Wakeboarding is a fun way to enjoy the water. It combines aspects of water-skiing, snowboarding, surfing, and skateboarding. Choosing the right board is critical for beginner wakeboarders. A larger board offers more stability and larger fins give the rider more control over the board’s direction. Single-tipped boards are pointed at one end and squared off at the other end enhancing its ease of use. More advanced wakeboarders opt for twin-tipped boards. These boards are shorter and rounded at both ends; better for changing directions and landing air tricks.
Wakeboard beginners need a longer board, and a shorter tow rope. A rope of about 50 feet in length will bring the boarders into the bigger part of the wake, closer to the boat. This will enhance the boarder’s balance. Bindings are an important part of the board and essential to your safety. Beginners need to ask a rental or sales person to assist them in determining which foot should be in front and at what angle to place the boot bindings.
The boot is most commonly made of a heavy foam material with finger holes in the back. Dunk your wakeboard in the water before putting it on. The boot should be snug, but not tight enough to hurt your foot. It is imperative that the board properly releases from your foot when you fall to avoid breaking an ankle or leg.
Yes, you will fall. Both novices and experts fall while learning and mastering the extreme sport. Many wakeboarders subscribe to the notion that if you don’t fall, you aren’t really trying. Pushing yourself is indeed the best way to learn and falling in the water is usually painless. Regardless of your level of wakeboarding proficiency, for safety’s sake always wear a life vest. Not only is it a law, but the vest’s buoyancy is quite helpful while boarding.
Getting up on a wakeboard from the water the first time is extremely challenging. It is typically easiest to put the wakeboard on while in the boat or on the dock and then jump in the water. Get behind the boat and float on your back. Angle the board perpendicular to the rope like a T. Put your arms in front of you if the rope has one handle, or to either side of your knees if the rope has two handles.
Call to the driver to start slowly. The pressure of the board will push your knees into your chest. The front of the board will begin to rise out of the water and you will feel your arms being tugged forward. Go with the feeling and don’t resist by pulling back! Push your front foot towards the boat.
As the boat continues to speed up stay crouched down and keep your arms bent. When you begin to feel the water supporting the board underneath you, even out your weight amongst both feet and slowly rise from the crouched stance to standing with your knees just slightly bent. At this point, you will be planing behind the boat. A speed of only about twenty miles per hour is fast enough for most novice wakeboarders.
Dock or step starts are a way to start from land and should not be attempted until you are comfortable with your balance while the wakeboard is on the water. Wear gloves to avoid rope burn when starting from land.
To dock start, stand on the platform facing the water with your wakeboard already on your feet. The fin should be in the center of the platform. Gather up about four feet of the uncoiled tow rope and hold it in your rear hand, by the rope, with the handle hanging. Pull the rest of the tow rope tight and tell the boat driver to slowly accelerate. Lean back to edge off the platform, while allowing the rope to slide through your hands. By the time the rope handle has reached your hands, you should be planing on top of the water straight behind the boat.
Tricks make wakeboarding a popular extreme sport that can be mastered one step at a time. After crossing the wake, riders then learn to jump across it getting as much air off the wake as possible. Rolling or flipping are exciting somersault moves to learn. Switchstance is riding backwards. Known as ‘revert’ or ‘fakie’ to wakeboarders, many riders turn backwards as soon as they plane. Changing directions and getting air are incorporated into most advanced tricks.
Wakeboarding is an intense, adrenaline-rushing sport. The feel of the board skimming the water underneath you is unique and thrilling. Water skiers and surfers tend to pick it up easily while those new to water sports should take a wakeboarding lesson.