How To Get Up on a Wakeboard

Silhouette man wakeboarding at sea
Silhouette man wakeboarding at sea. Oscar Robertsson / EyeEm / Getty Images
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How to get up on a Wakeboard

If you’re reading this article, then you already know that you want to start wakeboarding. And who could blame you? The allure of catching tons of air or popping an ultra stylish tail grab is enough to make anyone want to get started. But before you get your pilot wings you have to learn the basics. This step by step how to will do just that, you’ll learn the process of getting up in deep water and making turns.

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Goofy or Regular?

Goofy or Regular? First things first, before you even get in the water you need to establish whether or not you are goofy (right foot forward stance) or regular footed(left foot forward). There are dozens of methods for figuring this out, but the one that works best for most is the good ole fashioned push method. To do the push method you simply have a friend come behind you while you are standing and have them push you from behind to barely push you off balance. This will cause you to step forward, and the foot that you instinctively put out first is the foot that you will use to lead with. Simple as that, just make sure that you aren’t thinking about which foot to use, and repeat the process a few times just for added verification.

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Jump in, Sit Back, Relax

Once you have donned your life vest and put your feet in the bindings, it’s time to jump in. Take the handle in your hand as you scoot from the boat into the water, this will prevent awkward rope chasing (wakeboards aren’t easy to swim with) and once it is taught you can use it to balance yourself while floating. As the boat takes up the slack in the rope, you can take a few moments to get comfortable. Let the rope come directly over the middle of your board, and hold the rope right between your knees. The important thing to remember is to keep calm and let your life jacket and wakeboard do the floating. Don’t try to fight the board and don’t worry if you feel like you’re not centered directly behind the boat because the boat driver can move you wherever you need to be. Just keep your knees bent and the rope centered and you will do fine. It’s just like sitting in a floating recliner.

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Emerge Like a Watery Phoenix

Now that you are in position, it’s time to commence to wakeboarding. Give the driver a thumbs up and you’re ready to go. I’ve said it once already, but it’s imperative to keep the rope centered over the board through the whole standing up the process. Think of it like a friend helping you up off the ground. You don’t have to exert much force, rather, let the boat do all of the work. When the rope pulls you over, you can stay in the knee bent crouch position the whole time. One of the main reasons why people have trouble is because they try to stand up too early. To avoid this common mistake, make sure you stay balled up until the board planes out on the surface of the water. As your board is coming out of the water your legs may feel a little wobbly and you may shift from side to side. To correct this, put a little extra weight on your back leg and your nose will start to point forward. Keep your weight shifted toward the back of the board and keep the rope pulled in close to your chest. Slowly start to straighten your legs from your crouched position and stand tall. Remember to always keep your legs bent and relaxed because it will help you absorb the impact from rough water and wake.

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Okay I’m Up, Now What?

You did it! You’re now officially standing up on the wakeboard. After you’ve been standing and riding for a little while, and you’re feeling pretty comfortable, then it’s time to start turning. Get a feel for the board by slowly shifting from your heels and toes. By doing this you will see how the fins and edges of the board “catch” the water.

To cross over the wake, turn the board in the direction you want to go and hold the edge by keeping it pointed at the same angle the whole time. Keep your knees bent and relaxed as you approach the wake allowing your knees to move upward when you go over the front incline. Hold that same angle and continue over the back side of the wake. This may be awkward at first but keep trying and it will become second nature very quickly.

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Stick With It

If you have experience with snowboarding or skateboarding you will definitely have a leg up, because the sports are very similar. Whatever the case though, if you are finding it difficult to get up on a wakeboard, don’t give up.

Learning to stand up on a wakeboard can be taxing and rewarding, and people always learn at different paces. It may sound cliche, but the key really is to stick with it and keep trying. Just like any other sport, it takes the time to feel it out and learn what works best for you. So most importantly just relax and always have fun with it.