What is Kneeboarding? History+ Facts

If you love water sports or at least stay close to a huge water body like an ocean, kneeboarding is something you must have heard of. It is basically gliding through the water, on a board pulled along behind a boat. It is practiced as a recreational or competitive activity. Read on to learn more about what this water sport is comprised of, history plus cool videos of the sport in action.

What is Kneeboarding?

Kneeboarding is water sport where the partaker or rider is pulled on a buoyant, board at a planing speed, in most cases behind a motorboat. This sport blends the features of surfing, water skiing, and wakeboarding.

Kneeboarding form

In a typical situation, the kneeboarder kneels on the specially-created surfboard with grooves for the knees.The board has an adjustable strap that allows the rider to strap themselves over their thighs. The rider then hangs onto a tow-rope. The forward motion is provided by the towing boat.

Most water ski kneeboards do not have fins to allow for easier surface spins. Kneeboarding on a surf style board with fin(s) is also done in waves at the beach.

The advantages of kneeboarding compared to other tow-sports such wakeboarding are that it is easier to learn and the fall-off impact is much reduced owing to the fact that the rider is closer to water surface.

The History of Kneeboarding

Kneeboarding is a relatively recent water sport as it stemmed mainly from surfing and water skiing. The first commercial production of kneeboards was in the 1970s where only a few thousand boards were sold per year. This figure has grown tremendously with more than 100,000 kneeboards being sold per year presently.

Before the 1970s, waterskiing was among the most popular water sports. With time, the riders would try kneeling on their surfboards rather than standing as it’s typically done. Come the 1970s, a few manufacturers would tap into the popularity of the kneeling posture by creating boards with grooves for knees and calling them kneeboards.

By 1972, Knee Ski became the first commercially-produced kneeboard. The creators of this board were originally surfers who became interested in the popular sport of kneeboarding. From this point, may other companies would come up with their own products. Among them were Glide Slide, Hydroslide and many others.

The International Kneeboard Association (IKA) was formed in the early 1980s by Roland Hillier. Hillier, a champion in several water sports, created the rules for kneeboarding and even wrote the famous book Kneeboarding A – Z. These rules are used to this day all over the world.

Kneeboarding Videos

Best kneeboard Video Compilation 2019
International Kneeboard Rider Cup(2017)


Following are some of the most popular kneeboarding frequently asked questions

Is Kneeboarding a sport?

Yes, it is an aqua sport that a lot of people around the world enjoy.

What is easier Kneeboarding vs wakeboarding?

Kneeboarding is easier to learn and master. As mentioned earlier, there’s more stability which means the fear of falling is reduced.

Further Reading

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