One of the first things you need to learn when you start wakeboarding is how to get up on your board. Figuring out your preferred stance on the board is imperative because it will help you determine where your feet need to be. You’ll also need to learn about body positioning, what you shouldn’t do when you are trying to get up, and the various ways you can stand up on the board once you’re in the water. Keep reading for information on how to get up on your wakeboard.
Regular vs Goofy Stance
The first thing you need to figure out when it comes to getting up on a wakeboard is if your preferred stance is regular or goofy. You need to determine which stance is more comfortable for you as this decision will be the foundation of all your wakeboarding skill to come. When you’re out on the water, you will be standing on your board sideways with one foot in the front and your other foot in the rear. Your dominant foot will always be in the rear to help control the board. If you find standing with your left foot in the front and right foot in the rear is more comfortable, you are considered a regular rider. If you stand with your right foot in the front and your left foot in the rear, you are considered a goofy rider.
You are probably wondering how to determine which foot is dominant. There are a number of tests you can try to figure out which foot should go in the rear. A popular test is standing at the bottom of a flight of stairs and seeing which foot you step up with first. Other tests include kicking a soccer ball, seeing which foot you use for balance when you put pants on, and having someone gently push you to see which foot you catch yourself with. Of course, if you can’t determine which foot should be in the rear and front, you can always try both ones once you’re out on the water.
Proper Body Position
In addition to figuring out your main stance, you should know how to position your body while you’re in the process of getting up on the board and once you’re up on the water. If you don’t have the knowledge of how to position your body, you will have a hard time getting up on the water or find yourself falling into the water.
When you’re in the water, your whole body should be relaxed. You should be on your back with your knees bent and pulled up towards your chest. Your board will be in front of you, floating near the surface of the water. You should be holding onto the tow rope with your palms facing down towards the water. Your arms should be straight but relaxed. Once the boat starts and you are being pulled, you should put slightly more weight on your heels to create a positive angle upwards so you rise out of the water. Once you’re up on the water, shift your body to where you are perpendicular in relation to the boat instead of parallel.
Some mistakes new riders make include bending their arms as they are being pulled by the boat. Your arms should be straight so you won’t fall off the board. Sometimes new wakeboarders will straighten their legs too much as they are coming up out of the water, causing the board to wobble or them to fall off. Your knees should stay slightly bent the entire time you are riding for better control. As you’re coming up out of the water, if you put too much pressure on your toes, you will cause the board to go down into the water instead of up. If you even the pressure too much, you will stay at the same level in the water. You should put more pressure on your heels to rise up out of the water.
Starts for Beginners
Many beginners will learn the regular water start as mentioned earlier where the rider lays on their back with the board floating near the surface of the water. There are a couple of other ways to start too. If you want to stay in the water, you can try a deep water start, which is recommended for most beginners.
Deep Water Start
For a deep water start, you will balance your board under water while you stand on it with slightly bent knees. Your arms should be stretched out straight in front of you holding onto the tow rope, palms facing down. This is the start where the pressure on your heels will help you rise out of the water. You should try to create a 10-degree angle with your board to easily get on the water’s surface.
A dock start is another easy way for beginners to learn to get up on their wakeboards. This is a great way to get out on the water when it is cold. You should have a driver you can easily communicate with, as well as a private dock. You cannot do a dock start on a stranger’s dock or a community dock.
You have a couple of options for dock starts. You can do a sitting dock start where you sit on the edge of the dock with your feet in the bindings of your wakeboard. Sit with your knees bent, facing the boat with the tow rope in your hands. You should lean back slightly. Once you are pulled out onto the water, you should put a little more weight on your back foot and keep the handle of the tow rope near your hips.
For a jump dock start, stand on the edge of the dock about 1 inch away from the edge. When you feel the rope about to tighten, jump off the dock into the water while slightly leaning back. Once you’re steady, turn your body so you fall into your preferred stance - either regular or goofy.
Not sure which start is right for you? Visit our guide to choosing a deep water vs. a dock start.
Staying Up on the Wakeboard
We’ve already talked about how to get up on your wakeboard, but learning how to stay on your board is important too so you can continue to ride. Once you’re up on the water, you should evenly distribute your weight while putting slightly more pressure on your dominant foot. Keep your head and eyes up instead of looking down at your feet.
There are many elements to consider when you are first learning how to get up on a wakeboard for the first time. You need to know how to get up out of the water, how to stand, and much more. To learn more about staying up on your wakeboard, read our post about getting up and staying up on a wakeboard.