Both sports require leg and chest strength, but since you have to balance both legs on the wakeboard (rather than a ski on each leg), wakeboarding requires more muscle strength. It's also similar to skating and surfing, so anyone familiar with single-board sports can find comfort starting here. Slalom water skiing is harder to learn than wakeboarding, as long as you don't try to do advanced wakeboarding tricks. However, this doesn't mean that wakeboarding is easy.
Wakeboarding seems to be easier on the body than slalom skiing to “walk normally back and forth behind the boat”. In addition, making jump jumps on a wakeboard requires less effort than moving a slalom from one side to the other. Most people find slalom waterskiing much more difficult than wakeboarding because it's more physically demanding. The skis are also very likely to move away from each other and wobble.
However, younger children seem to get up more easily with a wakeboard than with twin skis. Some people think it's easier to get up to ski than to wakeboard because you don't have to go sideways when you reach the surface of the water. For most people, getting up on a wakeboard is easier to learn than on a slalom ski, due to the greater area of contact of the wakeboard with the surface of the water. As mentioned, wakeboarding puts much less pressure on the body due to lower speed and greater contact surface, resulting in a smoother pull of the arms and shoulders.
Wakeboarding puts less pressure on the body due to the lower speed and the larger contact surface, which is smoother on the arms and shoulders. The high speed and extreme turns of water skiing, as well as the radical jumps and somersaults of wakeboarding, can cause minor or more serious injuries. Wakeboarding is all about jumping the trail and performing tricks, while “normal water skiing is about cutting as hard as you can at 33 miles per hour and shooting as much water as you can”. Generally speaking, cyclists with experience in sports, such as skateboarding, snowboarding and surfing, tend to learn wakeboarding much faster.
Although wakeboarding speeds tend to be slower than when water skiing, falls hurt much more. Some ropes are specifically designed for wakeboarding and water skiing, and work well for advanced tricks and jumps. Low-elastic wakeboard ropes are the best option if you enjoy both water skiing and recreational wakeboarding, since these types of ropes provide sufficient elasticity, which is good for water skiing and, at the same time, they maintain sufficient stiffness for wakeboarding. Although both sports involve gliding on water while being towed by a boat or cable system, the difference in equipment requires different skills using different muscle groups.
If you start wakeboarding or water skiing in early summer, you'll be surprised at how fast you're progressing. Properly tying the wakeboard rope to the boat is one of the important skills that a beginner should learn when starting to wakeboard. When trying to compare the ease of learning to wakeboard with water skiing, opinions differ depending on the cyclist's experience with water skiing. To get the most out of their skis, water skiers will load the rope for the highest possible tension.