How Wakeboarding On a Lake Differs From Wakeboarding on the Ocean | Volcano Watersports

How Wakeboarding On a Lake Differs From Wakeboarding on the Ocean

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13 June 2023

Every passionate watersports enthusiast has experienced the same thing. The day is blue, work has been hard; it’s time for you to get the crew together, get a boat rental secured and finally get onto the waves.

Only the waves are quite different from what you wanted them to be. The wind is brisk, and the water is choppy. But you do it anyway because you’ve taken the time to get everything together.

Who knows? Maybe the waves will calm down? Perhaps the wind is only a passing thing?

Only it never is, and you end up going through a whole hour of falls, embarrassment, and several mouthfuls of seawater for your efforts.

This is why many wakeboarders will say that boarding on a lake is far superior to boarding on an ocean. After all, what problems can you get into on a lake, apart from a few more turns and some stray frogspawn every now and then?

Except it’s never really that simple. Of course, wakeboarding on a lake does differ to wakeboarding on the ocean. But is it really better? Below, we’re going to look at the differences between wakeboarding on the sea and wakeboarding on a lake, then weigh up which is the best location to have a session that doesn’t end in disappointment.

Wakeboarding On The Ocean

Of course, as we’ve noted before, the biggest problem with wakeboarding on the ocean is dealing with wind and heavy waves. The physics of wakeboarding are pretty complicated, and that’s before you throw ‘unpredictable waves’ into the mix. Although wakeboarding is all about jumps and tricks – for the more experienced riders, you still want to control the wake itself.

There’s also the small matter of tides to think about. When you’re boarding on a lake, the process and timings can be flexible, but the change in tides can create several issues for riders. For starters, whilst currents should not interact with your board, they will make it harder for the boat to stay on a straight course.

Rip currents will also make it more difficult for the boat to pick you up in the water, with low tides also creating navigational hazards such as rocks and sand bars.

That being said, wakeboarding in the ocean means that you are on salt water. Salt makes the water heavier, which means that you will become lighter, and the boat will plane quicker. Buoyancy is also more helpful for beginners. Because you are more buoyant, the boat can travel at slower speeds and the wake itself should be easier and more accessible.

Wakeboarding On A Lake

Here at Volcano Watersports, we’ve set our base of operations at Lake Arenal, one of the most beautiful and popular spots in all of Costa Rica. But the beauty of the landscape at the base of Arenal Volcano isn’t the only reason we are here.

Many watersports enthusiasts claim that wakeboarding in a lake makes a big difference compared to wakeboarding in the ocean, not least because the water is far more predictable.

As mentioned before, predictability can be so important when it comes to having a good wakeboarding session. On the ocean, you have no idea where the next wave might be coming from or whether a rip tide is starting to form.

On a lake, however, you know exactly what the water is going to be doing and where the waves are coming from, because they are coming from the boat! The boat in question will be creating the wake and – if it’s a strong wake boat like our Super Air Nautique G23 – it will be designed to customize the waves and make them suit the rider in question.

A lake also offers more flexibility, especially when it comes to getting the boat out onto the water. Getting a boat onto the ocean, for instance, can be a long and arduous process – even if your boat is buoyed, you will have to follow the time of the tides to chain and unchain it.

On a lake, the boat can be unmoored and set into gear almost immediately, meaning you can wakeboard any time you want, and the process is far more manageable.

The Bottom Line

As with any sport, however, it is all about personal preference. We here at Volcano Watersports love our lake and the freedom it gives to ensure every session is a success.

But, as mentioned before, the ocean has certain advantages too. You can get stiller days where the water acts like a millpond and the surf is beautiful.

But these are rare. Essentially, if you are not too fond of the taste of salt water, we would recommend sticking to something that is predictably calmer and – dare we say it – far better!