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Is wake boarding participation declining?

dislanddisland Posts: 1,303 Mega Baller
Seems surfing has really put a dent in wake boarding. I cant remember when I last heard about an amateur competition in my area.

Are wakeboard sales way down? Are there less pro contract's? Who tracks this stuff?
Dave Island- Princeton Lakes


  • LoopSkiLoopSki Posts: 513 Crazy Baller
    maybe they moved to cable
  • HortonHorton Posts: 27,444 Administrator
    @disland my understanding is wakeboard sales have been gently declining for a number of years

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  • UWSkierUWSkier Posts: 1,155 Mega Baller
    wakeboarding is down bigtime in my circles. Most of the slalom folks I know who took up wakeboarding have come back to slalom but dabble in surf. Most folks I know who started out wakeboarding went pure surf.
  • ScottScottScottScott Posts: 797 Crazy Baller
    Its amazing to me that the general boating, and lake front living, population has tolerated bigger and bigger wakes that disrupt other boat traffic and cause greater erosion issues. Its not like they are all doing it either. Watersports is really only a fraction of the overall boating public. And only a fraction of the people that live on lakes actually do much boating.
  • vtmechengvtmecheng Posts: 583 Crazy Baller
    edited June 7
    @ScottScott my family has a lake house and my impression is that general boating and lake front owners either surf or hate it. The boats definitely cause large erosion and limit what others can do. The loud music isn't always great when we just want to relax on the dock with a drink. Problem is that they are boaters who spend money at marinas and shore restaurants, so there is little push to stop them.
  • APBAPB Posts: 242 Baller
    Massive decline.
  • ToddLToddL Posts: 2,801 Mega Baller
    Water sports has moved onto to the "Easy" button generation. What I see most prevalent on public lakes are towed inflatables for the kids and surfing for the teens through adults. These are the "easy button" of water sports.
    -- The future of skiing depends upon welcoming novice skiers regardless of age to our sport.
  • gregygregy Posts: 2,574 Mega Baller
    Do people just not get out as much these days? I remember canoeing and camping on the river 25 years ago and at times you could hardly find a place to camp. Lately when I've been to the same camp its empty and the population has greatly increased in the area.
  • APBAPB Posts: 242 Baller
    It’s happening in snowboarding, downhill skiing, skateboarding & wakeboarding. The stuff portrayed on tv, the web and social media is unattainable for most. Especially in wake.... a 200k boat, double flips and 1080’s. What wake needs now to get the needle moving again is the industry acceptance of promoting an outboard boat/ cheaper inboard , cruising around, carving/ slashing around, some grabs, good times with friends..... that will get kids, teens and families interested again.

    A lot of families keep walking at boat shows when the see boat, board, etc pricing and sales guys saying this is what you need! Easier to pick up a tube.
  • Southside_MikeSouthside_Mike Posts: 16 Baller
    They're on cable. Cheaper, less painful, much faster progression (easier).
  • addkerraddkerr Posts: 170 Baller
    Not sure if its just my niche but I have only taught a few wakeboard beginner lessons this year, as for skiing, this year I have taught maybe 10x the amount of beginners versus the same time last year. This would normally be pretty 50/50. Tubing is always good fun for the kids but more and more total beginners at my site want to ski then have some fun tubing. This sport may not be dead yet! As a skier I am happy.
  • TB29TB29 Posts: 6 Baller
    It is unfortunately. 10 years ago, a sunny and hot Saturday would have the lake packed with wakeboarders in the afternoon. Now, I hardly see any all summer long. Hell, I hardly see tubers anymore! Everyone is just wakesurfing now. Maybe it's because there's a near-zero chance of getting hurt, and it's easy to get a video of you shotgunning a beer for instagram. Who knows! I hope to see a rise in wakeboarding again.
  • ThomasAliveThomasAlive Posts: 55 Baller
    Bingo @Fatroll. Back in the mid-90's we were wakeboarding behind regular tournament ski boats. It was a ton of fun. Once we had our fundamentals down we added a bit of weight and a skylon pole. We then learned spins and inverts without a problem. Lots of falling but nothing like the crashes you take on these big honking wakes of today. The huge wakes today don't allow them to learn the basics. Beginners go out and take one nasty fall then realize surfing is way more enjoyable. 90% of the wakeboarders I see out here should be behind a smaller boat, shorten the rope, and go slower. Have you seen how sloppy a fat wakeboat's wake is at 17mph? No thank you.

    Anyways...I miss the 90's. :)
  • tlarocquetlarocque Posts: 54 Baller
    Surfers=Tubers>wakeboarder>skiers. I'll be surprised if my dock is still standing in a couple more summers with the rollers that come ashore. I guess I'm a little spoiled living where I do because I feel like if you want to surf you should go to the beach and keep $200k in the bank. As far as wakeboarders.... I RARELY see someone who is any good. We have a couple on the lake and the rest just ride around and hop the wake a little like me. Fortunately I can still get in some good skiing in the mornings and evenings.
  • UWSkierUWSkier Posts: 1,155 Mega Baller
    @ThomasAlive I think you're onto something here. There's no way to mellow out a G23 wake enough to make it something that won't kill a 12 year old learning to go wake-to-wake. Ironically, wake boats are partially killing wakeboarding.
  • BraceMakerBraceMaker Posts: 3,629 Mega Baller
    @Jody_Seal in all seriousness my 60s aged mother got leveled off the platform a few summers ago, we were all chatting while she got her skis on and wham broad sided by a huge roller off a surf boat. Luckily she had just gotten everything on and laughed it off. If she'd gotten hurt I think the boat crew would be assembling molotovs.
  • mfjaegersrmfjaegersr Posts: 134 Baller
    I used to wish for exactly this (decline)...until it became clear the next ‘wave’ was just THAT...a YUUUGE! wave. 🤦‍♂️

    Now, just about any no-talent @ss clown can - within the weekend if not same day - get that Hero shot for Instagram and Facebook, drawing oohs! and ahhhs! from the uninitiated, unknowing throng of anonymous worshippers. While docks and shorelines take it in the teeth.

    Oh, but for the days when it (Correct Craft) was all about NO Wake!
  • E_TE_T Posts: 605 extraterrestrial trouble maker
    Surfers are people who don’t have the balls to wakeboard or ski. They don’t want to put in the work or time to learn
    E.T. phone home!
    I like reese's pieces

    "Leave nothing on the dock"~AM
  • escmanazeescmanaze Posts: 700 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    From my perspective, I have to believe wakeboard sales to be WAY down. Surfing is up. Way up. As a skier, I think it works to my benefit though as the surfers need deeper water and know they need deeper water so they stay even farther away from my precious little waterski course.
  • skinutskinut Posts: 410 Baller
    edited June 10
    So the trend in towed water sports seems to be moving from Hard=Skiing, A little less hard=wakeboarding, easier=surfing, stupid easy=tubing. At what point do people who surf and tube get tired of it? I think surfing is fun for about five minutes and then get bored with it. I hate tubing because I get the [email protected] beat out of me. So at the end of the day do you have an industry that is slowly killing itself because they have moved to a sport that requires little effort to master and can create boredom?

    I have to wonder if there will be boat cost overload once (200k )boat owners tire of driving in circles with a tube or in a big arc with the boat listing to one side while watching someone down a beer while riding a wave. I wonder what the next wave of towed water sports will be.

    Then again I'm a skier so my perspective is significantly skewed.
  • swc5150swc5150 Posts: 2,220 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    If the big 3 boat forums and marina pro shop inventories are indicators, the answer is yes.
    Scott Calderwood
  • RINLERINLE Posts: 60 Baller
    I still wakeboard but I am too old to push it hard. I can push my slalom ski really hard, and can take a barefoot fall, but no way at 50 I am going to really push my limits to try and advance on a wakeboard anymore.

    Only trips the ER with the kids were also wakeboarding.

    Catching air on a wakeboard sure is fun, but it has got to be the most dangerous of all our flavors of watersports.
  • hockeyref74hockeyref74 Posts: 21 Baller
    oh I hope so
  • One_SkiOne_Ski Posts: 66 Baller
    I took boatload of high school seniors out recently. One was a nice kid - a snowboard instructor who'd never waterski'ed. I encouraged him to try two skis first and get a feel for it, but he insisted on one ski. I pulled him, but after three tries, he gave up. He wouldn't ski again - only wanted to tube. He could have figured it out if he'd wanted to; just didn't seem willing to admit it was harder than he'd expected. I'm thinking he's typical of those kids who strap on a wakeboard behind an expensive boat with massive wakes, then do the typical whiplash faceplant. One of these, and they're done. It looks easy, but it's not. Go figure.
  • DragoDrago Posts: 1,531 Mega Baller
    Not at all what i see @ Lake Powell. I see big,loud,jacked diesels pulling big wake-makers . Lots of ink, backwards pro fit caps, pumping music, perfect hair, enhanced front-ends...
    Even a 2nd mortgage on my house couldn’t buy all that stuff. Anyway, i see lots more surfboards than wakeboards
    SR SL Judge & Driver (“a driver who is super late on the wheel and is out of sync”)
  • DWDW Posts: 1,991 Mega Baller
    “There are only three sports: bullfighting, motor racing, and mountaineering; all the rest are merely games.” Ernest Hemingway.
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