Sport Spotlight: Wakeboarding

In wakeboarding, one rides a wakeboard–and performs tricks–over the surface of a body of water while being pulled behind a boat.

The Heat System: Each heat can have a maximum of six riders with the preference being four or five (the number depends on the total number of riders entered). An equal number of riders from each heat advance to the semi-finals and then the finals. The categories are 14U Boys/Girls, 18U Men/Women (Junior), 30+ Men/Women (Masters), 40+ Men/Women (Veteran) and Open (which has no age restriction).

Obstacle (Photo from

Equipment: Wakeboard, life vest, towlines (handles and ropes) and helmet (if the rider chooses to hit any of the obstacles in the wakeboard course). Obviously, a boat is also needed.

The rider may pass through the course (which is marked by buoys with a minimum of 370 meters between the start and end buoys) twice while performing any routine he wants. If the rider falls twice, his ride his over. According to the IWWF website, “Riders are encouraged to perform a smooth flowing routine with a wide variety of tricks. Each maneuver should be different and executed as cleanly as possible and taken to its limit.” Three judges will watch and score the ride from the tow boat. The maximum score a rider can get is 100 points with a total of 33.3 possible points for execution, 33.4 points for intensity and 33.3 points for composition. The rider’s score is the average of the three judges’ scores. has an extensive glossary of wakeboarding terms and tricks.

The governing body is the International Waterski & Wakeboard Federation (IWWF), and you can find a copy of the Wakeboard World Rules here.

Watch this if you want to learn more about board design:

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