An offshoot of popular youth boarding sports such as skateboarding and surfing, wakeboarding promotes a sense of youthful camaraderie. Surfers developed this spinoff as a way to have fun on days when there were low waves. This constant search for adventure fits the wakeboarding lifestyle, which is about pushing the limits. While wakeboarding and water sports in general might conjure up images of bleached-blonde surfer dudes hanging out on beaches in the sun, wakeboarding is a serious sport that offers a variety of health benefits. Wakeboarding burns 350 calories per hour and also tones up arm, leg, abdominal and back muscles [source: Black].
In addition, wakeboarding appeals to a variety of ages. It's not unusual in wakeboarding circles for a 75-year-old man to take lessons or a grandfather to form a wakeboarding club. Although wakeboarding was created by youth, it attracts diverse groups of enthusiasts.
While some people wakeboard just for fun, others take it to another level. First held in Tahiti 1971, the World Cup sponsored by the International Water Ski Federation has evolved for more than thirty years to reflect the quickly developing popularity of waterskiing and wakeboarding. These days, the Waterski and Wakeboard World Cup brings together the world's top-ranked wakeboarders to compete at a variety of stops around the world. Competing in Russia, Singapore, Egypt, India, Qatar and Malaysia -- which are just a few popular wakeboarding spots -- participants represent 19 countries. In order to participate, athletes must rank in the top 20 according to the International Water Ski Federation. The goal of the World Cup series is to bring the best water sport athletes to highly-populated, international urban environments to bring more exposure to these sports.
Although wakeboarding appeals to a broad range of people and offers many benefits to the body, it can be dangerous. A survey of 156 orthopedic surgeons and 86 wakeboarders revealed that 77 percent of wakeboarders sustained some sort of injury, the most common of which included ACL tears, ankle sprains or shoulder dislocations. [source: Carson].
Nonetheless, the wakeboarding craze seems here to stay. Wakeboarding has even spawned new sports like wakeskating, another popular and growing sport.
Are you ready to get in on the action? Follow the great links on the next page for lots more information on how wakeboarding works.