Can a Wakeboard be Used for Kiteboarding? What’s the Difference?

Wakeboards and kiteboards. There is definitely a resemblance between the two.  But can you go kiteboarding with a wakeboard? What is it really that makes them different? Let’s dive into the logistics of these two watersports. 

Can a wakeboard be used for kiteboarding? What’s the difference? Yes, you can. But you will have a tougher time doing so, given the structure of a wakeboard. The main difference between a wakeboard and a kiteboard is the rocker, or, the way the board bends. 

Now that we have established that kiteboarding with a wakeboard is possible, Let’s not only dive deeper into the differences in the two boards but also get into the logistics of the two watersports. 

Things to Know About Wakeboarding and Kiteboarding

If you have ever wondered if a wakeboard can be used for kitesurfing and what the differences are between the two, here are a list of things to help you optimize your adventures on the water:

  1. What is the main difference between the two boards
  2. What is wakeboarding
  3. What is kiteboarding
  4. Is it dangerous to kitesurf with a wakeboard?
  5. Is there a specific board you can use for both watersports?
  6. Which board is right for you?

What is the Main Difference Between the Two Boards

Let’s dive deeper into the differences between a wakeboard and a kiteboard. Essentially, a wakeboard is:

  • Larger 
  • Thicker 
  • Heavier
  • More pronounced rocker

Mainly this affects your speed on the water. When connected to a motorboat, you don’t want to gain too much speed as this could be dangerous. We’ll talk more about that in a later section. 

A kiteboard is not only smaller but much more delicate. The idea in kitesurfing is to gain as much speed as you can to perform those exhilarating tricks. Typically, in kitesurfing, the board is propelled into the air much higher than in wakeboarding. In virtue of this, a kiteboard is constructed with grooves on the front and back ends to help you glide through the air more efficiently and allow for a more stable landing on the water.

What Is Wakeboarding?

Wakeboarding is a watersport that is an extension of water skiing, surfing, and snowboarding. A motorboat tows behind a wakeboard with the rider on it. The rider holds a cable that’s connected to the motorboat. The objective is to ride the waves of the water and perform exhilarating wakeboarding tricks such as:

  • Surface spin – This is a perfect trick for beginners; a great way to get comfortable on the water with the cable. A surface spin is when you turn the direction of your board from one end to the other (a 180-degree spin) without leaving the surface of the water.
  • Crossing the wake – This is crossing the wake of the water that the motorboat creates. With practice, you will soon cross back and forth from the inside to the outside wake, effortlessly. 
  • Jumping the wake – Essentially, this is wake-crossing, except you lift off the surface of the water and land on the other side of the wake. 
  • Ollie – Although there are different types of ollie tricks, a typical explanation is when you jump off the water without using the wake.
  • Tail grab – A tail grab is exactly what it sounds like. This is when you perform an ollie and add an extra maneuver. You grab the back of your board with your backhand while in the air. Think of an ollie as the cake and a tail grab as the icing on it. 

What is Kiteboarding?

Kiteboarding, or kitesurfing, is another watersport that is similar to: 

  • Wakeboarding
  • Surfing
  • Skateboarding
  • Snowboarding 
  • Paragliding
  • Sailing

Kitesurfing is when you glide across the water while harnessed to a kite.  Using your hands to control yourself and the kite, the wind compels you to sail and even propel off the surface of the water. Instead of utilizing a motor for power, kiteboarding allows you to harvest the energy of the wind. This sport can be performed on land or snow as well. Although kitesurfing has evolved into different methods, such as:

  • Wake park riding
  • Freestyle
  • Kite buggying 

the disciplines remain remotely the same. Here are some common tricks in kiteboarding. Keep in mind that these tricks are all essentially the same thing with slightly different fundamental moves:

  • Basic Raley – This is one of the first tricks you want to master before trying any others. A basic raley is a swift jump into the air by strategically utilizing your hand-controlled kite and body strength and then making a smooth landing back onto the water.
  • Kite Spin – Most commonly a 360-spin, when the wind starts to lift you, using your upper body strength, you turn in the direction that the kite is guiding you while in the air and land back on the water in the same direction that you started.
  • Back Mobe – Typically, this is a handle pass behind the back while performing a 360-kite spin. As you land, the handle pass from one hand to the other should be completed. 
  • Tantrum – This might look like a kitesurfing backflip. Think of it as a kite spin with a little twist. Also, most tantrums are done by unhooking one hand from the bar while in mid-air and hooking back on as you land.  

To get a visual perspective of these daring water exercises, take a look here MACkiteboarding

Is it Dangerous to Kitesurf with a Wakeboard?

Is it dangerous to kitesurf with a wakeboard? Ideally, no. In fact, it may be a bit boring to kitesurf with such a hearty board. Remember, the only energy you are using in kitesurfing is the wind. There is no motor to power those thrilling maneuvers. Therefore, it may be difficult to even lift off the surface of the water.

What About the Other Way Around?

Let’s reverse the question. Is it dangerous to wakeboard with a kiteboard? Yes. Because the kiteboard is a bit daintier, it is easier to break while landing with so much power from the motorboat. It is safe to say: just don’t do it.  

Is There a Specific Board You Can Safely Use for Both Watersports?

Let’s say you are interested in both watersports but don’t want to invest in two different boards. Lo and behold, there is something called a crossover board. This is a board that you can safely use for either sport without breaking the bank. A crossover board is equipped with just the right features to kitesurf and wakeboard, safely. Here are some of the features of a crossover board:

  • A rocker that is more evident than that of a kiteboard but not as much as a wakeboard
  • Inverted channels to help you with a more forgiving ride and stable landing in either sport
  • A grind base making the board sturdier than a typical kiteboard

Which Board is Right for You?

You may be wondering where to start and what to look for in a board. Here are three 4-5-star boards that may be the perfect board for you, and they won’t break the bank:

Wakeboard – Hyperlite State 2.0

  • Layered fiberglass for the integrity of the board
  • Specifically constructed to last longer and prevent breakage
  • Also constructed for increased speed

Kiteboard – Ocean Rodeo 3.0

  • Great beginners board
  • Cruise and pop features for smooth transitions
  • Comfortable bindings

Crossover board – Slingshot Refraction

  • Durable and dynamic
  • Wood core for the integrity of the board
  • Less than $200

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Tim Conner, M.D.

Tim Conner, M.D. started boating in 1974. He has been involved in recreational boating continuously since then. Dr. Conner has been active in boating and watersports safety education for decades. He rode his first jet ski in 1997, and rejoined the personal watercraft arena in 2012 with a Sea-Doo GTX 155, followed by 2 supercharged SeaDoos. Scuba certification came in 1988, and he and the family have traveled the world snorkeling and scuba diving for decades. The family has recently taken up paddle boarding. Click the photo for a lot more.

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