By Vigdis S. Aas
The history of the sport called wakeboarding goes back for a couple decades It is really a combination of several sports; water skiing, snowboarding, and surfing. For years surfing has been the sport of many beach goes, but Tony Finn developed skurfer in 1985 in San Diego. Skurfer is what wakeboarding use to be called and is a combination of skiing and surfing.
To do the sport you used a little surfboard and was pulled by a boat while the rider performed many surf-style moves. The ride style was visions of snowboarding and skateboarding with a little bit of skiing. In the beginning, the boards didn’t have a foot strap and so the rider stood anywhere on the board and tried to stay on the board as long as possible.
In the summer of 1985, foot straps were added to the boards. This was an interesting innovation at that the time because it came from two different people at the same time and each person was not aware of the other. The two were Jimmy Redmon from Texas and Tony Finn. Because of this innovation, more jumps and tricks were allowed to be incorporated into the sport. The sport became more dynamic and free-styled. All the riders were trying to find new ways to get attention and many tricks came out of the late 1980’s.
By the early 1990’s, it has become a huge sport and had competitions on ESPN. But the sport was still struggling a bit. The lack of technology was holding the sport back and only experience riders would actually attempt any of the sports. So then many people began to develop their own boards and ideas that would eventually make the sport popular again. Herb O’Brien designed a new board for the sport and called it a wakeboard.
The new invention turned out to change the sport forever an including its name. Instead of being called skurfer, it was now known as wakeboarding. The board allows the rider to submerge it for easy deepwater stars and it was accessible to everyone from four and above ages. Then O’Brien continued to make innovations to his wakeboard.
A thin board would curve like a slalom ski. By adding dimples, the board could break up water adhesion, give the rider a loose feel, and have softer landings for jumpers. As the sport continued to grow, the boards grew better too. They were designed better through the years to give the rider and ultimate water experience that would allow them to show off their tricks more. The
Redmon founded WWA or World Wakeboard Association in 1989 and Redmon is now considered the guru of wakeboarding. He has been responsible for making the sport and has been responsible for the increase interest in the sport. Wakeboarding has recently been added to the X games because the sport is so popular.