This then in turn means that we can pull ourselves closer or let ourselves fall back by slightly adjusting the position of our arms and this allows us in turn to respond more to the waves and what’s happening. This is very useful – unlike having our arms completely straight which means we can’t let ourselves back any further if we need to.
We’ve addressed how fast you need to go on take off, but once you get started the best speed for the tow boat is around 16-19 mph and this is a good speed which will help you to stay upright. This is different for different types of watersports and faster speeds are required say for barefoot waterskiing which requires around 30-45 mph. This roughly correlates with the size of the surface area you’re going to be balancing on.
Lastly if you need more help on how to wakeboard you should research. A great resource is to watch wakeboarding videos. Wakeboarding videos are very useful as they allow you to copy the techniques of those performing and will give you lots of beginner wakeboarding tips.
Now, take the handle and hold it low down so that it is just by your hips. One of your hips is going to be pointing slightly more forward than the other, so have your handles low down by that hip. Here you will also be using an overhand grip and that will mean that your knuckles are facing upwards and your palms are facing downward. This will ensure that your wrists are as strong as they can be and that you have the most control over the handles – anything else will feel awkward.
Lastly make sure to keep some degree of bend in your elbows. There are several reasons for this, the first being that this is the strongest position for our arms and will give us the tension we need to hold ourselves in. Straight arms on the other hand don’t involve muscle control and if they are suddenly pulled against it can cause the rope to slip out of our hands, or cause our joints to jar and hyperextend.
At the same time though with our arms slightly bent this also gives us some space to pull them further in or let them extend more.
Now the board will start to lift you out of the water so don’t fight it and just go with what feels natural. Once you are on the baot and it’s above the water and you are feeling balanced, you should then push yourself up and stand up, but do so in a slow and controlled manner. Now with your feet in the position discussed above and your body out of the water you have taken the first important step to learning hot to wakeboard.
Next on the agenda is knowing how to hold the handle attached to your tow rope properly and this is an important part of learning to wakeboard as it will make sure that you have the right amount of tension and that you can balance more easily and will also prevent accidents.
Again choosing the right rope and handle here is important so make sure your rope is low or anti stretch and you have a good ergonomic handle attached.
Now to start with as you do the deep water start the boat should be going at no more than 18 miles an hour. You should also make sure that you start with a shorter tow rope when you first learn to wakeboard as this will make it easier to get started when you are tugged out of the water. Forty to fifty feet is a good length.
Now have your body facing the boat and the board perpendicular so that it covers the largest surface area. You should notice that the board naturally swings towards the boat as you are naturally planed out of the water. Ensure that the toe of the board is slightly over the water. Now, while still holding on to the handle, place your arms onto the sides of your front knee. Now while squatting, pull your knees in close to your chest and stay close to the board.
This is unless you do a flying start which involves running and jumping off the end of the board walk – but you likely won’t be able to do this right away. Instead you will be starting deep out in the water and that will mean that until the boat begins to drive, you won’t have enough speed to force yourself up onto your feet – and you won’t be able to balance with nothing to pull against. This is what is called a ‘deep water start’ and it is the type of start that most people will use when they first learn to wakeboard.
To perform this let your boat driver take you out into the water and tell them to start at a very slow speed and to build up in order to help you to plane out of the water. Making sure that you tell your boat driver how to wakeboard is an important step to take so that they can go at the right speed at all times and know how to adjust their speed and direction according to your performance.
The first thing you need to decide is how to stand on the wakeboard and which foot to step forwards with. This will effect how easy you find it when you start to learn to wakeboard, and it is important that you stand in the way that comes naturally to you and feels most comfortable – rather than over thinking the choice. A great way to decide which foot to have forward is call the ‘fall test’. Simply stand with your feet together and your eyes closed and then have someone push you so that you fall forwards. Now see which foot you instinctively put out to stop yourself from falling over and that will be the foot that is best suited to going forward on the board. Likewise the foot you put first into a pair of pants will also help tell you which naturally should go forward. Strap your feet in in this position.
Now when you start to wakeboard you will need to start getting towed on the water. Of course you will need to start off lying down in the water.
Learning how to wakeboard is a matter of learning to do jumps and tricks and to look graceful out on the water. Someone who is gifted at wakeboarding will look like a gazette out on the waves and will be jumping and spinning and generally gliding around on the ocean. It’s quite spectacular to watch, and it’s even more thrilling to be the person doing all the tricks and flying at such high speeds. For many it’s this level of ability and grace where learning to wakeboard really pays off and it all comes together.
However that said, before you can do any of these fancy moves there is a lot else to learn. Before you can do any jump or trick for instance you need to be able to simply get up on the board and stand upright and this requires more technique that you might realise. You need to know how fast to have the boat going, how to push yourself up and how to stand and hold onto the rope. This is a challenge in itself, so here we will look at how to learn those very basic wakeboarding essentials and share some beginner wakeboarding tips to help you get upright out there at least.
You should also choose a tow rope and selecting your tow rope well will also make a big difference to your progression. While waterskiing requires a tow rope that has some ‘give’ and that will stretch, as a wakeboarder you will want a rope that stretches as little as possible and this will allow you to get the purchase you need to perform the better tricks. For a low stretch tow rope look for one make from polyethylene, or for one that has no stretch look for one made from a spectra material which is very strong. Your rope should be around 60-70 feet long and you should get a handle that gives you a good comfortable grip and has an ergonomic design to this end.
Once you have all these things and your tow rope is attached to your tow boat, then you will be ready to start to learn to wakeboard.
A wet suit is a skin tight body suit that is also waterproof and that will often include a thin layer of air as insulation. This means that you can fall into the coldest water and not have a nasty shock and means that you can continue to learn to wakeboard even when it is very cold.
For your board there are also some considerations. For instance it is a good idea to get wakeboard ballast for the tow boat. Wakeboard ballast is essentially made of fat sacks or of water and the intention of this is to weigh down the tow boat slightly. This is especially important if you are learning how to wakeboard as it prevents the boat from rocking around and from thus tugging or swinging you and making it more difficult for you to balance on the board. By using wakeboard ballast you can keep the boat steady and thus have a much easier and smoother ride.
Another thing you must buy is a life jacket. Not everyone will use life jackets but it’s an important precaution to make and even more so if you’re just learning how to wakeboard. While wakeboarding is relatively safe, when you’re learning how to wakeboard you will find yourself falling off from time to time and when you do you can be caught up in the large wave (the wake) making it hard to swim even for beginners. At the same time it’s possible to concuss yourself on the warkboard in some cases and even to tangle yourself up in the tow rope. In any of these cases even a confident swimmer can be in trouble so it’s a good idea to get a life jacket to ensure that if anything does happen you will remain floating on the top of the water until someone can come and get help. Choose a jacket that is light fitting but that won’t slip off over your shoulders.
If you intend to learn to wakeboard in a colder climate then you would also do well to purchase a wet suit..