Wakeboarding began in the 1980’s and has overtaken waterskiing as the popular choice for water activities. Why wouldn’t it? Wakeboards are easier to use and balance on than slalom skis. Tricks are easier to execute. Water sports enthusiasts have even noticed that they can ride longer on water on wakeboards than on waterskis.
So are you ready to glide along a water wake, launch into a 360 somersault and finish with a sweet landing? This may seem daunting at first but it can absolutely be done – it’s even one of the most fun things to do in LA. Here are the best wakeboarding tips we offer. Before you know it, you’ll have mastered the basics of wakeboarding and start flashing a “shaka” to all your friends.
Gearing Up for Wakeboarding
Here is a quick glance of what you need before plunging into the water:
- Wakeboard and Boots
- Life Vest (US Coast Guard approved)
- Towrope and Handle (sometimes sold separately)
- Orange flag
Your boat should have a tower (at least eight feet tall) that can connect the towrope to the boat. The tower makes it easier to pull you out of the water and perform airborne tricks.
The orange flag is a universal signal indicating a human is near the boat. Most marinas sell these. If you’re in the water or heading back to the boat, the flag should be raised.
The Right Board and Boots
Don’t stress out about picking the right boots and board. There’s a guide for choosing the right equipment based on your weight. These size charts are available in most shops to help guide the buyers. If you’re learning how to wakeboard in Los Angeles, you can drop by Marina del Rey and check out the stores there. Boots are a bit pricey and often sold separately. One-size-fits-all boot deals do exist at a cheaper price but this is not advised. Often times, those boots come loose when you’re in water. It is simply better to invest in laced boots with a clasp lock because it can be adjusted to fit your legs and feet. If you’ve just started your wakeboarding lessons, you can opt to rent in the meantime.
Using the Swim Platform
Most boats now offer a swim platform. This is where you can sit and prepare your board. Sit close to the edge and pull your feet upwards into the board. Then rest it on the platform. Once you’re ready, you can easily extend your legs and launch your board into the water by wiggling your way off the platform. Do not put your boots on in the water, especially if you are a beginner. If you are having a hard time putting on your boots, use a little dish soap or buy special goo to let your feet easily slide into the boots.
Standing on the Board
Finding it hard to stand up on your wakeboard? Here are a few more wakeboarding tips:
- The board should be perpendicular, or 90 degrees, on the water surface or 90.
- The best position to stabilize yourself on the board is in fetal position. Keep the knees close to the chest and arms straight. This is also called “the ball.”
- Point your toes forward. It will create a space for the water to flow under the board when the boat accelerates.
- Keep “the ball” position until you notice that your board is rising up to the water. When you feel that you’re gliding over the water, you can slowly stand up.
- Most beginners lean forward. Don’t do it. It is better to lean backwards but not too far. Thus its easier to keep your momentum, even if a 400 horsepower engine is pulling you.
- Don’t hastily move left and right. Get a feel first on how to do it. Try to stay behind the boat until you can make your move.
- Your weight is your steering wheel. Control it. Keep most of your weight on your back foot to help stabilize yourself. Putting too much weight on your front foot will surely sink the front edge of your board.
Don’t panic on your first try. It’s tricky at first but with practice, you’ll be able to fully stand on your board. Many hesitate to try wakeboarding, because they don’t want to look silly. However, just remember that everyone, even the expert, had to begin somewhere. As long as you’re trying, you’re doing just fine. Just remember to relax and have fun!