Kneeboarding (towsport)

Kneeboarding (towsport)

----Kneeboarding is an aquatic sport where the participant is towed on a buoyant, convex, and hydrodynamically shaped board at a planing speed behind a motorboat. In the usual configuration of a tow-sport kneeboard, riders sit on their heels on the board, and secure themselves to the deck with an adjustable strap over their thighs. As in wakeboarding or water skiing, the rider hangs onto a tow-rope. The forte of kneeboarding vis-a-vis other tow-sports seems to be an easier learning curve and a sense of being closer to the water when falls occur.


Kneeboarding originated in Southern California around 1965. This happened because many of the surfers of the area tried using homemade boards behind tow boats. By about 1970 kneeboards were starting to be designed specifically for being towed behind a motorized boat. Kneeboards were originally much heavier than modern boards. These older boards had a flat bottom and were shaped like large tear drops. Today's boards are made lighter and have a more concave shape to provide better performance.1 In 1983, The American Kneeboarding Association (AKA) was founded and started to produce competitive events. As the competitive scene started up, interest in the sport grew. By 1988, the American Kneeboarding Association was given official sports division status from USA Water Ski.

¹ [ Kneeboarding History]

Getting Started

To get started, you simply need a tow rope, a kneeboard and a boat that can go about 15-20 mph (28-32 km/h). A benefit about kneeboarding is the start is fairly simple, and the rider does not need to travel very quickly. If the rider happens to fall, it usually does not discourage them from trying again. To do a start (known as the deepwater start), do as follows:
# Before you begin, loosen the strap to make it is as big as possible (making it easier to slip into while moving).
# Lie on the board on your stomach and put your elbows into the divits where your knees would go. Make sure the strap is in front of your elbows.
# Signal the boat driver to take off slowly and reach a speed of 12-15 miles per hour.
# In one motion, push your butt into the air, bringing your knees up to your elbows which are still on the board.
# Slowly sit back on your heels and lift your arms off the board.
# Let go with one hand and pull the strap over your knees and continue to inch forward until your knees are comfortably in the divits.
# Now, release the velco strap and pull it tight. Re-attach the velco the strap. It should be very snug, allowing you more control. If you pull appart your knees the strap will go even tighter giving more control
# Grab the handle with the other hand and you're now ready to enjoy the fun!


For reference, there are two basic grips - the palms-down grip and the baseball bat grip. Palms-down grip means both of your hands are facing down while holding the ski rope. Baseball Bat grip is self-explanatory: you hold the handle just like a baseball bat.

Here is a list of basic (and not so basic) kneeboarding tricks:
# Getting up - Follow the "Getting Started" section.
# Riding - Ride with your arms at full extension (this keeps your arms from tiring,) your knees in the divits, and the strap on relatively tight.
# Turning - While riding, hold on tightly to the tow rope, and lean your body to one side. This should put the kneeboard on its edge, and take you outside of the boat's wake. To come back straight behind the boat, lean in the other direction. To turn more aggressively, pull in on the rope with your arms and lean harder.
# Side Slide - Position yourself directly behind the boat with a palms-down grip. Rotate the board sideways without turning on edge - the board should slide. As you slide sideways, lean back so the boat doesn't pull you forward. It makes it much easier if you pull the handle and place it on your hip while you turn sideways. You should lean away from the boat just a little.
# "Jumping the wake"- To jump the wake while on a kneeboard, simply cut hard out of the wake, get as far away from the boat as possible (to one side,) then use a progressively harder cut back toward the wake. Lean back slightly, and you will launch off the wake of the boat, sending you into the air. Make sure you hold the board flat by using your stomach muscles.
# The ole - To perform this trick, you must combine the skills of balance and riding one-handed. You pull in the tow rope, pulling in hand-over-hand, until you are holding the rope roughly 6 feet beyond the handle. From there, you hold the rope in one hand, near your hip, and then swing the remainder of the rope, along with the handle, above your head
# Surface 360 - This trick is very similar to the side slide. Slightly rotate to one side to build momentum, and then fully rotate in the opposite direction. If you are spinning to the right, release the rope with your right hand, spin, grab the rope again behind your back, and then pull yourself through to finish the 360.
#Riding Backwards - You go through the exact same motion as a 360, but instead of pulling yourself through the 360, you pause while both hands are behind your back. You must lean forward while riding backwards - leaning what is forward to the rider will push the nose down and the tail up. Otherwise, the tail could go under the water and flip the rider.
# Wake Front-to-Back - Make a hard cut from outside the wake, using the palms-down grip. Right before you hit the wake, stop cutting and pop up in a jump, focusing on pushing your knees away from your chest to give you added height. As soon as you are airborne, rotate your body to the right and pull the handle to your hip. As you spin, keep a tight grip on the rope, and lean forward slightly. Keep leaning forward (away from the boat) as you hit the water. Once you have landed, you should be riding backwards, and can continue to ride with both hands at your hip.
# Wake 360 front-to-front (wrapped) - While in the middle of the wake, pull yourself towards the boat, collecting the rope in one hand. Then, wrap the rope around your back, and hold onto the handle. Let go of the rope, and the friction of the rope straightening will spin you around.
# Air (Ollie) - similar to the skateboarding trick of the same name, or a bunny hop in BMX, it is possible to jump without utilizing the wake. By pushing down against the water with your knees and simultaneously pully the handle in provides more tension on the rope. Then pulling upwards with your legs, you can make the entire board leave the water. If this is combined with 'jumping' the wake, much greater heights can be achieved.
# Back Roll - Make a hard cut toward the wake. One millisecond before you hit the wake, flatten out. Ride up the wake while resisting it (see wake jump). At the top of the wake, and not before, throw your shoulders sideways in the direction of your roll. At the same time, look back over your shoulder and pull the handle to your waist. Your momentum will take you around and then you just need to land. If you are coming up short, you are most likely throwing the trick too soon, letting your arms out, or not throwing the trick sideways. If you lean forward at all, you will lose your rotation momentum.
# Switch 3 - The switch 3 is basically a wake 360 back except that you change the direction of rotation after 180 degrees. Make a hard cut toward the wake with a palms down grip. When you reach the trough, spin around 180 degrees. Rotate to the left if you're cutting to the right and rotate to the right if you're cutting to the left. Tuck the handle into your hip. Ride up the wake while resisting it to get a good pop. Once you are in the air and not sooner, spin back to the front. As you come around, keep the handle low and let your arms extend out. Once you reach the forward position, pull the handle to your waist again and spin backward in the opposite direction. Land backwards and use your second pop to spin back to the front. It's very important to keep the handle at your waist and your head up when landing.
# Frontflip- edge in hard, flatten out, pop off the wake and immediately throw your body straight down. keeping both hands on the handle and close to your hip. this will help with rotation and control. spot your landing.


* [ Kneeboarding's History]
* [ Extremeboarders Instruction and Information]
* [ Information and Instruction of Kneeboarding]
* [ About Kneeboarding]

External links

* [ Kneeboarding at] Information, classifieds and discussion forums for UK boardriders

* [] Instructional, Videos, Pictures

* [ Kneeboarding info at] Instructional, Videos, Training and Forums for kneeboarders all over the world
* The first person to successfully perform and prefect the air barrel roll and front flip was Paul Roberts for Jupiter Florida in 1982. He went on to finish first place in the Lake Orange invitational in Orlando later that year.Paul Roberts was later reconized as the Pioneer of Kneeboarding.
* I found Paul Roberts in Jupiter, Fl He can be reached at

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