Taking to the water when you're first starting out in wakeboarding can be daunting. Once you do you'll find that wakeboarding is a hugely enjoyable sport that you won't be able to get enough of. Heading out on the water can be quite intimidating at first, but you will soon overcome this feeling.
Once you’ve negotiated the hard task of slotting your feet into the bindings, the instructor will get you into the water and tell you to assume the correct wakeboard position for launch. The boat should be travelling at a maximum speed of 40kph (24.85mph); a wakeboard offers more resistance when starting, so it’s important to start slowly.
Before the line on the tow rope becomes taut you will be floating on your back with the help of the buoyancy jacket. The board should be perpendicular to the rope and your arms should be positioned either side of your front knee.
As the rope begins to tighten the pressure against the board will allow you to get into the correct starting position, with the board pushed down just below the water’s surface. Knees into your chest, you will then push your front foot forward towards the boat and the boat will head off at speed on your signal.
Stance and technique
Like snowboarding, you need to shift most of your weight towards the leading foot, but at the same time keep the front of the board hovering slightly above the water (as with surfing). Then it starts to become difficult – slowly rise into a standing position by extending your legs with a slight bend in the knees.
If you’ve managed to get this far without wiping out, well done, you will be able to get your riding technique perfected. Your hips and shoulders should be turned away from the boat – skiers have a tendency to try to face the boat, but more often than not end up face first in the water as they catch or lower the front of the board.
The tricky part
Perhaps the hardest part of wakeboard riding is trying to cross the boat's wake. More often than not you will end up face first in the water or getting helplessly dragged along.
If you’re using a cable system, you won’t need to worry about the boat’s wake, which is a blessing for some but a curse for others. However, once you’ve got over these hurdles, you will cruise through the wake and end up on the other side with an enormous sense of achievement. You can then look forward to a whole lot more adrenaline rushes when you master wakeboard turns, jumps and tricks.