Wakeboarding, using a small board to ride the wake behind a boat, has risen to become one of today’s fastest growing watersports. It comes as no surprise given the thrill and adrenaline rush that comes from riding the waves, but for beginners and those still new to the sport, learning how to wakeboard can be a little tricky. Thankfully, once you get the hang of it you can get ready to pop ollies, powerslide, and do 180s in no time. To help you get started we have put together a series of handy learning guides to help you get those tricks ready for the next time you ride.
This guide will help you learn one of the first, most common moves – crossing the wake.
What is crossing the wake?
The wake is the water that moves outward in either direction behind the boat as it moves. Before you learn any wakeboarding moves, you should first work on becoming comfortable with edging. Edging involves shifting your weight on the board to move yourself within the wake. This move will need to be mastered before moving on to others, such as crossing the wake.
Crossing the wake is a step up from edging and involves moving from one side of the wake to the other on your wakeboard, and is a beginner move that all wakeboarders should become comfortable with before attempting more advanced tricks. Being comfortable with this basic move will help you understand the movement of your board and find your balance out on the water, two things that are essential to mastering wakeboarding.
Moves to Know Before Crossing the Wake
There is some background information and a few basic wakeboarding moves you should know before you advance to crossing the wake. We have already discussed edging, an important precursor to moving your board from side to side in-between and on the wake, but before edging you must also know how to get up on a wakeboard and how to find your balance on the water.
Getting up on your board is the first step to wakeboarding, and as a beginner wakeboarder you will want to be patient with yourself as you find your wakeboarding legs. To learn this crucial beginning step, check out Monster Tower’s blog, How to Get Up on a Wakeboard with a tutorial video from wake legend, Cobe Mikacich. This video will walk you through the steps and show you the motions to get up and ready to ride.
Once you know how to get up on a wakeboard, the next step is finding your balance on the water while the boat pulls you. You will want to do this by starting at a slower pace first and getting comfortable holding the rope while using your body to maintain your balance, rather than the rope. Practice shifting your weight by using your lower body while staying inside the wake to get a feel for the movements on the water and you will be ready to move on to edging and crossing the wake in no time!
How to Cross the Wake
After you have become comfortable with edging, you should focus on learning how to shift your position to move the board left and right at faster paces, as this is what you will be doing to cross the wake. This movement involves switching between the toeside and heel side edges. In toeside, you will be edging towards the wake with your weight placed in your toes. In heel side, you will be edging toward the wake with your weight placed in your heels. Switching between toeside and heel side is how you move your wakeboard across the wake seamlessly without pauses.
6 Steps to Crossing the Wake on a Wakeboard
- Start with keeping your shoulders and chest open in front of you, towards the boat.
- Keep your knees bent for balance and look in the direction where you want to go.
- Relax your arms so that you are not pulling on the rope but keep the rope close to your hips.
- Keeping your weight on your heels for heelside and toes for toeside, move from your lower body towards the wake.
- Turn your shoulders and hips to face the direction where you want to go.
- Practice switching from toeside to heelside and back again to switch directions while crossing the wake.
After you have practiced going to each side, you can practice going from side to side without stopping. To do this, you will need to alternate between your toes and heels. If you cross the wake on your heels, you will go back into the wake on your toes, and vice versa. Practicing this movement will allow you to cross the wake multiple times without pausing over time.
Many beginners will try to cross the wake by pulling on the rope, but the movement should be all in your lower body!
Next Steps as a Beginner Wakeboarder
After you have learned how to cross the wake and feel ready to take on your next wakeboarding move, you could move on to other surface moves such as the surface 180 and powerslide. These moves keep you on the surface of the water and will allow you to keep practicing maintaining your balance while learning how to shift your weight and stance on the board to achieve a variety of movements.
If you are eager to move on to more advanced tricks, however, you could also try jumping with your wakeboard. Jumping is more advanced and will require some practice, but it is necessary to learn before moving on to more advanced wakeboarding skills. Just keep in mind that learning to jump will require some patience in order to get it right, and you will find yourself falling into the water several times before you perfect it. To get started with a basic wakeboarding jump, check out our next guide – How to Jump the Wake.