You can’t get on the board without knowing the history. It all started with the orginal boardsport – surfing.
The riding of waves has likely existed since humans began swimming in the ocean. In this sense, bodysurfing is the oldest type of wave-catching. Standing up on what is now called a surfboard is a relatively recent innovation developed by the Polynesians. The influences for modern surfing can be directly traced to the surfers of pre-contact Hawaii. – Wikipedia
Think you know it all? There’s more to boardsports than surf and skate…
Boardsports are sports that are played with some sort of board as the primary equipment. These sports take place on a variety of terrain, from paved flat-ground and snow covered hills to water and air. Most boardsports are considered action sports or extreme sports, and thus often appeal to youth. A large proportion of youth partaking in these sports, together with aesthetic damage to property from sports like skateboarding, has led to many board sports being marginalized by the greater world of sports in the past. However, many board sports are ever-more frequently gaining mainstream recognition, and with this recognition have enjoyed wider broadcast, sponsorship and inclusion in institutional sporting events, including the Olympic Games.
Surfing was the first boardsport, originating from Polynesian culture. Skateboarding was then invented by surfers looking to “surf” on land. It is hard to estimate when most boardsports were “invented” because people have been making homemade versions throughout history. For example, it is not hard to conceive of a person, who is familiar with the concept of skiing or sledding, standing sideways on a plank of wood and riding down a snow-covered slope. M.J. “Jack” Burchett is credited with first doing this in 1929, using horse reins and clothesline to secure his feet on the plank of wood. Most boardsports have similar, equally unknown origins.
Using data collected in the past decade, it is estimated there is 18-50 million skateboarders, 5-25 million surfers. and 10-20 million snowboarders in the world. Approximately 100 million people participate in boardsports worldwide.
There are a variety of board sports, which are characterized by terrain:
- The grandfather of all board sports, is a surface water sport that involves the participant being carried by a breaking wave.
- Also known as sailboarding. A water sport involving travel over water on a small 2-4.7 metre board powered by wind acting on a single sail. The sail is connected to the board by a flexible joint
- Also known as kitesurfing. Boards similar to those known from windsurfing or wakeboarding are propelled by an inflatable or foil kite, allowing for high speeds and high jumps.
- Wave riding consisting of a small, roughly rectangular piece of foam, shaped to a hydrodynamic form. The bodyboard is ridden predominantly lying down, (or ‘prone’). It can also be ridden in a half-standing stance (known as ‘dropknee’) or can even be ridden standing up.
- Stand Up Paddle Surfing (SUP)
- A variant of surfing where one always a stands up on the board and propels oneself by a one-bladed paddle, without lying down on the board. Although originally the goal was to catch and surf the waves, a racing modality has emerged with similarities to kayaking.
- A surface watersport created from a combination of water skiing, snow boarding and surfing techniques. As in water skiing, the rider is towed behind a boat, or a cable skiing setup.
- A rider is pulled behind a boat on a wakeskate which is smaller than a wakeboard and has no bindings with a foam or griptape surface.
- Wakesurfing: A rider is pulled behind a boat on a mini surfboard and can ride the boat’s wake with no rope.
- Another fast growing boardsport is skurfing a mix of surfing and more conventional water sports in which the participant is towed behind the boat.
- A discipline of surfing where the rider paddles on his belly into a wave on a kneeboard, then rides the wave face typically on both knees.
- Involves using a power kite to pull a small surfboard, or wakeboard on water. Other variations are to use a wheeled board or buggy on land, or skis or a snowboard on snow.
- A discipline of surfing involving riding a board on wet sand or shallow water. A predominantly recreational activity that has evolved into a highly competitive water sport.
- A boardsport in which the participant is prone on the board with fins on his/her feet for propulsion and steering
- Similar to surfing but done on a man-made artificial sheet wave.
- Powered surf gliding on a body or surf board.
- Uses a board mounted on wheels, and often ridden on a “half-pipe” or in urban settings. Some of the most famous skateboarders, and early pioneers of the sport are Rodney Mullen and Tony Hawk.
- Similar to skateboarding, but also influenced heavily by snowboarding. Also known as Snakeboarding.
- Caster Skating
- Similar to casterboarding, but the rider can move both feet independently. Also known as Street Skurfing.
- Similar to freeboarding but with long skateboards that come in different shapes and sizes, longboarding is mostly a racing sport but there are many other styles as well
- A board that has wheels similar to a car except smaller, it turns better than most boards on four wheels, its main purpose is to cruise and carve, it can turn 65 degrees, and has spring-loaded trucks that are almost as unique as a flowboards trucks.
- Caster board
- Two narrow platforms known as “decks” are adjoined by a rubber or aluminium coated metal beam that houses a strong spring. Each truck has one wheel that is connected to the board in such a way that each wheel can rotate independently. Both wheels are mounted on slants that measure around 30° in angle, facing away from the front of the board.
- Often said to be the board whose feel is the most similar to snowboarding. There are two extra castor wheels in the middle of the base that are somewhat lower than the other four. This allows the rider to distribute his weight to only one “edge”, as in snowboarding. This gives the rider the ability to slide, an ability no other land board has.
- Constructed from two platforms, each supported by a single caster with a single wheel giving the board a total of two wheels. the two platforms are connected by heavy metal torsion bar that enables the board to twist in the centre.
- Freestyle Scootering
- an action sport which involves using scooters to perform freestyle tricks, in a manner similar to skateboarding and BMX freestyle.
Land, off-paved surface
- All-Terrain Windsurfing
- A sport similar to traditional windsurfing that is performed on land rather than water. A four wheeled deck, similar to a mountain board or skateboard deck, is commonly used in conjunction with a mast and sail in order to project the board across land.
- Similar to snowboarding, but on snowless peaks (in between winter seasons). The board is wider and sturdier. Mountainboarding is similar to skateboarding in the way that mountainbiking is similar to regular biking.
- Kite landboarding
- Similar to Kite Surfing but the kite is used to pull the rider along flat ground (often a hard packed sandy beach) on a mountainboard.
- On-shore boards
- A type of board that has four inline wheels and four in the back(two on each side) and is deeply concave in the front.
- Maintaining balance on a cylinder while using a board-shaped (rectangular or oval) object as the balancing mechanism, which is placed on top of the cylinder. Cylinder diameter sizes range from 4” to 8”. Board sizes range from 25″ to 40″ in length and 10″ to 18″ in width. A Balance board is like a see-saw that a user stands on with one foot at one end of the board and one foot at the other end.
- Street Surfing
- A split deck board connected by a spring rod to allow each half of the board to twist independently from the other, each side only having 1 caster wheel, allowing for tight maneuvers and self propulsion.
- A skateboard deck with two wheels that can spin 360 degrees.
- A cross between skateboarding and skiing, the board medium is snow, although the condition of the snow can have a major impact on snowboarding style and technique. The four subcategories are freeride, freestyle, alpine and powder. The top-ranked snowboarder today (as of 2006) is Shaun White.
- This is similar to snowboarding but there are no bindings used, therefore you are enabled to do skateboard style tricks.
- This is when a kite is used to pull a snowboarder along.
- A recreational activity similar to snowboarding that takes place on sand dunes rather than snow-covered hills.