2020 pandemic has heightened our thoughts about our lifestyles, and our priorities on a different level. We had to refrain ourselves from outdoor activities. Now, either we are starting slowly our old activities or some new activities to freshen up our minds. This article is primarily for those people who have just begun wakeboarding. Nevertheless, it might be an interesting write-up to look at if you are not thinking about wakeboarding. Who knows if it would change your mind!
We see that beginning anything especially sports can be frightening to most people. And wakeboarding is a watersport that needs a lot of energy and a stable mind. The trick is to focus on the fun you will have while learning this sport. When you cross the basic level it starts to get easier. The growth (whether it is slow or fast) brings satisfaction to you. The only thing you have to do is to be habituated with water. With tenacity, you will feel like you would open the door of a new world.
Having said that we are going to talk about other necessary points along with tricks and tips in this article. As a beginner, you should have a proper introduction to this activity. So, we are going to cover everything you need to know about wakeboarding as a newbie.
So, what is Wakeboarding Actually?
Wakeboarding is actually a modified version of waterskiing. In the case of waterboarding, the rider will have one board. Certainly, the rider has to be towed with a boat. It is usually done on the lake or in the sea. I would always suggest beginners to go for waterboarding on a lake until she/he reaches to an advanced level. A stable water surface is the best to get habituated at first. With practice and progression, you can try wakeboarding in different and new postures.
It is good to mention here that wakeboarding has another version now!
Wakeboarding has another modified version and is called cable waking. You will be on one single board here also. But, you will be towed with an overhead cable and this cable goes around the lake. To me, cable waking is more fun and rewarding to do. In this water sport, there is no towing boat and therefore no wakes. So, the tricks we will be discussing later in this article are not applicable for cable waking. When you fall off in the water, you will have to swim back to the edge of the lake. Some advance level boarders perform some tricks like sliders or kickers. These tricks need different processes and energy levels.
A Brief Look Back at the History:
At first, wakeboarding was called ‘Skurfing’. The wakeboard was used to ‘Skurfer’. At that time skurfers look a lot similar to surfboards. It all began back in the 1980s in Australia and New Zealand.
In 1983, Howard Jacob brought fineness through some changes in skurfers and reshaped them. ‘Skurfing’ was renamed to ‘wakeboarding’ by Paul Frase, Murray, and a professional snowboarder. Herb O’Brien was an icon of wakeboarding. Paul and Herb played a big role in making wakeboards popular which gradually started in 1991.
- Are There Any Governing Bodies or Organizations Regarding Wakeboarding?
Yes, there are. In 1993 the World Wakeboard Association (WWA) was formed. Actually, the World Skiboard Association (WSA) was renamed in WWA. In the last 28 years, WWA has given the world a number of rules and regulations, championships, professional and non-professional players.
Another noteworthy organization is The International Water ski and Wakeboard Federation (IWWF). It has arranged many international competition events. It is also the official partner of the Olympic Committee.
- Is There Any Particular Motto of Wakeboarding Competition?
Well yes, there are. But there are similar to other water sports competitions. All these events and competitions are arranged to let the world know and boarders know about their skill level, techniques. Water sports are mostly about balancing and controlling your position with your techniques and tricks. On top of that, participants get to know other players. It creates a great opportunity to learn from each other.
If you are starting wakeboarding just for your pleasure, you do not have to participate. I would suggest at least watching these events or competitions. It will help you to be familiar with the sport better.
- Do Wakeboarding Skills Help With Other Watersports?
The very primary yet vital skill for any watersport is to keep your mind clear and stable while doing the activity. Body strength is important for whatever watersport or board sport you are performing. And also, some tricks in different board sports need some common skillsets. Considering these points, wakeboarding helps you with other watersports.
Choose Appropriate Tools, to Begin With:
Gears, tools, and swimsuits play a good role keep you prepared before you go in the water. I will not say to buy every single accessory or tool. But some things are basic and you should pick the right ones for you. This is vital.
It is absolutely common that people love to do activities in summer and want to stay in light and cool summer outfits. And lots of people prefer to show off their summer bodies while water sporting. If you are a beginner, then I would suggest you go for swimsuits that cover your most body parts. Choose the swimsuit that goes with your comfort and flexibility. You will be spending hours on the water.
You cannot wakeboard without a wakeboard! As a beginner, your predictable challenge would be stability. So pick something that can help you to stay firm while boarding. Your toes need to stay tight in the right amount otherwise while turning your legs can get hurt. You must check the bindings or strap quality and board shape to check if it helps you to turn easily on the water.
- Check the length of the board before buying. Small boards are light in weight and they are very good for fast spinning. But landing can be an issue with small boards if you are not an advanced boarder. Whereas, large boards are the best for slow yet smooth boarding. I would recommend buying large boards for beginners.
- The next thing you check about the wakeboard is the rocker. You will see a distinct bending on wakeboards from head to tail. This bending is called a rocker. There are four types of rockers: continuous, hybrid, three-stage, and five-stage. The last two are the best match for performing advanced tricks like jumping higher. For faster move without turmoil through waves, continuous rocker perfect. Rocker plays a big role to decide on your performance.
- The bottom designs of wakeboards define the functionality of the board. There are concaves, double concaves, channels, and featureless bottoms. Both concaves and double concaves help the boards to perch high on the water. Channel supports the board to slink hard without disrupting the boarder’s stance. Featureless just supports you silently to move nicely at a slow pace.
- Fins are placed below the wakeboards. They are placed as per boarders’ requirements. Based on the tricks and performances of a boarder, fins are fixed. For example, if the fins are fixed nearer to the center of the board it can move faster and stay firm on the water. If the fins are fixed nearer to the head and tail of the board it stayed attached to the water more and it will not stay firm. You can also go for no fins. For beginners, Long Based fins would be the best choice.
Bindings help you to hook your toes to the board. You have to put your feet into these bindings. You will find two types of bindings: Open toe and closed toes. Closed Toes comes with better receptivity and Open toe comes with smooth movements.
As a beginner, if you go for any water activity without a life vest or life jacket, then from my side it is a big NO. I would say go with a life vest. You will certainly fall off on water when you will begin. A life vest will help you to stay up the water safely.
Besides all these tools I would also suggest you to check on the wakeboard line, towing boat, and helmet before you begin.
Now, What Are The Steps to Hop On The Wakeboard?
These are very easy steps to follow. But make sure you follow them right.
- Place your body and the board in such so that they maintain a 90-degree angle.
- Place your heels firmly on the heel area of the board. Check if your bindings hook properly or not.
- Hold the handlebar of the wakeboard line. Check if you can grip it properly or not.
- Enter into the water.
- Lean a bit your body backward.
- Send the signal to the towing boat only when you are ready.
- Towing boats usually start at low speed and then for a while maintain a stable acceleration. During this acceleration keep yourself comfortable.
- Once the boat starts to speed up, the board will also start to pop up. Give it a push with your front foot while it is popping up. It will bring you nearer to the boat. If you feel to increase the distance then just give the board a push with your back foot. It will also reduce your speed.
- Rather than stand straight, bend your knees forward a bit. It will give you good control over your legs. But keep your toes facing towards the boat. Then rotate your body sideways slowly. Do not rush.
- When you are confident that you are absolutely smooth sideways, then start different tricks.
Some Tricks for Beginners:
- This one is a fun trick. It is called Jumping the Wake. This means jumping in the wake area of the towing boat. You will be rippling the water surface from the backside of the towing vehicle. This is called a wake. You will have to cut through the wake and go as far as possible. Go to either side of the boat. Then again cut back hard and jump to get into the wake. Now, when cut back near the wake, make sure you tilt back a little. It will help you to land injury-less.
- Another fun trick is Surface 360. It means to turn 360 degrees while boarding. You have to create and hold the momentum while turning. If you are turning right, then disengage your right hand. Hold the handle with your left hand. Then take a 360 turn. And just right before getting back into your neutral position detach your left hand and hold the handle with your right hand. This is actually very simple.
- Cut out wide. Try to do it nicely. Push your toes to begin progressive edges and push them to strengthen those edges stronger. When you get close to the wake, stand up straight and push down the handlebar at the same time. The moment you land, bend your knees again. This is called Heelside Wake to Wake.
- This one is Heelside Grab. That means that you will have to grab the board up in the air with one hand while doing the Heelside Wake to Wake. Lots of people make a mistake bending the body towards the board before the right time. Do not do this. First, jump in the air. Make sure that it is a good jump. Then pull up your knees and bring the board up to you. Keep your mind that you should not bend your body or drop your chest down. And then grab the board with your one hand.
- If you feel that Heelside is a tough trick for you, then you can start Toeside Wake To Wake. In this trick, you stand tall. When you cross the wake give a very little push and get a very low jump. The technique is to bend your knees a bit and put a lot of extra weight on your front foot. Do not worry about if the weight is too much or not. Pull the handle down and put it by your hip. And right before taking off stand tall. Then put your handle behind your back pocket. You will be able to land in a controlled manner.
- If you want to take your Toeside Wake To Wake to another level, then this one is perfect. It is called Toeside 180. So, you will do the same as you did in the previous trick. One you stand tall takeoff and in the air, then pull your hip up and spin 180 degrees. Then bend your knees and land.
There are lots of other tricks. They are more challenging and adventurous. I have discussed some simplest and easy-to-do tricks so that beginners can have fun while wakeboarding. You can see that I have put a lot of information before mentioning these tricks. I want you to ride safe when you start your journey with wakeboarding. Enjoy fully while you wakeboard. You will find it rewarding at the end of the day.