Since it started, wakeboarding has quickly become one of, if not the, most popular watersports out there. For many adrenaline-seekers, it even outranks other popular options like water skiing. If you’re looking for a thrill, wakeboarding can get you some major air and phenomenal tricks with a pretty quick, though steep learning curve, but there are some things every rider should know before they head out on the water with just any boat, board, or gear. Choosing the right wakeboarding gear isn’t really as simple as grabbing a basic wakeboard, tying a rope to a boat, and going out there.
In fact, it’s pretty much the opposite. You might be able to get out on the water with some basic gear, but if you want to truly learn how to wakeboard and pull some tricks, you’re going to need something a little better than that. To help you get started, we’ve compiled this quick, basic guide to wakeboarding that’s geared towards beginner wakeboarders.
The Best Wakeboard for Beginners
There are a number of different wakeboards you can choose from, and finding the right one for you ultimately comes down to personal need and preference. When it’s time to choose your wakeboard, the first thing you want to do is check your height and weight. These measurements will help you decide what size wakeboard you need. As a general rule, if you plan to have multiple riders sharing the same board, you’ll want to go based off the measurements of the largest rider. Especially for beginners, it’s much easier to wakeboard on a larger board than it is a smaller one.
A larger board is going to have more stability, a critical consideration to make when getting a wakeboard. Without stability, you’re going to have a difficult time staying on your board, which means you’ll undoubtedly be spending a lot of time in the water. A stable board, however, is going to allow for comfortable footing that makes it easy to stay balance. As a beginner, try to find a three-stage rocker wakeboard with deeper fins and squared edges. This is going to help you stay on the board longer and learn how to wakeboard faster.
Choosing Wakeboard Bindings
Once you’ve picked out your wakeboard, it’s time to choose your wakeboard bindings, or the devices that attach your feet to the wakeboard. The most important thing to consider when looking at bindings is how they feet on your feet. You want to make sure you select bindings that are snug enough to stay on your foot while you’re riding the wake, but flexible enough to allow maneuverability on the water. The ideal wakeboard bindings are going to fit comfortably without being painful or restrictive. If you have any questions about how they should fit, you should always speak with a professional when you’re trying them on.
Beyond the fit, you want to choose the best style for you and the bindings that are best for your wakeboard. The style is mostly going to be a personal preference, as you can choose from open-toe, closed-toe, or system bindings, though the latter are usually best suited to more advanced riders. The bindings that are best for your wakeboard will depend on the flex and closure system. The flex is how stiff or flexible your bindings are, while the closure system is how you fasten them to your feet. If you’re a beginner, you want more flex in your bindings without them being too loose, but the closure system is really up to you!
What to Wear While Wakeboarding
Before you head out on the water with your new wakeboard and bindings, you want to make sure you’re dressed for the part. Every rider has their own preference when it comes to what they wear, with some choosing to wear one-pieces and other two-pieces. If you watch other riders you may also notice that some choose to wear a wetsuit, a common choice for those that participate in watersports. A wetsuit is designed to keep your body warm and safe from the potentially dangerous effects of the water temperature. Since beginner wakeboarders often spend a lot more time in the water than on their wakeboard, a wetsuit is generally a recommended piece of attire to keep you safe while you’re learning how the ride the wake.
You’ll also want to have a wakeboarding life jacket, which is specifically designed for riders with comfort and safety in mind. This life jacket will allow you to maintain freedom of movement so you can practice your skills by fitting close to your body with a snug, tapered fit. Another safety item to wear is a helmet. There are helmets specifically intended for use while participating in a watersport, like wakeboarding, so look for one of those. A good helmet is going to be made from high quality materials which are tough on the outside with a dense inner layer. Beyond these must-haves, what you choose to wear is up to you! You certainly have the freedom to express yourself while you’re showcasing your wakeboarding skills.
Outfitting Your Wakeboarding Boat
Having the right gear will get you ready to go out on the water, but to actually get there there’s one thing you’ll have to have – a wakeboarding boat! While it’s true that virtually any boat can pull a wakeboard, having a boat specifically designed for towing, or a towboat intended for use with watersports, is going to make it that much easier and enjoyable. Once you have the boat, the next necessity is the wakeboard tower. This tower is going to be where it all starts, as from here you’ll attach your wakeboard tow rope and additional accessories you may need for wakeboard storage or rider safety.
You have options when it comes to choosing your wakeboard tower and outfitting your boat, but Monster Tower has a recommended wakeboarding setup that meets the needs of most riders. This setup includes a universal wakeboard tower that can be easily installed at home to almost any boat (just check to see if you need to reinforce your boat before you start), wakeboard racks for storage, wakeboard mirrors for rider safety and wakeboard tower speakers. The speakers may be mostly just for fun, but if you’re going to have riders taking on the wake there’s no better way to do than in style, and being able to hear the beats while you’re getting air is a rush like no other.
Choosing a Tow Rope for Wakeboarding
We mentioned that you’ll need a wakeboard tower to attach your wakeboard tow rope. This rope is part of how the magic happens. A more experienced rider is going to have a better idea of what they want and need in a tow rope, but there are some basic guidelines you can follow to pick one out as a beginner. First, it’s important to have a wakeboard tow rope, not just any rope, because they’re less stretchy. This little-to-no stretch rope is crucial if you want to practice and hone your wakeboarding skills because too much stretch will prevent you from being able to pull off tricks.
Wakeboard tow ropes are typically made from three materials to keep them as minimally stretchy as possible for the best results: dyneema, poly E and spectra. Poly E is going to be the best for beginners because it maintains minimal stretch to provide shock absorption for the rider. These ropes will also come in a variety of lengths, usually between 55 and 75 feet long. The ideal length for most beginners will be around 65 feet long, and this rope should have a strong, comfortable handle attached for the rider to hold on to. The handle you choose will depend on what feels comfortable for your rider, but you’ll be able to choose from a variety of sizes and materials for this as well.
If you’re a beginner wakeboarder, you’re probably eager to get started and feel that adrenaline rush, especially if you’ve never felt it before, but keep in mind that just like any sport, wakeboarding comes with its dangers as well. Always put your safety first and be prepared before any injury happens, as beginner wakeboarders often get hurled into the water. Wearing a helmet and life jacket is essential to keeping yourself safe as a rider, but safety isn’t only up to the rider.
The boat captain is responsible as well, which is why Monster Tower always recommends that any wakeboarding setup includes wakeboard tower mirrors. These mirrors attach to the tower and can be adjusted to ensure that the captain can see the rider behind them as they pull them across the water. With eyes on the rider, they can make decisions to keep their rider as safe as possible. By keeping safety at the forefront, everyone will be able to have a much more enjoyable time.
Getting Help for Wakeboarding Gear
If you have any questions about what you need for wakeboarding, never hesitate to reach out to a professional, they’re there to help you make decisions and ensure you’re picking out the gear that’s right for you. Monster Tower representatives are here to help you outfit your boat with wakeboard towers, storage racks, mirrors, and speakers so you can maximize your experience. We look forward to seeing you jumping wake to wake on the water soon!