Take Off on a Wakeboard

By Hawaii.com Team

Hawaii Kai, Oahu. Photo: Marine Corps Base Hawaii.

Wakeboarding has made its debut on Oahu and appears to be here to stay. Like snowboarding without the snow, boarders have discovered that riding the wake behind a boat is every bit as satisfying. The stubby, multi-directional boards are drawn behind a boat via a towrope, and the wakeboarder rides the wake. An accomplished wakeboarder learns to zig and zag across the wake and to do tricks, backrolls and tantrums (like somersaults) in the water.

Almost anyone can do it. One instructor comments that out of 600 beginners he has taught, only two failed to stand up. The training starts with a video, some instruction in the boat, and about 20 minutes in the water. Experts say wakeboarding is much easier to learn than waterskiing, partly due to the maneuverability of the board. The speed is less as well, averaging about 20 miles per hour.

But if you want to learn to waterski, lessons are available. Waterskiing requires a higher level of fitness than wakeboarding. It uses every muscle in your body, and you’ll be moving through the water faster, at about 32 miles per hour. As well, the skis are smaller and more difficult to maneuver.

In the mood for just playing around? Ride a banana boat. These inflatable rafts are towed behind ski boats and can seat up to six passengers. Bumper tubes are operated the same way as Banana Boats and hold up to three passengers. You’ll be lying down in the tube, so expect to get wet.

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