6 Tips for Perfecting Your Wakeboarding Foundation

 Wakeboarding

Board sport enthu­si­asts: try not to mourn the fact that your snow­board is now sit­ting pret­ty in stor­age with a thick coat­ing of wax. Instead, get thee to the near­est lake (or what­ev­er body of water hap­pens to be near­by), secure a reli­able friend with an even more reli­able boat, and kick off the wake­board­ing season.

Wake­board­ing is water skiing’s arguably cool­er cousin. The feel­ing of glid­ing across the water is some­how sim­i­lar to, yet total­ly dis­tinct from, surf­ing, skate­board­ing, and snow­board­ing. Quite sim­ply, you have to try it to real­ly get it. Here’s what you need to do to start your wake­board sea­son off on the right foot.

Get Up
Whether you’re new to the sport or just a lit­tle rusty after a sea­son on land, you’ll need to mas­ter the art of actu­al­ly stand­ing up on the board. Don’t over­think it: relax your body, let the boat roll you for­ward, and use your legs to start to rise as the boat accel­er­ates. Prac­tice makes per­fect here: once you get it, you get it.

Reg­u­lar or Goofy?
If you’re already a board sport fanat­ic, you’ll know whether you are reg­u­lar (left foot for­ward) or goofy (right foot for­ward). If you don’t already know, don’t wor­ry about it. Your body will shift into what­ev­er posi­tion feels right.

Mas­ter the Ollie
Get com­fort­able with the ollie on your wake­board. Just as in oth­er board sports, the idea of the ollie is to jump over some­thing, either just to get a lit­tle air, or to clear an obsta­cle. Get steady on your feet and jump up, shift­ing your weight from your front foot into your back foot. Visu­al­ize the motion of shov­el­ing heavy snow: plow­ing the shov­el with your weight, then trans­fer­ring the weight to throw the snow off the path.

Go Switch
Once you’re com­fort­able rid­ing in your nor­mal stance, chal­lenge your­self by get­ting used to rid­ing switch (with the oth­er foot for­ward; the way that feels unnat­ur­al). Rid­ing switch is para­mount to build­ing a foun­da­tion for tricks. Don’t wor­ry about start­ing from scratch: your body already knows what to do, so learn­ing to ride switch will come to you much quick­er than when you had to learn how to wake­board the first time around.

Get Grab­byGrab
There’s a long list of wake­board grabs, many with enter­tain­ing names like Cana­di­an Bacon and Roast Beef. All grabs, in one way or anoth­er, involve your hands hold­ing onto a par­tic­u­lar spot on the board. Grabs are the key to exe­cut­ing tricks with style, so study up on the var­i­ous types of grabs and get practicing.

Seek Land
Strong skills on the water will lead you towards exe­cut­ing inter­me­di­ate and advanced tricks—but strong skills out of the water will get you there faster and in bet­ter form. Don’t for­get to stay con­di­tioned in the off-sea­son and through­out the sum­mer months.

Play around with bal­ance boards, or bet­ter yet, engage in oth­er board sports year-round. Build your hands, fore­arms, biceps, shoul­ders, and back for rope con­trol. Con­di­tion your core for flips and spins. Strength­en your low­er body, includ­ing your quads and ham­strings, to keep you sta­ble on the water.

Don’t for­get to indulge in long, slow stretch ses­sions after on- and off-water con­di­tion­ing. It’ll keep you going strong, so you won’t have to miss a day out on the water.