Wakeboarding is a surface water sport which involves riding a wakeboard over the surface of a body of water. It was developed from a combination of water skiing, snow boarding and surfing techniques.
The rider is usually towed behind a motorboat, typically at speeds of 17–24 miles per hour, depending on the water conditions, board size, rider’s weight, type of tricks, and rider’s comfort speed. This speed could also depend on the year, make, and model of the boat because some boats, which are not designed for wakeboarding, create a different size wake which the rider may not feel comfortable with. But a wakeboarder can also be towed by other means, including closed-course cable systems, winches,PWCs, trucks/cars, and ATVs.
Wakeboarding is organised by the International Waterski and Wakeboard Federation (IWWF) founded in 1946. Previously called the International Waterski Federation (Renamed the IWWF in 2009). The IWWF has been recognised by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) as an official partner since 1967. Wakeboarding is part of the World Games (Non Olympic Games patronise by IOC) since 2005.
The IWWF has more than 90 Member Nations all over the World and is organising the Nationals Championships together with this Federations all over the globe. IWWF also hosts IWWF World Championships, the IWWF World Cup, the IWWF World Trophy and hundreds of international competitions. With more than 90 affiliate countries, hundreds of clubs and thousands of members the IWWF is the global leader in the sports of waterski and wakeboarding.
The IWWF and its Cable Wakeboard World Council (CWWC) is a rider formed voluntary nonprofit working council which organising and promote the sport on a worldwide level. It is the group for organising competitions, developing the Cable Wakeboard World Rules, formats, judging criteria, educating Judges and helping organisers to running the competitions.
The CWWC is specialist in running the sports part of events under fair conditions for all riders, fair and fast judging, perfect just in time timetables, live and online results and TV Production Results Interfaces for Live Streaming or Live TV Productions.
The History of Wakeboarding
Wakeboarding arose in the late 1980s after the advent of skiboarding (now snowboarding).
“Skurfing” was is a sport that will have many origins but is said to be created in Australia / New Zealand with binding-less hand shaped boards designed specifically for towing. A ‘Skurf board’ was lent to Jeff Darby and friends in Queensland, Australia who started to make their own and who later came in contact with Tony Finn who was to later produce their brand ‘Skurfer’ under royalty.
On the other side of the world in 1983, Howard Jacobs created several wakeboards by mounting windsurfing foot straps and partial hydro-slide pads on some smaller surfboards that he had shaped; by 1984, he was throwing back flips on the St. Johns River in Jacksonville, Florida.
A few years prior to Tony Finn and the ‘Skurfer’, Australian surfboard shaper and inventor Bruce McKee along with associate Mitchell Ross, launched in Australia, the world’s first mass-produced plastic, roto-moulded construction ‘Skurfboard’ named the ‘Mcski’, later ‘SSS’ skiboard and later ‘Wake-snake’. The board had adjustable rubber foot-straps, concave tunnel bottom and a keel fin.
Two smaller side fins were later added for greater hold and more manoeuvrability. McKee and Ross also applied for and were granted two patents, one in 1984 for a basic adjustable binding system and the other in 1985 for a patent for their adjustable plate type foot strap system.
Bruce McKee and associate Mitchell Ross negotiated with USA’s Medalist Waterskis and the first American production was launched. The launch of the product, American version being named the ‘Surf-Ski’ was in 1984 at Chicago’s ‘IMTEC’show. At the show McKee also met Tony Finn who would be the proposed Californian representative.
Tony Finn went on to do his own negotiations with Darby and company from Australia and the result as mentioned above were the US boards later launched under the ‘Skurfer’ brand name in September, 1985. The name was supplied by the guys from Darby who also supplied the first board designs. Jimmy Redmon independently developed his own production boards in the US under the name of ‘Redline Designs’ at the same time Finn was releasing the ‘Skurfer’ (Finn and Redmon later founded ‘Liquid Force’). The foam filled floating boards of the period went by many names, but the generic term eventually became ‘skiboard’. It’s riders participated in ‘skiboarding’.
While the ‘Surf-Ski’ found limited success in the United States, the ‘Skurfer’ brand promoted by Tony Finn became a viable product, mostly due to FInn’s tireless promotions and colourful personality. Finn’s position as the most visible promoter of the sport when it became widely known has often caused him to be mistakenly named as the inventor of the sport. A more accurate, though no less important description would be populariser.
The term “wakeboarding” was coined by Paul Fraser (Vancouver, Canada), along with his brother Murray and a Pro snowboarder they sponsored. Paul approached Herb O’Brien of HO Sports, and Herb went on to manufacture and sell the ‘Hyperlite’ wakeboard in January, 1991; the world’s first compression molded boards. The new manufacturing technique redefined the sport: skiboarding became wakeboarding. The neutral flotation of the ‘Hyperlite’ allowed for much easier starts, and the sport was now available to a much wider demographic.
The World Skiboard Association was founded in 1989 and the First World Skiboard Championships was held on the Island of Kauai, Hawaii, on the Wailua River. The next year Eric Perez defended his title against Darin Shapiro. This is when the Hyperlite wakeboard was introduced. The first US Nationals were held later that same year in Colorado Springs, CO on Prospect lake, hosted by Tommy Phillips.
Competitions began popping up around the United States throughout the early 1990s. Wakeboarding was added as a competitive sport in the X Games II. The World Skiboard Association “changed its focus” and was re- named the World Wakeboard Association (WWA).