Wakeboarding is a relatively new watersport that has taken the world by storm. It emerged in the scene during the late 1980s.
Right after its emergence, it started gaining a lot of traction and very quickly became a popular sport.
Naturally, wakeboarding wouldn’t be in the place where it stands today if it weren’t for the professionals that give it a great image.
Whether you’re contemplating going pro, or you’re just interested in seeing the numbers and knowing more about the average salary of a wakeboarder, you’ll find what you’re looking for in this article.
We’ll be discussing how much professional wakeboarders make annually. With that said, this is a difficult question to answer since this line of work does not pay a constant salary. The more talented you are, the more get paid. For instance, the best wakeboarders can earn nearly half a million every year.
In order to answer this question (what’s the average salary of a wakeboarder) in the most faithful way we can, we’ll be basing the salaries on the kind of sponsorships and commercial involvement.
Average Salary of a Wakeboarder: Examples
Even if you were to try and google it, you won’t be able to find a clear and direct answer to the question “what’s the average salary of a wakeboarder?”. This is mostly due to the fact that there are so many variables that need to be taken into account, such as skill level, sponsorships, commercial involvement, likability, and many other factors.
When we try and calculate the average annual income for the top athletes based only on their competition earnings, we found that it can be anywhere between $20,000 and $100,000. However, this only applied to the top talents in the industry.
For the athletes who managed to get sponsorships or be featured on some sort of commercial, then they can earn upward of an extra $150,000 or even $250,000.
While some websites say that no wakeboarder is able to earn more than $100,000, this statement is often not supported by solid evidence. In fact, it’s very hard to get an exact number when it comes to these sorts of things, but it’s safe to assume that the amount can high vary from one sponsorship to another.
Here’s are nine professional wakeboarders with a rough estimate of how much they’ve earned in 2019 from competitions alone:
Cory Teunissen is a 22-year old USA-based Australian wakeboarding star that started his professional career in this field back in 2012.
Back in 2016, Cory registered several first-place results in some big competitions, including the Australian Pro, the Canada event of the Worlds, the China event of the World Cup, and the Portugal event of the European Pro-Am.
Sponsors (both previous and current ones) include: O’Brien, Red Bull, Nautique, Rosewell Marine, Spy, Jet Pilot
In 2019, the Australian wakeboarder participated in three events and earned a total of $23,700:
- 60th Masters, in which he achieved the first place and earned $7,700.
- Pro Wake Tour #1, in which he achieved the fourth place and earned $3,000.
- Moomba Masters, in which he achieved the first place and earned $13,000.
Tony is another young Australian rider who’s known for his sick tricks and breathtaking style. Iacconi grew up Newcastle, Australia but now lives half of the year in Orlando Florida.
Over the past years, Tony Iacconi has proven himself to be one of the top wakeboarders in the competitive scene, and he has the results and achievements to back that up.
Sponsors (both previous and current ones) include: Connelly, Rockstar, Nautique, Jet Pilot
In 2019, the Australian wakeboarder participated in four events and earned a total of $8,200:
- 60th Masters, in which he achieved the T5 place and earned $700.
- Pro Wake Tour #1, in which he achieved the second place and earned $5,500.
- Moomba Masters, in which he achieved the T9 place.
- Australian Open #2, in which he achieved the second place and earned $2,000.
The 27-year old Japanese rider started wakeboarding in the second grade and quickly honed his skills to show huge potential. Tezuka kept worked on his wakeboarding skills while still in education, and he achieved great feats.
Sponsors (both previous and current ones) include: Red Bull, O’Brien, Supra, Blala
In 2019, the Japanese wakeboarder participated in four events and earned a total of $11,200:
- Pro Wake Tour #1, in which he achieved third place and earned $ $4,200.
- 60th Masters LCQ, in which he achieved the first place.
- Action Sports Games, in which he achieved the first place and earned $7,000.
- Moomba Masters, in which he achieved sixth place.
The young American wakeboarder is considered one of the top performers of the next generation in this sport. Tyler Higham has been living on his own chasing his dreams since he was 13 years old.
Sponsors (both previous and current ones) include: Ronix, Supra, Follow
In 2019, the American wakeboarder participated in six events and earned a total of $8,550:
- 60th Masters, in which he achieved the T7 place and earned $500.
- Pro Wake Tour #1, in which he achieved the fifth place and earned $1,800.
- 60th Masters LCQ, in which he achieved third place.
- Boardstock #1, in which he achieved the T5 place and earned $150.
- Boardstock #1, in which he achieved the T10 place.
- Moomba Masters, in which he achieved the second place and earned $6,100.
Another rising talent in the competitive scene, 25-year old Mike Dowdy has been honing his wakeboarding skills from a young age.
Sponsors (both previous and current ones) include: Connelly, Red Bull, Nautique, Billabong, CTI, Buywake
In 2019, the American wakeboarder participated in three events and earned a total of $3,050:
- 60th Masters, in which he achieved fourth place and earned $2,300.
- Pro Wake Tour #1, in which he achieved the T7 place and earned $750.
- 60th Masters LCQ, in which he achieved second place.
Guenther Oka is a young American Wakeboarder with a passion for trying new locations to truly put his skills to test.
Sponsors (both previous and current ones) include: Liquid Force, Red Bull, O’Neill
In 2019, the American wakeboarder participated in four events and earned a total of $2,150:
- Boardstock #1, in which he achieved second place and earned $1,000.
- Boardstock #1, in which he achieved third place and earned $150.
- Moomba Masters, in which he achieved fifth place.
- Toronto Indoor Championship, in which he achieved the second place and earned $1,000.
Noah Flegel is an all-around master on his wakeboard, and he’s been passionate about this sport ever since he first set foot on board back when he was three years old.
Sponsors (both previous and current ones) include: Hyperlite, Nautique, Buywake
In 2019, the American wakeboarder participated in five events and earned a total of $4,100:
- Pro Wake Tour #2, in which he achieved the T9 place and earned $600.
- Wake Open, in which he achieved the T13 place and earned $500.
- Pro Wake Tour #1, in which he achieved the fifth place and earned $1,800.
- Moomba Masters, in which he achieved the seventh place and earned $1,200.
- Action Sports Games, in which he achieved sixth place.
Massi Piffaretti is a young Italian wakeboarder who believes that as long as you’re willing to put in the work, you can make anything happen.
Sponsors (both previous and current ones) include: Ronix, Red Bull, Malibu
In 2019, the Italian wakeboarder participated in one event and earned a total of $1,300:
- Pro Wake Tour #1, in which he achieved the sixth place and earned $1,300.
Tony Carroll is a bit older than the rest of the wakeboarders on our list, but he’s still young and full of energy, and his achievements attest to that.
Sponsors (both previous and current ones) include: Ronix, Axis, CTi, Tommy’s, Fuse
In 2019, the American wakeboarder participated in one event and earned a total of $450:
- Pro Wake Tour #1, in which he achieved the T13 place and earned $450.
As you can clearly see, even pro wakeboarders aren’t making that much from competitions.
Average Salary of a Wakeboarder: Some Facts to Consider
If we take a look at the most prominent athletes in sports such as LeBron James basketball, Messi in soccer, Rafael Nadal in Tennis, then you’d be looking at $10 million-dollar sponsorships from big brands such as Nike and Adidas.
With that said, there are no wakeboarders that are that popular, but when it comes to sponsorships, there could be many factors in play. One could even suppose that there could be $1 million-dollar sponsorships offered to the top wakeboarders at some point, but even if that were the case, it wouldn’t be something that we would base our estimations on since it would be so rare.
Wakeboarding, as a sport, still hasn’t reached the same level of popularity as the other major sports like football, basketball, or tennis. With that said, the rapid growth of the sport does suggest that professional wakeboarders are only going to be earning more as time goes on.
As it stands right now, the highest-paid wakeboarder is getting paid less than half a million dollars and that is when you take into account that they’re sponsored with the top energy drink companies.
If we were to break things down into different tiers, we would have something that looks like this
- Board and Boating Manager – $30,000
- Energy Drink Sponsorship – $10,000
- Board Sponsorship– $5,000
- Minor Sponsorships – $5,000
- Competition Earnings – $5,000-150,000 yearly
This leads to the total estimate for top pro riders to be around $50,000-200,000 yearly. However, if top athletes manage to secure an excellent sponsorship then they can earn $350,000-500,000.
With that said, it isn’t easy to reach earnings of that level. There’s a lot of talent, patience, and luck involved in getting that far. As it stands right now, there isn’t a big demand for the sport. However, it doesn’t mean that it isn’t worth investing the time and effort into learning it. The main reason it’s not as popular as the other sports is that it’s much newer on the field, but that seems to be changing with the amount of traction it’s getting.
Wakeboards and Surfers: Who Gets Paid More?
Even though wakeboarding and surfing don’t vary too much from each other, surfing seems to be more popular due to the fact that it’s older than wakeboarding. For instance, the ISA Surf Industry Manufacturers Association and Surfing Australia have stated that the population of surfing fans in 2019 is between 20 and 30 million which is 10 times more than the number of wakeboarding fans.
As a result, it’s natural to assume that surfing is a more profitable water sport with more sponsors. As a matter of fact, the top 40 surfers can earn anywhere between $250,000 and $500,000. With that said, this is only a very small percentage of surfers. The majority of surfers aren’t able to earn nearly as much as that.
If You’re Looking to Go Pro
Even if the money and lifestyle seem very tempting, you should expect to be able to make a fortune off wakeboarding. You’ve probably realized it after looking at the statistics and average salaries. The main issue here is the fact that the amount of athletes that can actually manage to get great sponsorships and reach high yearly earnings is extremely small and the risk is most likely not worth it.
For now, you should enjoy the sport and support it so that it gains more traction and grows a stronger and healthier competitive scene which will make going pro a more appealing career path, especially for future generations.
With that said, you can always make some money off wakeboarding, but don’t count on anything remotely stable. In fact, most people who earn money off wakeboarding do other work on the side to supplement their income. This could be great if you’re really passionate about the sport and want to start getting into the professional scene.
If you’ve read through the full article, then your mind is probably already set by now and you know whether or not going pro is a viable option for you. As long as you’re passionate about what you’re doing, you’ll be able to achieve a lot of great things. Just make sure you’re aware of the challenges and are willing to make some sacrifices to get where you need to be if you want to go pro.
You might want to invest in a Jet Ski or boat to help you practice more often. You’ll also need to maintain it which can be costly. However, if you play your cards right and manage to get sponsorship you’ll be able to start making some money off wakeboarding.
However, your main source of income when it comes to wakeboarding will be competitions. Competitions are not only where you’ll be making the most money if you win, but it’s also your chance to be put in the spotlight. This is vital in helping you get noticed by potential sponsors and gaining a couple of fans in the process.
Conclusion: Average Salary of a Wakeboarder
All in all, going pro in any sport is a difficult undertaking, and making it to the top is definitely no easy feat to accomplish. This is why careers in sports should never be motivated by money or fame. They should be motivated by one’s love and passion for the sport.
We hope this article has helped you get an idea of how much one would make on average by going pro and for those who have chosen to go pro, we wish you the best of luck!
Before you fully embrace wakeboarding, you might want to understand the difference between wakeboarding and other water sports through the following articles:
- My own experience!