What’s The Difference Between Wakeboarding & Wakesurfing?

What’s The Difference Between Wakeboarding & Wakesurfing?

Wakeboarding and wakesurfing may appear to be different names for the same activity: they both involve using a board to ride the wake created by a boat, enthusiasts will know that they are two distinct activities with their own specific kit and techniques. Here’s a look at the differences between them, and how to decide which sport is right for you.

Wakeboarding definition 

Wakeboarding involves riding a board while being towed behind a boat. The rider stands on a wakeboard and is pulled along by a tow rope attached to the boat. The rider then uses their body weight to surf the board back and forth over the wake created by the boat. 

Typically the rider’s feet are attached to the board with bindings for extra stability, and the rider maintains a sideways position on the board. Wakeboards are made from lightweight durable materials and resemble shorter and broader surfboards.

Wakesurfing definition

Wakesurfing involves riding the wake of a boat without being attached to the boat. The rider may initially use a tow rope to get started, but once they are riding the wake they let go and surf close behind the boat. The rider will typically face forwards on the board and usually their feet are not held in place by bindings.

What equipment do you need?

You will need a board that is specifically designed for either wakesurfing, wakeboarding or cable wakeboarding; check out the product descriptions carefully. You will also need a rope and handle, board bindings for wakeboarding, and a lifejacket. You may want other safety equipment such as gloves, an impact vest, and a helmet. 

Which sport is right for me?

Wakeboarding is considered to be the more challenging sport, because it involves higher speeds and it requires good upper body strength to hold on to the rope. If you love the adrenaline rush of speed and are up for the challenge, then wakeboarding could be for you. As you get more confident, you can learn how to perform tricks and jumps.

Wakesurfing is considered to be a more beginner-friendly sport, because it involves lower speeds and the rope doesn’t need to be continuously held on to. As the rider is surfing the wake rather than being towed, it’s easier to maintain control and falls are less turbulent. It’s more about enjoying the ride than mastering manoeuvres. 

Both sports require good balance, and it helps to have a strong core and good leg strength. Wakesurfing can generally be learned by anyone with a reasonable sense of balance. Another popular way to learn is at a cable park, where you are towed by ropes attached to cable towers at one end of a body of water.