Springtime is almost here, and in Southern California that basically means we’re back in summer mode. The return of the sun brings everyone out of the house for fun activities, and there are so many to choose from.
I’m all about trying new things, and that was no exception when it came to wakeboarding. You should try it too, it’s the perfect summer watersport! Imagine you’re on the lake, it’s 90 degrees out, and you feel great because the wind is rushing through your hair and you’re staying cool as a fine mist kicks up over your feet as you skim the lake at 20 miles per hour.
The name “Wakeboarding” comes from the word “wake” which is what the little waves left behind by a boat are called. Wakeboarding is pretty much a cross between three sports: skiing, surfing, and skateboarding. Wakeboarding was invented in New Zealand under the name “Skurfing,” or skiing and surfing.
Wakeboarding is really fun, but it’s also considered a highly competitive sport. The US Open has a special section where men and women can compete separately at professional levels. However, if this is your first time attempting to wakeboard, don’t worry! You don’t have to be a professional to have fun wakeboarding!
If you ever want to start wakeboarding, I’ve got some great tips for you. First things first! Wear a life jacket no matter what! I can’t stress how important that is. Nothing else matters more than your safety. You don’t have to be a strong swimmer, but you should be able to keep yourself afloat.
Another great thing to check for if you have no boarding experience is which natural stance you are on the board. Your “stance” is what way that you stand on a wakeboard – it’s kind of like being right or left-handed.
There are two stances: regular or goofy-footed. There is actually a way to tell which way you prefer BEFORE you get into the water – and it’s fun! Put some thick socks on and slide across a wood floor (think Risky Business) and find out which way your body turns. If you turned left you are regular, if you turned right you’re goofy footed. Or you can slide both ways and decide which is most comfortable!
Standing up can be hard for beginners, and sometimes even for people that have done it a few times, but it’s all about timing, patience, and balance. I’ve learned that the more you relax with it, the more it comes to you.
A few helpful tips on standing up:
+ Make sure to have your board pointing in the way your stance is.
+ After you tell the driver of the boat you’re ready, be sure to keep your knees bent, and your board pointed to your chosen stance.
+ As the speed increases, make sure you’ve kept your knees locked, lean back, and always, always, always make sure to keep your board FLAT.
It might take a few tries, and a bit of falling to really get it right, but don’t worry! Wearing a life jacket can save you the energy from having to swim. Falling is another fun part in it, and can make for hilarious and embarrassing pictures. Not only is wakeboarding fun, it’s a great mental and physical exercise too!
Have you ever been wakeboarding? How was it? What was the most difficult part for you? Tweet me @DrBillDorfman #Wakeboarding.