Now surfing ropeless, what skill sets should I work on?
I (well, wife and I) have an '01 Malibu Sunsetter VLX, Acme 381 prop, LS1 motor. 750lbs port locker, 450ish lbs under the port seats, 300lbs under the bow seats (all on reversible pumps and hidden), wedge down (wake has little push without the wedge). I'm 6'3, 220lbs, riding a 5' Triple X Nitro with all 3 fins. Only board I've ever ridden, only boat I've ever surfed behind. Plans to swap 750lb for 1100lb locker bag over the winter and maybe a ski locker bag. Usually run light on passengers.
I learned to go ropless about a week and a half ago, and can do so very consistently now (bad previous prop caused wash issues that ended up being 50% of the problem, foot positioning and technique being the rest).
I can now easily speed up and slow down, and can usually use board control to gain my speed back up if I start falling back too far in the wake. I learned to avoid my knee in the wash which really slows you down as well when going far back on the wake. I can stay up with my wife doing semi-wide 180 degree turns, and can stay up even when she veers a bit to the right which washes out the wake. I can also ride up the wake a bit and back down.
Now what should I be working on? I've started to work on looking up and around vs. staring at the wake. I haven't learned to "pump" yet to get myself going from way back...not totally sure on the technique to use there.
Besides learning to pump, are there any other core skills I need to develop, or any easy/mild "tricks" I should start working on? I'm starting to think I like surfing more than wakeboarding.
there are lots of things to start on. You are definitely right about learning how to pump. With out that speed most trick just wont happen, from there you will need to learn how to control that speed, how to stop coming forward with out over doing it. Both of these skills will be huge. once you learn that i would say to start learning how to bottom turn, then how to Ollie in the flats followed by chop hop and then an Ollie off the wake and lastly an ariel.
At the same time as you are working on all of the stuff above you could be working on a progression into a 3. I start by teaching people how to do a floater, then a board slide, and a lip slide. Once you have all of those you should be very comfortable using the entire wake and ready to start thinking about a 360. the board slide and lip slide should get you more comfortable with the board not tracking straight and a lip slide is essentially an entry into a 3 that you just stop and pull back down.
These are just some thoughts and ways that i have taught people in the past. If you have any questions feel free to PM me.
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