Wakeboard Critic

Is Wakeboarding Dangerous and How to Be Safe

Wakeboarding is a fun, thrilling sport that many people like to do for enjoyment or for fitness. If you are new to the sport, or are considering taking it up for the first time, you may be wondering is wakeboarding dangerous, and what are the most common wakeboarding injuries?


It’s not uncommon to experience injuries during wakeboarding, but don’t let that deter you from trying out the sport if you want to. Injuries are an inevitable part of any physical activity, and with the right precautions and knowledge you can bring wakeboarding injuries to a minimum and have a safe, fun time on the water.


Read on for more information about the risks of wakeboarding, and what you can do to prevent them.

How Dangerous Is Wakeboarding?​

*A word of caution before you read this section: the information here may be slightly frightening, but remember these are the most extreme cases and not everyone will experience these injuries.


Compared to other water sports like water skiing, wakeboarding has a higher injury rate. Between 2000 and 2007 it was estimated that there were over 18,967 wakeboarding injuries. Injuries occur most often in wakeboarders between the ages of 20 and 29, and most injuries involve the head and neck.

wakeboard knee injury

Common Types Of Wakeboarding Injuries

Studies show that the most common injuries in wakeboarding are lacerations, followed closely by concussions.

Head and neck

The most common injuries in wakeboarding are located in the head and neck due to the jumping and tricks involved with wakeboarding, as well as higher speeds. If you are plunged into water the greatest impact will be on your head. Ear ruptures and concussions are common.


Because you are holding onto a rope and being pulled at higher speeds, arm injuries are common in wakeboarding. Injuries to the arm can include sprains, strains, dislocations, contusions, and fractures.


Wakeboarding back injuries can include rib injury, strain, sprains, bruising, and fracture.


Wakeboarding knee injury is common, due to the impact of landing on the water. Common mistakes like locking your knees or keeping your legs straight when landing increase chances of knee injury.

Wakeboarding injury risk factors

There are several factors that are involved in wakeboarding injuries, including environment, skill level, equipment, and fitness.
wakeboarding knee brace


Inclement weather and choppy water can increase your risk of wakeboarding injuries.

Skill level

No matter your skill level, it’s possible to sustain wakeboarding injuries. That being said, beginner wakeboarders experience the highest rate of injuries. Different groups of wakeboarders will experience different types of injuries. Beginners are more likely to be injured during takeoff, while more experienced riders are more likely to be injured from falling during tricks and jumps.


The proper gear for wakeboarding is crucial to avoiding and limiting wakeboarding injuries. The proper gear includes a lifejacket and a helmet, as well a wetsuit depending on where you are wakeboarding.


Wakeboarding is a demanding sport, and the less fit you are, the more likely you are to sustain an injury while riding. Keeping your body at peak fitness level is important for avoiding injuries. Upper body strength is particularly important in wakeboarding.

Boat operator knowledge

A boat operator who doesn’t have the proper training and knowledge can be a risk for the rider’s injury. It’s important for the driver to have the proper skills needed before they take anyone out on the water.

Wakeboarder education

It’s important to have the proper education as a wakeboarder, as well. Wakeboarders need to know how to get out of the water, how to communicate with the spotter, and how to handle the rope.

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How to prevent wakeboarding injuries

While it’s not possible to completely eliminate wakeboarding injuries, there is a lot you can do to limit them and try to avoid them.

Increase your fitness

When you’re not on the water, work on increasing your overall fitness. Focus on your posture, balance, and stability as well as your overall strength. Some good exercises are tandem squats and deadlifts, torso rotations, side bridges, wall slides, and pull-ups.

Warm up

If you’ve been sitting in the boat, make sure to warm up your body before you get into the water. Do some warm-up stretches before you strap on your board.

Check your equipment

Make sure all of your equipment is in good working order and is suitable for your weight and height. Check the condition of your equipment frequently, and if something needs to be fixed don’t put it off. A wakeboarding knee brace can be helpful, especially if your knees are on the weaker side.

Take some lessons

If you’re a beginner in wakeboarding, always take some lessons before heading out on the water. Wakeboarding requires a certain level of knowledge and skill that can be hard to learn on your own.

Check the weather

Before heading out on the water, check the weather conditions. Also check the water conditions; it’s important to be aware of choppy water or high or low water levels.

Know the laws

Wherever you go wakeboarding, check the local laws and regulations regarding wakeboarding, and follow them to the letter. Skirting around regulations can cause serious injury.

Listen to your body

Perhaps most importantly, know and listen to your body’s signals. Don’t push yourself needlessly, and give your body time to rest. If your body is telling you to take a break, take one. If you don’t, you can risk serious injury.
wakeboarding injuries

Have a safe, fun time

Is wakeboarding dangerous? As we have established, it certainly can be, just like any sport. But like any sport, with the proper precautions you can limit risks and injury. Knowing the risks and dangers is important before you attempt any sport, and can go a long way to preventing injuries.


Whether you’re new to wakeboarding or are a more seasoned rider, you can benefit from our tips for preventing wakeboarding injuries. Take a few minutes to go over this information, and you’ll be able to have a safe, fun time out on the water.