Outdoor enthusiasts can't get enough of their favorite free-range activities, and many people are constantly on the lookout for their next outdoor adventure or hobby. Snowboarding is one of the most popular outdoor activities in the world today. It is exhilarating, heart-pumping action that requires a decent amount of skill and reaction time. The only person in control is the rider, and they have to maintain balance and poise in order to avoid wiping out. Unfortunately, snowboarding can be prohibitively expensive, and it is only available during winter months, and typically requires the purchase of a daily lift pass. If you already have access to a power boat, wakeboarding may a more affordable alternative to keep you shredding (on water, rather than snow) during the summer months.
Snowboarding and Wakeboarding are two sides of the same coin. They do have distinct differences, but the sports are surprisingly similar. They both involve extreme balance while using a board to slide across some surface, and they are both essentially solo activities. There are many similarities and distinctions between the two sports, and those differences have been outlined by category below.
A wakesurfer can perform with a wakeboard on just about any body of water that would be suitable for swimming. That requires a warmer climate in a temperate zone, although technically speaking it is possible to wakesurf in cold water, with a wetsuit.
Snowboarding, on the other hand, clearly requires a climate cold enough to support packed snow on the ground. The best time to go snowboarding is significantly after a snowfall when temperatures are just near freezing. That will allow the snow to go from powder to a compact surface. Wakeboarding is best saved for warmer days with sparse wind. This helps prevent excessive waves in the water, which can disrupt the wake from the boat behind which the wakesurfer is riding.
Perhaps the largest difference between the two sports is the locations required for them. Snowboarders need mountains or hills in order for their weight to allow gravity to power their descent over the snow. Wakeboarders, however, generally need a lake (a boat with adequate engine and tow point OR a wakeboard cable park) to achieve the sort of speeds necessary for the boat to create the wake that the wakesurf board requires.
Snowboarders typically need a bit more personal gear to make their activity tolerable thanks to freezing temperatures and high winds associated with snowboarding. For instance, snowboards require boots that are bound to the board, whereas many wakesurf boards are meant to be ridden without feet protection. Snowboarders also need heavy winter clothing that is waterproof, along with goggles and gloves. Wakeboarders only really need their board, a swimming suit, a life vest, and of course, bindings which range from affordable models to more expensive ones, just like Snowboarding equipment. Of course, wakeboarding also requires a powerful boat with adequate wakeboarding rope. Some wakeboarders choose to hold on to fixed arms that keep them right beside the boat while they surf, but that is an advanced technique that many amateurs never experience.
There are a lot of at-a-glance similarities between snowboards and wakeboards, but the two are far from identical. Snowboards are typically thinner and longer than waterboards, making them ideal for downhill streamlining. Most snowboards resemble long skateboards without wheels. Wakeboards, however, are made with a wider base, and they include fins for stability on the underside of the board.
There are enough similarities between the sports of snowboarding and wakeboarding that anyone who enjoys one will most likely enjoy the other as well. If you already love to snowboard, why not take on the new challenge of learning how to wakeboard? You might be surprised by how much you love it!