wakeboard and feet in the water

ESSENTIAL TECHNIQUES FOR WAKEBOARDING

With an explosion in the popularity of extreme sports, it’s not surprising we are seeing a rise in the popularity of wakeboarding. Wakeboarding is a cross between surfing and snowboarding on the water. Just like waterskiing, you’re being towed behind a boat but you are on a shorter, smaller board that’s perfect for riding the wake of the boat you are being towed behind. Wakeboarding gives you loads of freedom to jump, spin and if you’re really good at it, flip. You’ll need loads of strength in your arms, legs, abs and back. If you don’t have it, you’ll soon get it with this watersport.

These tips are designed for wakeboarding beginners to help them get the hang of it. It’s really like a combination of the skills you use for snowboarding, skiing and waterskiing, whether that be with one or two water skis.

AVOID STANDING TOO EARLY

You need to keep your weight over your heels to get your board to plane out properly. That’s why it is important to keep down until you get well on the water. If you stand up too early, your board won’t plane out properly and there’s a big chance you will catch the edge of your board as you stand up and that is the fast track to planting your face in the water. Start off floating on your back with your knees tight to your chest and keep your elbows wrapped tightly around your knees. Let the board do the work before you get ready to stand up.

You’ll need to keep your weight over your heels. The trick is to wait until most of your body is pullout out of the water by the speed of the boat before standing up. As long as you keep your body weight is shifted behind your heels and you are leading away from the rop and the boat, you will be up on your feet before you know it.

KEEP YOUR CHEST UP AND OUT

Keeping your chest up and out keeps you in the right standing position. The best way to know if you are in the right position is to imagine you were being roped up from your chest into the sky. You’ll have a whole lot more control over the wakeboard with your chest up and you knees bent at around 45 degrees. Keep your weight distributed evenly on the board.

AWAY FROM THE BOAT

Always lean away from the boat. This will allow you to ride back and forth across the water (know as edging). The easiest way to edge for most people is heelside, which means you shift your weight over your heels to head in that direction. Putting your weight over your toes will send you in the other direction. Whatever you do, don’t bend forwards at the waist or you will be face down before you know it.

BE CAREFUL WITH YOUR EDGES

It’s pretty hard to stay upright if the edges of your board catch the water. As long as you are riding heelside or toeside, you have a better chance of not catching your board’s edges in the water.

PUSH AWAY FROM THE WAKE

Keep your legs locked in a bent position and push from the wake to ride the wake. Jumping is a little like jumping from a trampoline, in that if you push off too early, you will absorb the wake and won’t get any air. on your approach, and push off at the very top of the wake as if you were jumping on a trampoline. Don’t push off too early or you’ll absorb the wake and won’t get any air, or height, from it.

ABSORB YOUR LANDING

When you land from a jump, bend your knees, keep your chest up and maintain good tension on the rope. Make sure you bend your knees to absorb the impact of the landing so you don’t bounce, but rather ride away smoothly. It’s really easy to hurt your knees if you land with stiff legs.

Make no bones about it, wakeboarding is loads of fun but a faceplant or jarring your knees really does hurt. This is no watersport for the faint hearted.

 


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Jake Taylor
jake.taylor@dinga.com.au

Jake is a global traveller who has recently called Australia his home again. If he's not travelling, he is writing about it and his experience.