here's a bit more of a serious explenation writtten by a mr david ingram please dont take what i said above seriously
also a vid link of myself a couple of years ago performing a pretty textbook raley for a begginer slowed down and stuff: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SrQx56-CvGk
I wanna get some big air, how do I do a Raley? - Cableology
I will describe this for a person who is right foot forward on an anti-clockwise cable. Just reverse the instructions for other combinations.
A Raley is all in the cut, there is no jump involved. The principle is that you build up tension and stored energy in the cable, and ski-line and release it all in a short space of time. You place two forces in opposition (the direction of the cable and the direction of your cut), you build up the tension between them, and when you release one the other pulls you - now, as the cable has an element of pulling up involved you tend to lift off. That’s the basic principle, but to put it into practice you need a bit more detail.
Lots of people have different ways of teaching Raleys, but underneath its all the same. There is one ‘school of teaching’ that says something like "just cut hard, like you’re trying to stop the cable, and dig it", or "just cut and scoop". Cool, that works, and that is certainly part of the story, but there is also a lot missing from this conversation.
Remember that wakeboarding is a new sport with previously very little actually ‘training’ or ‘instruction’. Most people learnt what they know by trial and error, from friends that did the same, and its only more recently that I’ve started to notice a bit more analysis going on. So I will try to give you a more analytical approach, to save you some of that trial and error process.
Here we go. I think there are four main things you need to get right to learn Raleys, they are: 1) your weight distribution on the board, 2) where your hips are, 3) where your chest is, and 4) the cut (obviously). Lets get your body position right first, then we’ll talk about the cut.
I will take the following approach: I’ll tell you how it should be, then I’ll say why, then I’ll say what happens if you don’t do it.
1) Weight on your board - you should be cutting with LOADS of weight on your front foot. Even if you watch a pro doing a Raley he may appear to have more weight on the back foot, but at the point of lift of he will have transferred a large amount of that weight to the FRONT foot. Having weight applied to the front foot, down through your heel to the heel edge, has the duel effect of
a) putting more of the rail of your board in the water which gives you more purchase on the water and therefore more force to release in the final part of the cut
b) It also has the effect of building up tension in the line faster than it increased your speed over the water.
If you don’t do this you will find that you have little very tension on the line when (or if) you manage to release and lift off. This means you will go very low, probably not have enough time to pull the board back under you and BAM, front edge city.
A second drawback is that if you cut rear-foot heavy you will be moving so fast at the end of your cut that your timing in the release of the board has to be much more precise - that’s fine if you can do Raleys all day long, but when you’re learning you need things to happen a little slower.
2) Where your hips are - they should be forward, with your butt clenched - you should NOT be squatting down and all folded and bent up in the middle at your waist. You’re gonna tell me that so-and-so-pro is all crunched up when he does it so I must be wrong, but you need to remember that so-and-so-pro has been doing them for a while so he will have modified his body position to suit his style, but I promise you if you want the best chance of landing that Raley you should listen to this, I have taught MANY MANY people.
Keeping your hips up builds more force in your cut and more tension in the line. I see many people thinking that in order to do a Raley they must cut hard and fast, so they grit their teeth, crouch down, mach it as fast as they can with their arse dragging on the water and then wipe out. Think about it, if you are all floppy in the middle like a hinge all that great tension you build in your board edge will get dissipated as your body bends and flexes around in the middle. Keep your hips up and you’ll build force all the way from the edge of your board, up through your heels, your legs, hips, trunk, shoulders, and through to the cable. Now you are cutting strong.
You should try a few cuts where you clench your butt tight and keep your hips up, you’ll notice you can cut harder with more force without trying any harder - conversely, for the same input of muscle and effort your cut will be MUCH stronger. This is good.
3) Your chest - not much to say here, I said it all about the hips, keep it tall, don’t scrunch up cos you’ll weaken your cut, and less force means less air which means front edges. Ouch!
4) Ahhh, the cut, yes this is the bit everyone immediately focussed on. Now we’ve got your body position strong we can add the cut and you will get air. I am assuming right foot forward on an anti-clockwise cable. The place where the cable is tightest is between the shortest straight. In most cases this between the corners approaching the drive tower, but your local cable may be a little different. Tight is good, as you will get more lift which makes things easier. You may also want to consider how far you will have to swim, so in some cases you may want to try your Raleys after the drive tower, in front of the dock (make sure you don’t cut too early and end up flying through the elevator). Here the cable is marginally less tight, but you’ll get a faster return to the start (less swim, less walk) so you’ll get more practice in.
The cut itself is shaped like a hockey stick - straight for most of it, with a little 'hook' or 'scoop, like a ‘J’, on the end. So, come round the corner nice and smooth keeping the ski-line tight, come onto your opposite (toe) edge a little so you come back in closer to (but not under) the cable then get roll on your heel edge SMOOTHLY and start your cut. Make it straight and at a sharp angle to the cable (you can try actually ‘looking’ at the point in the bank towards which you are cutting, now move your sight line a few meters further up - so you are cutting sharper). If you are cutting steeply enough you wont be able to hold this cut for long. If you can cut for a long time then your cut is not steep enough.
As you cut you will find that there is a kinda ‘sweet spot’. This is the point beyond which you’ll feel the cut starting to ‘run-out’ and you will start to lose tension as your cut starts to arc back round in line with the cable (you lose the steepness). It’s weird to describe, but it will feel like the point where the tension is built up to its greatest point. Do a few cuts like this, and start to try to ANTICIPATE when it is.
The reason I say this is because to get the hook / scoop / dig / 'J' part of your cut right you will have to time it to coincide with this sweet-spot. If you try to WAIT to feel the sweet-spot THEN then start the scoop you will have missed it, it happens just too fast.
Now, once you can anticipate when that point is, you are ready to complete the final part of your cut. This is the bit which people mean when they say "just dig it". You should be feeling like you are trying to stop the cable while you are cutting, then just continue your cut in a J shape (the end of the ‘hockey stick’) WHILE KEEPING YOUR BOARD FULLY ON ITS EDGE, as you make that "J" just PUSH A LITTLE EXTRA WEIGHT on your front foot (a bit like doing a small Ollie - but you will be fully on egde here - DO NOT come off your edge even though your mind is screaming at you to do so).
The board will sort of dip a little bit extra as you make that "J" (that dip is your ‘dig’).
I don’t wanna see anyone jumping out of the water at this point, which is a very common mistake, because as soon as you jump you will lose all that lovely tension and force you built up on your edge - and no tension means no air!
You need to keep on the cut, on the egde, and stay BEHIND the board. It really is as simple as continuing the cut, pushing a little more on the front foot as you make the ‘J’. If you jump you will do precisely the opposite - you will be over the board not behind it, you will come off the edge, and the board will lift out of the water instead if ‘digging’ in. You will go flat, no height, and catch a front edge.
I think a Raley is mostly a ‘head’ trick, its not that technical, just a few things to think about, but it does seem to fly in the face of common sense - your brain will be telling you that if you are cutting hard, and the cable is going one way but then you increase your cut even more and cut BACK on yourself you will just catch and edge and face plant - that’s why I’d say it’s a head trick.
If you do everything mostly right you will get air, the next thing to think about is getting the board back under you. Notice I say the NEXT thing - now you are in the air - don’t be thinking about this until you are up there, otherwise you’re cut will be all wrong and you will not get enough air. Remember I said it’s all in the cut, if you get that right you will have so much time in the air that you’ll have plenty of time to think about getting the board down again.
Once in the air, just pull the handle back into your front hip, be ready to bend your knees as you land, and it will all come together just right. When you Raley the force will pull your arms out straight, so be ready for this, then just pull them back in and DOWN towards your hip.
Unless you go VERY low, don’t let go. If you let go your legs will continue to rise and you will flip right over. You need that handle to keep you flying straight and to pull your legs back down.
Some people find they get spun a bit onto their back (like half a back roll or Hinterberger), keep looking up at the carrier to prevent this - don't turn your head.
Finally I’d recommend wearing a helmet with EAR PROTECTORS when trying Raleys for the first time. If you get blasted in your ear with water it can be v painful and can set you back mentally and physically.