Clearwater and warm temperatures always tempt me to go out and enjoy some recreational activities. Some of the major sports that I participate in are wakeboarding and kiteboarding.
At one point, I got curious whether I can use my wakeboard for kiteboarding, I did my research, and this is what I gathered.
Can a Wakeboard be Used for Kiteboarding?
Kitesurfing has grown in popularity in the previous years, and it’s attracting even wakeboarders. If you had already invested in a wakeboard, yes, you can use a wakeboard to kiteboard, but it might restrict your moves. Read on to learn more.
What Are the Similarities Between Wakeboards and Kiteboards?
Although the two boards have different purposes, they have physical similarities. By looking at them, you will realize that the core material and the technology used make them seem identical. Most brands that produce wakeboards also manufacture kiteboards.
The Difference Between a Kiteboard and Wakeboard?
The main difference between the two boards is the rocker. This is the amount of curvature at the bottom of the boards. Most wakeboards have about a three-inch rocker, while for a kiteboard, it’s just an inch.
The wakeboard rocker is more pronounced to handle high speed of operation, of up to 30mph. Kiteboarding, on the other hand, is more about planning rather than speed.
The kiteboarders ride at a speed of around 15mph to 20 mph, so they need a flatter board to stay afloat across the water.
Kiteboards are also lighter, smaller, and more flexible. On the other hand, wakeboards are heavier, thicker, and larger. Kiteboards fall between four to six pounds, while wakeboard weighs from seven to eight pounds.
This is to control the speed of the water. When wakeboarding, you don’t want to gain too much speed since it can be dangerous. For kiteboarding, the idea is to achieve the highest speed possible to perform those exhilarating tricks.
Some kiteboarding tricks involve getting off the board, so the board has a foot strap system for safety purposes.
How Do the Two Sports Differ?
You need to get deeper into the logistics of the two sports to understand the differences better. Wakeboard seems like an extension of waterskiing where a rider holds onto a cable connected to a boat.
Your objective is to ride on the wave created by the boat. The speed comes from horizontal traction in the rope from the boat, meaning that the rider has no control over speed. It entirely depends on the boat so you need to choose the the right one.
For kiteboarding, the rider stands on the board harnessed to a kite, and they use wind traction from the kite to create the speed required to move across the water. Rather than using motor power like in wakeboarding, you rely on the energy from the wind for propulsion.
The speed in kitesurfing varies based on the strength of the wind, the water surface, and how the rider controls the kite power.
For wakeboarding, you depend primarily on your upper body strength. Once the boat pulls you, all the force goes to your arms and upper body, and you will feel exhausted within a short period.
You still use your arm and upper body for kiteboarding, but the pull force goes to the hip and core. You will therefore last longer without feeling exhausted or getting out of the water.
Before wakeboarding, first, ensure that you have the right gear like a helmet, boots, and impact vest. You start by floating in the water on your back with your hands stretched forward, holding the tow rope.
Keep your knees bent with the arms on each side of the knees. The board should be in front of you towards the boat and strapped to your feet. Once you are ready, signal the boat rider to take off.
Allow the boat to pull you to the standing position and pick up the speed.
On the other hand, for kiteboarding, you begin by launching your kite. Stand on the board, position your body in the water and pull on the control bar to launch the kite to catch the wind.
With your knees bent, allow the kite to power your body and lift you to the stance position. Once you stand, put weight on the back leg, and then start riding.
Keep in mind that the kite is your support and steering wheel, so you should be in a position to control it.
What to Expect While Using a Wakeboard for Kiteboarding
Generally, although you can use a wakeboard for kiteboarding, it has some limitations. Remember that based on wakeboard design, they work well when used at a constant speed while towing behind a boat.
So while dealing with a more variable speed in kiteboarding, especially in lower winds, this can be a challenge. The board might even go underwater.
Wakeboards also have boot bindings. Keep in mind that while kiteboarding, you need to be able to take your feet out of the bindings very quickly in case of wind gusts, waves, or other obstacles.
Therefore you can only use a wakeboard with looser bindings that allow you to get in and out quickly.
Wakeboards are still beneficial in certain situations. For an experienced wakeboarder, some styles require more rocker, and a wakeboard is an ideal option in such a case.
Also, if you enjoy riding in higher winds that require kitesurfing with a lot of power, a wakeboard can help you control the speed better since it provides more support. However, wakeboards are inefficient in low winds.
Another good thing is that if you are good at wakeboarding, this will make it easier for you to learn to kitesurf. While wakeboarding, you will learn basic board skills, and the only thing left is to learn how to control the kite.
The starting process is quite similar in both sports. Thus it’s easier to carry over from wakeboarding to kitesurfing.
Wakeboards are also shorter, which makes them a great option, especially for rail to rail transitions. You should, however, never attempt wakeboarding with a kiteboard.
The board is lighter, and it can easily break due to the power from the boat.
Is it Dangerous to Kiteboard With a Wakeboard?
Ideally, kitesurfing with a wakeboard doesn’t make the sport more dangerous. It might be a bit boring to kitesurf with such a big board, and it’s even more difficult to lift it over the water. Keep in mind that there is no boat power involved, and you entirely depend on the wind.
Unfortunately, all water sports presents an element of danger. Extreme sports involving high speed and spectacular stunts increase the risks of accidents.
Even without considering the boards, the nature of kitesurfing makes the sport slightly more dangerous due to the uncontrollable winds that can give you more power unexpectedly. The sport thus requires a little bit of training.
However, if you have the right protective gear, good quality equipment, you know how to use it, and you can minimize the risk.
What Boards Can You Safely Use for the Both Sports?
If you want to enjoy both kiteboarding and wakeboarding and don’t intend to invest in two boards, you need to get one that can comfortably support both sports.
Choose a board with more rocker than a kiteboard, but it shouldn’t be as much as in a wakeboard. Look for a board with a more inverted channel to obtain greater resistance and stable landing in either of the sport.
Ensure that the base is sturdier than that of a typical kiteboard.
Although a wakeboard may not be ideal for kiteboarding, you can still use it, but with more caution. You may experience some difficulties while kiteboarding with a wakeboard due to its structure.
Though you might face challenges, kitesurfing is a fun and thrilling experience, making it an ideal hobby for any interested rider.