Have Fun – Wakeboarding

Wakeboarding is a surface Watersport. It was created from a combination of water skiing, snow boarding and surfing techniques. Before it was called wakeboarding it was called skurfing (ski + surfing). As in water skiing, the rider is towed behind a boat, or a cable skiing setup, but typically at slower speeds (16 - 23mph). Beginners start at slower speeds such as 18mph with shorter ropes(60 - 65 ft). More experienced wakeboarders use faster speeds such as 25mph, but use longer ropes up to 80 ft long. Instead of using skis, the rider rides a single board, known as a wakeboard, with stationary non-release bindings for each foot, standing sideways as on a snowboard or skateboard. The boards, which can float, are typically 120 - 147cm long, depending on weight, and up to 45cm wide (shorter and wider than snowboards). Unlike snowboards, which are concave, they are convex (tips 15 - 25cm).

Boats

Larger lakes attract water skiiers, wakeboarders (shown), boaters, and other people seeking outdoor recreation on the water.A wakeboarding boat is similar to a water ski boat except that the rope is normally mounted on a tower about 2 metres above the water line and the boat is also weighted and trimmed, with strategically placed large water ballasts tanks, to give a larger wake. The wake is used as hits or ramps would be in other boardsports. Steering the board by a combination of direction and cutting the edges into the water, the rider can move outside of the wake, then cut rapidly in toward the wake, hitting it and launching himself into the air. Heading towards the wake chest facing the boat is known as heelside cutting; approaching from the other direction with chest facing away from the boat is known as toeside cutting.

Language

As with many freestyle sports such as snowboarding and surfing, there is almost a separate language of terms to describe various tricks ( Tantrum, Elephant, Backroll, 5, 7, 9, 10). Tricks can be performed from either heelside or toeside cuts, for example a toeside 360 is approaching the wake toeside followed by a 360 spin in the air.

The sport is growing in popularity as it is fairly easy to pick up, but offers a wide opportunity for self-expression. A limiting factor to a beginning wakeboarder is often the cost of the boats. A well-equipped wakeboarding boat, such as a Correct Craft Super Air Nautique, Mastercraft X-Star, or Malibu Wakesetter, can fetch upwards of USD 60,000 on the new market.

Hyperlite's first model. Note directional with 3 fins and concave spherical dimples. This is not a skurfer, skurf boards are thick hollow and plastic similar to a wind surfer or surf board.Wakeboarding was added to competition in X Games II. The winner of the competition was Parks Bonifay. The next year women were able to compete. The winner of the first womens competition was Tara Hamilton. Parks Bonifay, Dallas Friday, Danny Harf, Scott Bylery, Darren Shapiro, and Shaun Murray are some of the well-known atheletes in this sport.

A related variation is wake skating, which has extremely close ties to street skateboarding.

How to Ride

Getting Up on a Wakeboard
It is important to determine which foot will be your lead foot before your ride a wakeboard. Stand with your back to another person and have them give you a slight push to see which foot naturally catches your fall. More than likely, this will be the foot that will be your lead foot while riding. Riding with the left foot forward is called 'regular' while riding with the right foot forward is called 'goofy'. Once you have determined your lead foot, strap your feet into the bindings and hop into the water.

While different instructors will guide those new to the sport in different ways, one way to get up on a wakeboard is to lay in the water with the board out in front of you. Bring your knees up towards your chest and, while holding the handle in front of your lead foot knee, place your hands on either side of that same knee. If you are a regular footed rider, place your hands around your left knee, with arms bent and the handle placed in front of that same knee.

As the boat begins to pull you through the water, stay squatted and allow your body to roll up on top of the board. It is very important to keep your toes pointed. Riders often try to stand up too early. Riding squatted for a few seconds will help a new rider feel their balance. Placing a little more weight on your back foot will help to swing the board around to point toward the boat at which time you should slowly begin standing up on the board. The wakeboard should be pointed directly at the boat, your upper body should be twisted with your shoulders squared up with the boat, legs should be bent, back should be straight and the handle should be held low and close to your lead hip.

Advanced Wakeboarders like to do dock starts - starting standing on the dock, strapped into the board, then jumping onto the water as the boat pulls.

Edging
Learning how to edge properly on a wakeboard is the single most important foundational skill to learn as it is the base for progressing to any type of trick.

Wakeboarding Terms

AIR RALEY: The rider hits the wake and allows their body to swing backwards, up overhead, parallel to the water. The rider then swings the board and his or her body down and lands on the other side of the wake.

FAKIE or SWITCH: The rider rides the board with their weak foot forward (opposite of their normal stance,i.e. left foot or right foot forward).

AIR KRYPT: The same as an air raley, except that the rider lands in a switch stance position.

SWITCH AIR RALEY: The rider starts and ends an air raley in the switch position.

GOOFY-FOOTER: A wakeboarder who rides right foot forward.

BUTTER SLIDE: A rider approaches the wake, "snaps" the board sideways so that they can slide on top of the wake.

SURFACE 360: A rider spins the board 360 degrees while riding the surface of the water.

TANTRUM: A rider back flips over the wake on an axis perpendicular to the direction of the board.

BACKROLL: A rider back flips (or rolls) over the wake on an axis parallel to the direction of the board.

FRONT FLIP: A rider flips him- or herself on the board forward end over end.

BOARDSLIDE: A rider approaches an obstacle and slides the board along the obstacle.

SLOB HELI: A rider jumps the board off the wake, grabs the board in front of his or her front foot, and spins themself and the board completely around, landing face forward.