Kneeboarding is a comparatively new sport in the sports world. It is an aquatic sport, similar to surfing. In this sport, the participant is towed on a floating, convex, hydrodynamic board at a glide speed, usually behind a motorboat. Kneeboarding can also be performed on a fin surfboard which is practiced mostly in the waves of the beach. In the typical configuration of a tow board, the knee boarders kneel on their heels on the board. This is called kneeboarding because of the position the pilot takes: kneeling on the board and looking straight ahead. They attach to the kneeboard with an adjustable Velcro strap on the lap. It helps them stay in position while driving and playing, but allows them to free their legs if they fall into the water.
Kneeboarding is quite different from surfing. The stance is the major reason behind this. Knee-skiing in the water is often touted as a beginner sport because the rider can navigate the water with ease. However, one can get excited once one gets through the beginner steps of falling off the board and learn how to do the steps and a few tricks. Some people think you can’t do stunts while on your knee. This might be because the kneeboard uses a more restrictive posture than other similar sports such as windsurfing. But guess what? A lot of tricks can be done with a kneeboard, also! The difficulty of the metrics varies widely.
Although some tricks like twisting, side-sliding, jumping can be done easily, especially for beginners, it can take some time to master other tricks like switching, Flip, turn around, wake up 360 forward. Some of these complex tricks can only be performed by professionals and after years of practice.
If you are a newbie to the sport, you have to learn some simple steps. Once you get a hold of these, you can move into the exciting and more complex tricks which will make your experience more enjoyable. In this article, we will try to give an overview of the simple, beginner-level steps and then some of the complex ones. But remember, this is theoretical knowledge only. The real scenario might be different. This is just a heads up for you, the real challenge will be outdoor when you perform the sport by yourself. So, let’s take a look at the tricks.
At First, There are Some Preparatory Steps.
- stretch your body. It is the prerequisite for any sport. Give your body a proper warm-up. So that they are flexible while you are performing the sport.
- Pick out a suitable board. You will get many options but pick out a board that has the perfect shape, bend, and dynamics best fitted for you.
- After that, you have to get on the board. Now, when you are just e beginner, you shouldn’t attach the strap. This will allow you to move freely in case you fall. When you are a bit experienced, you can attach the strap.
- Take your first stance. Place the board on the starting ramp and simply kneel on it so that your knees and shins are on the board and you are sitting on your heels. When you receive the handle which is going to take you to directions ultimately, grab it with both hands from above. Make sure your thumbs are under the handle so your hand is around the handle and you get the most effective grip. Lean forward on the board so that your elbows touch the board and you can reach a low balance point.
- Once the board starts moving, hold your position. When you are a few meters in the water, you will feel that the board is stabilized. You can get into a more comfortable knee position then. You don’t have to do anything. The handle will drag you in directions.
After you are stabilized in the board with a comfortable knee position, you can try to practice some tricks.
Turning is another very simple trick that you will learn in no time.
All you have to do is gently tilt your upper body in the direction you want to turn. Don’t make it too hard, or you might fall. Extend your arms toward the boat. Start by learning to the right and putting most of your weight on your right foot and the board will shift to the right. Then learn to the other side and try there. You will feel how the chessboard is moving in the intended direction. To perform stronger turns, you must also rotate your hips in the desired direction. So, if you lean to the left and rotate your hips slightly to the left so that the knee is on the left, it will be easier for you to perform the left turn. When you finish your turn, lean slightly in the opposite direction to correct your incline and return to kneeling.
You can practice this trick after you have mastered turning. This is just a little difficult than turning. Jumping on wake is a fun trick where you jump to the wake of the boat while you are being towed. The wake refers to the rippling waters at the back of the boat. Jumping in wake means jumping off the outer edge of that area and back into it. To do this trick, you’ll need to try to get yourself closer to the side of the boat yourself.
To begin, sever the rope to get out of the wake. We recommend that you have as much space as possible on the boat.
At the right place, cut the rope towards the wake-up as sharply as possible. As you approach, start leaning back. That extra stress will push you up and into the air. Depending on how well you hit the water, you’ll land behind or on the other side. Prepare to have a safe landing!
- Surface 360:
As the name suggests, you’ll essentially be spinning through a full circle represented by 360 degrees. The Surface 360 is a more intense spin that, as you can imagine, takes you in a full circle. The trick to doing this is to increase momentum. To do this move, you need to turn your body to the side to build momentum. Turn your back from the starting side.
It helps you “load” the rotation. If you are turning right, release the handle in your right hand, then complete the rotation before grabbing the rope behind you again. When you pull the twine with two hands, you perform 360 degrees. That’ll bring you back to a forward position. Face forward again, straighten your back and keep your arms straight to make sure you are safe to land.
- Wake Front to Back:
Wake 360 FrontToFront is a complicated trick that takes a lot of practice. The challenge is not only with the technical side of the landing but also with perfect timing, balance, and the ability to hold the rope with one hand. This tip can also be confusing at first because you will spin very fast. It goes without saying that it may take a few practice sessions before perfecting it.
The goal is to ride the kneeboard backward. To do this, you will need to start by waking up from the outside. Hold the rope of the handle with both hands, move outward to wake up, then start cutting towards it. To start, stand in the middle just behind the boat. Alternating between your hands, pull the rope to get closer to the boat. After you have gathered about 6 feet of rope, wrap the excess in one hand and hold it in place on your pelvis. When you are ready, release the other hand holding the rope.
As you fly, turn towards the wake by pulling the handle towards your hips. Lean forward slightly as you turn until you are facing the pull. When you land you will be facing back and away from the pull. this move will cause you to go around in circles as you press down on the tension of the boat until you hold the handle again.
A Backroll is very difficult to perform due to complex time requirements, the replay process requires an expert to perform. You start by breaking out of the wake, then cut sharply towards it. When you’re close to hitting the edge of the trail, you’ll level and then ride the trail while resisting. Resisting means you are preventing yourself from entering the track entirely. On the contrary, you will be a ride on the edge of the trail. When you reach the top of the trail, move your shoulders towards the role while pulling the handles towards your waist and look back over your shoulders. The spinning momentum will put you in a small circle when you hit the ground. It can be a big physical challenge.
The best way to perform is to tilt your shoulders in the direction of the roll while turning your head in the opposite direction and point the zipper handle towards your hips.
Common ways to mess up this procedure include incorrect timing, too much or too little cut, improper arm positioning, and forward bending. Avoid these and you will be good to go.
- 180 Wake/ Back Wake:
The trick is to rely on your center of gravity to keep you leaning forward and staying low. To perform this trick, gently cut the string towards the wake. Then, as you approach, pull firmly on the towline. When you reach the top of the wake, turn your head to the shoulder facing the boat at the same time pulling the rope to your hips on the other side. To land, stay in your position with your head facing the wake. After landing, you can relax and let the towline return you to the forward head position.
- 180 Front/ Wake Front:
It is the complete opposite of the previously mentioned trick. It can also make you feel like you are about to fall as you will fall backward when you are above the wake and land forward. A lot of people get confused the first few times they do it! As with the Back 180, your center of gravity is what will keep you stable. To do this, start the external alarm. Give yourself some space. Cut sharply towards the wake. As you approach, turn your head towards the shoulder facing the boat while pulling the rope from the hips to the other side. The goal is to wake up backward. Make sure you stay still before landing. Then bring the band back to the opposite hip to rotate it forward again. After completing the procedure, keep your body straight by straightening your back and resting your elbows on your hips.
Top Picks for the Beginners :
In general, kneeboarding is a relatively easy and approachable sport for beginners. As you are grounded on your knees, it is much less risky for you compared to some of the other water sports. Even after that, you must choose the beginner-friendly kneeboards if you are trying the sport as a beginner. This will help you to navigate and get a balance on the board much more smoothly.
You will find a range of beginner-friendly kneeboards in the market that will help you to get started with kneeboarding. Here, we have compiled our top 5 picks for your ease.
Serenelife Thunder Wave Kneeboard
Features and specifications:
- Dimensions: 50 x 20 x 4.5 inches
- Weight: 9 lbs.
- Hard foam padding
When your goal is to have a lightweight kneeboard that gets you quickly adjusted to the sport, this kneeboard by Serenelife can be an amazing friend of yours. This board is specifically designed to give you a hook to handle the tow rope. This gives you a smooth transition when you are just getting started.
The build and quality of the board are top-notch with durable and high-quality materials. They are corrosion-proof, marine-grade materials that not only give you solid performance but also ensure ultra-lightweight for easy maneuvering.
The base of the board is stable and floats in the most comfortable ways. The lightness of the board ensures that it keeps on floating stably, instead of being botched down into the water surface.
All in all, this board is a near-perfect one to provide you with the greatest stability and a smooth ride through and through. The build and structure of the board make it accessible to the riders at every stage of skill level.
Xspec Kneeboard With a Hook Strap
Features and specifications:
- Dimensions: 50 x 20 x 4.5 inches
- Weight: 11 lbs.
- Capacity: 250 lbs.
- Price: $160
- High-impact durable plastic housing
- Adjustable 3” padded strap for comfort and safety
- Quad molded fins
- Stable base
- Soft cushioning effect
- Easy-start aquatic hook
- Durable shell with eps core
If you are looking for an all-rounder kneeboard to get started as a beginner, one of the most popular choices would be this Xspec kneeboard with a hook strap. This is a great one to learn kneeboarding as well. However, that does not limit its potential to serve for a long time, as it is a great board to use as an expert when you are much more well-adjusted with kneeboarding.
The design of this one involves elements from water skiing and wakeboards. For that reason, it gives you outstanding performance on any type of water body. Not only that, you get added support and safety from the EVA padded straps and great support from the knee straps as well. This helps you to enjoy hands-free positioning with proper safety and control.
Leader Accessories Kneeboard
Features and specifications:
- Dimensions: 50.8 x 20.5 x 4.7 inches
- Weight: 12.1 lbs.
- ¾” EVA padding.
- 3” padded straps for control.
If you are into funky-looking boards for beginners, this one by Leader Accessories will be a great choice to meet the best of both worlds. The design of this one allows you to have an effortless experience as a first-timer.
The edge of the board is beveled, thus, can smoothly cut through and sit low on the water surface. This will help you to stabilize the board while riding.
The board includes comfortable EVA foam padding, which is durable and keeps you stable. Besides, it also has an adjustable padded strap to provide you the most comfortable positions during every trick. Apart from being beginner-friendly, the expert riders can also perform tricky moves with this board.
Tips for the Beginners :
- Stretching or Warming Up the Body
This goes for practically any sport or heavy physical activity in general, that you need to warm up your body before getting on with any type of sport. This helps your body to get accustomed to the heavy duties of the intense physical strain. Otherwise, you have a risk of injuring yourself.
- Use the Ideal Board and Rope
Having the right equipment that matches your skill level is very important. This helps you to have steady progress over your skill sets. You should have a realistic expectation for upgrading your game level.
- Figure Out Your Ideal Speed
Similar to getting the right kneeboard and ropes, you should also focus on riding with your ideal speed. Not every rider will be comfortable with the same speed range even if they are of a similar weight range. So, try what works for you.
- Look Forward
This may not sound that important, but you will be surprised how much your sight can control your balance on the unstable water surface. For that reason, you should keep your eyes straight forward and maintain the balance from there.
- Maintain Proper Posture
Alongside looking forward and concentrating, having the right posture on the board will be very helpful to maintain your balance on the board. Correct posture will also save you from potential injuries and any other risks. Your body should be flexible with the movements, yet firm and straight. One rule of thumb is to keep your back straight, and that will help you align with your waist and shoulders.
Pick The Perfect Beginner’s Kneeboard :
As a beginner, you are going to have different priorities than a pro when picking a kneeboard. Here are the main points to look for-
Unless you are absolutely adamant that you’re going to become a pro at kneeboarding, your first kneeboard really doesn’t need to be high-end. Even at a reasonable price you can get a modest kneeboard that’s going to help you get the hang of basic kneeboarding.
That said, the price of a kneeboard will vary depending on its design, type, material, and even brand. So before you go looking, it’s best to decide exactly how much you’re ready to spend on your kneeboard, and then go from there. As you settle on a range, you can cut your list considerably short.
You’ll find both recreational and competitive kneeboards on the market. For a beginner, it’s a no-brainer to get a recreational kneeboard. Even if you have aspirations to go competitive someday, start off with a recreational kneeboard. There are a few reasons why I’m suggesting this.
Recreational kneeboards are softer, more suitable to make turns, and are more buoyant. This way, you can get a hang of kneeboarding much easier than on a competitive board. Moreover, this type of kneeboard is comparatively cheaper.
There are two styles of kneeboard that you’re going to encounter. The first type is slalom. As the name suggests, if you want to learn slalom boarding, this is the style you should choose. These are boards with sharper edges that are going to make turns easier.
On the other hand, if you want to learn and perform tricks more than anything, you better get a trick style board. They have rounded edges, as well as a round base. For safety, you should remember to get a board with a pointy tip.
Fins make turning easier. As a beginner, you’re going to be picking a recreational board, and they’re almost certain to have fins. A kneeboard with fins will be easier to use.
There are types of fins on kneeboards. Some are removable, some are molded to the bottom of the board and permanently fixed. If you’re buying a modern kneeboard, it might have retractable fins. The last option is more suitable for those who find removable fins tedious.
This might sound complicated and unfamiliar to a beginner, but rocker numbers are important. It refers to the measurement of the curve on the base of a kneeboard. For beginners, a continuous rocker is more suitable than a 2-stage or 3-stage rocker.
The movement of your kneeboard depends a lot on the rocker number. A higher number means you can turn the board easily. But if the number is lower, you will be able to move it faster. As a beginner, you should look for a kneeboard with a rocker number between five to six.
- Extra Features
Features such as knee straps, knee pad, hook, bottom channels, and edge profile should be additional factors you could check out. Kneeboards with a hook is something I’d actually suggest you get. It helps beginners have better control over their board. For better safety, you should look for a retractable hook.
You could look for single or double locking knee straps. They keep your knees secure to the board, and you should just get one that feels comfortable. Single locking, moderately padded ones are better for beginners. For knee pads, single layer ones are usually good for beginners as well.
Foam filled rotomolded plastic kneeboards are quite common, and they’re the most suitable for a beginner for various reasons including budget and ease of use. Higher end kneeboards tend to be made out of fiberglass or timber, but those are more suitable for competitive use.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Is Kneeboarding a Difficult Sport?
A: Among the most common types of water sports, kneeboarding is probably the easiest and accessible one. It is not too complicated to get started, so almost everyone can start knee boarding with ease. Besides being an easy sport, kneeboarding is also quite fun and exciting, and you have the scope to level up your game as you keep going.
- Is Kneeboarding an Ideal Form of Workout?
A: kneeboarding involves movement of the muscle of your full body. On top of that, it requires immense individual strength from arms and legs to keep the balance while riding. With the amount of strength and resistance your muscles grow from kneeboarding, it works as an overall toning exercise of your body. So, if your goal is to have an overall stronger body structure, kneeboarding can be helpful indeed.
- What is the Ideal Speed of Kneeboarding?
A: the ideal speed should be corresponding to the rider’s weight. As a general rule, 20 mph is a good speed for a rider weighing more than 100 lbs. You can take it down a notch to 18 mph if the weight is around 90 pounds, and take it down another 2 mph if the weight is around 80 pounds.
- Is There a Weight Limit for Kneeboarding?
A: Not as such. You might’ve noticed your kneeboard having a weight limit, such as 120 or 150 lb, but that’s only applicable for that particular kneeboard, and even then it is not a strict limitation. The weight limit is mostly there so you can fit the kneeboard.
If you’re 150lbs and you buy a kneeboard with a 120lb weight limit, you might find it a bit of a tight fit, and you also might find it a bit hard to maneuver complicated tricks and turns. However, you would not be facing any big problems if you decide to just leisurely coast along.
The tricks mentioned are only a few among many. The first of the tricks is comparatively easy to perform, while the latter ones are a bit complicated.
Kneeboarding, as a water sport or recreational activity, should be fun. If things don’t go as you expected, make an effort to try again. Some experts even take years to perform basic procedures. If you do fall into the water, always make sure to look around so that no other riders will bump into you. For now, you should feel safe in your boat and have fun riding it. If you’re feeling confident enough, you can try squeezing the knee brace against your thigh, which will give you more contact with the knee brace so you can push into corners and turn more easily. In the event of falling into the water, stay calm and first open the kneebar so you can swim.
As with any other sport, practice is key to achieving these tricks. Over time, you will feel more confident in your balance and agility. You may have to repeat a few tricks over and over again, but with enough time and effort, you will become a master of the kneeboard.