Wakeboarding is a brilliant source of fun and adrenaline rushing thrill. It caters to all levels of experience, making it the perfect activity to learn and enjoy. Surprisingly enough, wakeboarding is also one of the easiest water sports to pick up. So if you’re a beginner – it’s definitely easy to get started. Here are some beginner tips you wish you’d known before hitting the water. If you’ve ever thought of releasing that inner surfer dude, this might as well be the perfect sport for you to get started with.
Adhere to basic safety rules.
This goes without saying. Safety is paramount at all times and your qualified instructor will ask you to abide by a few rules when you are wakeboarding. This includes wearing a life jacket at all times and designating a ‘spotter’ throughout the wakeboarding session. Your instructor will usually act as a spotter or will designate one to alert the driver of your position at all times. This would also allow the spotter to keep an eye out for other boats or objects in the water.
Get your lead foot right.
Your lead foot is your non-dominant foot and is whichever foot you put forward. The foot that goes in the rear is the dominant foot. It is important you get this right as it will come in handy for balance, making turns and will greatly improve your riding ability all around. An easy way to determine your dominant foot is to see how you kick a ball or put on your trousers or climb a flight of stairs. In this instance, the foot used to kick a ball or the first foot that goes into a pair of trousers or to climb a flight of stairs is your dominant foot.
Use a shorter rope
A shorter rope reduces the distance wake to wake, which means less speed and height. This also allows boats to slow down and as this happens, wakes get bigger and wider. Allowing the rider to go higher with less speed. The overall reduction in speed also decreases the impact of falling and the overall intimidation factor, boosting confidence for new tricks.
Balance yourself and distribute your weight.
Start by staying close to the board at first. Do this by getting into a squat position by keeping your arms and knees tucked in. Once you are out of the water, try standing up slowly while making sure more than half your weight is concentrated on your lead foot. Once you are in standing position, shift your weight back to your rear foot. This is done deliberately so that balance and weight distribution are evenly maintained.
Keep the rope handle low
Hold the rope handle in a lowered position. The best position is to hold it at hip level and parallel to the water. Beginners often hold the handle high and perpendicular to the water as they do in waterskiing – this is a mistake and will cause you to fall in the water.
Use the correct boat speed
If you have a wakeboarding instructor guiding you, chances are you won’t have to think about this one. But if you are having a go at this by yourself, be sure to remind your driver to go slow on launch. This will make it much easier for you to stand up. Once you in a stable standing position, the boat requires a maximum speed of no more than 14-19 mph – much lesser than water skiing or other water sports.
Take your time
Rome wasn’t built in a day. Same goes for your wakeboarding skills. The good news, however, is that you can pick up these skills in a relatively short period of time. Always stay relaxed and understand that mistakes (yes including falling face flat in the water) will be a common one. After a good amount of practice and understanding of the sport, you’ll be performing wakeboarding tricks and jumping those wakes in no time at all.