How to Wakeboard for Beginners

Wakeboarding is an exhilarating, fun water sport that won’t take you very long to learn how to do. This is excellent news if you’re a beginner because it means that you can get up on your wakeboard in no time and start jumping the wakes quickly.

To learn how to wakeboard for beginners, you must get the right gear and learn a few basics before you can start doing any tricks or flips in the air.

girl during wakeboarding

How to Wakeboard for Beginners: Getting Set Up

Step 1: Buy or Rent a Wakeboard

When you’re starting as a beginner, you want to find a wakeboard that’s a bit longer. This is because longer wakeboards are much easier to control, and the landings are softer than if you were to go with a shorter wakeboard.

The size of the wakeboard you go with also depends on your weight. The more you weigh, the longer the wakeboard should be.

You also want to get a wakeboard with a continuous rocker to assist in a much easier, smoother ride. To tell if a wakeboard has a continuous rocker, look at the wakeboard from the side. If it looks like it’s shaped with a continuous curve from tip to tail, then it has a continuous rocker.

Step 2: Purchase a Pair of Wakeboarding Boots

Wakeboarding boats, also called bindings, are worn on your feet and will hook onto your wakeboard to hold you in place.

When  starting, look for less flexible, stiffer boots because it’s easier to steer the board and balance when your ankles are locked tightly in place.

Wakeboard boots
Source: Unsplash

Step 3: Talk to the Boat Driver

Ensure that the driver knows that you’re a beginner and request that they take it slow with you. A driver should never speed with a new wakeboarder, especially since you’re bound to fall several times during your first few go-arounds.

Step 4: Designate Someone to be the Spotter

The spotter is the person who keeps an eye on you during your wakeboarding ride and lets the driver know if you fall down or if nearby objects or boats could get in your way.

Step 5: Determine Which Foot Will Face Forward

If you already know if you’re goofy or regular footed in other board sports such as snowboarding or surfing, then you’re probably the same in wakeboarding. If you aren’t sure, think about which foot you would naturally use to kick a ball and put that foot in the back. You want to have your non-dominant foot facing forward. 

If you’re regular-footed, your left foot faces forward. If you’re goofy-footed, then your right foot faces forward.

Step 6: Put on a Life Jacket

Always put on a life jacket before going into the water because the life jacket will keep you afloat while you’re waiting to be towed. Remember, your feet are bound to the board.

Step 7: Use a Short Rope

A shorter rope puts you in a position near the narrower part of the wake, making it easier for you to stand on your board. Use a rope that’s between 30-50 feet long.

Wakeboarding Tips for a Beginner Rider

Step 1: Practice on Land

Sit on the ground and bend your knees with both feet flat on the ground. Stretch your arms out in front of you with your knees between them, like you would have them if you were holding the tow rope.

Have someone grab your hands and pull you into a standing position; this is like the boat pulling you up in the water.

The key to these drills is to relax when pulled from a sitting to a standing position. Don’t fight the pull or try to stand on your own. Instead, let the person pulling you do the work.

Step 2: Practice Getting into the Water

Sit on the edge of the swim platform on the boat and slide your feet into your bindings. Once strapped in, place your wakeboard into the water and slowly slide off the platform’s edge.

Your boat should be floating on its side. Bend your knees so that they’re touching your chest and extend your arms out in front of your like you’re holding the tow rope.

Step 3: Practice in the Water

Practice as you did on land, but this time in the water and strapped to your board. Have someone stand on the swim platform, each of you holding an end of a tow rope. Have them pull you in as close to the swim platform as possible with the tow rope, and then pull you onto the platform so you’re standing on your board.

Wakeboarding Beginners
Source: Unsplash

Wakeboarding Beginners: Getting Up

Step 1: Grab the Tow Rope

After grabbing the tow rope, relax your body as much as possible and wait for the driver of the wakeboard boat to get into position.

Step 2: Keep Your Legs Bent

Your knees should always be close to your chest, and your body should be relaxed. The front of your wakeboard should be perpendicular to the tow rope and just above the water’s surface.

Step 3: Signal That You’re Ready

An intermediate rider typically raises a hand to signal to the boat driver that they’re ready to be pulled, but as a beginner wakeboarder, you might lose your grip on the handle. So, instead, hold the handle in both hands and raise it into the air when you’re ready to go.

Step 4: Let Yourself Be Pulled Up

Once the boat begins moving and you feel the tow rope being pulled, let your body be pulled up as you did in the practice drills. Keep your knees bent, and don’t rush to stand up.

Step 5: Gradually Raise Yourself to a Standing Position

Keep in mind that the boat is gaining speed, so you want to stay balanced. Keep your knees bent but not locked. Your arms should be stretched in front of you.

Step 6: Bring Tow Rope Handle to Your Side

Line the tow handle with your leading hip and turn your head, so it’s looking over your leading shoulder.

girl during wakeboarding
Source: Unsplash

Beginner Wakeboarder Tips: Riding the Wake

Step 1: Keep Looking Straight

Don’t look down at your board; if you do, you’ll lose balance and fall into the water.

Step 2: Lean Into Your Toes and Heels to Steer the Board

Don’t turn the actual wakeboard when you want to steer, or you’ll fall. Instead, apply pressure to your toes and heels to carve through the water and turn the wakeboard.

Step 3: Keep the Handle in Line with Your Hip

If you find that you start holding the handle up to your chest, gradually bring it back down to your hip. Holding the handle too high in the air will likely cause you to fall.

Step 4: Wait to be Picked Up After Falling

Falling off your wakeboard can be extremely painful, but you need to stay calm. Once the boat has been turned around, signal that you’re okay. If you want to try again, wait for the driver to put the boat into neutral and grab the tow rope handle again.

Then get back into the starting position and signal that you’re ready to begin again.

For more information, watch this informational video:

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