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While both kiteboarding and wakeboarding are water sports and involve the use of a board, their similarities stop there.

Nevertheless, you can easily try your hand at both kiteboarding and wakeboarding to see which is your favorite.

The sports go hand in hand with each other, and practicing both kiteboarding and wake boarding can make you better in both sports.

Kiteboard vs. Wakeboard

It is a good idea to start with wakeboarding and then move to kiteboarding, as your wakeboarding skills will transfer over to kiteboarding.

Rather than a boat pulling you from approximately the same height, the kite pulls you from up above.

To kiteboard, you begin in the water with the kite at about 12. You dive the kite in the direction you want to go.

Once you are up, you place more weight on your back foot than your front.

It is best to get a kiteboarding trainer, that way you do not seriously injure yourself, or get turned off from the sport.

Standing up on a wakeboarding is similar to getting up on a kiteboard in that you start in the water.

The board should be perpendicular to the boat with the front edge out of the water.

The boat accelerates, and you rise up out of the water, keeping that front edge out of the water until the board rotates.

Most of your weight should rest on your back foot, and you will lean back against the pull rope.

You do not need a wakeboarding trainer to get started.

Equipment

You need to have proper and safe equipment for both sports in order to prevent yourself from getting injured.

Key kiteboarding equipment includes:

  • kite
  • bar and lines
  • harness
  • board
  • pump

The kite catches the wind, which provides the lift and forward motion required in order to kiteboard.

Kites come in many different colors, shapes and sizes to fit the kiteboarder’s needs.

Four lines connect the kite to the bar, and you use these lines and the bar to steer, control, power, and depower the kite.

There are two types of harnesses: waist and seat. The harness must fit securely and comfortably, as this is where the kite attaches to the rider.

Kiteboards ride on a board. You can find a beginner board that is symmetrical. This makes it easier to figure out which way to ride. They have straps for your feet to slip into.

The pump is used to pump up the kite before you begin.

The leading edge and struts of most kites is inflatable, which makes it easier to get the kite out of the water it is has fallen down.

Important wakeboarding equipment includes:

  • wakeboard
  • bindings and boots
  • ropes
  • handles
  • boat

Just like in kiteboarding, you need a board to ride on.

Find a board that fits your skill level, your size and your weight. It will make it easier.

Similar to snowboarding, you want to have board bindings.

There are plenty of different options, depending on how you anticipate to use your board (personal board or sharing it with friends).

You might also want to invest in a pair of boots.

The wakeboarding rope is important because it is how the boat pulls you. Shorter ropes are more suited for beginners.

It is best to have a rope that floats.

There are different types of wakeboarding handles to consider, depending on whether or not you want to start doing tricks.

Wider handles are better for tricks.

Wakeboarding boats are not just any type of boat. They are typically V-drive boats, which allow them to put out a good wake.

Wakeboarding boats are typically loaded with different features to help produce more desirable wakes.

That being said, you can still learn to wakeboard behind a regular power boat, granted the boat has enough power to accelerate.

Both Kiteboarders and Wakeboarders need to be wearing a lifejacket.

The lifejacket keeps the person above the water, in case an accident happens.

Even if an accident does not happen, the sports can be very physically exhausting, to the point where the rider is too tired to swim if he/she must rest.

Some boarders also invest in a wetsuit or drysuit.

Wetsuits provide added insulation against the cold, and protection against water creatures like jellyfish.

Drysuits are designed to keep the boarder completely dry, and are therefore appropriate for extremely cold water.

Boards

You may be wondering if you can interchange a kiteboard board for a wakeboard board.

The answer is no.

There are too many differences between the two boards, designed for safety and ease of use.

Kiteboards are a good 4-6 pounds lighter, and more flexible than wakeboards.

The kite board’s rocker is also less pronounced than the wakeboard board.

This is because the kiteboarder is less concerned about slowing down and more concerned about planing.

Wakeboards typically have about three inches of curvature.

The fins and foot bindings are also very different. Kiteboarding fins are larger.

Sometimes, when kiteboarding, the kiteboarder’s feet need to come off of the board.

Skills

To be a good kiteboarder, you need to be a decent swimmer, comfortable around the water, have a keen sense of responsibility, and be patient.

You need to know how to rig, launch, fly, and furl your kite.

You need to know how the wind, water, and current work together to influence the way you ride your kite.

You need to be strong, cautious, and have a little sense of adventure.

If you are learning to wakeboard, you need to know basic hand communications.

You need to have strong legs, a strong core, and strong arms.

You also need to be able to quickly adapt to the course as the boat pulls you in various directions.

Locations and conditions

You can kiteboard anywhere where there is enough wind and open space. Look for wind speeds of about 12-15 knots.

You want to be sure that you are downwind from any structures, like piers.

It is easiest to learn how to wakeboard on smooth water.

Therefore, lakes or large ponds are good choices. Water can normally become rougher as the day progresses.

Cost

You can easily spend around $1,800 to $2,200 on kiteboarding equipment.

It is definitely a more expensive sport compared to others, but once you have all the gear, all you need is an open body of water and the right weather conditions.

Wakeboarding is a great sport to try especially if you have a cable park near you.

You can rent a wakeboard for around $30-$50 a day. This is a great option, especially if you do not have a good boat.

Otherwise, wakeboarding easily cost you more than a couple grand, because you would need a decent wakeboarding boat.

Safety

Both sports can be incredibly dangerous if careful caution, in regards to the weather (wind, water, current), is not taken into consideration.

Without the proper gear, accidents can result in severe injury or fatality.

That is why it is best to have a professional train you on the proper technique, and guide you to the right equipment.

This being said, both sports are incredibly beginner-friendly. In fact, it is a great way to get out on the water, connect with nature, and increase your strength and focus.

If you have a good sense of balance and are a decently strong person, you will do fine.

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