Man wakesurfing behind an orange boat
On the Water, Wakesurfing

Wakesurfing vs. Wakeboarding?

Have you recently discovered that wakesurfing and wakeboarding are two entirely different sports? No worries, that’s a very common mistake! However, once you get past the names, it’s clear that the two water sports don’t actually have that much in common. Both wakesurfing and wakeboarding make for a fun day out on the lake, but they each offer a unique experience and require different equipment. Whether you are deciding which sport to take up or are looking to crossover between the two, here are some key differences that you should consider. 

  1. The Board 

Each sport requires a different board. There are generally two types of wakesurf boards: the surf style or skim style. The surf style looks more like a regular surf board and is long and thin with multiple fin variations, while skimboards are wider and shorter with a single fin box and typically have more of a flat running surface (Riding Boards). Your feet are not attached to the board in wake surfing which allows you to move around freely (Surfing Feed). Wakeboards, on the other hand, are more symmetrical and look more like a snowboard than a surfboard (Riding Boards). Your feet do fasten into a wakeboard, allowing you to get more air without losing the board beneath you (Surfing Feed)

  1. Ropes/water

Both sports do require a rope to get started, but that is where the similarities end. Most wakesurfers use a short rope (10 to 20 feet)  to get started and then throw it back into the boat (Surfing Feed). They are able to maintain momentum without the rope by pumping to stay in the wake around 10 feet behind the boat. However, wakeboarders hold the rope the entire time. Their rope is quite a bit longer (65 to 85 feet) and they trail further behind the boat (Surfing Feed). They use the rope to cross over wakes and get air, making it a necessity for the duration of the ride. 

  1. Boat/speed

While some boats are conducive to both sports, many recommend V-drive or inboard boats for wakesurfing because of the location of its propeller (Surfing Feed). For wakesurfers, having the propeller located under the boat is the safest option and these boats provide great wakes to surf. The type of boat is less important for wakeboarding, as wakeboarders have more distance between them and the boat. The important thing for wakeboarders is speed, as they need to be going at least 15 miles per hour to jump back and forth easily between wakes (Surfing Feed). Wake surfers typically prefer lower speeds, though ideal speeds vary between the two board styles (Surfing Feed)

  1. Safety

While neither sport can guarantee safety, wakesurfing tends to be easier on your body and is less likely to leave you with a serious injury (Riding Boards). Several factors play into this. First, wakesurfers travel at slower speeds, so their falls will not be as forceful. Second, the ability to move your feet freely lessens the chance that your foot will get caught in a harmful position (Riding Boards). Finally, while wakesurfing does allow for cool tricks, wakeboarding tricks often require more air and risk. There is more room for injury due to poor landings as well as the strain that hard impact landings can put on your body (Riding Boards)

Now that you have a better idea of the difference between these sports, it’s time to hit the water. If you still have questions feel free to contact us and if you need some gear to get started, check out our website!

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