Wakeboarding - Competitive and Fun

Thu, May 31, 2012 at 12:00AM

Wakeboarding today is a fun athletic activity and highly competitive watersport whose origins go back a few decades, evolving from a combination of surfing, waterskiing and snowboarding.

Surfers, tired of paddling out and waiting for wave action, eventually attempted being towed by a rope behind a boat. Soon they learned a shorter board would maneuver better, and in 1985, San Diego surfer Tony Finn developed the Skurfer - a hybrid of a water ski and a surfboard. He used his Skurfer to perform surf-style carving moves on the boat’s wake. Riders could stand anywhere on these boards since there were no straps or bindings, but soon a major development occurred with the addition of footstraps.

Herb O'Brien, a successful businessman and owner of H.O. Sports, introduced the first compression-molded wakeboard, the Hyperlite, whose neutral buoyancy allowed the rider to submerge it for easy deepwater starts. His innovation made the new watersport accessible to everyone, and sparked the explosion of wakeboarding. Meanwhile, Jimmy Redmon of Austin, Texas, had added straps to his Redline design water ski board, causing raves in the surfing community there. The footstraps allowed for big air, taking the sport to the next level.

The sport grew, and the boards continued to improve. The 1990 Hyperlites had the overall shape of a surfboard with an obvious tip and tail. In 1993, Redmon developed the 'twin-tip' design, a symmetrical shape that has become today's standard in the sport.

Redmon is responsible for developing the rules and formats that maintain the integrity of the sport and the essence of wakeboarding. In 1989 he founded the World Wakeboard Association (WWA) [], a non-profit organization created by wakeboarders, which sanctions and supports wakeboard events around the world.

The sport flourished professionally in 1992 when Florida’s World Sports & Marketing began staging pro wakeboard events, giving boarders a chance to compete professionally, with exposure on ESPN. Wake Boarding magazine was launched the next year by World Publications, and the Pro Wakeboard Tour continues to grow each year. Professional events were recently held in Florida and Brazil, with more scheduled in the USA, France, Canada and The Netherlands, culminating in the WWA Wake Park World Championships in Abu Dhabi, UAE, in August.

The ultimate titles for any professional rider are the Pro Wakeboard Tour, the Vans Triple Crown of Wakeboarding and the Wakeboard World Cup.

Wakeboarding, like all extreme sports, is a lifestyle for many. But most of us can enjoy some level of wakeboarding, one of the largest and fastest growing watersports in the world. Last year, nearly 4 million people participated.

Monterey makes some great wakeboarding boats, with a wakeboard tower which places the "pull point" about 2 meters (7 feet) off the water's surface. The high tow point gives the rider more control and greater ease in performing maneuvers. They can also utilize a ballast system, featured as an option in our M Series boats.

A milestone for Monterey Boats was our Air Assist Chine, introduced into the sport boat hulls in 1999. This revolutionary design inserts air under the hull allowing for a faster planing time and a slower speed to stay on plane. Ideal for wakeboarding! Check out all our Monterey Sport Boats, M Series and Supersport models for wakeboarding and many other watersports fun.

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