Wakeboarding grew from surfers who couldn’t wait for the next swell. Surfers were sometimes seen being pulled behind a boat with a ski rope or pulled by a truck driving along the shore. Wakeboarding took off when a surfer from San Diego named Tony Finn, who in 1985 made the “Skurfer”, which looked like a surfboard and a water ski. Soon after straps and bindings were attached to the board which lead to an easier ride, and growing interest. Meanwhile Jimmy Redmon in Texas had designed a similar board which looked like a smaller surfboard, unknowingly he put straps on his board around the same time as Tony, the straps allowed a rider to use the wake like a ramp, able to jump into the air and do tricks unlike surfing.
After Tony’s board grew in popularity, it gave birth to a whole new sport called skiboarding. The first championships were televised, even though they were off to a slow start and struggling for media coverage. The sport’s growth became stagnant without any further innovation until Herb O’Brien started looking into different designs and materials to make boards. He was the first to design a neutral buoyancy board breathing new life into the sport.
Wakeboarding is now one of the most popular competitive watersports, full of competitions, professionals, sponsors, fans, and money! Some of the biggest events in the sport are televised live such as the Vans Triple Crown of Wakeboarding, and the Wakeboard World Cup. With viewers numbering in the tens of thousands, and the main event usually at a private or closed off lake, obstacles, rails, and ramps for the riders provide hours of entertainment for the spectators while offering challenges for the professionals as they go for highest score to win.
Wakeboarding is accessible to everyone, competitive or just for fun. Anyone can try to wakeboard at most local lakes, but for a superb learning environment, you can’t beat lake Chatuge! For anyone new to the sport the best times to wakeboard are usually in the morning or late afternoon when the water is smooth and calm, especially on busy lakes closer to large cities. Heading up to lake Chatuge though, offers you the smooth water and uncluttered coves necessary to sharpen your skills in short order. You can get a summer’s worth of boating, waterboarding, skiing, fishing done in one long weekend up here!
We have fantastic wakeboard boats for rent, with enough power to pull the heavier guys up, and enough control that even beginners feel comfortable getting their feet wet!