Why Did Wakeboarding Become So Popular



Wakeboarding is incredibly fun to do during the summer months and a great way to get out on the water. But, we already know that. The real question is how did so many other people recently discover the fun of the sport?

We asked our friends at Wakeboard Buddy what they knew about the popularity of wakeboarding. This is what they told us.

The Origins

Wakeboarding itself is still a relatively new sport in a lot of ways. It didn’t come about until the late 1980s when surfers were trying to figure out a way to surf in the same way that people jet-ski. In fact, the first wakeboarders only used surfboards, since the sport hadn’t really been formulated yet.

A man named Tony Finn make the first wakeboard, called the Skurfer, to accommodate being pulled by a boat. But, that didn’t really catch on so the sport still didn’t take off.


Really, the credit of the sport’s popularity should be given to ESPN. Even though wakeboards were more refined in the 1990s, the sport just didn’t have the popularity that other water sports have. Then, ESPN took note of it. Brands had been popping up and developing gear for the emerging sport for a few years with minimal media coverage.

But, ESPN took note of it and began broadcasting competitions and really showing the sport off as a professional organization. With that kind of attention, the sport was legitimized, establishing it as a sport to pay attention to.


The Popularity

The sport has about 3 million riders in the United States alone. Granted, there are still 30 million surfers, so the sport is not quite as popular as surfing. But, wakeboarding does require a boat and driver to help pull you along your way, whereas surfing only has the board and you, making it easier to facilitate.

While that might make wakeboarding seem not very popular, that was just the United States. There are other countries around the world that also have wakeboarding, especially warmer climates where getting out on the water is much easier to do.

Advantages of Wakeboarding

Once you try the sport, you will definitely be hooked. There are so many advantages to wakeboarding that is easy to love. Even though you need a boat and driver to pull you, the sport is easier to pick up than surfing is. With surfing, you could be waiting in the water for hours, hoping for the perfect wave to come up. With wakeboarding, there is no waiting involved. The boat is making the waves for you.

The sport is good for you physically as well. It will work your back and leg muscles very hard. IT also requires a good amount of balance and flexibility. Even if you are not in great shape when you start, you will quickly find that the sport will develop your strength in ways that you might not have expected from the sport.

How to Get Started

If you are ready to get into wakeboarding, you will need a few things to get started. The first thing you will need to get is a board. Beginners usually opt of less expensive, v-shaped or surf-shaped boards. Some beginners even start with kneeboards and work their way up to a wakeboard. You will also need bindings that will help keep your feet attached to the board, as well as an impact vest. Your impact vest should also be a floatation device in the event that you lose hold of your rope and you are left in the water.

You should also take a couple of lessons before you begin, just to make sure you really understand the process and ensure that you are going to be safe when you are out on the water. Do not try to do any crazy tricks or jumps right out of the gate. Make sure that you learn control and balance before moving onto anything tricky.

Regardless of the reason that wakeboarding became popular, we are grateful that it did. The popularity brought new riders, new technology, and new boards to work with. The sport will continue to evolve as time goes on and we can’t wait to see what’s next.

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