Wakeboarding Physics

Wakeboarding Physics - Physics of Wakeboarding Jason...

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Physics of Wakeboarding Jason Christian Wakeboarding is a sport developed recently, in 1985, by a San Diego surfer, Tony Finn. An avid water-skier and surfer, Finn decided to ride his surfboard behind a boat much like waterskiing. Weeks later, riders began adding straps onto their boards and invented the wakeboard. Wakeboarding is as much a test of strength as a test of finesse; both of which can be improved using physics (History of Wakeboarding). First, a little background into wakeboarding may help the less experienced readers. Wakeboarding is much like waterskiing; however, there are no skis, rather a board. The physics and techniques of wakeboarding are much the same as waterskiing. On the other hand, wakeboarders must perfect another technique, jumping off the wake. The physics involved in wakeboarding deals much with fluids mechanics, buoyancy and lift, and tension. The most important of these principles is the lift force on the board. In wakeboarding, the board and the rider experience buoyancy much different than a simple example of a block of wood floating in water. Since the board is moving on the plane of separation between water and air, there is a hysteresis effect, meaning that the system exhibits path-dependence, called planning (Physics of Waterskiing). Considering normal buoyancy, Archimedes principle easily applies to an object floating in water. The weight of the fluid (water) displaced by an object is equal to the magnitude of the buoyant force. When considering a wakeboarder on the board, the wakeboarder sinks when standing upright on the board. Thus, the weight of water displaced is less than the force due to gravity on the wakeboarder. In other words, a buoyant force is exerted upwards on the wakeboarder, but the weight of the wakeboarder and the board 1
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are too great for the buoyant force to balance the forces of gravity; another phenomenon must be taking place to explain a wakeboarder riding on the surface of water. When a wakeboarder first attempts to stand up on the water, the she experiences a phenomena called planing. Planing occurs when an object uses its own aerodynamic features to lift itself off the water rather than simply pushing the water to the side (Lathrop, Tom). When the wakeboarder first starts moving, resistance from the waves, known as wave making resistance, causes the wake behind the board and the main drag force on the board. The hull on a ship, or on the wakeboard for that matter, that simply displaces water and creates no lift have a maximum speed known as the speed of wave propagation. In order for the boat or wakeboard to plane over the top of the wave making resistance, it must have an angled bow that will create a drag force and more importantly a lift force so that the boat may overcome the speed of wave propagation (Wave Making Resistance). The force of the water hitting the boat has an equal and opposite force from the board on
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Wakeboarding Physics - Physics of Wakeboarding Jason...

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