Ride Right - Right from the Start - by Raimi Merritt
Getting up on a wakeboard is easier than getting up on water skies for most people, because of the greater surface area. But beginning riders will progress faster if they have a plan, as well as some coaching. Here are three entry level tips that will get your riding off to a great start. You?ll avoid bad habits, and be on track to improve quickly.
It's exciting just to be up and riding, but start by thinking about your stance (how you stand on the board). Novice riders often make the mistake of standing facing the boat, with most of their weight on the front foot; the one nearest from the boat.
The bindings on a wakeboard are mounted sideways. When riding a wakeboard, make sure your body is facing sideways, stand equal over the bindings but a lot of your weight is on your back foot. Also, keep your handle low and toward your leading hip. That is the difference between wakeboarding and snowboarding.
Turn It Up
Once your body is centered over the board, you are ready to turn. You can ride in either direction, basic or switch stance (turning the board 180 degrees).
This isn't as difficult as it sounds, since the board's surface area is so great and boards have fins on each end to add stability riding in either direction.
Many riders turn successfully their first time riding. Using smaller, more shallow fins, or removing the fins altogether, will make turning easier, as will dropping the boat speed a few miles per hour from the typical speed of 15 to 18 mph.
To turn the wakeboard on the surface of the water, use your feet, knees and hips to press the bindings and board around 180 degrees. This is "switch" position.
If you are right foot forward, you will turn right (clockwise) and if you are left foot forward you will turn left (counterclockwise) to switch stance.
Once you are in switch stance, check your body position. Are your feet balanced, or do you have too much weight on the back foot? Work on your balance in both directions.
Hit the Wakes
Now you're ready to ramp up the fun with wake jumps. Riders typically want to "attack" the wake, but you want to learn how to use the wake to your advantage to get air time.
Start with small jumps, approaching the wake with a softer approach. Stay centered and balanced on the board as you go up the wake.
The sideways stance will mean that wake jumps are easier on one side of the wake, but practice jumping the wakes on both sides, and in both basic and switch stance.
Practicing all jumps equally will mean you won't know the difference, and that's a great place to be, since it will open the doors to more fun, more success, and more tricks.
Raimi Merritt wins her 10th World Cup with her recent win in Linyi City, China. Raimi is also 2 times IWWF Open Women Wakeboard World Champion and a Masters Champion. Raimi is sponsored by Mynt, Nautique, Hyperlite, Rollei Actioncam America, Breathe Boardwear, Proof Eyewear, OrigAudio, Wakami, Peripheral LS and Fly High. Visitwww.raimimerritt.com for the latest news. Raimi also offers personalized coaching in Orlando, Florida. [email protected] to schedule a lesson.