Beginners guide to Wakeboarding
How To Wakeboard With Tips for Beginners
Everything you need to know if you want to be shredding your local spot!
If you’re reading this article, then you already know that you want to start wakeboarding. And who could blame you? The allure of catching tons of air or popping an ultra stylish tail grab is enough to make anyone want to get started. But before you blow up the lakes you have to learn the basics. This step by step how to will do just that, you’ll learn the process of getting up in deep water and making turns that will generate the speed you need to break out hard.
# 1 Goofy or Regular?
First things first, before you even get in the water you need to establish whether or not you are goofy (right foot forward stance) or regular footed (left foot forward). There is a myriad of methods to use, but the one that works best is the good old-fashioned push method. You simply have a friend come behind you while you are standing and have them push you from behind to barely push you off balance.
This will cause you to step forward, and the foot that you instinctively put out first is the foot that you will use to lead with. Simple as that, just make sure that you aren’t thinking about which foot to use, and repeat the process a few times just for added verification.
#2 Binding Placement?
Bindings should have a snug fit. Consider going down a 1/2 size to ensure and snug fit. 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 (backward). 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.#3 Jump in and Relax
Once you have donned your life vest, and put your feet in the bindings, it’s time to jump in. Take the handle in your hand as you scoot from the boat into the water, this will prevent awkward rope chasing (Wakeboards aren’t easy to swim with) and once it is taught you can use it to balance yourself while floating. While the boat takes up the slack in the rope, you can take a few moments to get comfortable (pee if you have to pee).
Let the rope come directly over the middle of your board, and hold the rope right between your knees. The important thing to remember is to keep calm and let your life jacket and wakeboard do the floating. Don’t try to fight the board and don’t worry if you feel like you’re not centered directly behind the boat, because the boat driver can move you wherever you need to be. Just keep your knees bent and the rope centered and you will do fine. It’s just like sitting in a floating recliner.
#4 NOW GET UP!
Now that you are in position, it’s time to commence to wakeboarding. Give the driver a thumbs up and you’re ready to go. You’ve already been told, but you need to keep the rope centered over the board through the whole standing up process. Think of it like a friend helping you up off the ground. You don’t have to exert much force, rather, let the boat do all of the work. When the rope pulls you over, you can stay in the knee bent crouch position the whole time. One of the main reasons why people have trouble is because they try to stand up too early. To avoid this common mistake, make sure you stay balled up until the board planes out on the surface of the water. As your board is coming out of the water your legs may feel a little wobbly and you may shift from side to side. To correct this, put a little extra weight on your back leg and your nose will start to point forward. Keep your weight shifted toward the back of the board and keep the rope pulled in close to your chest. Slowly start to straighten your legs from your crouched position and stand tall. Remember to always keep your legs bent and relaxed because it will help you absorb the impact from rough water and wake.
#5 Okay I’m Up, Now What? You did it! You’re now officially standing up on the wakeboard. After you’ve been standing and riding for a little while, and you’re feeling pretty comfortable, then it’s time to start turning. Get a feel for the board by slowly shifting from your heels and toes. By doing this you will see how the fins and edges of the board “catch” the water.
To cross over the wake, turn the board in the direction you want to go and hold the edge by keeping it pointed at the same angle the whole time. Slightly lean against the rope keeping it close to your body. The rope tension is very important for beginners and advanced tricks. You will excel if you always keep the handle close to your body and hips. We will repeat that- you will excel much faster if you keep the handle close to your body and hips.
Keep your knees bent and relaxed as you approach the wake allowing your knees to move upward when you go over the front incline. Hold that same angle and continue over the backside of the wake. This may be awkward at first but keep trying and it will become second nature very quickly.
# 6 Stick With It!! If you have experience with other board sports you will definitely have a leg up, because these sports are very analogous. Whatever the case, though, if you are finding it difficult to get up on a wakeboard, don’t give up.
Learning to stand up on a wakeboard can be taxing and rewarding, and people always learn at different paces. It may sound cliché, but the key really is to stick with it and keep trying.
Just like any other sport, it takes time to feel it out and learn what works best for you. So most importantly just relax and always have fun with it.