What is Wakeboarding?
You might have just heard about wakeboarding to be the cool, new watersport but it has been around for a while. However, recently it has gained more popularity and people are even calling it a better version of water skiing.
Wakeboarding works by strapping yourself onto a wakeboard using boots (also called bindings) securely and letting a boat tow you while you hold on to a tow rope. It is a complete body workout since it needs great amounts of core strength to keep you up, leg strength to keep your balance and arm, chest and back strength to keep you holding the tow rope. There is no way you will still be out of shape by the end of summer if you practice wakeboarding couple of times a week. When it comes to learning a new water sport, unlike on-land sports, you cannot just throw yourself out there and expect to learn along the way. There are risks to consider. So your best bet is to at least learn the basics of wakeboarding before you try it for yourself.
Benefits of wakeboarding:
• Better flexibility in hands and feet.
• Better reaction time with the quick movements required.
• Better hand-eye co-ordination since you need to balance and focus at the same time.
• Falling in the water and getting back on your feet will surely be a challenge especially when you are first learning better swimming skills.
• Stress relief thanks to the wind and concentrating on what you are doing.
How to Move
First things first, you need to learn your stance! How you feel comfortable and natural on the board is how you should be standing. That means if you feel like your right foot can hold more weight for longer and provide better balance, put that leg in front of your left leg and vice versa. A right foot forward is called ‘goofy’ in wakeboarding lingo whereas a left foot forward stance is called the regular stance. Nothing wrong with having a ‘goofy’ stance. The important thing is your comfort and safety.
Just as important as your stance, your bindings, also need to be set right. Making sure they are not too tight or loose and are set correctly onto the board is important but your instructor or a couple of youtube videos should be able to show you how you can work out what angle your bindings should be set at. For bindings, like the stance, everyone has different ways to feel their best on the board.
Lastly, before heading to the water, you must know what the hand signals in wakeboarding mean to be able to communicate with the boat while you are out there hanging on to the tow rope. Go through the hand signals with the person driving the boat, every time you get someone new. This will help let you know when the boat is going to slow down or stop or let the boat know you would like it to slow down, go faster or come to a complete stop.