Wakeboarding | What Is Wakeboarding? Everything You Need To Know
Want to know how to learn to wakeboard? What wakeboarding equipment to buy? Where to wakeboard in the UK? We have the answers...
In wakeboarding, the rider is fastened to a board and towed behind a motorboat at seeds of around 30 miles per hour. The rider can ride the surface of the water, as well as perform wakeboarding tricks behind the boat.
Wakeboarding now has numerous different offshoots and styles, including kneeboarding and wakeskating
When first invented in Australia in the 1980s, wakeboarding was originally named skurfing and used bindingless hand-shaped boards designed specifically for towing. Nowadays, skurfing has died off in the advent of wakeboarding, which uses bindings.
Wakeboarding now has numerous different offshoots and styles, including kneeboarding and wakeskating.
History Of Wakeboarding
It's been claimed over the years that wakeboarding originated in a variety of different places.
The most widely accepted origin is in Australia in the 1980s when a skurfing board was given to a man called Jeff Darby. Darby and his friends set about shaping their own skurfing boards, specifically designed to be towed behind boats. They ended up setting up their own trademarked company called Skurfer, selling these boards.
Around the same time in Florida however, a surfer named Howard Jacobs was surfing his smaller surfboards behind motorboats, adding foot straps and pads on the board to attempt tricks impossible on a normal surfboard.
By the mid eighties there were two notable brands selling wakeboards. Darby joined forces with surfboard shaper and inventor Bruce McKee to create the 'Mcski' board, later renamed the 'Wake-snake.' Bruce McKee and associate Mitchell Ross on the other hand created the 'Surf-Ski' board and launched it at the 1984 at Chicago's IMTEC show.
Want to get some wakeboarding inspiration? Check out these insane wakeboarding videos.
While learning any new sport is going to be difficult to begin with, wakeboarding is known to be a water sport that can be picked up quicker than many others. If you want to kick start your wakeboarding training, there are a few tips to make the first few times more successful.
- The first, most important thing to learn which foot you should be leading one. A quick way to do this is to run in a straight line, coming to a quick stop. The foot you put out to stop yourself is most likely to be your leading foot, simple!
- When first trying to stand up on a wakeboard, put about 60% of your weight on your front foot and stay close to the board. Straightening your legs and standing straight up is a sure fire way to fall straight away!
- The best stance take on your first few goes at wakeboarding is to place the back binding far back towards the end of the board and align it at zero degrees, so that the your weight pressed directly on top of the rear fin. The front binding should be slightly pointed towards the front of the wakeboard.
- The shorter the rope, the easier it is to handle. Wakeboarding beginners should keep their tow rope short and the tow handle low down on their body.
Read our full article on top beginners wakeboarding tips here.
If you you want to give wakeboarding a go, most centres will be able to rent out all the wakeboarding equipment necessary. If you want to invest however, here are the essential you'll need to get started.
A Board- Beginners should look at buying a double-ended board with a fin, as they're more stable. Look for boards with quality fins and a continuous rocker. Ronix Vault, Slingshot Choice and Hyperlite State 2.0 are all good examples of beginner boards for wakeboarding. Check out our beginners wakeboard guide here for more information.
Bindings - In wakeboarding, there are three main types of bindings available. Velcro bindings are suitable for beginners and easily adjustable. Adjustable boot bindings can be adjusted but are slightly more supportive. High back boot bindings are best for wakeboarding tricks because of their high support. Read more about wakeboard bindings in our guide here.
Rope- Beginners should use a short non-stretch rope. The shorter the rope, the more control you have while learning.
Wetsuit- The thickness of your wetsuit depends on the conditions in which your wakeboarding. Most beginners will send a lot of time in the water, if you're learning in the UK, a 5/4mm wetsuit will be suitable for most times of the year.
Buoyancy Aid- Does it look badass? No. Should you wear it? Yes. Use your brain, kids...
The best thing to do is get down to your local wakeboarding shop. Read our guide to the best wakeboarding shops in the UK here.
Where To Wakeboard In The UK
Wakeboarding can be enjoyed on both lakes and the coast around the UK. For beginner wakeboarders, the calm conditions of a lake are better for finding your legs and standing up.
In Wales, the wakeboarding festival Wakestock is held yearly and beings in large crowds.