At the same time though there is a lot to learn with wakeboarding and a lot of progression to be made meaning that you will be rewarded for the time you put in. As well as just staying upright, you can perform tricks and jumps, spins, and flips and build up more speed and create a visually impressive display for anyone else watching in (and wakeboarding is one of the most visually exciting sports to watch).
Many of the skills you pick up on the wakeboard can then also be translated into other sports and activities, particularly other water sports such as waterskiing and barefoot waterskiing, hang-gliding, wind surfing, surfing and parasailing, as well as skateboarding and snowboarding and to an extent skiing. This means that you’ll be able to try your hand confidently at a range of sports, and much of the equipment will be similar too. You’ll even pick up an idea of how to use and drive a boat, what ballast does etc.
At the end of the day wakeboarding is a great leisure activity that provides a great way to unwind in the sun at the beach. It’s sociable while being autonomous and it’s easy to start while offering a lot of room for improvement. So what’s stopping you?
While other sports require skill, few involve the same kind of speed, and even those motorsports that do normally have you safely sealed inside the vehicle behind the windshield rather than exposed with the wind rushing through your hair. And despite the apparent danger, wakeboarding is actually very safe and should you fall then you can rest assured that your fall will be softened by the water unlike something like rock climbing which obviously has an element of danger. All the rush and not much of the danger – makes wakeboarding a very fun sport that won’t end in tears.
Another good thing about wakeboarding is that it’s very easy to start. While it takes a while to build up to be able to do tricks and jumps, being put on a wakeboard and tugged at such speeds will always feel like you’re in the middle of an action film and find it hard not to look cool. The large surface area of a wakeboard also means that it’s much easier to balance to start with and learn to wakeboard so that you don’t start off constantly falling on your back and being dragged through the water.
The fact that it only requires two people also makes it a lot easier to get started. If you fancy going wakeboarding then as long as you have someone to drive the boat then it’s easy to have a go. Of course it requires the use of a boat, but if you don’t have the money to buy one yet then you certainly can certainly find lots of places to rent them from mostly whenever you need to. This then means that unlike other sports, you don’t have to get every one organised in order to get started and you can make it a fairly spur of the moment thing. At the same time it means that all of your performance is just down to you and how well you do, which makes it a lot more satisfying when you build up a lot of speed or manage to do a big jump or trick.
And the speed and the tricks also sets wakeboarding apart from other activities in terms of the pure rush and adrenaline you get from being dragged across the water at such high speeds.
Wakeboarding is a fantastically fun sport that has many advantages over other sports. Despite this it’s still a sport that only a few people engage in, partly because they don’t realise just how much it has to offer. Here then we’ll look at some of the reasons to learn to wakeboard and hopefully spark an interest in those who don’t know much about it.
First of all it means you get to go out on the waves and enjoy a great view. Being an outdoor sport you of course get all the advantages that that offers – getting a tan, being in the sun and getting fresh air. At the same time though the fact that it’s at the beach rather than on a pitch means that you get to enjoy great scenery and experience the sport in a range of locations. Wakeboarding is something that you can do when you go to visit friends, or something that you can do when you’re on holiday – which really isn’t the same with a sport such as football. That also means you can get loads of great pictures of yourself wakeboarding against a beautiful backdrop which look great when blown up and put on your wall – again this really doesn’t have quite the same impact if you have your hockey pictures blown up.
Even if you’re a strong swimmer a life vest is a good idea in case you’ve injured yourself and can’t swim, or in case of bad weather. Similarly a wet suit is highly advisable as it will help you to maintain a good temperature while you waterskii and if you should go under. This is important for your health and safety but also makes it more pleasant so that you’re not chattering your teeth the whole time and so that you can go barefoot water skiing no matter the time of year.
Finally you might want to invest in some ballast or fat sacks. The purpose of these is to weigh down the boat and to provide extra stability and thereby helping you to balance more easily on your skiis and preventing the rope from waving and shaking and throwing you over.
With these basic items you will then have everything you need to start barefoot waterskiing. As there is no board or skis involved there is nothing else that’s crucial to buy, so that if you rent your boat and rope it’s one of the cheapest and easiest activities to get started with.
Next you will need a tow rope which is the rope required to attach you to the boat. If the company you rent your boat from is one that has a lot of water-skiers and wakeboarders using their service then this is something they will likely have attached to some of their boats. Alternatively you can purchase your own and take it to the site. Of course if you are regularly using the same boat then it might make sense to leave one there.
With these two items sorted there’s then no need for anything else in order to get started. If you’ve never tried it then, you just need to find a boat hire and then give it a go! There are more items though that can make the experience safer and more enjoyable however.
First of all, you should always have a lifevest. These will mean that you will float should you fall over (which is likely to begin with at least) and that will prevent you from drowning.
The great thing about barefoot water skiing is that you require so little equipment to begin with – not needing a wakeboard or water-skis because as the name suggests, you’ll be doing it in barefoot. However that isn’t to say that there isn’t anything that you can benefit from when you’re barefoot water skiing and there are still some useful items that you can purchase to make the experience easier and more enjoyable and others you will need to start at all.
The first of these is a of course a boat. While you won’t necessarily need to buy a boat you will need access to one, so find a place that you can hire one or use one. At the same time make sure you have a friend or a professional who’s able to steer the boat for you. Of course you can buy a boat if you can afford it and this will mean you’re able to go out barefoot water skiing whenever you want to. Another option which a few lucky individuals may be able to make the most of, is to borrow a boat from a friend.
In order to pull back you also need to lean back further on the rope which should push your legs up forwards in front of you, angle your feet correctly so that your heels are in, and put the weight on the rope rather than the water. Another way to put more pressure on the rope is to pull your arms in close to your sides and chest and to keep them bent which puts them in their strongest position.
As you get more experienced in barefoot water skiing there are lots of different techniques you can learn. You will find that you’re able to hold the role behind you for example so that you’re leaning forwards away from the boat like Michal Jackson. Another popular move is to hold the rope in your foot by feeding it through the handle which means you’ll be riding on just one foot too. Of course there are also a range of different jumps which again will be harder than they are with wakeboarding or a normal water-skis. The faster you get the boat to go the easier it will be to do tricks and to balance on the water’s surface.
Firstly, in order to combat the smaller surface area of your feet you should spread them more widely than you would with a regular waterski. With a normal waterski the length of the ski means that if it points slightly outwards it then forces your leg down that path and ends with you doing the splits meaning the legs can’t be too far apart. With barefoot waterskiing however there is no such problem and you can space your feet out at a wider angle to spread your weight. Have them at about shoulder’s width apart and facing just outwards, and make sure that it’s your heels that touch the water which should cut through it without bending or hurting your feet. Make sure you also keep your knees slightly bent however, as if you have them straight you won’t have any control and they’ll be more likely to split or apart or slip out from under you.
At the same time you should keep a tight grip on the rope. Pull harder than you might when wakeboarding or waterskiing as this will take more of the weight and pressure off of the water and allow you to move your legs more freely.
Barefoot waterskiing (skiing without the skis) is a great skill to learn if you can, meaning that wherever you have a boat and a rope you can start sailing behind and enjoying the exhilarating freedom that you would normally only get from water skiing or wakeboarding. At the same time though, while it’s very safe and requires no equipment, barefoot water skiing is also pretty tricky to get started with and you risk essentially being dragged through the water rather than skiing across the top of it… which isn’t really waterskiing at all…
The problem with barefoot water skiing is that it provides you with the smallest possible surface to balance on – those being your feet (until people start stilt skiing anyway…). This then means that there’s more pressure going downwards onto the water into a single point and that means you’re more likely to sink or fall over. Fortunately however there are some basic tips that can improve your ability in barefoot water skiing and prevent you from going head over heals too regularly.