What is Wakeboarding?
What is Wakeboarding?
Wakeboarding, in its simplest terms, is to water skiing, what snowboarding is to snow skiing! There are two main disciplines, boat and cable. Originating from bored surfers fed up waiting for waves, ski boats were loaded up with ballast to create a large wake to perform acrobatic tricks on a skurf board (a sort of waterski, trick ski, snowboard hybrid). The wake created, gave the name to Wakeboarding! Later on, the slalom ski training cables, were hijacked by wakeboarders who added ramps and rails and developed air tricks, using the cables in a way they never had before. Drawing from a whole host of balance based sports, absolutely anyone can wakeboard and from any age. It’s fantastic fun and will leave you fit as a fiddle in no time!
Over the past few years the message of Wakeboarding has been getting out there. Presented as ‘the latest Extreme Sport’ Wakeboarding is securing big sponsorship deals, is now featured in the X Games and has been shortlisted as a new Olympic sport in the 2020 games. High profile female riders such as Dallas Friday, Nicola Butler and Amber Wing are paving the way for the rise of female wakeboarding. Everybody wants to get involved and more recently it’s even being dubbed as a ‘new age dating opportunity’!
The excitement of the ‘Extreme’ label may get your juices flowing but for some it may leave you slightly alienated and bewildered… it need not! The girls are increasingly taking the stage in Wakeboarding and as more ‘women only’ events, coaching clinics and tours are being organised, it’s easier than ever to get involved and have a go. It’s a great workout too, so you’ll be getting fit whilst at the same time having loads of fun!
Where snowboarding relies on gravity to get you going, wakeboarding requires a little powered help. By grabbing a handle on a rope, and with your feet strapped into bindings that are attached to a wakeboard, (like a snowboard set up), either a speedboat or a cable pulls you along an open body of water; usually flat water, old quarry lakes and rivers in some countries, sometimes coastal.
Boat riding, like waterskiing, pulls the rider behind a speed boat that creates a wake (hence the WAKE in Wakeboarding) which is used like a springboard for acrobatic tricks.
Cable is different in that it uses a motorised rotary pulley system. Scattered around the water are obstacles like ramps (kickers) and rails (sliders) to play on. Wakeboarders are using pretty much anything that pulls across water, jet skis and winches are very common too.
If you’re completely new to wakeboarding, here’s how to get going. First of all check out our links to the boat and cable parks and find out which best suits you. Most will offer beginners courses, and have full equipment hire available, but try and get along to the Women’s events as they’ll be guaranteed to provide an easy atmosphere free of testosterone charged ‘Extremeness’! You may find the women’s sessions far more supportive and successful than heading out with your boyfriend and a group of his mates. Here at WAW, our riding improved hugely once the girls started to ride together, it’s just a different buzz! So get a group of you together and get ready for a whole lot of fun! Please contact us here at WAW if you’re not sure where to go.
We don’t exactly live in the tropics, so you’ll need to wear a wetsuit for the best part of the season. It’s important not to get cold as your energy levels will plummet and the fun factor may join it! Find a wetsuit that fits properly. One that’s too big won’t keep you warm at all, so keep it snug. You can also wear a full swimming costume and rash vest underneath for a bit of added warmth. In warmer weather it’s still important to wear either neoprene shorts or at least board shorts. A bikini will offer you NO protection from water going into places it shouldn’t, also falling on your bottom repeatedly can leave you a bit bruised. So please give yourself protection from water impact at all times.
Make sure you have a good breakfast or lunch, but you should eat well before you ride as hunger will make your energy levels drop. Keep a bottle of water handy too. Wakeboarding for the first time will place very unusual demands on your body so it’s important to keep your muscles hydrated to stop you getting over tired.
Stretch! For beginners, your upper body, particularly your arms and shoulders will get a work out they’re not used to! See our tips on stretching in our WAKE FIT section. Get a good fitting helmet and impact vest, supplied by most clubs for beginners, and get ready for a taste of the Wakeboarding world. You’re going to love it!! Guaranteed!