You’re learning to wakeboard and you want some beginners wakeboarding tips, right?
It’s tough learning a new sport. You will fall on your face a lot. You’ll use muscles you didn’t even know you had. But it’s all worth it in the end, because learning a new sport is so much fun.
From avoiding the face plant to knowing whether you are regular or goofy footed, we’ve got some of the best beginners wakeboarding tips from those who have been there. Make sure you also read our beginners wakeboarding guide too.
1) YOU WILL FALL FLAT ON YOUR FACE
Every beginner wakeboarder knows there will be plenty of times when you fall flat on your face - and you won’t understand why.
One moment you’re riding along fine, hollering to your mates. The next, you are drinking lake water.
The wakeboard instructor will probably know exactly what went wrong. Listen close, they have good words of advice that you should probably take on board.
2) IT’S TOUGH ON YOUR ARMS
One thing I noticed in my first beginners wakeboarding lesson was how hard this sport is on your arms. You’ll pull up on the rope fine, but within minutes your arms will start to ache.
After five minutes, they will feel like they are going to fall off. This is totally normal. Trust me, you’ll get stronger and get used to it.
3) IT’S EASY TO WORK OUT IF YOU ARE REGULAR OR GOOFY FOOTER
If you are already into surfing, snowboarding or skateboarding, you’ll probably know whether you are regular or goofy footed. A good way to tell is thinking about which foot you naturally kick a football with - that foot will be your back foot.
It will probably come naturally to you as the boat pulls you out of the water for the first time, you’ll just feel what foot feels better pointing forwards.
4) SLAMMING ON WATER HURTS
Water is a soft landing, right? Wrong. When you’re skipping along the surface of the water, catch an edge and take a tumble, you will realise water isn’t soft at all. It actually kinda hurts when you are going at high speed.
Think about that time you belly-flopped into the pool as a kid - that sensation is pretty close to slamming while wakeboarding.
5) USE A SHORTER ROPE WHEN YOU FIRST START
Using a shorter rope often makes it easier for beginners to stand up. A shorter rope means the wakeboarder is in the narrower section of the wake. You can also hear the advice being yelled by the instructor in the boat clearer.
Longer ropes allow more advanced riders to get more speed and air for tricks. Discover Boating recommend beginners to use a rope that’s between 30 and 50 feet.
6) DON’T PULL ON THE ROPE
It’s a natural tendency for beginners wakeboarding for the first time to pull on the rope. Don’t do it.
Wakeboarding isn’t about pulling yourself up, it’s about letting the boat pull you to your feet. If you tug on the rope, it will probably make the nose of your board dig into the water, causing you to repeat Step Number 1. Keep those arms straight.
7) KEEP THE HANDLE LOW TO YOUR HIP
This is solid advice. Always keep the handle low and close to your hip as possible.
It’s common for beginners to try and hold the handle high, perpendicular to the water like waterskiers. This will cause another face plant.
Try practicing your handle grip on the land before you take it to the water.
8) LOOK STRAIGHT AHEAD
One of the best beginners wakeboarding tips I received was look straight ahead. Don’t look at your wakeboard bindings, even though it is tempting to see your board skipping across the water.
By gazing at your feet, you will probably place too much pressure on that front foot, causing Step Number 1 to occur once more. Keep that gaze straight ahead.
9) START WITH A RENTAL BOARD
There’s no point forking out a tonne of money on a wakeboard when you’re not sure if you are going to love the sport yet.
Even though they have some great deck designs - and you’ll obviously look super rad carting it around your local lake - wait until you’ve got the basics nailed before investing in a brand new wakeboard.
Also watch out for eBay. There are some great deals to be had on there, but be careful you don’t end up with a board from 20 years ago. Technology has changed a lot since then. You will find it harder to progress on an old board. Stick with the rental board for now. When you are ready, read our guide to choosing your first wakeboard.
10) YOU’LL BE THROWING DOWN TRICKS IN NO TIME
The beauty of wakeboarding is the learning curve is quite steep. Unlike surfing and snowboarding, you can pick up wakeboarding relatively fast and be jumping the wake with just a few hours tuition. You'll soon be ripping along some of these insanely cool wakeboarding lakes. Practice makes perfect, right?