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How To Get Started Wakeboarding

How To Get Started Wakeboarding
Read Time: 9 Minutes
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Feeling ready to get started wakeboarding but not sure where to begin? We’ve got you! Wakeboarding is a popular, adrenaline-inducing watersport that has quickly gained momentum, but learning how to master moves like the Surface 180 or Powerslide takes time, dedication, and starting where every pro wakeboarder began - with the basics. We know what it takes to get you ready to start riding the wake safely, so we’ve put together a comprehensive series of wakeboarding guides designed intentionally for beginners. But, more advanced wakeboarders and boaters will find valuable information to take their wakeboarding experience to the next level here, too!

Below you’ll find quick details about each of our guides to help you figure out not only where to start your wakeboarding journey, but how to keep going as you learn (for those more advanced riders!). If you’re familiar with other board sports, you can start by seeing how they compare to wakeboarding; otherwise, you can go straight to choosing the right gear to get you prepped for heading out on the water. From there you can learn how to get up on a wakeboard and how to perform some of the most popular wakeboarding tricks. We’ve also included a mini-series for how to drive a boat for wakeboarding, because this watersport wouldn’t be possible without an experienced boat driver!

Our goal with these guides is to give you the information and tools you need to learn how to wakeboard if you’re just starting out. After reading, we believe you’ll have the skills to be able to take it from there!

Wakeboarding vs. Other Board Sports

wakeboarder being pulled across water

Have you ever been snowboarding? Water skiing? Kneeboarding? Wakesurfing? Then you might be ready to take on the water with wakeboarding! But don’t be fooled, even if some of these watersports look similar on the surface, they may actually be quite different in surprising ways. Thankfully, these differences are what make each sport unique so you can find the perfect thrill that’s right for you. But how do you transition to wakeboarding when you’re ready to try something new?

This section of our wakeboarding guide has been designed with board sport lovers in mind, especially those that already have some experience out on the water. First, you can see how wakeboarding is going to be similar, or different, from the watersport you’re used to. Here we look at things like boat speed, equipment, and getting on your board. From there, you’ll have access to a number of additional guides that go into detail about how you can transition to wakeboarding from the board sport you know.

These tips and tricks will help prepare you for what to expect the first time you ride the wake on a wakeboard based on what you might already be familiar with, so they’re a great resource for wakeboarding beginners (or maybe even vice versa, if you’re a wakeboarder looking to try a different watersport)! Just make sure you’ve got proper wakeboarding gear, as some equipment you have for other watersports might not be appropriate for this one.

Choosing the Right Gear for Wakeboarding

wakeboarder behind boat with mtk wakeboard tower

Choosing the right wakeboarding gear isn’t necessarily as simple as buying a wakeboard, tying a rope to a boat, and heading out on the water. Like other watersports, the gear you need can be rather specific not only to the sport, but to you as the rider as well. For example, there are different styles and sizes of wakeboards, so you’ll need to know which one is best suited to you or you’ll have a hard time learning how to get up and ride. But there’s more to it than even just the wakeboard!

Even if you already have a tow rope, you might want to consider investing in another one if you’re serious about learning the sport and being successful riding the wake. Don’t worry, we’ve included how to choose a tow rope in this guide, as well as how to choose a wakeboard and wakeboard bindings, what you should wear, how you can outfit your wakeboard boat and some wakeboarding safety tips. This series of guides is the perfect starting point for anyone seriously looking to get into the watersport, so we highly recommend starting your journey here if you’re a beginner wakeboarder!

Getting Up on a Wakeboard

woman throwing tow rope to wakeboarder

Before you can start riding the wake, you first need to learn how to get up on a wakeboard. Even for those with experience with other watersports, this first step can be difficult to get the hang of because it’s a bit different from what you might be used to. That’s why we’ve included two different, effective ways you can get up on a wakeboard, so you can choose which one feels and works best for you and your experience level.

This guide specifically had beginners in mind, so in addition to tips to get you up on the board and out on the water, we’ve also included some quick tips on stance and positioning, two critical components of successful wakeboarding. Virtually every wakeboarder is going to have a preferred stance, regular or goofy. This just means you’re going to prefer standing one way on the board versus the other, but it’s important to figure out as it’s going to impact how you perform a lot of tricks with your wakeboard. Similarly, successfully pulling off a trick is going to involve proper body positioning. Without being in the proper position, you’re going to have a hard time getting up and staying up on the wakeboard.

Once you’ve read this guide, you’ll have a good idea of what you need to do and figure out before you can move on to what you’re really aiming for – learning how to pull off those epic wakeboarding tricks!

Beginner Wakeboard Tricks

man wakeboarding behind boat

Once you can get up on the wakeboard, you should practice keeping your balance and getting comfortable on the water. Getting your wakeboarding legs under you and getting some experience riding over the wake with your preferred stance and proper positioning will get you ready for our next guide, beginner wakeboard tricks. There are a lot of amazing, adrenaline-boosting tricks out there, and you might be tempted to go straight for an ollie but remember this. Wakeboarding is an extreme sport, and even famous wakeboarders started with these basic moves before they started getting major air.

Plus, even these must-know beginner wakeboarding moves are perfect for a thrill out on the water, so they’re a great way to get a rush while learning how to ride! And don’t worry, some of them are a little more complex so you can still challenge yourself if you’re feeling ready for more. In this quick how-to guide, we have included some of the most popular wakeboarding tricks that will help get you ready for more. These tricks include crossing the wake, jumping the wake, surface 180, powerslide, and butterslide. Once you’ve got these down, you’ll be set for bigger wakes and more air. Just make sure you’ve got an experienced boat driver and you know the safety rules of the water.

Driving the Boat for a Wakeboarder

boat dashboard

Wakeboarding is one of the most popular watersports to date and if you’ve ever seen anyone out riding the wake it’s easy to see why. There are few watersports that provide such an adrenaline rush, but wakeboarders couldn’t do what they do without their boat drivers. Boat driving for wakeboarders takes just as much skill as it does to ride the wakeboard, so we’ve dedicated an entire series of guides just to helping you learn how to drive a boat while towing a rider.

Because you will be sharing the water anywhere you go, these guides start with the basics of what you need to know about towing a rider on shared waters, otherwise known as boating etiquette. Once you’ve got this down and you’ve decided whether you’re going to be using an inboard or outboard boat, you’ll be ready to learn how to set the speed for your rider based on their experience level and the tricks they plan to pull that session. These tricks depend on the boat driver knowing how to drive particular driving patterns, so of course we’ve included those here as well for some of the most popular and widely-used patterns, including the crowd-pleasing double-up.

And always remember that any time you’re on the water you need to be putting safety first (yours, the rider’s and everyone else’s), so this series of guides finishes up with how to safely pick up a fallen rider.

Capitalize on Your Wakeboarding Adventures!

Once you’ve mastered everything you see here in this guide, you’re ready to really take on the water as a more experienced wakeboarder, so get ready for some major air! Always remember to keep safety in mind at any level of your wakeboarding journey though, not only while you’re a beginner. By being safe, knowing your limits, and learning new skills as you feel ready, you’ll be able to capitalize on your wakeboarding adventures for the experience of a lifetime!

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