Are you having wakeboarding related problems spanning from not knowing how to swim to the inability to land certain tricks? Do not worry. You are not alone! Every wakeboarder from beginners to seasoned riders experience problems. Now, for your reading and learning pleasure, I am going to discuss some of the most common problems riders experience and how you can solve such problems. So listen up.
–Can’t Swim: wear a vest
–When beginning a wakeboarding career, one of the first questions asked is always “what board should I buy?” Here are some of the aspects you should consider when buying a new board.
Many of the factors involved in the board buying process are determined by skill level. In this case, the level is obviously beginner. So what shape is appropriate for a beginner? A beginning rider would prefer to buy a board with squared-off edges because they provide much more stability for the rider.
Another important factor to consider is board size. Board lengths usually range from 120 to 150 centimeters with widths ranging from 38 to 44 centimeters. Beginning riders would benefit the most from a board with a larger surface area. A longer, wider board will provide the rider with more stability for surface riding.
Rocker is less important for beginner riders searching for their first board, but it does have implications for your future riding. A continuous rocker will result in smoother riding while a three-stage rocker will give the rider more pop off the wake. A rocker can also be abrupt or gradual. An abrupt rocker will result in softer landings while a gradual rocker will provide for smoother, faster, and more controlled surface riding.
The fins used should also not be overlooked. Beginning riders should benefit from longer fins because of the stability and direction control they provide. As you get better, switching to smaller fins is encouraged to allow for easier surface orientation switching (surface 180’s, butterslides, powerslides, etc.)
Finally, should probably buy some bindings for your new board. The bottom line is that bindings should be snug yet comfortable. Tighter bindings provide a more responsive ride, but bindings that are too tight can result in injuries. Find a good middle ground.
–Getting up on a wakeboard is not hard, but it can be extremely frustrating if you cannot seem to grasp the concept. Most people only have to get up once or twice before they realize the trick to it. Which brings me to the next problem, “Why can’t I get up?”
Let’s just say you got yourself into the water just fine. Now you are going to want to make sure you are floating on your back with your board facing towards and perpendicular to the boat. The line should be situated on the top of your board directly in the center.
As the boat begins to give tension to the line, overhand grasp the handle with both hands and curl into a ball. Keep your arms straight out in front of you, and tuck your knees as close to your chest as possible without hurting yourself. Make sure the toe edge of your board is above the surface of the water.
When the boat starts to pull you up, lean back against the pull slightly, and begin to progressively move the handle to your lead hip. This is where the most common problem, from what I’ve witnessed, usually occurs. People start to feel the pull of the boat, and they want to stand up right away. Don’t do it! Just don’t. You will most likely end up putting too much pressure on the front of the board, and you’ll drop your tip. Just remember that the boat is boat. It will do most to all of the work. Once your board is completely on top of the water you can stand up. Keep your knees slightly bent, back straight, most of your weight on your back foot, handle at your front hip, and start doing flips… or maybe work your way up to it.
–Breaking your ankles on the wake? Can’t stop casing the wake or landing way in the flats? Washy wake? These problems can usually be solved by two things: configuring your line length and boat speed. Here’s the thing; line length is dependent on boat speed, and boat speed is dependent on line length.
In general, Line length tends to get progressively longer as the rider becomes more experienced. However, this is really only because it is easier for less experienced riders to clear the shorter wake gap that accompanies a shorter line. Most wakeboarders ride at a line length between 50 and 80 feet. To get started configuring your boat speed and line length, set up the line so the length falls somewhere in that range. Set the boat speed to roughly 20mph, and ride the trough of the wake to locate where you will ride up on a wake jump.
Next, have the driver increase or decrease the boat speed until the wake curls over just behind your located point of impact. Once you are set up, hit the wake and see how it feels. No good? Lengthen the line, and repeat the process until it feels right. This method can also be reversed if that works better for you. Just find the speed you feel most comfortable riding at, and let the line out until you find that sweet spot on the wake.
–Can’t stop spinning off-axis? I’ve seen it a thousand times… well a hundred… about ten. Anyway, if this is the case there is a good chance it is due to one of the following issues.
First and foremost, you might just be throwing your spins to early. Throwing your spins off the top of the wake or sooner will result in an inappropriately off-axis spin. The best time to begin a spin is at the peak of your wake jump. Once you’ve reached the top of your jump, pull the handle to the appropriate hip, and begin your ON-axis spin.
Another problem might be your weight distribution coming into the wake. To perform the most on-axis spin you can, be sure to come into the wake centered on the board with your shoulders level.
–Don’t have a boat?: hit up a cable park. There are over 140 worldwide.
Hopefully these are the answers to all of your wakeboarding worries. However, there is an extremely off chance that they aren’t. Believe it or not, there are more wakeboarding inquiries out there besides ones above. If that just so happens to be the case, contact me on my blog, http://www.wakeboardersworld.blogspot.com, with your problems, and I will do my best to help you out.