10 Simple Adjustments to Improve Your Wakeboarding Skills
We all know the feeling. The spray of cold water on our faces, the knots of fire in our knees, the adrenaline, the rush, the excitement…Wakeboarding can give it all.
But that’s not to say it’s easy. There are two different stages to this watersport. The first stage is the feeling of getting up on the board, gliding along the waves, and following the wake. And then there’s the second stage: the adjustments made to improve, to get better, and feel yourself become the master of the wake rather than just a passenger.
It is during this second stage that the rush and adrenaline can really be built upon. Anyone can feel that rush wakeboarding for the first time, but for those who turn their hobby into a lifestyle, that adrenaline only grows greater and greater until you cannot go without it.
But, as already mentioned, it can be difficult. Perfection on the board always seems a long way off, with several steps leading to its door. But if you step back, you will realize that the door is entirely reachable. Each of those steps is a small, simple adjustment.
And with these small and simple adjustments, you can improve your wakeboarding skills and really become the master of the wake, pushing that adrenaline to the next level. With this in mind, here are ten of the most crucial steps that you need to get right:
Choose The Right Location
First off, if you are looking to up your abilities, then you must be doing so in the right place. We don’t just mean coming to Lake Arenal and utilizing all of our amenities here – although that would be a great idea! – but finding the right place to practice and instill some consistency.
But, if you’re interested, you can find out more about renting a boat in Costa Rica.
Make Sure Your Equipment Is Correct
Small adjustments to your equipment can also be crucial. For instance, if you find it difficult to get up on the board or gain more flexibility in your upper body, it might be because of an oversized life jacket.
Likewise, a poorly fitted wetsuit can be constraining when it comes to doing tricks or even just getting your lower body into the correct position. Similarly, you will need a strong board that matches your body type, adequate safety gear and – of course – the right boat.
Take Your Wakeboarding Off Water
When it comes to practicing, it’s not simply a case of getting out on the water and jumping on the wakeboard. For one, you might not have the time to do that. For many people, it’s about finding gaps in the working week to fit in a wakeboard session, or you might even wait for your next vacation – to Costa Rica, of course – before you get back into the sport.
By doing this, however, you are not getting nearly enough time to hone your skills and make the necessary adjustments. Thankfully, there are a number of things you can do outside of the water to improve your skill set. These include:
Many professional wakeboarders have pinpointed trampolines as a great tool for honing the basics, tricks and, ultimately, building confidence on the waves.
Yoga increases flexibility and makes it less likely to sustain injuries whilst wakeboarding. As well as this, stances like the downward dog, boat pose, knee pose, high lunge pose, and cat pose are all critical when it comes to enhancing your core.
Lower Body Exercises
Of course, improving your essential fitness is also crucial. In terms of the lower body, your legs and glutes carry the majority of your body muscle, and these are what you will be using when launching yourself up on the wakeboard and driving into the air. Exercises like squats, side lunges and reverse lunges can all benefit this area.
Upper Body Exercises
Your upper body also controls the handle, keeps yourself balanced, and pulls your whole body when launching off the wake. Exercises like chin-ups, lateral pulls and push-ups will all be beneficial here.
We’ve mentioned the core already, but it is essential to develop your core muscles if you want to develop on the water. The entire process of wakeboarding needs core engagement and strength. Good exercises for this are crunches, planks, and Russian twists.
Stretching is another way to practice at home. This will avoid damaging your muscles when you’re out on the water and, help to adjust and improve your balance, which will help you tackle the next level of skill sets.
Take a look at these simple stretches for flexibility and strength.
Speaking of balance, if you’re having difficulty with this, another great way to adjust it is by purchasing a balancing board. Spending twenty to thirty minutes a day on a balancing board will obviously improve your balance but also build upon your core strength, board control and weight distribution.
The great news is, wakeboarding is great for your health. Everything you do on the water will improve life off the water, and vice versa!
Remember The Rope’s Importance
One of the things that many beginner wakeboarders overlook is the rope itself. This is easy to do, especially when you are paying attention to your board, the boat, and the waves around you. The rope becomes just a tool to tether yourself to the boat. But any tool is important, and you need to know how to use it. If you are still struggling to get up onto the board, then the rope might be the problem.
Make sure to tie it up as short as possible at the beginning; this will give you more upward pull. Also, watch the rope while you are in the wake. If it starts going loose, you need more power. If it gets too tight, you know you need less speed.
Become One With Your Board
If you’re struggling to get to the next level, it could come down to those first few moments. Ensure you’re in the correct position – arms straight, resting on top of your knees. Your knees should be slightly bent and, when the boat goes, you should bend them even more, crunching down toward the board until you are leaning directly on top of it. This will make it far easier to get up and start on the right foot.
If you feel like you’re starting to lose balance, don’t make any big or sudden movements. Instead, place a little more weight into your heels and keep yourself grounded and steady. Small adjustments like this can really improve your stance and your confidence on the water.
Pay Attention To Your Toes And Heels
Every wakeboarder will know about toeside and heelside. In terms of toeside, this is undoubtedly the most challenging to get right, with a common problem being wakeboarders getting stuck on the outside of the wave and falling into the water.
If this is happening to you, make sure you are not trying to lean into the direction you are going – if you lean over your waist, you’re going to fall into the water. Instead, rest your weight back on the rope, make sure to keep your spine straight and trust that the board will guide you into the turn or trick.
Get Your Communication Right
Communication is also essential. Many wakeboarders find it hard to get to the next level, but they need to focus on the basics: communication. It’s always important to communicate clearly with the people on the boat. You want to make sure that – even though there is plenty of space between you and the boat – you can still communicate as if you were standing next to each other. Learning all of the correct hand gestures will then help you to control your wakeboarding session better.
Learn To Adjust Your Wake
When it comes to balance and tricks, it is essential that the wake is proper. But the water doesn’t always fall in line with what you want! There are ways to adjust the wake to what you need it to be, however. One is by adjusting your line length and jumping the wake before it turns to a whitewash.
The seating arrangement on the boat could also be affecting your path, as the weight distribution on the boat can lead to an uneven wake, which will make it difficult for you to stay balanced. Of course, speed control will also make a big difference, so get that communication in order and make sure the speed of the boat is not flattening the wake or throwing it further from the boat.
The biggest difference is made by the boat. You can find out more here.
Learn Simple Tricks To Build Confidence
You might also need to adjust the tricks you are trying to pull off. Sometimes it’s easy to go a bit too big, especially if you feel confident with your balance and speed. But if you go too big, you’re going to fall more often, which will decrease this confidence.
A few of the best tricks to learn early include board grabbing, the half cab, the ollie, switch wake jumping and switch surfacing. These will challenge you in just the right way, ensuring you are building upon that confidence and taking the appropriate steps to perfection.
Practice, Practice, Practice!
The last adjustment you might need to make resides entirely in your schedule. In other words, make sure you practice. On the water or outside of the water, it’s essential to keep wakeboarding in your mind and try to practice watersports as often as you can.
Remember, you are looking for the perfect session, the perfect experience, the perfect rush. Practice makes perfect, so fit it in whenever you can and watch yourself fly as a result!