Kneeboarding or Wakeboarding

    Kneeboarding and wakeboarding are exciting sports that seem very similar; however, in reality, they are different in more than one way.

    Kneeboarding vs. Wakeboarding

    The most integral difference is between the forms that one assumes when riding these boards. In kneeboarding, you are required to kneel on the board as you are pulled by the towboats. Wakeboarding, on the other hand, requires you to stand on top of the board while you are being towed by a boat.

    Main Difference

    The main difference between the two is that kneeboarding entails that you face forward in the direction of the boat. You will also have to hold the towrope with both your hands to ensure safety. However, you will be facing sideways when using a wakeboard. You will have to hold the tow handle with one hand only.

    Although both come with rounded edges, their purpose differs. The rounded edges on kneeboards allow for smoother turns, while wakeboards offer a smoother ride and a chance at more complex tricks. However, sharp-edged wakeboards allow for much faster speed and acceleration. Kneeboards with sharp edges help with harder cuts.

    The speed range offered on both types is approximately the same, which is equal to 15 to 20 mph. However, in reality, you can go faster on a wakeboard rather than on a kneeboard. This is mostly because wakeboarding is done in larger water bodies that allow you to easily reach higher speeds of up to 22 to 30 mph.


    Kneeboards are relatively longer, flatter and thicker to increase buoyancy. They are approximately between 60 and 78 inches, and their height equals the user’s height to ensure good control. They come with two wide grooves that accommodate your knees during movement.

    Kneeboards are approximately 4 inches thick and come with rubber pads to protect the rider’s knees. They require a kneeling position and use Velcro straps to attach your legs to the boat. They come with curved or flat bottoms, depending on their usage.

    They sometimes come with fins; however, these often restrict the user from performing surface spins. Moreover, with kneeboarding, since both knees have to be placed in the same way, you don’t have to assess which foot they are more comfortable using.


    Furthermore, kneeboard riders sit on their heels and have a strap that passes over the thighs to help secure them to their board. Riders also have to start with their stomach in deep water, and their arms should be under the strap so that they can easily hold onto the towline handle.

    The rider also has to be sufficiently forward to ensure that his knees are tucked under once the kneeboard starts moving. In the beginning, the rider also has to tighten the strap over the legs so that he can keep the weight towards the board’s back. Leaning back a little can also aid this.

    This sport is mostly preferred by beginners and amateurs who have just started water sports. This is because kneeboarding allows you to keep your body closer to the water and thus allows you to have more control over it. It also results in fewer accidents and a relatively lower speed.

    It also restricts your lower body’s movements, and you have to hold the towrope with both hands, thus having less room for experimentation.


    Wakeboards are relatively thinner and are 47 to 58 inches long. Their height is also relatively low. Moreover, wakeboards come with smaller shoe-like grooves that aid your movement and ensure stability. They require a standing position and go as fast as 22 to 30 mph.

    They only offer a thickness of 1.25 inches and come with featureless or concave bottoms.

    Wakeboards come with fins that assist with directions and allow you to have more control. However, before jumping on a wakeboard, a rider has to first determine which of his feet is stronger and feels more comfortable when placed in front.

    On a wakeboard, the rider has to keep his knees bent to his chest and his arms stretched in front. Once the rider is on the board, he can lean back slightly to maintain balance and greater control.


    Wakeboarding is more technical and harder to learn. It also requires you to maintain your balance with precision and accuracy. It requires you to go at slightly higher speeds and is thus more challenging.

    In addition to that, wakeboarding offers the rider a much better chance at exercising more complex tricks. However, it also requires more leg strength and power, thus increasing your chances of failure.

    Waterboarding experts tend to easily transition from this sport to other complex water sports. This is because they have already learned the art of letting go of control and enjoying better leg strength. However, to transition onto the more complex sports that require you to let go of the rope, you will have to train extensively.

    Closing Thoughts

    Kneeboarding is more secure and safe, and wakeboarding is a relatively exciting sport. The former requires a kneeling position, whereas the latter challenges you more and demands a standing position that offers less control. If you are an enthusiastic learner and want to transition to other complex water sports, you should start with wakeboarding. However, if you are in need of an occasional adrenaline rush, kneeboarding is a good choice.

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