Have you ever seen a wakeboarder launch 20 feet in the air? I you have, chances are they had a skilled driver that knew how to drive a double-up. Remember that pulling off wakeboarding tricks takes a lot of cooperation between an experienced driver and rider, and if you’re trying to take on this driving pattern it’s highly recommended that you’ve had ample practice pulling more advanced riders. Also note this should be reserved only for advanced riders to minimize risk, and always be prepared with safety measures and ensure you know how to pick up a fallen rider. That said, you’re here to learn how to drive a double-up, so let’s get started!
The Roles of Driver and Rider
There’s more to mastering the double-up than just having an experienced driver and rider work together to pull it off. So first, we want to stress the importance of cooperation. Cooperation between the driver and rider is crucial before, during and after the session – in other words, there’s a whole lot of teamwork going on here.
- The driver is responsible for driving the boat straight, turning curves, and going back into rollers while keeping an eye on the rider’s location and area around them.
- The rider is responsible for paying attention to wakes and timing their moves just right to get air while using hand signals to communicate with the driver.
If you can get the synchrony down between driver and rider, then the rider can get some major air for the adrenaline rush of a lifetime!
Preparing to Drive a Double-Up
Before launching from the dock, the driver should ask the rider which foot they plan to lead with during the session. This is going to change how the driver creates loops in the double-up. From there, the driver’s goal is to maximize the run. This means maintaining a consistent speed while towing the rider, knowing how to drive straight, and being able to get the rider into the best possible waters for them to perform double-ups.
First, start by finding smooth water. No matter where you plan to perform the double-up, you want to make sure you have good conditions and you will be in a safe area. This means minimal boat traffic, clear surroundings, and lots of room. It also means keeping an eye on the weather. Wind and other natural conditions can make wakeboarding difficult, especially when you’re trying to perform more advanced tricks like this one. Choose a day that’s supposed to be mild, with little to no wind, to have smooth waters and no outside influences impacting the driver.
Second, the driver’s focus should be on the water first and the rider second. It’s tempting to watch wakeboarders as they pull off their tricks, but it’s definitely better to record the show and then watch it later. However, to keep the rider safe the driver should always be aware of their location. This is where having a spotter - another passenger on the boat - or a wakeboard mirror (or both) comes in handy.
Third, the driver should always be driving at the same speed straight ahead unless they are turning. This is key to setting the wakeboarder up for success, so the speed should be based on what the rider is most comfortable with.
Ultimately, when the trick is in motion, the driver’s goal is to get the boat across rollers that had been previously created by its path. In other words, the boat is going to cross its own path to get the wakes to converge. This creates wakes two to three times the normal size that the wakeboarder then uses as a platform to launch off and perform this trick. When done correctly, an experienced rider can get up to twenty feet of air - it’s quite the spectacle to behold!
How to Drive a Double
Here’s what a proper double-up will look like: the driver crosses the boat across its own wake at a 90 degree angle. There are a few things to keep in mind in order to make this happen.
- Keep the boat speed steady while running straight and while turning.
- Bring the speed back up to what the rider is used to at the end of the turn.
- Drive perpendicular to the line the boat has been driving so it isn’t sending rollers down the path the rider is taking.
To actually drive the double-up, start the pattern with a pre-turn, a slight turn in either direction. Then, drive straight in one direction to allow the wake to build up rollers. Once you’re far enough away and the rollers have had time to build, turn back in the opposite direction for a 150 degree turn.
- Here’s what a double-up should NOT look like: a circular path that creates a 90 degree angle. Think of the letter “P.” This is not the shape you want to make for this driving pattern.
- Here’s what a double-up SHOULD look like: a loop that crosses over the wake going in the opposite direction. Think of the letter “X” with a curve at the top.
If done correctly, the rider will have access to some epic wakes to get big air. But if it isn’t quite right, don’t worry. This is definitely an advanced driving pattern for wakeboarding that requires a LOT of practice in order to get it exactly right. It might even be worth trying to get the pattern down without a rider at first, just to get used to how it feels to drive it.
How to Ride a Double-Up
So now you know how the driver should drive the boat for a double-up, but remember that the rider plays a key role here, too. So, here are some tips for the wakeboarder when they’re riding a double-up:
- Stay inside the turn and close to the wake.
- As you get ready to perform the double-up, place your weight on your back foot.
- If you’re getting big air, remember to prepare for landing back on the water by extending your legs, but bend them on impact to protect your joints.
Driving Patterns for Beginner Wakeboarders
Knowing how to properly drive the boat for your rider is an important part of the wakeboarding equation. Keep in mind this is a very advanced moves that is best reserved for experienced riders. If you’re not quite there yet, just give yourself time, and in the meantime, you can still take full advantage of this watersport with other, more intro-level driving patterns. Check out our driving patterns guide for beginner wakeboarders to learn how!