Are you looking for an adrenaline-boosting watersport you can learn quickly? Well, maybe you should start with wakeboarding! It is an easy watersport to learn and you do not have to spend hours trying to figure out how to get up on a wakeboard. In fact, wakeboarding has a steep learning curve which is perfect for anyone who wants to start riding but has minimal watersport experience.
What is Wakeboarding?
Long story short, wakeboarding is a newer version of the sport: water skiing. It is basically just riding a board with foot rubber bindings while holding on to a rope that is either attached to a boat or a cable. The name also speaks for itself. Wakeboarding is all about riding a board over the wave created by a speed boat which is called a wake.
Although this water activity originally started with wakeboarding behind a motorboat, beginners and professionals nowadays prefer cable boarding. Why? Because the pull is more consistent and going to a cable park is, to be honest, much more convenient.
However, the basic principles are still the same so even if you prefer riding behind a boat, you can still apply everything I am going to teach you in this blog post.
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How to Get Up on a Wakeboard: A Step by Step Guide
Step 1: Safety First
I know how excited you are to get to the good part. But, like with any sports, you should take safety precautions seriously. Here are some of the things you will need to avoid any injury before wakeboarding:
A Coast Guard Approved Life Jacket
Yes, you probably know how to swim. Otherwise, you will not be trying out watersports. But, even the professionals still wear life jackets so take a little step towards safety and wear yours as well. (See my blog post about different types of life jackets here)
Wearing protective headgear is also essentials, especially if you are wakeboarding on a cable park. You can avoid injuries from accidents like slipping on the dock or hitting an obstacle by wearing a helmet properly.
Wearing a wetsuit when wakeboarding is not really that necessary. You can just wear boardshorts and a rash guard too. But, I recommend wetsuits to beginners, especially to those who will be wakeboarding behind a boat. This is because the temperature of open water can be unpredictable depending on where you are.
If you are wearing a wetsuit, you can just focus on learning how to ride your board and not get uncomfortable enough because of the cold water. Bonus perk: You might avoid getting little cuts from slipping and falling.
Step 2: Figure Out Your Lead Foot
When you start doing activities that involve any type of board, it is best to figure out which foot you are comfortable leading with. This will help you know how to stand on your board properly. In wakeboarding, there are two ways to stand: regular stance or goofy stance.
To find out which stance you are more okay with, try standing on your board on the ground. If you naturally put your left foot at the front, then you have a regular stance. However, if you place your right foot at the front of the board, then you have a goofy stance. It does not really matter which one you choose, as long as you feel confident with it
Step 3: Wakeboard Starting Positions
Now, when it comes to wakeboarding, the most important thing to learn is how to get up on a wakeboard. This is essential because the way you get into it will set you up for success or not. So, the question is: how do you get up on a board properly? Here are three ways:
For speedboat riders, they usually go for the deepwater water position because they should be in the middle of the water, to begin with. To do this position, you will need to start with your feet already in the bindings attached to the board.
When you are already in the water, the board will float in front of you. Now hold the rope with straight arms and when you feel the boat or the cable starting to get tight, bend your knees and just let it pull you until you are balanced enough to stand up.
I know it seems super easy but you will probably fall flat on your face on your first try. Do not worry though, that is completely normal. Just work on your balancing skills and you will be fine.
Jump Dock Start
This starting position is a little bit harder than the first one. In fact, not a lot of beginners do well with this one. But, if you get the timing right, it can be a super cool way of how to get up on a wakeboard.
Normally, you begin jump dock start on, you guessed it, a dock and it is usually done on cable parks. To start with this position, hold on to the rope with straight arms, lean your body slightly so the board moves a little forward.
You should be completely facing the water with your board in a horizontal position on the dock. Then, jump on the water when you feel the cable start to become tight. Now, remember what your lead foot is so you can immediately go into your stance after jumping.
Tip: It might take some time but make sure to always time your jump properly and use your arms as a suspension so you do not fall straight into the water.
Nose Press Start
If the other two mentioned are too easy for you, maybe you should try the nose press start. This one is more advanced and it is a little bit related to the jump dock start.
To begin, start with positioning yourself on the dock based on your preferred stance. Put the weight of your body on your lead foot to the “nose” of the board leans forward. (Pro tip: You can do it the other way around but people tend to slip and hurt themselves with that technique so I recommend sticking with the first one.)
Keep leaning slowly until the cable starts to pull you into the edge of the dock and then jump into the water. The back of the board with be elevated but do not worry, gravity will take care of that. It will naturally come back down once you are already in the water.
Step 4: How to Stay Balanced
Now that you know how to get into a board and then into the water, let us now move on to how you can stay balanced while riding.
After your starting position, keep your feet shoulder-width apart (Although, if your board has bindings attached to it, this is already a given) and bend your knees like you are sitting on an imaginary chair. Then, slowly stand up straight and put your lead foot at the back of the board. Make sure you lean the weight of your body on your lead foot to keep your board stable.
Do Not Pull on Your Rope
If you are a beginner, you are probably pulling on the rope tightly. This is a rookie mistake that is best to avoid so you do not lose your balance or fall into the water.
Just let the boat or cable pull you and keep the rope low. The right way to position the rope is to level it to place it parallel to your hips. You can also practice your rope grip on land before trying it out on the water.
Look Straight Ahead
The best practice when wakeboarding is to keep your gaze straight ahead. Stop looking at how the sun is shining through the water. You can check that out later. When you are on your board, just look straight ahead to the directions you are going to so you do not move the weight of your body.
Step 5: Wakeboarding Tips and Tricks
Rope Length and Board Size
The size and length of your wakeboard will depend on what feels right based on your riding style and weight. However, for beginners, it is advisable to get a bigger board and shorter rope. This will make it easy for you to ride a board with a wider surface area to stand on.
On the other hand, a shorter rope will give you as much upward pull as possible to help you maintain your stance. For more advanced riders, they prefer a small board and a long rope just so they have more control and space to do tricks.
Set Your Board Up Properly
Before getting into the water, make sure your feet are properly placed in the rubber bindings and the bootstraps are tightly attached. Tip: Get into your board when you are close enough to the water. Otherwise, you will have a hard time trying to walk with the bindings stuck to your feet and you might risk slipping and getting injured.
Learn Boat Hand Signals
If you are going to learn how to get up on a wakeboard that’s behind a motorboat, talk to the driver first before riding. Keep in mind that even though the driver is responsible for the speed and direction of the boat, you can communicate what you want or what makes you comfortable during your ride. Learning basic boat hand signals will ensure this.
Do Not Fight It, Just Ride It
Another rookie mistake I usually see when it comes to wakeboarding is being tense and thinking too much. As people always say: Go with the flow. Do not fight the rope by pulling it too hard or keep moving the board by changing your weight placement.
This can result in you falling into the water or getting into unwanted accidents. Just relax, let the boat or cable do the work while you focus on maintaining your balance.
To learn how to control your board, even more, you should know the two common turns used in wakeboarding. The first one is called heelside turn. With this, you lean your weight on the heels of your feet to keep the pressure at the back edge of your board, digging the water so that you can turn.
The second one is called toeside turn which is the hardest of the two. With this, you focus your weight on your toes so the front edge of your board digs the water. When you are turning, standing up straight will be the best option so that you can easily put the pressure either on your toes or on your heels.
To help you learn how to get up on a wakeboard even more, here are some products I recommend, especially for beginner riders.
Coast Guard Approved Life Jacket: Leader Accessories Adult Universal USCG Approved Vest
Going back to Step 1, safety is key when doing any watersports. If you are going to wakeboard on a location without buoyancy aid rentals, I recommend this Leader USCG-approved life vest. This one fits comfortably (make sure you get the right size for you) and it is lightweight making it easy to use when wakeboarding.
Material: Nylon Oxford Material with PVC Foam in Front & EPE Foam
Size/s: M / L / XL / 2XL / 3XL / 4XL
Wetsuit: REALON Wetsuit Men 3mm Full
Considering the reasonably low price of this wetsuit, it is surprisingly high-quality. This product is perfect for wakeboarders who live in a cold climate because this will surely keep you warm. This REALON wetsuit feels comfortable and snug. It has flatlock stitching so you do not have to worry about durability and its material is 3 mm thick.
Material: Nylon, Neoprene
Size/s: Can fit a large
Hyperlite Motive Wakeboard with Frequency One Size Fits All Boots
I like this Hyperlite Motive Wakeboard because it is a perfect beginner board. It can even be used by children who want to start riding. This product is number seven on Amazon’s top wakeboarding boards so that should tell you how much riders prefer it.
I also like that it includes a one size fits all boots so rookies do not have to worry about it and they can focus more on learning how to ride. This board will give you a smooth experience with its molded-in fins, six-degree edge bevel, and lightweight material.
Size/s: 140.0 cm
Airhead Wakeboard Rope, Phat Grip, Trick Handle
When it comes to beginner wakeboarding, I recommend that you get a non-stretch type of rope that is also not very long. As I mentioned, a shorter rope will give you more upward pull which can help your wakeboarding experience easier while you are still learning the basics. For this product, it is 50-60 feet in length which is perfect for rookies. This Airhead one has 15 inches EVA PHAT GRIP handle and the material is low stretch.
Size/s: 50-60 Feet
Airhead Binding Venom Wakeboarding Binding
This one is the number 1 bestselling wakeboard binding on amazon. With this Airhead Binding’s flexible plastisol overlay and a lace system that is easy to adjust, you will get perfectly fitting support. This product also has specific plates on both sides which allows people of various feet sizes to fit in the boots.
Size/s: 4 to 8 (EU: 36 to 41)
Price: $114.50 – $141.99
1 used from $31.56
Last updated on 31/07/2021 14:14
Wakeboarding is one of the best activities you can do on the water, especially during the warmer months. If you have nothing to do and you are looking for a new hobby to start, why not try wakeboarding?
It is fairly easy once you get the hang of the basics. I assure you that if you just remember everything that I mentioned and get the right equipment, you will be doing wakeboarding tricks in NO time.
If this blog post helped you out, do not forget to leave me some love in the comments down below. For more wakeboarding tips, follow my Facebook and Instagram.