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Quickstudy: Wakeboarding

Get Up on a Wakeboard

December 15, 2006

Forget tubes or combo skis. If you want to be cool in today’s world, you must learn to wakeboard. A mix of board sports from the street, surf, and snow, wakeboarding is big fun. It lets you gently slash and surf the wake, or push your limits with an endless variety of airborne tricks. Adults appreciate the sport’s gentle learning curve as well as the wide board’s ease of getting its rider up on the water. Kids love it for the incredible big-air potential.

Although it’s easy to do, getting up that first time can be frustrating without some help. The initial stance is awkward for those used to getting up on skis, and once up it seems hard to keep the board headed in the right direction.

Fear not, future shredders. Here’s how it’s done.

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Start out floating in at least 5′ of water, in a relaxed position, with the board lying perpendicular to your body. Your knees should be pulled toward your chest as if crouching, your arms relatively straight holding the tow rope.When you’re ready, signal the driver to accelerate. As the boat begins to pull, allow your butt to move toward your heels. Keep your weight centered over your feet, and remember to let the boat pull you, rather than trying to muscle your body out of the water. Tip: Practice on land by having a friend extend an arm to pull you up from a seated position.

As the board begins to glide atop the surface, slowly stand taller, keeping your knees bent and your weight centered over the board. Don’t try to stand up too soon. If you do, you’ll likely submerge the board. Likewise, don’t pull on the rope. It’s a quick way to end up on your butt. Begin to pivot your forward foot toward the boat, allowing your back foot to fall behind as you twist your hips parallel to the boat’s direction. Pros suggest bringing your lead hip to the handle, which you should be holding waist level. Keep your eyes looking forward, rather than giving into the temptation to glance down at your feet.

Take A Stand

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You have to decide whether you want your left or right foot forward. If you’ve surfed or snowboarded, you already know. If not, stand normally and have a friend give you a slight push from behind. Most people tend to catch themselves by putting one foot forward. That’s the one you’ll want in front on the board. Set your bindings so the toes are angled slightly toward the boat when up (Step 4). Later, a duck-like stance with feet angled away from each other makes it easier to ride with either foot forward. ****

Driving Tip

Wakeboarders don’t need a rapid strong pull to get them up as skiers do. Accelerate gradually to about 18 to 20 mph for beginners.

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