The history of wakeboarding and Watersports

History of wakeboarding and watersports

When did wakeboarding start? Where did wakeboarding start? In this article are going to take some time to dive into some history of wakeboarding and Watersports.

If you have spent any time near a body of water I can almost guarantee that you have seen people wakeboarding or wakesurfing behind a boat. If you’re a fan of the fastest growing water sport, you may be curious how it all came about. Who was the genius who thought to be towed behind boat, and try to do tricks by jumping the wake? I wonder if they knew that it would start a revolution for one of the most popular watersports in the world. Lets break down the evolution of wakeboarding and watersports over the years.

History of Watersports into Wakeboarding

In the early 20th century, motorized boats began to be used for recreational activities such as fishing and water skiing. Water skiing was invented in the 1920s by Ralph Samuelson, who is considered the father of the sport. He used two wooden planks as skis and a rope attached to a motorboat to pull himself across the water. Water skiing quickly became a popular pastime, and the first official water ski tournament was held in 1949.

As the popularity of water skiing grew, so did the demand for boats specifically designed for the sport. In the early days, water ski boats were often modified versions of existing boats, such as runabouts. However, as the sport became more competitive, boat manufacturers began to create boats specifically designed for water skiing. These boats were typically built with a V-shaped hull and a powerful engine, which provided the speed and stability needed for water skiing.


Wakeboarding came along a little further down the line and it has its roots in water skiing, surfing, snowboarding. The sport can trace its origins back to the 1980s, when a group of water ski enthusiasts began experimenting with new ways to ride behind a boat. One of the earliest forms of wakeboarding was called “skurfing,” which required the so-called skurfer to ride a surfboard behind a boat using a rope and handle. 

Skurfing quickly gained popularity among water sports enthusiasts, and the name of the sport was changed to skiboarding. The World Skiboard Association was founded in 1989, and the first Skurfer Skiboard World Championships were in 1990 on the Wailua River in Hawaii. After a few changes to the design of the boards they decided to change the name to The World Wakeboarding Association in 1991. 

The first modern wakeboards were designed and manufactured by Herb O’brien by his company, Hyperlite, in 1991. These early wakeboards were shorter and wider than traditional water skis, with fins on the bottom for added stability and control. They also featured a boot-like binding system that allowed riders to better control their movements and perform tricks.

As wakeboarding continued to gain popularity, the sport began to evolve and diversify. Riders started to develop new tricks and styles, and wakeboarding competitions began to pop up around the world.

The Next Generation

In the late 90s and early 2000s, wakeboarding experienced a surge in popularity as cable parks began to be built, allowing riders to ride behind a cable system without needing a boat. This made the sport more accessible to people who did not own a boat or live near a large body of water.

Today, wakeboarding is a mainstream sport that is enjoyed by people of all ages and skill levels around the world. With the advancement of technology, wakeboards and boats have become more efficient and versatile, allowing riders to push the limits of what is possible on the water.

Whether you’re a beginner looking to try something new, or an experienced rider looking to push your limits, wakeboarding is a sport that offers something for everyone. With its rich history and exciting future, wakeboarding is sure to remain a popular water sport for many years to come.

Key Figures in Wakeboarding History

Tony Finn is often referred to as the “Father of Wakeboarding”, and for good reason. His invention of the wakeboard has had a profound impact on the sport, making it what it is today.

Jimmy Redmon is another important figure in wakeboarding history, contributing greatly to the sport through his designs and innovations. Herb O’Brien also played a key role in the development of the ski rope, which is an essential component of wakeboarding.

These individuals, along with many others, have helped to shape the sport of wakeboarding, making it the exciting and dynamic water sport that it is today.

Wakeboarding vs. Other Water Sports

Wakeboarding is often compared to water skiing, and the two sports do have some similarities. However, there are also key differences between the two, with wakeboarding being considered a more extreme and high-flying sport.

Wakeboarding is also sometimes compared to wakesurfing, which is a newer and growing sport. While the two sports share some similarities, wakeboarding is typically considered to be the more challenging of the two.

Despite its extreme nature, wakeboarding is accessible to riders of all skill levels, and can even be enjoyed by those who can’t swim. With the right equipment and the proper technique, anyone can experience the thrill of wakeboarding.

About Supra

Supra Boats is a boat manufacturer that specializes in building boats for wakeboarding and watersports. The company was founded in 1980 and is based in Maryville, Tennessee. Supra boats are known for their high-quality construction and advanced technology, which makes us perfect for wakeboarding and other watersports. 

We have a wide range of models available, each designed with a specific purpose in mind. Supra also offer boats that can be configured for different types of water sports like wakeboarding, and wakesurfing

One of the key features of Supra boats is the advanced ballast system we use. This system allows the rider to customize the size and shape of the wake, making it perfect for riders of all skill levels. In addition, Supra boats are also equipped with a powerful engine and advanced steering and control systems, which provide a high level of responsiveness and control on the water.

The history of watersports has evolved over the years, with new activities and technologies emerging all the time. Today, watersports are enjoyed by people of all ages and skill levels, and Supra Boats have played a key role in this evolution by providing high-quality, advanced boats specifically designed for wakeboarding and other watersports.