Wakeboarding is one of the fastest growing water-sports in North America. It has grown and evolved from many different sports including surfing, skateboarding and snowboarding. Wakeskating is also quite similar.
A wakeboard somewhat resembles a snowboard but is used to ride on water, like water skiing. The boards are shorter in length than snowboards and slightly wider. Riders are towed either behind a boat or a more recent addition, the cable ski.
Wakeboarding is about personal expression. Riders are generally innovative and creative; as a result they have created a sport that is exciting to watch and more fun to perform.
Wakeboarding comprises a wide range of ages and skill levels. However, most competitive boarders are quite young, in their teens to early 20's. Their style and attitudes are laid back, similar to the skateboarding or snowboarding but a bit more upscale, as it requires quite a bit of money to buy a boat. However, cable parks have recently started to emerge in North America making it more affordable to get on the water.
A wakeboarding boat is similar to a water ski boat and just as expensive, with high-end boats costing over $100,000. Wakeboard boats tend to be heavier than water ski boats and have a different shape (to create a larger wake) with a tower or pole to which the rope is normally mounted. For those that cannot afford wakeboard-specific boats, large sacks filled with water are used to increase the size of the wake and create a superior ride.
Generally at competitions riders are allowed two passes through the wakeboard course during which he/she may perform any routine they wish, this is known as Freeride. Riders are judged on three categories - execution, intensity and composition.
Execution reflects the level of flawlessness to which each maneuver is performed, as well as the completion of the routine with minimum number of falls. Intensity represents the technical difficulty of the tricks and how big the moves are performed. Composition reflects the structure of the routine in terms of the rider's ability to a variety of tricks in a flowing, creative sequence.