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Wakeboarding

Wakeboarding is by far one of the coolest water sports available. It adds a fun twist to water-skiing and is fairly easy to learn. It is especially easy for people with skateboarding, surfing, or snowboarding experience. To get started all you need is a wakeboard, pulling rope, and a boat. These are usually rented out together with a driver by the hour.

Wakeboarding is one of the best cardio and strength exercises available as it works most of your muscles; legs, upper body, abdomen...etc Although most people think that the pressure on the arms is extreme, in reality you have your arms outstretched and therefore are not constantly pulling yourself such as in a pull-up.

One of the best things about wakeboarding instead of water-skiing is the ability to jump high in the air. Jumping on a wakeboard is very cool and easy, all you have to do is exit the wake and then cut rapidly into the wake and your speed will do the rest. The only big caution is that you should ALWAYS wear a life vest.

Below is a terrific introductory article where you can learn the basics and how to get started. You can help grow our learning community by contributing your knowledge to the article. Just click on the edit tab in the wiki article below.

Use the white subtabs above to navigate the other Wakeboarding resources. We have a Wakeboarding forum where you can get your questions & doubts answered, a page with Wakeboarding how-to videos, a page with the best handpicked links to other sites, and a page with the best Wakeboarding books and products.

Good Luck and Have Fun!
Duncan Davis

 

Introduction


A wakeboard skier works on many of the same principles as a water skier. They are both pulled behind a boat or conveyance. The speed needed will roughly be 18 to 24 miles per hour. And both require more than one person to even attempt the sport.




There are a few differences between the two sports. A wakeboard consists of a single board and boot. The water skier on the other hand uses two skis. The wake boarder will also perform much more dynamic tricks which is typical of board based sports.




The trick based mentality has a lot to do with the origins of the wakeboard. Many of the early pioneers of the sport were already proficient with stunts found in sports like snowboarding. This gave wakeboarding a strong influence to follow similar lines.




Basics


When beginning a sport there are several basics that are taught first. These basics not only get you started, but they often prove to be fundamentally necessary in the more advanced stages of the sport. The following are some of the most essential components to wakeboarding.


 



Starting position


On the back of a ski boat is a ski platform. This portion of the boat is designed to help skiers prepare themselves for getting into the water.




Start by placing the board on the platform. The boots should be already attached to the board. Your boots should be equally spaced so that if you switch from the left to the right or vice versa in the water, you won’t be thrown off balance.




Now step into the boots and make sure your boots are laced securely. A secure boot will prevent accidents and injuries. They also give great support so you don’t strain unnecessarily.




Once the boot is on, sit back into the water while holding the tow handle. The tow handle should be horizontal and held up over the board. While holding the handle make sure that both your palms are facing down.




Your knees should be completely bent so that you are rolled up like a ball. Your arms should go up and around your knees. Do not put your arms between your knees. Also it’s good not to have a severe bend in your arms. Once you’re in this position you’re ready for the boat to start.


 



Getting Up on the Water


When the boat starts, the momentum of the boat will help you roll your board under you. While this is happening you need to twist your body around the rib cage and face the boat sideways. Learning to stand up may take a bit of practice.




Once up you now need to get into a proper wakeboarding stance. This involves your knees to be bent. Your knees should be over your toes while your hips should be over your heels.




The top half of your body should be facing the boat. Your rib cage and not your hips should be twisted to accomplish this. The handle should be located around your lead hip.




As for your arms, the back should go straight across your body. The lead arm should be bent enough to accommodate the back arm. These are the proper positions for maintaining yourself on the surface of the water.


 



Learning to Edge


Edging is the term used in wakeboarding to indicate the left and right motions you make behind the boat. It’s called edging because you traveling to one of two edges on the board.




Since you are standing sideway on the board, two names are given to this maneuver based on how you are standing. The two directions are toe side and heel side. In this way, you can still have a clear reference even if you switch which way the board is facing.




In order to move behind the boat, you’ll need to practice how you hold your body. For example to go heel side, you must act as if you are sitting down over your heels. This will pull you backwards allowing you to move in that direction. To go in the opposite direction you must lean over your toes.




It is recommended tat you practice this for some time going between toe and heel directions. Remember, when you’re learning this stay between the wakes of the boat. If you are unprepared for it a wake can massively disrupt your balance.




Once you feel you have enough practice with transitioning between these two directions, you can then attempt to go pass the wake. This comes in handy when the boat needs to turn. Every time this happens, the inside wake area loses forward momentum rapidly. Traveling past the outside wake will enable you to maintain that forward speed.




When facing a wake make sure your knees are bent sufficiently. Whatever you do, do not use the handle to compensate for your balance. Your knees will act as shock absorbers enabling you to move through the roughest part of the wake. All this can be accomplished by utilizing the techniques for basic movement.




Once you’re through a wake do not straighten or transition immediately. Instead continue in the direction your going until you are about ten feet beyond the wake. This will allow you to recover your balance sufficiently before returning inside the wake.




The return process is much like the exiting process. All the strain and turbulence should be handled in your bent knees. Once you’re back in the wake you can transition to a neutral position or reverse directions.




If you find you are having trouble controlling your board, it may be due to your body being out of balance. While moving your board should be on a flat plain with the water. In other words, you shouldn’t be leaning towards or away from the boat.


 



Basic Turns


When wakeboarding, it sometimes helps to change positions. This will prevent one side from getting cramped or strained. The two most basic turns are the switch and the 180 surface turn.




The switch involves changing which foot is leading. The board will remain facing in the same direction. The majority of the turn should come from your rib cage region when turning. Make sure after this maneuver is done to regain a proper balanced stance.




The more difficult trick is the 180. This involves rotating the board from front to back. This move does require some hip movement.




For starters, place some of your weight on your heels. This will prevent the board from rolling and landing you in a face plant.




The next step is to begin shifting your hips. This will initiate the turn. When shifting your upper body make sure the turn comes from the rib cage area. This maneuver will change your hip position and look cool in the process.




There are still a wide variety of tricks that an instructor can help you learn. These were just a sample of what beginners can expect. Jumps, spins, and riding a wake, are more advanced examples that would be taught in later lessons.




What you need


The mandatory personnel involve the boarder and the driver. It is also recommended to have a spotter for better communication between the boarder and the driver.




A life jacket is a key component to any water sport that takes place in deep water at high speeds. The jacket should be properly fitted and floats your body high in the water.




A third piece of equipment is the wake boarders tow line. This line differs from a traditional water skiing tow line. A traditional water skiing tow line is made to stretch. If it didn’t there would be a lot more whipping type jerks on the line. In wakeboarding the tension in the line is crucial. So make sure you have a line specifically designed for wake boarding.




Due to the high degree of stunts that are involved in wakeboarding, it’s recommended to have a professional instruct you. This sport is more intense than other water sports.




A boat is another key element of wakeboarding. Some boats have been specially designed for the wake boarder. These boats will be discussed in greater detail in a later section.




The wakeboard itself is the most unique piece of equipment needed. Even though wakeboards serve the same purpose, to let you glide on the surface of the water, they have a number of styles and designs. Many of these designs help the wake boarder accomplish certain things. For example some will allow faster movement while others aid in higher jumps. The specifics of boards will also be covered in a later section.




Finally there is the boot. Just like a shoe, your boot should be customized to fit your foot snuggly and securely. This is what connects you to your board. A loose fitting boot will lead to injury and accidents.




As with any sport, make sure that all your equipment is in good working condition. Your instructor will be able to guide you on tings to look for on this point. They will also be able to advise you on how to tell when a piece of equipment looks to need replacing.




Conclusion


This sport has caught the attention of younger generations. Because of its more flamboyant style older fans will probably have difficulty or cause injury because their body can’t hand it.




This sport does require a great deal of balance and flexibility. For those who find the sport too difficult because of these factors, it is recommended to start with a less impact sport and then transition into wakeboarding. A good candidate for this is water skiing.




Another limiting factor may be accessibility to water. This sport requires a decent amount of space. This involves staying away from boats and docks as well as swimmers. Much of this can be handled by the boat’s driver, but the space you need may still be hard to find.




Wakeboarding can be done in lakes, rivers, and oceans. If you want a more competitive venue you may have to travel some distance to find where the professionals train and teach. This can be a thrilling sport and a good way to stay in shape.