The Difference Between Boat And Cable Wakeboarding

If you are just getting into the sport of wakeboarding, you might not have realized that there is more than one way to do it. In fact, you can either be pulled behind a boat or do it with cables.

Typically, wakeboarding is associated with being pulled behind a boat and jumping wakes. 

The common image that springs to mind is of a pack of friends in a boat together, switching on and off who is getting pulled behind the boat. It is a social event a lot of the time and a lot of fun.

But, there is also another way to do wakeboarding. This is the cable method. We are going to break down the real differences between the two to help you get an idea of which option really is the best one for you.

The Advantages Of Boat Wakeboarding

There are advantages to both wakeboarding with a boat and wakeboarding with a cable. The advantages of boat wakeboarding include:

  • It is more social to have all of your friends together in the boat while someone wakeboards.
  • You are not in one fixed location, so you will get to move all around the body of water that you are riding on.
  • The wakes are much less predictable, adding in the element of surprise.
  • The boat moves a lot faster, so you will be tackling wakes at a much higher speed than you would with a cable.

The Advantages Of Cable Wakeboarding

There are also some great advantages to cable wakeboarding, including:

  • There are obstacles to ride over, including ramps or kickers, rails, and other obstacles to make the experience more enjoyable.
  • It is easier to learn tricks on a cable, because the pull is constant and the speed is lower.
  • More than one person can wakeboard at the same time. Cable parks are setup so that many people can be out on the water at once, all working on different skills.
  • You do not need to worry about having a boat or the money to gas up a boat, since the cables are all there, ready to go.

Why You Should Try A Cable Park

If you are thinking to yourself that you would never have a reason to go wakeboarding at a cable park, think again.

Of course the environment is more controlled with a cable park, but this means that you will have a better chance to work on skills without need to wait for the wake to come up to help you out.

Cable parks can also have varying degrees of difficulty, so you can progress throughout the obstacles, adding onto the challenge as you go.

This is great for beginners who are not entirely sure what they should do. You also can practice the skills until you have them down well enough to try them in a less controlled environment, which means out on the open water, being pulled by a boat.

Types of Boards

When it comes to a wakeboarding board, there is a difference between boat boards and cable boards.

Board wakeboards normally have a polyurethane core construction and can be reinforced around the centre of the board. That way, the board is stiffer. The stiffness helps the board maintain its shape throughout uses. 

There is nothing that will stop you from using a boat board at a cable park, but they are not built to handle the obstacles that you will run into at a cable park.

Cable wakeboards have been reinforced with a wooden core. That way, the boards will have a natural flex to them and they will be able to handle the wear and tear that they will experience at a cable park.

The boards can flatten out over time, so they might not have the same amount of life that a boat board would, but really it all comes down to how you are using it.

There are also hybrid boards out there, but they are few and far between. You will normally lose out on some key feature of either a boat or cable wakeboard if you got a hybrid board, so it is better to just get one or the other.

How To Choose The Right Wakeboard

When it comes to choosing the right type of wakeboard for you, it really all depends on your situation. The cable park is a really nice option if you are looking to jump as many wakes as you can and work through a whole bunch of obstacles. 

But you do not need to settle on the cable park. Once your skills have been really mastered by the cable park, you might want to try to go out on the open water and test out your practiced skills as the wakes come up randomly.

The only really big downside here is that you might want to have two boards if you are going to be doing both. The cable board is too flexible for the typical wakeboarding use and the boat wakeboard will break down quickly at a cable park that has a lot rougher obstacles to overcome.

Also, cable parks are not available just anywhere. They have to be setup in some kind of body of water, which is not as easily found.

The park would also have to be built and controlled by someone, none of which is a problem with the standard boat wakeboard. You need a boat and a driver, but you can do it anywhere that it is allowed. There is no construction required, making it easier for everyone to access.

It seems like the best answer here would be to try out both forms of wakeboarding if you can and work out what you would really like to be doing out on the water.

You are the only person who can answer the question as to whether you prefer to one type or another. They both have their own purposes and there is no wrong answer.

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