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Snowboarding and wakeboarding are two outdoor activities that have a lot of distinct similarities and require similar skills. But when the summer comes to an end, is it possible for you to use your wakeboard to snowboard, and how would you go about it?
Wakeboarding and snowboarding have a lot in common, but a wakeboard is different from a snowboard. It’s possible to convert a wakeboard into a snowboard by removing the bindings and replacing them with snowboard boots. It comes with risks due to differences in the boards’ designs.
You can do both sports with one board, but you won’t get the same experience if you’re using a wakeboard to snowboard.
Why Try to Snowboard with a Wakeboard?
I love wakeboarding and snowboarding, and I’ve always loved to do one or the other for some exhilarating action in the summer and winter, respectively.
But equipment can get pricey, so it’s understandable that you may want to use your snowboard for wakeboarding or vice-versa to avoid buying two sets of expensive equipment.
And some people like to experiment with their equipment to push it to the limits. If you fit that profile, you might want to do it “just because.”
How To Convert Your Wakeboard Into A Snowboard
I spent so much time looking online for people who have converted a wakeboard into a snowboard, but there was very little information out there, so I had to kind of wing it and try to understand the differences in the designs of the boards.
Snowboards are typically longer than wakeboards and have a narrower base, meaning they offer a different level of resistance designed to travel through snow. Snowboards also have bindings that aren’t the same as those on wakeboards. And you need snow boots for those bindings.
A snowboard resembles a skateboard without wheels more than it resembles a wakeboard. Wakeboards have a broader base and fins on the underside to provide stability. The fins on wakeboards are removable, so they serve as no obstacle for conversion.
Many wakeboarders end up removing the fins anyways once they reach an intermediate skill level. However, you do need to install plugs to prevent water from squirting up through the board. It would be wise to do the same when taking to snow, just because it won’t be conducive to maintaining balance and stability while you ride.
You can’t do anything about the broader base of your wakeboard, which means that you won’t be able to maintain as much control at speed as you can with a snowboard. Turning will be a challenge as well.
The process of converting a wakeboard into a snowboard is relatively easy. You start by removing the wakeboard fins and then unscrewing the bindings and removing them. Then you position the binding for snowboarding boots and screw them on. Finally, make sure everything is secure and intact, and you can head for the mountains!
Similarities Between Wakeboarding & Snowboarding
Wakeboarding and snowboarding are similar in many ways. Both are done on boards sliding across surfaces at great speed. They require a great sense of balance, and they’re both purely individual activities.
They’re also both season-dependent in most parts of the world. You can’t snowboard in summer or wakeboard in the winter (at least not when the water is frozen over). But you can wakeboard on a snowboard by converting the bindings.
Considering how similar the activities are, it makes sense that some overlapping skills would allow you to transition from one sport to the other seamlessly. While your ability to balance, your fast reflexes, and your familiarity with the sense of adrenaline, it’ll make life easier but won’t necessarily help you that much.
Just because you’re a great snowboarder doesn’t mean you’ll be good at wakeboarding. Nothing beats the real thing.
If you’re an experienced wakeboarder and have no experience in snowboarding, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to be good at snowboarding from the first time that you get on the board.
Differences Between Wakeboarding & Snowboarding
If you’re using a wakeboard as a snowboard (or visa versa), it’s not the similarities but the differences between wakeboarding and snowboarding that you have to be aware of. For example, suppose you’re ignorant about the discrepancies between the two activities.
In that case, you won’t be mindful of how you need to compensate for your shortcomings because you’re using a board designed for a different activity.
Firstly, there’s the climate. Wakeboarding is typically reserved for summer months when the sun’s out and the water’s warm. Snowboarding is only possible in the winter months.
So duration of the snowboarding/wakeboarding seasons varies every year, depending on the conditions. When cold and frigid, your muscles will not react the same way they do when it’s warm.
Also, don’t forget that snow and water have different friction levels and will feel different as you slide across the surface.
The environment also makes a big difference. When wakeboarding, you are riding at a flat angle along the water. The boat creates the pace needed to ride across the water.
Snowboarding, meanwhile, only requires a little help from gravity, courtesy of steep inclines and tightly packed layers of snow. As a result, the movements are very different; the way you find your center of gravity, your ability to control and turn your board is affected by the environment.
The equipment used for wakeboarding and snowboarding is what we’re focusing on, though, and it’s your snowboarding equipment that requires a much bigger budget.
For example, you don’t need boots to wakeboard, but they’re an absolute necessity for snowboarding. You also need goggles, gloves, and winter clothing for snowboarding, while you can wakeboard shirtless if you want to.
All you need for wakeboarding is your board, bindings, and a lifejacket.
Why You Shouldn’t Use A Wakeboard To Snowboard
Especially if you’re just starting with snowboarding, I highly recommend that you don’t use a wakeboard to snowboard.
There’s a reason why all of that snowboarding equipment is expensive – snowboards are designed for the unique conditions of speeding down steep slopes in the cold. Simply putting your snow boots on and using your broader wakeboard will not yield the same results.
And when you’re just starting, you are just making things way harder for yourself. If you’re a more advanced snowboarder, it’ll restrict you to merely struggling to maintain balance rather than getting out there and pulling off tricks, cutbacks, or anything of that nature.
I gave it a try, and it was a lot of fun. Of course, I bailed every time and laughed about it, but if I were on an advanced level slope, traveling at fast speeds, making hard turns, I could have hurt myself.
The wakeboard simply doesn’t take to the snow the same way that a snowboard does, and it’s a recipe for disaster, especially if you don’t have excellent balance and swift reactions.
Snowboarding is a lot of fun. But it’s expensive. And you only get to use your expensive equipment for part of the year. That’s the price you pay for all the fun. And while it’s possible to use a wakeboard to snowboard, you should only give it a try when you’re confident in your ability on the board.
Even if you’re a good rider, you have to pay close attention to the differences in handling. If you ride with the same confidence and try to do the same things on a converted wakeboard as you would with a snowboard, you’re going to hurt yourself. So proceed with caution.
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