Wakeboarding is a type of surface water sport where people ride a wakeboard over the water, towed behind a motorboat or a cable on a circuit. Wakeboarding uses a mixture of water skiing, snowboarding as well as surfing techniques and emerged in the 1980s.
The sport is largely recognized to have been invented by Canadian Paul Fraser, who developed the concept and design with the help of his brother Murray. But it was in the mid 1990s, when wakeboarding was added as a competitive sport in the X Games II, that it became really popular. The interest in the sport was so intense that it prompted the World Skiboard Association to redefine itself as the World Wakeboard Association.
Although it looks tricky, wakeboarding is quite easy to get into and very addictive. The boards are buoyant and the core is usually made from foam or honeycomb mixed with resin and coated with fiberglass. There are metal screws inserted, which attach bindings and fins. There are lots of different fin styles and shapes. Generally, the closer the fins are to the center of the wakeboard the better the board releases from the wake.
Riding the wakeboard is quite simple, in theory at least. The rider performs jumps by hitting the wake and launching into the air or by hitting a special ramp known as a kicker. There is often a rail bar – known as a slider – which the rider can balance along in the same manner as a skateboarder.
As with any extreme sport, there are a whole host of wakeboarding maneuvers waiting to be mastered. Here are some of the most popular tricks to try:
- Raley – this is where you hit the wake and swing your body backwards, up overhead, parallel to the water. Then swing your board and body back down and land on the other side of the wake.
- Fakie/Switch: Ride the board with your weak foot forward.
- Butter Slide – The rider approaches the wake and snaps the board sideways to slide on top of the wake.