A board, a wave, and a fast tow that gets you ripping through its wake, and speeding through the sparkling waters of one of the best wakeboarding lakes in the world. Can you think of anything better?
Throw in some beautiful sunshine, a great playlist on the speakers, and your favourite people cheering you on from the boat, and we honestly can’t think of anything that beats the feeling.
There’s a reason why booking a wakeboarding vacation in Costa Rica is such a popular thing to do – and why Lake Arenal is considered one of the best places to wakeboard.
Need more convincing? Here’s our complete introduction to wakeboarding, so you know exactly what to look forward to.
WHAT IS WAKEBOARDING?
One of the most popular watersports out there, particularly among beginners – or anyone looking for a bit of fun and excitement out on the water. It involves a wakeboard, which, if you’ve spent any time on the slopes, looks a little like a snowboard.
Boarders attach themselves onto the board with bindings – or, in other words, special shoes that keep your feet on the board the whole time you’re boarding. This is great for beginners since you don’t need to worry about gripping the board – or losing it!
You’ll hold onto a handle at the end of a rope, and at the other end of that rope will be our boat – and your posse cheering you on.
IS WAKEBOARDING HARD TO LEARN?
Picking up the basics is relatively easy, and our professional instructors can get you feel comfortable with the 101-stuff nice and fast, so you have maximum time out on the waves. Pulling off tricks makes boarding harder.
In the beginning, the toughest part is usually figuring out how to balance – and getting used to having your feet locked onto the board.
Having good equipment and even better waves makes all the difference, whether you’re a newbie or a long-time boarder. Luckily, we have both.
Our beautiful boat, the 2022 Super Air Nautique G23, allows us to configure the wave we create across the water, and our knowledgeable instructors will know exactly what you need to take off the right way.
FOR FIRST-TIME WAKEBOARDERS
Our instructors will prep you on everything before you get into the water – but, if you like to do your homework, here are some of our favourite tips…
1.Don’t be afraid to flop
It’s okay to fall. Actually, scratch that – it’s pretty much guaranteed that you’re going to fall.
A good boarder makes wakeboarding look easy, but you’ll come face to face with a learning curve the second you’re in your bindings and trying to hold on (and get up on your board) as the boat pulls away.
What does that mean? It means flopping down into the water a few times before you hit that sweet spot – we promise it’ll be worth it.
2.Forget about the tricks for now
This isn’t American Idol, so you don’t need to put on a show just to make sure your friends are having a good time. Tricks are great – they’re fun, challenging, and they get the adrenaline flowing – but so is boarding without doing any tricks.
Even the pros enjoy a boarding for boarding’s sake sometimes. While you’re still getting the hang of it all, just enjoy the feeling of flying over the water – touring the beautiful lake – and trying something totally new and exhilarating.
3.Prepare to use your arms
Wakeboarding, like all watersports, is pretty much a full body workout. Maintaining balance means tapping into your core and engaging those leg muscles – and good posture goes a long way when you’re on the board – but, without a doubt, the biggest effort is going to be felt in your arms.
But just because you’re getting a good workout in, doesn’t mean it has to hurt. You’re not pulling the rope – the rope is pulling you – so don’t overthink it and don’t try to carry all that tension in your arms. That’s what the rope is designed for!
4.Getting up doesn’t require any big, dramatic movements
The beauty of wakeboarding is that, once first-time boarders are up on their feet and flying over those waves, they tend to pick up the basics pretty fast. But the trickiest part for most beginners is actually getting onto their feet in the first place.
To get going, you’ve got to get into your bindings and drop down into the water and ‘sit’ on the board as the boat starts to pull forward, and the rope gets tense. Provided the toe-side edge (the front) of the board is tilted slightly toward the surface of the water, you’ll glide up to the surface and get going.
This isn’t surfing; you don’t have to pop up or make a quick, deft movement out of the water. Understand where you want the board to go, and let it get there (pretty much) on its own.
5.Don’t fight the pull
The boat creates the speed and the wave, and the rope carries the tension. You don’t need to fight it, but a common rookie mistake is to pull against the pull of the boat and carry unnecessary weight and tension in your upper body.
Not only is this a waste of energy, but it’s also an easy way to throw off your balance. Your job is to hold onto the rope – not play tug of war with the boat.
THE HEALTH AND FITNESS
BENEFITS OF WAKEBOARDING
Wakeboarding in Costa Rica is always a sure-fire way to get a memorable workout in – and the best part is you’re usually having too much fun to feel like you’re working out.
Develop your core strength
A strong core is always a good thing. It can help everything from posture to digestion – and make it easier to spend more time out on the water than you did in the beginning. It’s a must-have for watersports pros, although you don’t need to be shredded to enjoy your time on the board.
When you’re wakeboarding, you’ve got to stay balanced and upright, which means constantly engaging your core from the moment you get up to the moment you’re ready to get out of the water.
Give your mind a workout…
Watersports aren’t things you can zone out of. Sure, once you’re comfortable out on the board you can get into the zone, find a rhythm, and take in the world around you but, even then, you’ve always got to keep your mind active and alert.
You need to be constantly aware of your movements, your position on the water, where the waves are coming from and where you want to be in relation to them.
…and your body, too
From head to toe, wakeboarding is pretty much guaranteed to get you feeling the burn the next morning. It’s easy to forget how hard your muscles are working the whole time you’re on the board, but it really is a major workout, and a great way to tone the major muscles in the arms and legs.
Get more flexible
Regular wakeboarding is a great way to aid your flexibility. Sure, you won’t be doing any downward facing dogs or lotus positions out on the board, but you will need to be agile – and the more you practice that, the more flexibility you’ll notice, especially in your hands and feet.
It’s a great refresher
Learning something new means emptying your brain of everything else for a while. Couple that with fresh air, beautiful scenery, positive vibes, and a boost of adrenaline coursing through your veins, and you’re guaranteed to make it back to shore feeling refreshed, rejuvenated, and ready to take on the world.
Got more questions ahead of your wakeboarding trip with us? See if others have asked the same things before with our FAQ. If not, then don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team
Is wakeboarding harder than wakesurfing?
A lot of people who have no prior experience in watersports will find wakeboarding a little easier. This is primarily down to the fact that, when you’re wakeboarding, the bindings keep your feet in the optimum position (so there’s less to think about there), and you keep hold of the rope the entire time.
So, unless you’re doing tricks, the main focus is steering from side to side. For wakesurfers, there’s also the need to control the board’s speed since they’re not dependent on the tension in the rope.
Then again, if you’re a committed surfer and you’re used to having that freedom of movement in your feet and ankles, getting used to the bindings can be difficult. Wakeboarding is also considered harder for anyone who waterskis regularly since the slight differences in the board (and the way you need to position yourself on it) can be a curveball.
Is wakeboarding dangerous?
As with any extreme sport, there are risks of injury, but the key is to only work at your level and not try to push yourself outside of your comfort zone too soon.
Our trained instructors have a lot of knowledge and expertise, and our set up makes it possible to control your experience – to create a wave you’re suited to ride, and to ensure you’re always using quality equipment. Our boat is loaded up with all the necessary safety precautions, and we will brief you on everything you need to know before we head out onto the water.
In wakeboarding, the phrase ‘no pain, no gain’ holds up. Everybody falls during the first few attempts, and water isn’t exactly a feather pillow to land on.
Call it a rite of passage, Lake Arenal style!
Why choose Lake Arenal, Costa Rica for wakeboarding?
As the largest lake in Costa Rica, Lake Arenal is the ultimate backdrop for watersport vacations. A stunning location that really shows off everything this beautiful country has to offer – from incredible wildlife to friendly locals, beautiful forestry to crystalline waters.
If you’ve ever wondered where to go wakeboarding, then you’ve hit the jackpot with Lake Arenal. Here, the water is a real hive of activity. To the west, you’ll often see windsurfers making the most of the conditions while, further east, the water is a lot smoother and perfect for creating the ideal wave for boarders.
Whether you’re coming from La Fortuna or further away, we can’t wait to welcome you here – and to show you why this place is one of the best places to do wakeboarding in the world.