A Beginners Guide to Wakeboarding
Getting started is easy if you follow these simple steps. Have
the right equipment, the latest pro board is not always the
best to learn with. Give yourself a chance and get a board
that is forgiving & helps you to progress. A larger board
with one or more large rear fins helps to give the board direction
which is important when learning. For more info on choosing
a board, click here.
A shorter rope - about 15 meters (50') gets you closer to
the boat in a bigger wake, this will be helpful for learning
to wakeboard, you can find more information on ropes and handles
here.A buoyancy vest
is not only basic safety equipment but it will also save you
a lot of energy. The driver should remember that you need
a lot less speed to get going and to stay planing than water
skiing. 35-40 kph max. A wakeboard offers more resistance
when starting, so start slowly!
(how and where you stand on your board). Your first step is
determining whether you are regular (left-foot-forward) or
goofy (right-foot-forward) . For those of you who skateboard
or snowboard, this is easy. lf this is your first board sport,
don't panic. Stand up, feet together and have someone push
you from behind (sorry - on land). Whichever foot goes forward
first is your lead foot. Check out our feature article on
this topic here.
Riders just getting started should try placing the bindings
at about shoulder-width with the rear foot slightly farther
back (closer to the rear fin) to aid with directional stability.
The angle of your bindings is important. Start with the rear
foot straight across the board (O degrees) or slightly forward
to 9 degrees (one set of holes in the base plate). Your front
foot should be at an angle of 9-27 degrees (2-3 sets of holes)
to get started. Remember that this is just a guide and that
your stance should feel comfortable. Keep in mind, however,
that one of your first goals is going to be to ride revert
(backwards). For this you will want something closer to neutral
(0 / 0 degree) stance. tip: Before you get started,
double-check the security of your fins and bindings. Do this
every time you hit the water. You should even periodically
check them during your ride after a fall. For more infomation
on Binding Setup take a look at this
The Deep Water Start
Start in the water, floating on your back with a buoyancy vest.
The board should be perpendicular to the rope with your arms either
side of your front knee . Signal the driver to put the boat just
in gear. As you are pulled slowly forward, the pressure against
the board will allow you to get into the proper starting position
with most of the board below the surface of the water. Let the pressure
on the board push your knees into your chest, then push your front
foot forward toward the boat. Signal the driver to hit it and remain
in a crouched position. As the boat begins to go, keep your arms
slightly bent in near your lower stomach. Shift your weight toward
the front foot while keeping the nose above the water. As the water
begins to give you support, slowly rise to the standing position
by extending your legs until your knees are slightly bent.
Once you're up, get comfortable on your board with slightly more
weight on your rear foot. Let your hips and shoulders turn away
from the boat. Riders with a skiing background have a tendency to
try to face the boat this will often lead to a face plant as they
catch or drop their front edge. Practice getting comfortable in
the sideways position and relax. The key to the deepwater start
is letting the boat do the work. Stay down low and stand up slow!
Set up perpendicular TO THE LINE floating on your back. As you
start - Compress. LEAD WITH THE FRONT FOOT AND Let the line pull
you up on the board. It is one continuous flowing motion and you
should not be dragged through the water for long. Compress and stand
up straight away. There is no harm in being up before fully planing.
The Switchstance Start
(Riding 'fakie', 'revert' or backwards) should be learnt as soon
as possible. Most riders find it easier to start normal, then push
the board to revert as soon as the board starts to plane off.
Once this is mastered, you can go to a more direct approach by altenating
your front foot every time you start. Don't wait to learn to ride
switchstance; you'll need it for many tricks.
Crossing the Wake
Is easy if you approach it slowly at first with knees bent. The
faster you go the more you need to 'suck it up' with your legs if
you do not want to jump.
Jumping the Wake
Is easy. Compress just as you approach. As the wake lifts the board
extend your legs and body. It is important to stay cantered over
the board. On landing let your legs absorb the impact. The key to
getting good height in your jumps is to edge ALL THE WAY through
the wake. A common problem is to ease up the pull on the rope as
you approach the wake and flatten out the board loosing critical
energy which lifts you into the air. Loading or stretching the line
primes it with the energy which 'pops' you into the air. Cut hard