Top 10 Wakeboarding Movies and Documentaries for Extreme Sport Lovers

They say necessity is the mother of invention, and that’s how wakeboarding was born. Surfers needed a way to ride waves on even the calmest of waters. Little did they know that wakeboarding would become one of the ultimate extreme sports, combining surfing, snowboarding, and water skiing into one epic undertaking. 

Whether you’ve tried wakeboarding or not, it’s always inspiring to track the success story of a sport and its pioneering athletes. Documentaries like “The Endless Summer” and “Dogtown and Z-boys” transport us to the heyday of surfing and skateboarding, creating nostalgia and subsequent sports stoke some of us never knew we had.  

Here, we provide a list of our top 10 favorite wakeboarding movies and documentaries that are sure to enchant you, fill you with wakeboarding stoke, or at least garner your respect for this ever-changing extreme sport.

Top 10 Wakeboarding Movies and Documentaries

Most of the movies and documentaries on our list are collaborative projects between teams, sponsors, and filmmakers. Still, plenty of them are humble, home-made endeavors by the first famous generations of wakeboarding stars. There’s something on our list for everyone.

1. Welcome (2004)

This documentary film follows the Hyperlite team’s week-long wakeboarding adventures at Radar Lake, Washington. It displays long shots of each rider’s solo run on the water and uses distinct songs to them, matching each rider’s authentic wakeboarding style with a song from a different genre. 

Welcome incorporates music and sport in a creative and evocative way so that an eclectic soundtrack enhances your inspiration as you marvel at each team member’s athleticism. You’ll hear music from rock and roll to r&b, to punk rock from artists such as Jimi Hendrix, NOFX, and Ray Charles. 

They intersperse wakeboarding with conversations and shenanigans around a campfire and during boat rides to give watchers a sense of the team’s work-hard-play-hard lifestyle.

You can stream it here.

2. Snapshot 

Snapshot is an hour-long documentary that portrays wakeboarding’s evolution from its founding as a new variation of waterskiing to the current state of wakeboarding as its own fully recognized and widely popular sport. 

You’ll hear interviews from the founders of the sport, including Parks Bonifay, Thomas Horrell, Patrick Panakos, Tony Finn, and the inventor of water ski cableways, Bruno Rixen. Not only will you hear first-hand stories, but you’ll also see footage of current wakeboarding stars that you’ve never seen before.

This may be the most all-encompassing documentary yet as it includes footage of 50 performers executing every trick and move imaginable in four different countries. This is no easy feat and certainly worth the watch.

Check out a preview of Snapshot on YouTube. 

3. Liquid Equilibrium 2008 – IMDB

Liquid Equilibrium debuted in 2008 and showcased more than 40 extreme athletes representing their unique wakeboarding and wake-skating styles. You’ll see insane slider jams, gaps, surfing, and so much more over the span of this video.

You’ll view wakeboarding footage on the waters of two different nations. We also like this film because it shows you extreme water sports of all kinds, many of which directly influence the tricks you’ll see on a wakeboard. Check out where you can stream Liquid Equilibrium, as well as details on cast and crew on IMDB.

4. Incomplete (2001)

This documentary reveals wakeboarding in its heyday as rail riding was just beginning to make an appearance in the wakeboarding world. Incomplete’s producers are themselves famous and innovative wakeboarders, including Shane Bonifay, Chad Sharpe, and Shawn Watson, who formed part of the Pointless Posse.

This team films it from the team members’ point of view, giving the audience a more intimate glance at life amongst friends who collaborate and compete to bring you some of the most amazing wakeboarding footage you’ll see. 

You can check out some highlights from the film here.

5. Seasons

Seasons is a documentary film from Remedy Films production company that follows the Malibu Boats and OneWake teams over multiple seasons of wakeboarding practices, tournaments, and extreme sports mayhem.

This video portrays the cream of the crop of modern-day wakeboarding, and we aren’t just talking about sport. You’ll also see the rockstar lifestyles of these elite athletes, and the non-stop extreme of work and play. These athletes not only have top quality equipment, but they also ride around in the most extravagant yachts and racing boats you’ll see.

Wakeboarder enthusiasts will love this documentary for all the tricks, and the general public will love this documentary for its decadence. It’s kind of a mix between documentary and reality T.V. Their moves and tricks will definitely inspire you and maybe make you a little jealous of the glamorous life of a pro athlete. 

You can watch the full documentary on YouTube

6. A Single Day

This is another Remedy Films production that guides you through a day in the life of a professional wakeboarder. Well, maybe it’s the optimal day in the life of a wakeboarder. You’ll see plenty of wakeboarding along with an action-packed schedule of video shooting, jumps from helicopters, and gnarly wipe-outs with stitches to prove it.

It displays a ton of different wakeboarding styles from all the members of the SMG Wake team. You can find the full film on YouTube

7. Prime (2014)

This action-packed documentary is a compilation of wakeboarding videos from the top tier of wakeboarders during that time. It does a great job of showing you how the sport has diversified over the years, including wakeboarding variations like wake, boat, cable, style, and tech-skating. 

This is every wakeboarding enthusiast’s go-to film that they show their friends to get them into wakeboarding. It is the only documentary on our list that actually won best video at the Wake Awards in 2014.

You can be the judge of its award-winning status by checking it out on Amazon. We think you’ll agree.

8. 12 Honkeys (1999/2000)

This silly home-made movie is as irreverently entertaining as its name. The film’s premise conveys a group of criminals who’ve broken out of prison, the criminals all being the most famous wakeboarders of the late ’90s and early 2000s. You’ll see wakeboarding footage from the likes of Darin Shapiro, Scott Byerly, and Parks Bonifay, landing all the tricks that make them legends today. 

Watching this movie will simultaneously give you wakeboarding stoke and a good laugh at some pretty ridiculous acting. You’ll even see Thomas Horrell in a chicken suit. 

You can find 12 Honkeys on YouTube

9. Lipsmack (2012)-IMDB

Lipsmack is a documentary film produced by Slingshot Sports that shows footage of pro wakeboarders Oli Derome, Jeff Mckee, Mike Ennen, Jeff House, and Shredtown. Not only will you see all the newest styles, techniques, and disciplines, but the scenery is incredible. There are shots during epic sunsets as well as footage from picturesque lakes surrounded by pine-covered mountains.

This documentary does a great job at combining sport and nature, leaving you aching to grab your board and head outdoors. Check out a preview of Lipsmack, or stream it on iTunes

10. Parks Documentary

This is a documentary that follows the life and career of Parks Bonifay, one of the foremost pioneers of wakeboarding. You see him grow and evolve as an athlete and innovator in his discipline, and you also see cameos of other equally famous wakeboarders of his generation.

You’ll see Parks in action at his first competition, landing moves and tricks that even experienced wakeboarders can only dream of one day achieving. Whether you’re a wakeboarding fan or not, the Parks documentary will inspire you. With as much passion, talent, and drive as Parks Bonifay has, it’s hard not to be.

A Few Other Wakeboarding Movies and Documentaries Worthy of Mention

While the previous list consists of our top 10 favorite wakeboarding movies and documentaries, there are a plethora of wakeboarding films to explore. Without going into detail, we’ll mention a few excellent films worth checking out that you can find on YouTube:

  • Voyage 
  • Liquid Force: Relentless 
  • The Magic Carpet-A Wakeboarding Film 
  • Penny 

We also have some other articles with the lists of must watch boarding and surfing movies:

Wrap-Up

Our list of the top 10 wakeboarding movies and documentaries shows the best of wakeboarding performances past and present. These movies and documentaries portray the modest beginnings of wakeboarding and the innovation of its pioneers, as well as the over-the-top lifestyles and schedules of modern wakeboarding pros. 

Many of these films are low budget and thus don’t have the resources for publicity and promotion. Luckily, you can stream most of them or find them on YouTube. For those of you who are new to the sport, we recommend starting your journey off with Snapshot or Prime to get both the basic history and the best of the sport’s current diversity.

Whether you are inspired by the athletes’ dedication, the extremity and impossibility of wakeboarding tricks, or the endless mirage of beautiful lakes, rivers, and luxurious boats, these wakeboarding documentaries will make you want to drop everything, buy a wakeboard, and search for some wake.

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