Is Wakeboarding Hard To Learn?
Wakeboarding is easy to learn as long as as the pupil has a good mindset and is active and healthy. Having any skateboarding or snowboarding experience is helpful, but not essential. Also having a good boat, decent equipment, flat water and a good driver all will help the learning process be much faster and more enjoyable. It is also a sport where you can drive the boat slowly and learn things at your own pace. If the boat has a tower, this will make it easier to get up, as will a shorter rope. For beginners, outboard boats should be avoided as should cable parks, where the pupil will spend more time swimming to shore than actually riding. Having a dedicated boat driver is far more efficient and results in a steeper learning curve.
Ten Steps To Learn Wakeboarding:
Step 1 – Figure Out If You Are Regular or Goofy Footed
Do you like your left of right foot forward on the board? This is important to know before you go out on the water as your tutor will set your board up for you that way. If you do not know, then they will set it up regular and see what way your body turns naturally on the water.
Step 2 – Use The Swim Platform On The Back of The Boat To Practice Getting Up
Most ski and wakeboard boats have a low swim platform on the back of the boat that is a godsend for teaching wakeboarding. With the engine off, get the pupil into the water with the wakeboard on and wakeboard handle in their hands. They assume the correct position of arms straight and deep squat, then the tutor can lift them up onto the swim platform, just the same way that the boat will, but in a less terrifying manner. Do this three or more times to establish good muscle memory and then have the pupil stand up at the end of this movement.
Step 3 – Get Up Out Of The Water
Now it is time to start the boat. Your boat driver will pull the rider slowly while they keep their arms straight and knees bent in the lowest squat they can do. Use the exact same form that was used in step 2 and they will be able to get up in a squat position and then fully stand up. Be sure not to stand up too soon and point one end of the board at the boat. The end of the board that you point will be your natural position, it will be regular if it is the left side or goofy if it is the right side.
Step 4 – Ride in Between the Wakes To Get a Good Feel
Now the rider is up and riding, they can start to move between the wakes to improve their balance and control. They can use this time to learn how to control their direction of travel and how to make sharp turns by edging the board. They can also adjust hand position and bring the handle to each of the hips to get a different feel.they should also attempt riding with arms outstretched and arms brought in, as the former will be less exhusting and the latter will have more control.
Step 5 – Crossing The Wakes
If the driver has done a good job, they have lengthened the rope and tuned the boat down to reduce the size of the wake so it will make it easier for the pupil to cross the wake. The easiest one wake to cross will be the wake that is approached on the heel side. The pupil should attempt it directly and not try to cross it slowly as this makes it far harder to do. It is like stepping off a curb, something you really cannot do very easily if you do it very slowly. Once the heel side wake has been crossed, it is time to attack the toe side wake
Step 6 – Little Jumps Off The Wake
Using the new skills gained from crossing the wakes, the rider can now attempt to hop of the wake, just a little bit, as they cross it. This little bit of air is a huge motivator for new riders and will provide a great deal of motivation for later air tricks. The rider should try this on the heel side wakes and then on the toe side wakes.
Step 7 – Surface Frontside 180’s
At this point the pupil will be ready to attempt their first surface 180. This is a 180 turn while still holding the handle and keeping the board firmly on the water. The pupil should edge hard out beyond the wakes to as far s they can go, where the wakeboard line will become very slack. This will allow them slide the board around half a turn and then switch back again.
Step 8 – Riding Switch
It is now time to learn to ride the unnatural direction. The pupil should do the surface 180 that they have already learned and then just stay in that switch position, without switching back. This should be tried on both sides of the wake.
Step 9 – Ollie The Board
This is when the rider will be outside the wake in flat water and will make the board jump out of the water. This is done by switching weight to front foot and then jamming the back foot down and lifting the board out of the water. This should be learnt in both directions, regular and then switch.
Step 10 – Putting the Handle Behind Your Back
Putting the wakeboard handle behind your back will be the first time that you will lose sight of the boat and it is an important step to build confidence in your feel of the board, as to what you can actually see. Do this by practicing riding one handed and then just drop the handle behind your back and gab it with the other handle and continue riding.
Taking all These Tricks And Making Them Bigger
Mastering each of these basic wakeboarding components will allow the rider to move on to other tricks including wake to wake jump, ollie 180 and jumps out of the wake as well as into the wake.