Kneeboard surfing has a devout but small fraction of the surfing population keeping the sport alive. The kneeboard came along in the early 1950s as post-war economic success made waterskiing popular. By the turn of the century, just about every ski-boat had at least one kneeboard tucked away on it.
The kneeboard made its way to the surf. The shorter, rounder board made it easier for the rider to maneuver in the waves and the lower stance made getting into a tube and maintain position in it a possibility for most.
Kneeboard popularity grew a bit after the movie Crystal Voyager by one of the most prominent kneelo riders, George Greenough, in the mid-1970s.
But in a 2015 article, surf writer Ken Mondy had this to say: “The Kneeboarder. Once a thriving, if clearly unhinged, subculture of surfing, the kneelo is now the sport’s white rhinoceros. The youngest current kneeboarder is now 35 years old.”
The kneeboard still has its advantages for some. One such advantage is the popularity of adaptive surfing and access for those with handicaps. Most modern kneeboards have a rubber pad to protect the rider’s knees as well as provide grip for maneuvering. Kneelos typically use swimfins, which add an element of control and make it easier to get into the wave.
- Friday, March 10, 2017, 7 a.m.
1540 Harbor Drive,
For the true die-hard kneelo, kneeboarding is where the best of the skill sets unique to each of the surfing disciplines unite. This Friday off the South Jetty at Oceanside Harbor, the Kneeboard Surfing USA Titles competition will kick off at 7:00 a.m.