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Old     (jdoyle25)      Join Date: Nov 2009       10-29-2010, 5:18 PM Reply - link to the actual page!

The Future of Wakeboarding?

What’s the future of wakeboarding? When first started, we had just about every pro wakeboarder on our show over a period of about a year and a half. The question about the future of wakeboarding was asked just about as many times as, “dude, how fast you ride and what’s your rope length?” More often than not the answer revolved around the topics of cables and winches. Sometimes they were brought up with enthusiasm and other times exuding a sense of dread. We’re talking serious dread vibes like the kind your friend sends your way just before he has to kiss his grandma with a mustache fuller than his own.

I can agree that cable parks and winches offer more access to the sport of wakeboarding, but are they really the “future” of wakeboarding?

I have to admit I’ve never been on the end of a cable or winch. The people I know who have tell me it rocks, but I’m not sure if it’s because they spent $467 on a flight to Orlando, $300 bucks on a cheap motel, and $180 on a week pass to the Orlando Water Complex. If I spent a grand on razor blade underwear I would let everybody know they were the most comfy man package I have ever had the privilege to wear. I’m sure they are both fun and I’d give anything to have either a cable park next door or personally own a winch but that’s not really the point.

What is the future of wakeboarding? I guess it really depends on what makes up the “future”. Is the future of the sport going to be defined by what increases the total number of people involved in wakeboarding? Sure, every sport relies on consumers who support their industry with dollars spent. If nobody is buying the product, then manufacturers won’t be around long to supply that product. Just ask the guy who is making elastic wakeboard ropes how that gig is going. So, when it’s all said and done, will the access provided by cable parks and winches help to keep the pulse of wakeboarding healthy and ultimately define the future of the sport? Maybe, maybe not. What else is there?

If you break wakeboarding down to its basic components, all you really end up with is a board, bindings, rope, a bunch of water, and something to pull your tub of lard across that water at speed. Historically speaking, engineers spent gobs of money trying to get the flattest wake possible for slalom skiers. Then in what I consider one of the most humorous turn of events in water sports history, the Skurfer was invented which eventually became what we now call the wakeboard. Suddenly all those engineers who were beating their brains out to flatten the wake behind their boats by another inch were scrambling to do everything possible to create the largest wake possible! Sometimes history creates the best comedy all on its own.

Up to this point the most popular options available to pull a person happily across the water were by boat, cable, and winch. I will throw all the different types of water craft into the boat category even though I understand they aren’t exactly the same as cruising around your favorite body of water in a Mastercraft X80 or whatever “Mercedes on the water” vessel you are lucky enough for your Dad to own and let you use. Using a cable to pull you around includes things such as the Sesitec, System 2.0 or something that uses a cable to pull you around that wishes it was the Sesitec, System 2.0. The next option is to buy a pre-made winch system or risk the loss of multiple fingers and most likely an arm by making your own out of a lawn mower you found behind your grandpas shed and your little brothers tricycle.

After boats, cables, and winches, the quality of the tow falls off quickly as people resort to using such things as motorcycles, trucks, airplanes, donkeys, or whatever else is around in an attempt to get their wakeboarding fix. The scar on my right leg after attempting to ride a Chevy truck hood down a canal being pulled behind a hoodless Chevy truck supports this statement. I knew I should have removed the hood latch.

The only real exception I can think of might be kiteboarding, but in my mind that’s in a class all of it’s own due to the unreliability of the wind in most places. At least I can pour cold water on my buddy who owns the boat to get him going, but I haven’t come up with a working strategy to call the wind into action when I want it. Besides, wind and wakeboarding go together like avocados and ice cream.

Maybe someone will come up with a good substitute that will replace the big three. The only other option is to change up the other variables such as the board, bindings, water, or rope. That can get dicey. As much as a face plant in water can get your attention, I can only imagine what one would feel like on land. Actually, in one of my upcoming reviews I will probably find out. Anyway, after carefully analyzing the current options available to tow a person wanting to wakeboard across the water with a boat, cable, or winch, against other viable options, I came up with a whole bunch of nothing. Sure, I spent about five minutes thinking about it while eating a half thawed frozen burrito with a show about tourism in Vietnam on the television playing. I still consider it a quality five minutes and have added a visit to the Cu Chi tunnels to my list of things to do in my lifetime.

So what is the future of wakeboarding? Hopefully I’ll be around long enough to find out. I will say this….

There’s nothing like being towed behind a boat. I don’t think anything now or in the future will change that. Glass, fully ballasted boat, a tower, tunes pumping, friends…there is no substitute for that. The perfect wake will always be the epitome of what it is and means to be wakeboarding.

Everything else might further the sport but the future is already here.

Old     (BCMWAKE61209)      Join Date: Apr 2010       10-29-2010, 8:01 PM Reply   

Old     (csaidler)      Join Date: Aug 2010       10-29-2010, 8:26 PM Reply   
Cable will def play a large part in the future of wake boarding. More and more cables are being built and besides the winch it's the only "affordable" option out there the more cities that get cables the Less naysayers there will be. Granted a day at the lake with your friends is hard to beat bit when you consider the cost of going to the cable park ( if your lucky enough to live near one) is far cheaper than the cost of any boat and maintenance. For instance it's 800$ with tax for a year pass to TSR, you could ride there for 100 years at that price compared to the cost of a new xstar. And that's without considering gas and maintenance. Even if you get an awesome Deal on a used boat, like say somehow get a 02 San for 16000, that's 20 years of cable riding, an what are the odds of anyone keeping any boat for 20 years. Don't get me wrong I will def buy a boat as soon as the oppurtunity arises but for all those kids( the future) out there getting introduced to wakeboarding whose parents can't afford a boat, there experience will be based in cable and winch. So unless the boat industry realizes thy could sell way more,say 230 teams, for 50,000 than 100,000 and make wakeboarding behind the boat available to way more ppl, and in turn getting more of the younger less privileged crowd behind there boats and hooked on them, the cable industry will start to take over. Most of us never would has imagined riding The cable when we first started wakeboarding, but the younger crowd may be wondering why drop all that dough on a boat when I can just hit the cable. Anyways, there's my .02. Sorry if there's problems with the spelling and grammar, wrote all this on the iPhone. And I'm not about to proofread it.

Last edited by csaidler; 10-29-2010 at 8:30 PM.
Old     (dudeman)      Join Date: Mar 2005       10-29-2010, 8:32 PM Reply   
Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm, ??????????????????, nice, what?
Old     (BCMWAKE61209)      Join Date: Apr 2010       10-29-2010, 8:42 PM Reply   
Old     (downfortheride)      Join Date: Jun 2005 Location: SLC, UT 5600'       10-29-2010, 8:53 PM Reply   
Old     (ttrigo)      Join Date: Dec 2004       10-29-2010, 9:27 PM Reply   
"Don't get me wrong I will def buy a boat as soon as the oppurtunity arises"

enough said.
as much as I enjoy riding cable (the one time I did), nothing beats a day on the boat with your friends and family.
Old     (benjaminp)      Join Date: Nov 2008       10-29-2010, 10:45 PM Reply   
Too long, didnt read it, I'm with Train.
Old     (kartch)      Join Date: Dec 2008       10-29-2010, 11:46 PM Reply   
Hey fellas, I'm the guy that wrote the article. Casey, you are my hero writing all that on an Iphone! Dang! That's crazy! Anyway, for those that took the time to read my spewage, I look forward to hearing what you think.

That's only problem with the internet over can't drag your computer into the john and read long winded articles. Ipad?....Hmmm.....

(The new site looks awesome Dave!!)


Last edited by kartch; 10-29-2010 at 11:49 PM.
Old     (stevo8290)      Join Date: Sep 2008       10-29-2010, 11:49 PM Reply   
well IMO.

The future of wakeboarding is..... all of the above, at least, i hope so.

But in the end, no obstacle at the park can replace the fast, low-pull, technical adrenaline rush provided between the two swells behind a boat. I boat never dies.
Old     (surfdoggy)      Join Date: Dec 2009       11-01-2010, 7:11 AM Reply   
Having gotten yet another year older this summer, I feel pretty certain that the real future of wakeboarding is two knee braces, a repaired rotator cuff, and a lot more wakesurfing.
Old     (Cajun_Misfit)      Join Date: Jun 2010       11-01-2010, 9:14 AM Reply   

Although i have never ridden cable enough to become good at it... (only cause I'm in Houston and we don't have cable yet) I'm going to have to agree that nothing will ever take the place of a sick wake behind a boat and friends to join you. I'm sure once cable hits Houston it will be nice to change it up once in a while, but the majority of my boarding will be done behind my boat!

Good Read Bro... I enjoyed it and agree with you 100%
Old     (srock)      Join Date: Mar 2002       11-01-2010, 11:38 AM Reply   
Many times I have sat on a dock or beach and said I wish I were on that passing boat. I'm sure many share this feeling. It's just a better overall experience even if you do nothing more that float around while reading a book.
Old     (solo)      Join Date: Oct 2001       11-01-2010, 3:15 PM Reply

Hard Goods are up 24%
Old     (jason_ssr)      Join Date: Apr 2001       11-01-2010, 3:50 PM Reply   
Like all sports of this type, the industry will implode. Once there is no industry killing it, the die-hards will bring it back stronger...until the industry kills it again. Eventually there will be something cooler to do on the water that will make wakeboarding seem lame (like wakeboarding did to 3 event) and it will die all together.

Funny to see people say "when Houston gets a cable". Houston was once the happening cable place. I grew up in south Houston and had 2 or 3 cables to ride growing up.
Old     (hyperlite)      Join Date: May 2009       11-02-2010, 5:43 AM Reply   
haha true
Old    ajmac            11-02-2010, 6:01 AM Reply   
Old     (csaidler)      Join Date: Aug 2010       11-02-2010, 6:18 AM Reply   
Old     (Cajun_Misfit)      Join Date: Jun 2010       11-02-2010, 7:29 AM Reply   
Originally Posted by jason_ssr View Post
Like all sports of this type, the industry will implode. Once there is no industry killing it, the die-hards will bring it back stronger...until the industry kills it again. Eventually there will be something cooler to do on the water that will make wakeboarding seem lame (like wakeboarding did to 3 event) and it will die all together.

Funny to see people say "when Houston gets a cable". Houston was once the happening cable place. I grew up in south Houston and had 2 or 3 cables to ride growing up.
I grew up in Houston and don't remember cable parks... Wish I would have known better
Old     (jason_ssr)      Join Date: Apr 2001       11-02-2010, 10:02 AM Reply   
I was on the south side. the best cable was Ski-Trek in League City. However, the one with the longest runs was in Galveston on the left side of 61st heading to the seawall. too bad I was mostly kneeboarding and wobbling on a Skurfer.
Old     (cheesydog)      Join Date: Mar 2009       11-04-2010, 2:08 AM Reply   
enjoyed the article kartch, an honest viewpoint. I have only one suggestion, go ride some cable man! Best way to do it is take a week off and journey to a destination cable, CWC in Philippines or TWP in Thailand. Guarantee you will fall in love with it
Old     (behindtheboat)      Join Date: Aug 2006       11-04-2010, 9:17 AM Reply   
I think that was kind of his point. How could you not fall in love with something you just threw thousands of $$ at? You better darn well convince yourself you're loving it. Especially if your destination is across the ocean.
Old     (jcfox00)      Join Date: Mar 2009       11-04-2010, 11:04 AM Reply   
Good article! Well written and humorous I have never had the opportunity to ride a cable or winch, but I enjoy watching the boat riding over somebody sliding a rail on a cable in videos. I like sliding rails on my snowboard so I'm sure it is just as fun, just no experience with it. Can't wait till AZ gets a cable park, wishful thinking...
Old     (kartch)      Join Date: Dec 2008       11-04-2010, 2:32 PM Reply   
Thanks for the replies to the article fellas.

Surfdoggy is probably talking about my future when it comes to the pounding my body takes while riding. I'm surprised the knee brace companies haven't put together a pro team yet!

Cajun, I think there is definitely a culture behind wakeboarding that is a driving element of the sport. I imagine that element would be hard to copy at a cable park. I may be wrong.

Jason, I'm intrigued by your response about how the industry will eventually implode. I'd like to look into that phenomena more. I hear you about how you used to have cable parks in Houston and not now. Back in the day, Chandler, AZ had a cable park while I was going to ASU and now it's gone. They were almost ahead of their time. Maybe too far ahead of their time.

Cheesydog, I hear you! I do need to get behind a cable. I need to start looking around and see where the closest one is and hit the road. I've always wanted to hit CWC. I was there last year for Surf Expo where I was hoping to get to try it out. I ended up spending a couple days riding with Lyman and Murray. That decision was a no-brainer!

Joe, I think the ability to ride rails and obstacles is where cable would definitely have an advantage. I would love to hit a sic kicker on a cable.
Old     (ldebbold)      Join Date: Jun 2006       11-04-2010, 4:42 PM Reply   
I'm guilty also of never having been on a cable. That's mostly because I'm in Norcal and there isn't one around here. It's also because I really don't think I'll ever be ready to be riding my pristine board up onto some solid obstacle, not to mention my old and battered body. My crew (aka my kids) are down to check out cables though, so we'll probably hit OWC someday in conjunction with a trip to The Boarding School or the new park in Carson City, NV, when we're up at Tahoe and the lake is blown out. I gotta say, though, that from the perspective of a dad, boat owner and boat driver that I still get excited every single time I'm backing the "hole in the water you pour money into" down the ramp to go ride. The future of wakeboarding is like the future of baseball, in spite of all the haters, the fans are still gonna show up.
Old     (sparky9)      Join Date: Jul 2010       11-05-2010, 10:50 PM Reply   
mmmm avacados and ice cream!!
Old     (goatboy)      Join Date: Apr 2010       11-08-2010, 4:36 AM Reply   
interesting thread this one...
I think over here in the UK to perspective is a little different. There are very few lakes to launch boats, and the lakes we do have are very expensive to keep a boat on. Therefore owning a boat is both extremely expensive, and mostly very inconvenient, so very few people have boats. (yeah we are never far from the sea but that isn't really that great to wakeboard on). Even to go behind a ski club boat is very expensive. A 15 minute set costs me £25 ( nearly $40) where as I can ride cable all day for the same price.

Because of that cable is a lot is a lot more popular here, plenty of guys who ride cable have never actually been towed behind a boat (paricularly the younger riders), I think to a certain extent that is true for some of the other countries in Europe, paricularly Germany where the are very many cable parks...

I love behind behind a boat but I don't see that expanding much here, cables (in their various forms) however are springing up all over the country. The future? Maybe...
Old     (paulvette)      Join Date: Jan 2010       11-11-2010, 6:25 AM Reply   
I'm also in the UK and after trying cable personally just wasn't happy, left wakeboarding for a few years always dreaming of a boat but difficult to find lakes in the UK and anything powersport related usually is frowned up 'disturbing the countryside etc' and thats part of what makes it difficult. Personally I sacrificed everything I could to get a wakeboard boat with a tower, find a place to store it and a place to use it and even something to tow it with, was hard going at first but now have a group of friends that ride regularly every weekend all year (except when the lakes freeze over). I have used the cable from time to time but the lack of a wake is a serious downside for me, on the boat we have 4 or 6 friends with music playing, a huge wake, zero flex tower and there isn't a substitute. Sadly the future of boarding in the UK may well lie in the cables as its affordable for most but there will always be boat owners here but probably the minority. We have had a few cable riders behind the boat and they love it - personally I almost see them as different sports and they both have a place on the scene - again, just my 2 cents worth....


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