If you’re just getting started wakeboarding getting up on the board may seem impossible, but did you know there are a few different ways you can get up on your wakeboard? One of the most common ways is to start out in the water in a crouched position, referred to as a deep water start. Another common way to get on the water is to do a dock start. We’re going to tell you more about deep water and dock starts and the differences between them.
Deep Water Start
A deep water start is traditional and a better way for beginners to learn how to get up on the water. Riders start out in the water with their board under water and their hands outstretched holding onto the rope handle. You have to balance your board under you before the boat starts moving and the rope tightens. Some people have the board parallel with the boat while being pulled. You should put pressure on your heels, holding the board at an upwards angle. By creating this angle, you will rise out of the water and glide on its surface. If you keep the board flat, you will stay at that level in the water, and if you put more pressure on your toes to create a negative angle, you will sink.
The position of your body during a deep water start is an important part of helping get you up on the water. As you balance your board under water, you should be holding onto the rope handle. Your elbows should be slightly bent, and as you rise out of the water, keep the handle near your hips. Your knees should be slightly bent, and your whole body should be leaned slightly back. To ascend out of the water, you should put weight on your heels to create a positive angle with the board. Once you’re up on the water, you should put slightly more weight on your rear foot and turn to where you’re perpendicular to the boat.
When you are starting to learn how to wakeboard, it is much easier to get up on your board when the tow point of the rope is elevated. The best way to elevate the tow rope is with a wakeboard tower. Towers outperform products like ski pylons by raising the tow point higher, making it easier to get up on the board and providing more air when you’re doing tricks.
In order to do dock start, you will need a professional boat driver and an ideal dock on a private lake. Unless you own a dock or live in a house with a dock, you can’t just jump on a strangers dock or do a dock start from a public dock. A dock start is fairly simple, but you need good timing between the rider and the boat’s driver. The boat doesn’t need to go too slow because you will sink in the water or too fast because you will be jerked and fall.
There are a few ways you can do a dock start. The easiest way for beginners is to do a sitting dock start. Sit on the edge of the dock with the back of your knees touching the edge of the dock. You should sit backwards a little, with your front foot positioned slightly in the riding direction. As soon as the rope starts to pull, shove the board and your hip forward slightly. As you’re pulled out onto the water, put more weight on your back foot. Try to keep the handle of the rope near your hip.
If you want to do a jump start, you should stand on the dock sideways facing the water. There should be about 1 inch of dock between the edge of the board and the edge of the dock. You should slightly lean back but not too far back or else you’ll fall. When you feel the rope about to tighten, bend your knees slightly and jump off the dock into the water. Once you’re up on the water, turn your body where you’re perpendicular to the boat as you would normally.
Choosing the Right Start for You
Both deep water and dock starts will get you up on the water, but as a beginner, it’s important to find the method that works best for you. The two methods do have quite a few things in common. You can be in a standing position for both starting methods, and you should already be holding onto the tow rope. If you’re doing a standing dock start, your body position will be very similar with a deep water start: slightly bent knees and slightly leaning back. The handle of the tow rope should be at hip level no matter how you get out on the water.
While using either of these starting methods will get you out on the water, there are quite a few differences that may help you choose one over the other. A deep water start already has you out in the water, whereas the dock start makes you jump or glide out onto the water. If you’re doing a sitting dock start, your body positioning will be different than if you were doing a deep water start. While you need to have communication between rider and boat driver, you would need more if you’re doing a dock start.
Now that you know a little bit more about the ways you can get up on your wakeboard you’ll be ready to ride in no time. For more information, check out our beginner’s guide to getting up on your wakeboard!