The following info was borrowed from Wikipedia under the GNU Free Documentation License.
Wakeboarding is a surface water sport which involves riding a wakeboard over the surface of a body of water behind a boat or Cable System . It was developed through a combination of water skiing, snowboarding and surfing techniques.
The rider is towed behind xi boat or a cable park; typically at speeds of 18-24 miles per hour (29-38 km/h), depending on water conditions, rider’s weight, board size and most importantly, the rider’s personal preference. Wakeboarding can also be performed on a variety of media including closed-course cables, winches, PWCs and ATVs.
Using edging techniques, the rider can move outside of the wake or cut rapidly in toward the wake. Jumps are performed by hitting the wake and launching into the air. This can also be done by hitting a kicker (a jump). There is also the slider (a rail bar) in which a rider approaches and rides along keeping his balance. Once a rider improves in the sport, he or she can progress to tricks high in the air. As the rope tightens the rider gains speed toward the wake. When the rider goes airborne, the tightened rope launches him and while in the air, at which point the rider may attempt to do tricks.
Different styles of wakeboards have various shapes and sizes. With this in mind, it’s important to keep personal preference and weight in mind. The larger the board (width and length), the better it floats and edges. Larger boards also make it more difficult to perform advanced tricks.
In addition, riding styles are determined by a boards camber. Manufacturers refer to this as the boards “rocker.” The two main rockers are known as the Continuous and the Three-Stage. A Continuous rocker, self-spoken, has a continuous curve throughout the top sheet. These allow for a smoother, faster ride without surface resistance. The Three-Stage rocker is made up of a flat center and abrupt changes to the tail and nose. This design was manufactured to provide more “pop” when launching off of the boats wake, allowing for more hang-time (time spent in the air).
Most wakeboards are designed and manufactured with fins. Some are molded into the board; others are detachable usually made out of aluminum, carbon fiber, or plastic. Each design determines how aggressive the board will track (“catch”) the water. Although designs cannot be altered, fins of different sizes are sold separately to better personalize the ride. Advanced riders are sometimes known to remove the fins while beginners will use them to provide better stability.
Development of the sport
Wakeboarding arose in the late 1980s after the advent of Skiboarding.
Incorrectly thought to be originally created by a surfer named Tony Finn in the mid 1980′s ‘Ski-boarding’ or ‘Skurfing’ then wakeboarding, was actually created in New Zealand by surfboard shaper Allan Byrne and friends such as Kevin Jarrett. Allan Byrne lent a ‘Skurf board’ 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.
Recently in Wakeboard Magazine in June of 2008 a photo surfaced and was published from pre 1979 of Ron Seidenglanz and Robb Seidenglanz surfing a wake being towed behind a boston whaler in Corona Del Mar California. As an adult Ron Seidenglanz spent from age 24 on to now, over 16 years making wake board films and pushing the envelope of documentation while developing a family business as Sidwayz Films. Developing the sport with as many people as possible thou documentation and community organization and love of film making. You decide which way to look at the history of wake boarding.
Many years prior to Tony Finn and the ‘Skurfer’, Australian surfboard shaper and inventor Bruce McKee launched in Australia 1982, the world’s first mass-produced plastic, roto-moulded construction ski-board (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 manoeuverability.
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 Chicagos ‘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.
The term “wakeboard” was coined by Porter Daughtry (Brooks, GA), as well as the concept and design, along with his brother Murray and a Pro snowboarder they sponsored. Paul approached Herb O’Brien with the idea and the introduction of the “hyperlite” wakeboard, named by Eric “The Flyin Hawaiian” Perez, laid the groundwork for evolution of the wakeboard throughout the 1990s. Liquid Force was started by Finn and Redmond.
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 and blew everyone away. 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 and 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.
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