Wakeboarding has been one of the biggest sports-related phenomenons of the past decade. Once considered an obscure addition to the family of water sports, it now is recognized as the fastest growing water sport in the world. Last year, nearly 4 million people across the globe participated in this fast moving and awe-inspiring sport. Although it is easy to see why people are attracted to the spectacular moves of wakeboarding, it is not easy to identify the sport's birth. Perhaps the origins of wakeboarding will never be known, but surfers deserve most of the credit because the beginnings of the new sport most likely began when surfers started being towed with a ski rope behind a boat.
A San Diego surfer named Tony Finn began the wakeboard revolution in 1985 when he developed the Skurfer — a cross between a water ski and a surfboard. Finn diligently promoted his Skurfer, and was quite successful in raising people's level of awareness to the new sport. However, it took the design skills of Herb O'Brien to truly send the sport off into new heights. O'Brien, owner of H.O. Sports, a leading water ski manufacturer, took an interest in advancing the sport in the late 80s. Before long he changed the wakeboard industry by introducing the first compression-molded neutral-buoyancy wakeboard, the Hyperlite. This innovation led to a massive growth of the wakeboarding marketplace that continues to this day. The Hyperlite's natural buoyancy allowed easy deepwater starts, which in turn made wakeboarding accessible to virtually everyone.