How bad is wakeboarding

What you should consider when wakeboarding and water skiing!

Wakeboarding has been a sport since the 1980s and it evolved from a mix of water skiing and surfing. Wakeboarding has been represented at the World Games since 2005. It has not yet established itself as an Olympic discipline.

The German Waterski and Wakeboard Association (DWWV) currently organizes 55 clubs with almost 3000 members and is a member of the German Olympic Sports Confederation (DOSB). There is a national coach, an association doctor, two performance centers and a sports directorate.

Germany is the world leader in water skiing and wakeboarding

Germany is the best in the world There are currently over 70 facilities for water skiing and wakeboarding in Germany alone. Bavaria currently has the highest density with 13 systems, followed by North Rhine-Westphalia and Lower Saxony with 11 systems (data:, In an international comparison, Germany has the most officially listed plants (58), followed by Great Britain (17), the USA (14) and the Netherlands (13) (

Driving behind the boat and on the cable pull

In addition to the wakeboard, other sports equipment can be used both behind the boat and on a cable pull. These include water skiing, monoskiing, wakeskate, table, trick skiing, kneeboarding and barefoot riding. With the wakeboard itself, there are also different bindings from simple loops to complete boots, like when riding a snowboard.

Boot vs cable pull

A horizontally running cable pull comparable to a ski lift or, in the classic way, a motor boat can be used as a drive for the athlete. If the athlete drives behind a boat, the waves generated by the boat primarily serve as a ski jump. In a cable pull system, which is normally set up on a lake, there are usually various obstacles. Above all, this includes ski jumps and box-like objects that the athlete can slide over with his wakeboard.

Protective equipment for water skiing and wakeboarding

The standard equipment of the ambitious wakeboarder should at least include a helmet and an impact protection vest or a life jacket. In most systems, these two pieces of equipment are also mostly a condition in order to be able to drive over the obstacles. In addition, gloves can be worn to avoid the formation of blisters and calluses.

Injuries while wakeboarding

Whether an athlete tends to drive behind the boat or on a facility, just like the use of protective equipment, can have a major impact on the injury pattern. In older studies from the USA, head injuries dominate. In recent and European studies, knee injuries dominate. Knee injuries can neither be prevented by a helmet nor by a protective helmet and are also more likely, the higher an athlete jumps and lands.

The overall injury rate is high.

74.4% - 98% of active athletes have injured themselves before. (2,3,4). Particularly common serious injuries are ruptures of the anterior cruciate ligament (4 exercises to combat cruciate ligament injuries), shoulder dislocations, and injuries to the ankle joint (4,5). Depending on the study, the anterior cruciate ligament was the most common serious injury between 17-42%. In older publications in particular, head injuries of varying severity are also very common at 15-29% (6.7). Up to 21% of all injuries were fractures, according to the study; the most common minor injuries include bruises and pulled muscles.

When injuries occur

Injuries occur primarily when falling and colliding with an obstacle or other driving. Contact with other drivers occurs above all if the driver in front falls on a facility or if two drivers use a double leash and drive parallel to each other at the same time.

Injury prevention

Overall, wakeboarding is a high-risk sport, which is why the topic of injury prevention plays a major role. This includes general measures such as careful driving with consideration for other drivers, similar to the rules for skiers and snowboarders in winter sports areas. This is especially true when training on a facility, on which several athletes usually drive the same lap at the same time but offset.

Well developed core strength. Athletics training. FMS


1. Sabeti M, Sports Medicine Aspects in Water Skiing and Wakeboarding. Sports Orthopedics - Sports Traumatology. 2012. Vol. 28 (1). 8-11

2. Fehske K. et al. Injuries in the trend sport wakeboarding - an analysis of leisure and professional drivers. German Congress for Orthopedics and Trauma Surgery. 2011

3. Schofer MD et al. Cable wakeboarding, a new trendy sport: analysis of injuries with regard to injury prevention. Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports. 2010

4. Carson flat share. Wakeboarding injuries. At the Journal of Sports Medicine. 2004. 32 (1): 164-173 Starr HM, Sanders B. Anterior cruciate ligament injuries in wakeboarding: prevalence and observations on injury mechanism.

5. Hostetler SG et al. Characteristics of water skiing-related and wakeboarding-related injuries treated in emergency departments in the United States, 2001-2003. At the Journal of Sports Medicine. 2005. 33 (7): 1065-70

6. Baker JI et al. A comparison of wakeboard-, waterskiing- and tubing-related injuries in the United States, 2000-2007. J Sports Sci Med. 2010. 9 (1), 92-97