Getting started in wakeboarding
Wakeboarding tips from the experts
Before you jump right into wakeboarding, it's important to get the right gear and instruction for wakeboard success, so here's a few basics for getting starting out in wakeboarding. Wakeboarding is a great water sport and offers a fast-paced and thrilling experience, so what are you waiting for?
There are just as many opportunities to have a go at wakeboarding as there are for water skiing. However, this is is a sport best learned on calmer inland waters because negotiating coastal waves can be extremely difficult for wakeboarding beginners.
Before you get started you must make sure that you are using the right wakeboarding equipment. Avoid any pro-boards out there, the best way to begin is to use a wakeboard that is forgiving and helps you to progress. A larger wakeboard with one or more large rear fins will help give the board more direction and is ideal for starting out.
Beginners are generally given a shorter rope; this gets them closer to the boat and there is a bigger wake. Surprisingly, it is much easier to control the wakeboard in a larger wake as they allow the rider more speed to edge through.
You should also be provided with some wakeboarding safety equipment, such as a buoyancy vest. As well as keeping you afloat, the buoyancy vest will keep you warm whilst waiting for the launch and save your energy when crashing into the water.
Your instructor will start by finding out what stance on the wakeboard is comfortable and natural for you. It must be determined whether you are regular (left-foot-forward) or ‘goofy’ (right-foot-forward). Those familiar with snowboarding and skateboarding should know which stance suits them. If you haven’t tried out a wakeboard sport before, don’t panic. The wakeboarding instructor will get you to stand up with your feet together and push you forward on land – whichever foot moves forward first should be your lead foot.
The next step is to work out what angle your bindings should be set at – again, this will be a familiar exercise for snowboarders. The instructor will talk you through this process and explain which binding angle is best.
Finally, before taking to the water, learning your hand signals to the boat is one of the most important safety aspects of wakeboarding. Your instructor should go through these, explaining how to inform the boat to stop, turn or slow down during your wakeboarding.