Known today as wake boarding, this surface water sport is practiced all over the world, and it’s becoming increasingly popular in Thailand.
By Jimmy Jacquet
Wakeboarding first appeared in the mid 1980s in New Zealand—and was made popular in the U.S.—with the official name of “skurfing”, and with the idea of combining the riding sensation of surfing with the endless technical possibilities of snowboarding.
Initially, a skurfboard was similar to a surfboard: with one side tipped, binding-less, thinner than a snowboard, but heavy. Back in those days skurfing was considered a state-of-the-art and revolutionary water sport, although today it’s widely practiced all over the world.
Wakeboarding sensations are unique. Practicing it feels like you’re communicating with your body, your board, and the water. In some of cases, this feeling is enhanced when being immersed in beautiful natural environments, which abound in Thailand. Whether in a mind-blowing sunset or in peaceful glassy water, practising it always feels like going through a multisensory experience.
Wakeboarding requires patience, consistency, a very strong mindset, and an excellent physical condition. When riding at a usual speed of 20 to 25 mph, falling on the water can feel as hard as falling on the ground. And although it might be discouraging to know that you can risk breaking a few bones to improve, the sensation of freedom while cutting through the water with the board go beyond that fear.
Nowadays, wakeboarding has evolved with cable parks that have opened worldwide, together with new brands that support the sport, and more and more communities of riders. A motorboat is not necessarily involved anymore, since it can be practiced with an electrically-driven cable ski or, more recently, with new towing systems such as winching, or two-tower straight line cable wakeboard, which have completely revolutionized the sport over the past two years.
The very first wake park in Thailand, Taco Lake, was built in 1991, only 30 minutes from Bangkok. Since then, it has become increasingly popular in the Land of Smiles, with wake parks popping up everywhere, some of them offering much cheaper rates than in Western countries.
Don’t forget to always wear a helmet and lifejacket when you practice … and always have fun! Wakeboarding should not be taken too seriously: no matter what happens, my recommendation is to always make the most of it by practicing it with passion.
Taco Lake (●www.tacolake.com)
Thai Wake Park (●www.thaiwakepark.com)
TE Wake N Ski (●www.totalentertainment.co.th/wakeboard)
2. Hua hin
Black Mountain (●www.blackmountainwaterpark.com)
4. Chon Buri
Wake a Lot (●www.wake-a-lot.com)
Lake Point Cable Park
Lakeland Cable Park
Wakeboarding Thailand (●wakeboardingthailand.com)
Planete Wakeboard (●www.planetewakeboard.com)