rider’s feet connected to the board or skis.
  • Physical Ability - Both of these water sports require arm and shoulder strength to hold onto a tow line while you rider around on the water. You’ll also need core, leg, and back strength to stand up and balance.

Although wakeboarding and water skiing have quite a bit in common, there are some major differences between the two sports, including:

  • Equipment - Wakeboarding requires one board to ride on the water while water skiing uses two skis. Both feet are on the board when you wakeboard, while each foot is placed on one ski for water skiing.
  • Boat Speed - The speed of the boat differs between these board sports. The boat should go about 19 to 22 miles per hour with wakeboarding and 26 to 34 miles per hour with water skiing.
  • Tow Point - Another major difference between wakeboarding and water skiing is the tow point of the tow line. The tow point will be higher for wakeboarders because they want to be able to get up in the air for tricks. Water skiers will just use the boat’s central tow point.

To go from water skiing to wakeboarding would be a major change for any rider. The way you ride on the water is different, as well as the stance. You’ll be riding sideways on a single board instead of facing forward riding two skis. The tow point is slightly higher for wakeboarding than water skiing.

Wakeboarding vs. Kneeboarding

Wakeboarding and kneeboarding have quite a few characteristics that are similar. Some of the traits they share include:

  • Requirements - To do either of these sports, you’ll need a huge body of water where a wakeboard can easily drive around. A tow rope connected to a wake tower is used to connect the rider to the boat. Riders will wear bathing suits and life jackets.
  • Boat Speed - The speed of the boat will be similar for wakeboarding and kneeboarding. Speed should range from 15 to 22 miles per hour.
  • Boards - Riders should choose a wakeboard or kneeboard based on application of use. Both boards have fins, rockers, sharp or round edges, and more.

Although there are quite a few things wakeboarding and kneeboarding have in common, there are aspects of the sports that are different.

  • Equipment - The boards for wakeboarding and kneeboarding are different. A wakeboard can be as long as 47 to 58 inches, while a kneeboard can be from 60 to 78 inches long. A rider on a wakeboard stands up on the board, while a rider on a kneeboard sits on his or her knees, and a velcro strap keeps the rider in place.
  • Getting Up on the Board - The ways riders get on a wakeboard or kneeboard are different. A rider’s knees should be bent all the way to his or her chest, and his or her arms should be stretched out in front of him or her, holding the tow line handle. To get up on a kneeboard, the rider starts out lying flat on his or her stomach. The rider’s arms are placed under the strap, and he or she holds onto the tow line handle. Once the rider starts moving, he or she will be able to pull his or her knees up until they are flat against the board. Then he or she will tighten the strap over his or her legs.
  • Physical Ability - While you need arm, core, and back strength for wakeboarding and kneeboarding, you’ll also need leg strength for wakeboarding since you will be standing up on the board.

Going from kneeboarding to wakeboarding will be a major adjustment for any rider. Although the upper body strength need will be the same, some of the other physical abilities are different. You’ll have to keep in mind that you’ll need leg strength to stay standing up for wakeboarding, and the way you get up on the board is different than kneeboarding. You’ll also have to figure out which way to stand on a wakeboard is most comfortable, whereas with kneeboarding you don’t have to worry about that.

Wakeboarding vs. Wakesurfing

girl wakesurfing behind a boat

Just from their names alone, you might think wakeboarding and wakesurfing have the most in common out of all the board sports. Here are some of the similarities between wakeboarding and wakesurfing:

  • Requirements - For wakeboarding and wakesurfing, you’ll need a large body of water and a boat that is designed to create wake to surf on. Riders are pulled behind the boat with a tow line that is connected to the boat. Wakeboarders and wakesurfers should wear a swimsuit and life jacket while out on the water.
  • Stance on the Board - Riders stand perpendicular on wakeboards and wakesurf boards with one foot in front and the other foot in the back.
  • Physical Ability - For wakeboarding and wakesurfing, you’ll need core, back, and leg strength. Core and back strength will help keep you balanced, while you use your legs to balance and stand up on the board. Riders for these sports will need upper body strength to hold onto the tow line while they are driven around.

While wakeboarding and wakesurfing have quite a few things in common, they have their differences as well. Some of the things that make these board sports different are:

  • Getting Up on the Board - The way riders get up on their boards differ between wakeboarding and wakesurfing. For wakeboarding, you’ll start with your feet in the bindings. Your arms should stay straight as you hold onto the tow line with your knees bent and close to your chest. As the boat takes off, you’ll use your strength to stand up. When you are wakesurfing, you will lean back slightly in the water, holding onto the tow rope with your feet laying loosely on the board. To get up on the board, you should push your heels into the board to pop it up vertically, then drop the tow line and surf the wake until the waves break.
  • Boat Type - The boat types needed for these sports are different. An inboard or outboard boat can be used for wakeboarding, along with a wake tower to raise the tow line 6 or 7 feet in the air so the rider can do tricks. Since a wakesurfer would be riding closer to the back of the boat, so a ski or jet boat would be used. Inboard boats with propellers underneath are also used to keep the rider safe.
  • Tow Ropes - The tow ropes used for wakeboarding and wakesurfing are different. Wakeboard ropes are long and thin, while wakesurf ropes are thicker and shorter. Also, a wakeboarder holds onto the tow rope throughout the entire ride, while a wakesurfer only holds onto the tow rope until they are up and surfing on the wake of the boat.

If you want to go from wakesurfing to wakeboarding, you’ll have to get used to the faster speeds. Falling from the board during wakeboarding results in a much harder impact when compared to when you would fall during wakesurfing. The most difficult part of transitioning from wakesurfing to wakeboarding would be having to keep holding onto the tow rope for your entire ride instead of letting the rope go.

There’s quite a bit to learn when comparing wakeboarding and other board sports! You’ll find many similarities between wakeboarding and snowboarding, water skiing, kneeboarding, and wakesurfing, as well as major differences. Since you know a little bit more about this water sport, you’re ready to get into your new hobby. Browse through our wakeboard towers so you’re ready to get out on the water and wakeboard!

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