Done right, there are few things more rewarding than teaching kids to wakeboard. Done wrong, it’s a frustrating experience for both parties. Keep everyone happy by doing it right the first time.
Start by determining which foot the children favor forward. Have them stand while you give a gentle push from behind. The foot they put out to stop themselves should be the lead foot and the one they’ll rotate forward as they come up out of the water.
Next, teach them the deepwater start on terra firma. Put children into the bindings, help them to sit on the dock or lawn, and pull them to their feet using the tow handle. Remind them to let you do the work; they’re just along for the ride.
Once in the water, turning is best accomplished using the board’s edges. To go one direction, shift weight toward the heels. To go the opposite, shift weight toward the toes.
If you’re driving the boat, don’t forget your part! Kids don’t need hard acceleration. Accelerate gradually, up to about 18 mph. Once they’re up, use a landmark in the distance to hold a straight line.
1. Before the boat ever takes off, encourage the correct position. Keep the board parallel to the water’s surface and knees close to the chest. Arms should be relatively straight, passing around the outside of the knees.
2. As the boat begins to accelerate, remind the child to allow his hips to move naturally forward over his heels. Weight should be centered, with the boat doing all the heavy lifting.
3. As the board begins to skim the surface, encourage the child to rise into a crouch, knees bent over the feet and upper body relatively straight. Caution him not to stand too soon, nor muscle himself up with his arms.
4. Have the child bring his lead hip to the handle, keeping the arms bent just slightly and hands at waist level. This will pivot the body and board into the correct riding position.