The LeSabre

The LeSabre

The LeSabre

Summer activities: wakeboarding

Lance Hamak
Wakeboarding is a fun and engaging water sport that is done all over the United States.

In continuing the summer activities series, in this article I am reviewing the next popular water sport, wakeboarding. A popular water sport that is found on lakes all over the lakes of Minnesota, wakeboarding has slowed in popularity as the new fad, wake surfing has taken over most of the water sport craze.

Wakeboarding was first introduced in the late 90s and into the early 2000s. Wakeboarding is a faster pace sport than wake surfing, traveling at speeds ranging from 18-23 mph. Bindings are then used to strap in your feet to the board to perform tricks easier.  Wakeboarding experienced its surge when cable parks began to pop up around the US. These cable parks began to gain popularity as they were a place where wake boarders could practice and perform tricks on jumps and rails. Competitions are held at these cable parks where the X games, WWA world championships, and other competitive events are held for pro wake boarders. 

Wakeboarding is a water sport that can be enjoyed by all ages. The nice thing about wakeboarding is that you can be pulled behind any boat or jet ski to enjoy it, while the popular wake surfing can only be done behind a special type of boat that requires ballast tanks under the boat to make a wave big enough to let go of the rope and surf freely. The technology enhancements made year over year has made wake boards and boats more versatile and efficient to accommodate the rider behind the boat to their wave specifications. 

The difference between the impossible and the possible lies in a person’s determination. – Former MLB player and manager

— Tommy Lasorda

There is huge controversy in today’s age on the better water sport wakeboarding vs wake surfing. Wakeboarding is usually said to be the more difficult of the two, wake surfing requires speeds of 10-11 mph, while wakeboarding is more than double which can also make it more dangerous. 

Despite the extreme nature, wakeboarding can be a fun water activity for riders of all types of skill level and will always be one of the most popular water sports seen out on the lakes. 

Many debate as to what sport is better? Wakeboarding vs wake surfing. 

The information in this infographic below was provided by Supra boats. 

The two sports have many similarities along with some differences. Wake surfing is a slower pace and less injury prone as you travel at speeds around 10 mph with no bindings, freely traveling up and down the wave. Many say that surfing is a sport that is easy to learn and hard to master, and I am a firm believer in that. Once you get the hang of letting go of the rope and carving up and down the wave you feel very accomplished, but what comes ahead is very difficult. Performing tricks like pop shuvits and tail spins takes lots of talent and practice. 

On the other hand wakeboarding is a lot more fast paced and invigorating. Wakeboarding requires speeds of 18-20 mph. The board itself has bindings where you strap your feet in to stay on the board while constantly hanging onto the rope. Wakeboarding includes a wide variety of tricks to learn and perform: power slide, surface 180, tail grab, and a tantrum are some of the many tricks a wakeboarder can learn.

Both water sports are very exciting and fun experiences. If I had to choose between the two, I would choose wake surfing. Although you can do many tricks with wakeboarding it can also come with consequences. Wipeouts while wake surfing can cause injuries and just flat out hurt. Wakeboarding also takes far more body exertion and holding onto the rope can be very strenuous. Trying to learn new tricks and wiping out time after time can take a big toll on your body and be painful. 

Wake surfing is a sport that is far less dangerous and doesn’t hurt when you fall. You can practice tricks and wipeouts are just a casual fall to the water. You are also not strapped into your board which makes you more versatile to carve up and down the wave. 

In an interview with avid surf and wakeboarder Logan Hamak, he shares his thoughts on what he likes and how they differ.

“Surfing is a really enjoyable sport that anyone can do and doesn’t hurt when you fall because you’re traveling at slow speeds. Surfing takes years of practice to learn tricks which is what makes it fun. Once you get the 360 down which is one of the beginner tricks it is a huge jump to a broader range of tricks like 180 shove it and hang 10. Wakeboarding is fun as well but can be hard on your body when trying new tricks and wiping out. Going at faster speeds makes it hurt more when you fall and constantly holding onto the rope can strain your hands and arms.”

I also asked him what advice he has to anyone trying to learn how to do these water sports and how to have the most success: “The hardest part to wakeboarding and surfing is initially getting up, you need to stay patient and let the rope pull you up, once you get up for the first time you will always be able to with the muscle memory.”

More to Discover
About the Contributor
Lance Hamak
Lance Hamak, Journalist
Grade: Senior Hobbies: Wake surfing, hanging out with friends, and traveling Favorite Season: Summer Favorite Food: Steak Future Plans: Playing golf at The University of South Dakota