Kneeboarding History

Kneeboard refers to a piece of board that is ridden by a person in a kneeling position. It is often used in ocean surfing or while being pulled behind a boat on a river or lake. Generally, riders of kneeboards wear wet suits or life jackets, as they catch the waves of water through dipping their hands, kicking, or paddling in the water. Some of the benefits of kneeboarding include taking off from a submerged part of the wave, the ability to ride further back and higher in the tubes, less wind resistance, and an extremely low center of gravity.

Kneeboard riders often compete in different expression sessions and trick events. One of the most popular derivatives of kneeboard is towed kneeboarding that of course uses towed kneeboards. This kind of kneeboard comes with a protected deck that is curved accordingly to the shape of the knees and shins. It also comes with a strap that firmly holds the rider on the board. However, the popularity of towed kneeboarding has declined with the arrival of modern water sports such as wakeboarding. Today, many water skiers still enjoy towed kneeboarding as a popular water sport, especially with the introduction of the newer kneeboard models and styles in the market.

Just like any piece of sport paraphernalia, kneeboard also has its own history. As most people know, kneeboarding is a famous alternative to three-event water sports that include bare footing, wakeboarding, and skiing. Athletes of kneeboarding usually compete in events of expression session, tricks, and slalom. The event of expression session is the same as wakeboarding in which every pass is subjectively scored for style points. The event of tricks are done in two 20-second passes, and granted with subjective and technical points. In the slalom event, the six markers are positioned similarly to the traditional course.

The origin of kneeboarding was traced from Southern California wherein enthusiasts of surfboard used their customized belly or knee boards to protect the back of their boats. This was about thirty five years ago. Since then, the attention was caught of surfers from nearby countries, thus they found a new concept of surf-skiing. In 1965, the Inland Wake Board Company was established in Downey, California and its kneeboard products were sold in the west, south, and east, in Abercrombie & Fitch stores.

Between the 1960s and 1970s, some California entrepreneurs developed a specifically designed kneeboard for towing from the rear of a boat. To produce fiberglass-wrapped Knee Ski, Mike Murphy worked hand in hand with Bud Holtz, while John Taylor created the Glide Slide, made of blow-molded plastic. Of these two products, Glide Slide was the most enjoyed, although its success in commercial business was short-lived.

Apparently, when Glide Slide went bankrupt, Danny Churchill, a skier who once worked for Taylor, secured financial support in order to form the Portugal Company, which in turn bought Glide Slide. The board was reshaped by Churchill, who switched it into rotational molding and is now popularly known as the Hydroslide. Since this product first hit the shelves, millions have been sold - while numerous manufacturers began generating kneeboards.