Wakeboarding is an exciting watersport that provides a thrilling adrenaline rush for beginners and experienced riders alike. When you’re first starting out though, you may be wondering a number of things from how and where to wakeboard to what equipment you need and what you should wear. First things first, to get started wakeboarding you’ll need access to a wakeboard boat that’s outfitted with a wakeboard tower and wakeboard mirrors (for safety), at a minimum, to pull you across the water. Being pulled across the boat’s wake is how you’re going to pop out ollies and other tricks, but what are you supposed to wear while you’re busting out those moves?
When it comes to attire, you have some options, but there are certainly some options that are better than others. This is especially true for beginner wakeboarders, as you’ll typically spend more time in the water than on your wakeboard as you’re learning how to ride. The following is an introduction into what you can wear while you’re wakeboarding, from bathing suits and wetsuits to important safety gear to keep your protected out on the water!
Wakeboard and Bindings
Before you think about attire though, you should first make sure that you have your wakeboard and wakeboard bindings ready to go. If you’re a beginner wakeboarder you want to look for a wakeboard that matches to your height and weight for better stability while on the water. For a more in-depth guide, check out our blog on choosing a beginner wakeboard. You’ll also want bindings, otherwise known as wakeboard boots, that are flexible enough for movement but supportive enough to not fall off while you’re riding. To learn more about the different styles available, check out our blog on choosing the right wakeboard bindings.
Once you have your wakeboard and wakeboard bindings, you’re almost ready to get out on the water, but there are a couple other things to consider before you ride. First, you want to think about your attire. You may notice as you watch other riders that everyone has their own style preference for not only their wakeboard and how they ride, but what they wear while they do it as well. Some riders will prefer to just wear their swimsuit or something they’re comfortable in while on the boat or in the water, with some riders opting for one-piece suits and others two-pieces. For safety, one-piece suits are typically better as you’ll be wearing other safety gear as well, and beginner wakeboarders should consider a wetsuit or dry suit for even more protection.
Why should a beginner wakeboarder wear a wetsuit?
A wetsuit is designed to keep your body warm while you’re in the water and is often used for other watersports such as surfing or diving. Wearing a wetsuit is most often used when you’ll be in colder water in order to keep your body safe from the harsher environment, but this is an important safety consideration for beginner wakeboarders as well. When you’re first learning how to ride the wake you’re likely going to be spending a lot of time in the water, which means you’re more susceptible to the water’s conditions and its effects on your body. To keep yourself safe from harm, you should consider wearing a wetsuit, even if the water is warm. Don’t worry, you won’t overheat in your wetsuit while you’re riding, especially if you’re frequently in the water! If you’re concerned however, you can opt for a sleeveless wetsuit, and unzip the front to cool down or take it off when you’re not riding.
Safety Gear for Wakeboarding
Wearing a wetsuit helps keep you safe from the environmental conditions as you’re learning how to wakeboard, but beyond that there are other safety considerations to make as well. Even if you’re confident in your swimming ability, being hurled into the water at high speeds can be disorienting, so you want to make sure you wear a life jacket and helmet. Additionally, your wakeboard boat should be equipped with wakeboard mirrors to help your driver see what’s going on around you.
Choosing a Life Jacket for Wakeboarding
If you have a boat or you participate in other watersports, you likely already have a life jacket to keep you safe in the water. This life jacket can likely be used while wakeboarding as well, but there are jackets designed specifically for riders. Wakeboard life jackets are designed for mobility, so they’ll be less restrictive than other flotation devices. This is because they’re typically made from stretchy neoprene material that’s made to be snug and tapered, so it fits close to your body to allow for nimble movement while you’re riding the wake.
Choosing a Helmet
Just as you’d wear a helmet while riding a bicycle, you want to wear one while wakeboarding. Wakeboarding is known as an extreme watersport, which means that some tricks may also be dangerous, especially if you come crashing into the water In addition to wearing a life vest, you also want to wear a watersport, or wakeboard, helmet to keep your head protected from injury. A good wakeboard helmet is going to be high quality, meaning that is well-constructed and comfortable with a tough outer shell and dense inside layer. Beyond that, you’ll have a variety of styles to choose from to match your personality!
While not a necessity, wakeboard mirrors attached to the boat’s wakeboard tower or windshield are ideal for the rider’s protection. As a rider, you want to be aware of your surroundings at all times. The same is true for the boat driver as well, and wakeboard mirrors are designed to allow exactly that. These mirrors are moveable, so the driver can adjust them to ensure they can see what is happening with the rider at all times.
What should a beginner wear while wakeboarding?
If you’re a beginner wakeboarder, you definitely want to focus on the safety items before you ride the wake. Safety items include a wetsuit, and helmet to protect your body from the environment and possible injury, and most importantly a life jacket. Once you have the safety items ready to go, your choice in clothing is completely up to you! Many riders find one-piece suits more comfortable, but some riders will wear two-pieces as well. It’s up to your preference, just make sure that no matter what you wear while wakeboarding you’re focusing on safety first!
For more beginner tips and tricks, be sure to check out our beginner's guide to choosing the right wakeboard gear.