Water sports have come a long way since water skiing was invented in 1922. With the inception of O’Brien Watersports in 1962, water sports instantly became a hit in the USA and across the world. Along the years, new techniques and equipment have been developed for the further enjoyment of boat-pulling sports. Here’s an overview of exciting new water sports equipment you may have heard of, but don’t know a lot about. Water skiing is just the tip of the iceberg regarding the plethora of exciting water sports.
- Wakeskis: Wakeskis are essentially twin-tipped water skis, with HO Sports being the only manufacturer in the USA that makes this newfangled ski, designed to do cool tricks off boat wakes or to hit rails, kickers and other self-imposed obstacles. HO Wakeskis have aluminum fins that assist in providing stability and tracking at both tip and tail. Wakeskis are also being developed by Stereo Skis, a company out of Norway. The two Wakeskis currently being proffered by HO Sports include the 130 and 145.
- Wakeboards: While wakeboarding (also known as skiboarding) has been around since the 1980’s, wakeboarding is still a hugely popular sport among water sports enthusiasts. Participants of the sport use a wakeboard and are typically pulled behind a boat while standing. The attractive aspects of wakeboarding are the ability to easily maneuver across the wake and the abundant tricks one can perform (much like snowboarding). Ronix, CWB and O’Brien sell the most popular wakeboards.
- Wakeskates: Unlike wakeboarding (although wakeskating and wakeboarding are similar), with wakeskating, the participants’ feet are not fixed to the board in any way (i.e., there are no strict placements for the feet, just like skateboarding), giving enthusiasts much more freedom when it comes to tricks, although it makes the sport much more difficult. Wakeskating has been around since the late 1970s, but at that time users simply used regular surfboards pulled behind a boat. Wakeskating now utilizes the shorter wakeboard style to do more tricks and catch more air.
- Wakesurfers: Wakesurfing is a bit of a throwback to the old-school roots of wakeskates, with users using surfboards to ride a boat’s wake. What makes wakesurfing different however is that once the participant has been pulled up by the tow rope, they drop the rope and simply ride the boat’s wake. Inboard boats are exclusively used for this sport, as participants generally get really close to the source of the wake in order to get the feel of a real ocean wave. Boards used for this sport are generally 5’ long or shorter.
- Wakekites: Part wakeboarding, part kiteboarding, wakekites are an extreme form of wakeboarding that allows participants to catch major air using a huge kite the flies above the user (with them attached by rope to the kite). This exciting new sport requires no wind, making it a limiting sport, although when you do get out on your wakekite, the adrenaline rush is like no other. Reduced-gravity landings and greater safety (versus kiteboarding) also make this sport attractive.
Also - don't forget about all the other exciting water sports equipment; equipment that may have been around for years, but is only getting better thanks to improved technology (notably tubes and towables, with cool new cylindrical shapes). Check out our reviews of the best water sports stores online.
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