Wakeboarding is an incredibly popular water sport. In fact, in 2018, there were about 2.8 million wakeboarders in the United States alone.
If you or someone in your family is interested in picking up this exhilarating hobby, you probably have all kinds of questions. Is there any specific equipment needed for wakeboarding? Do you need a special boat to do it?
And past that, if you don’t know how to get up on a wakeboard before getting in the water, you may have more than a few wipeouts before you can really enjoy yourself.
We have the answers to these questions, as well as a step by step guide to successfully standing on and riding a wakeboard, in this article!
Read on to learn more!
Equipment Needed for Wakeboarding
One of the best parts about wakeboarding is that you don’t need any special vehicle with which to do it. As long as your boat or other watercraft can reach the correct speed and create a wake, you can wakeboard behind it!
That being said, there are a few items you need to get started, specifically for the rider. These include the wakeboard itself, a tow rope, and a life jacket. If safety is a concern or the rider is a young child, consider purchasing a wakeboarding helmet as well.
In addition, the type of wakeboard you choose matters – they aren’t all created equal! For beginner riders, it’s a good idea to get a wakeboard with channels that make it easier to turn and maintain control.
Wakeboards also have varying rockers, meaning the curvature of the board from the front to the back. A young or beginner rider will need a wakeboard with a little less rocker. Do your research on the best wakesurf board before making your decision.
How to Get Up on a Wakeboard
Everyone is going to adjust to the water and the wakeboard at their own pace, but there are a few steps you can take to get off on the right foot. To start your wakeboarding journey like a pro, here’s what you need to do:
1. Set Your Bindings
Before ever leaving the boat, you need to be sure that your bindings are at the correct settings for your feet. The bindings are the boot-like attachments on your wakeboard that hold your feet in place.
They should be tight enough that you aren’t sliding around in them, but loose enough that you can ride comfortably. It’s hard to maintain balance when you’re cutting off circulation to your toes!
2. Hold Your Speed
The next step has more to do with the driver of the boat than the actual wakeboarder but is still crucial. The boat driver should accelerate at the right pace to help the boarder to stand up in the water, then maintain a constant speed as they’re towing.
The optimal speed for wakeboarding is between 18 and 20 mph. Once the boat is in that range, the driver should take care not to accelerate or decelerate dramatically.
3. Set Your Board
After you’ve set your bindings and confirmed your speed with the driver of the boat, it’s time to allow yourself to float away from the boat into the water as you hold the handle. The bottom of your board should be facing toward the boat and on its edge, perpendicular to the water.
Grip the tow rope and relax, with your knees bent and your arms at rest.
4. Allow the Boat to Lift You
As the boat begins to accelerate, your instinct may be to pull against the tow rope in an effort to bring yourself to a standing position – this is a mistake.
Instead, hold your relaxed, crouched position, allowing your arms to naturally straighten from the force of the boat. Eventually, the board will pop up to the surface of the water on its own, pulling you out and into the air.
5. Goofy or Regular?
If you’re a skate or snowboarder, you know that there are two stances – goofy and regular.
A regular stance is what most people prefer and means you’re more comfortable riding with your left foot forward. If you’re a goofy boarder, it will feel more natural with your right foot in front.
Your stance preference should be determined before you step foot in the water.
A good way to test it is to stand relaxed on land while someone gently pushes you from behind. The foot that you instinctively step out with first is your dominant foot and should be in front when you’re on the board.
From your crouched stance, shift your leading hip toward the handle of the tow rope, which will, in turn, point the board toward the boat.
6. Shift Your Weight
Congratulations! At this point, you’re standing on the board, having fun being pulled along behind the boat. But the best part of wakeboarding is maneuvering the board as you go!
To get comfortable doing this, try shifting your weight back and forth between your toes and heels.
You will cut back and forth across the wake by doing this. Once you feel confident with this motion, you can take things up a notch and really start shredding!
Enjoy Your New Watersport!
There you have it! As long as you have a wakeboard, a tow rope, and a watercraft capable of creating a wake behind it, you’re ready to get started! Even if you’ve never tried this sport before, you can get in the water confident that you know how to get up on a wakeboard.
It’s important to remember that, with any new hobby, you’re not going to be an expert right away! Be patient with yourself – if you wipeout a few times, don’t sweat it! Just get back up and try again.
And before you know it, you’ll be shredding the wake like a pro!
Looking for more information on wakeboarding or a new watersport to try? Be sure to check out our blog!