I see some questions out there still about how to get up new riders so I thought I would post up
some of the tips we use in our Wake Posse.
To start off I know you guys know all this stuff and more than likely a bunch of things I have not even thought of
but sometimes putting it down somewhere so it is handy can make all the difference when teaching new riders.
We try to do alot of little things to give every advantage we can to the new rider trying to learn how to get up on their
first deep water start.
Hope some of this helps but in any case please use at your own risk.
Give them a quick safety brief; Put them at ease; tell them about the signals to be used between them and the
Tell them you will be in the water with them when they start and at anytime they feel concerned or threatened just
let go of the rope etc.
Here is a sample safety brief:
Wakeboarding is an extreme sport.
Life is a risk and like many other water sports like skiing, tubing, knee boarding etc, you can
be seriously injured or even killed participating in it. You can minimize these risks if you
remember and obey a few rules:
Ride within your limits, slower is better and safer
Always wear a USCG approved life vest
Don’t ride in shallow water
Always have an observer (not the driver) watching the rider
Use a red flag on the boat when riders are in the water
Know the water you are riding in, look for obstruction in the path you intend to ride
Be alert for traffic from other boaters behind, from the sides and in front of you.
Always approach a down rider with care and always shut off the motor when a rider is
entering or exiting the water.
Check your board, bindings, fins, life vest etc for any problems before riding.
Use the correct size board and bindings (in other words match the gear to the rider).
Don’t do dock starts especially if you are a newbie, don’t ride near swimmers or pylons
Maintain a decent level of fitness. The better shape you are in the less likely you are to become
injured and the more you will enjoy the sport.
Agree on hand signals between observer and rider before hand
Don’t take a “Dare”, nobody needs to loose their Manhood or Womanhood or get hurt
trying to ride outside of their ability just because somebody in the boat challenged them
to do something they are not fully prepared to attempt.
Don't consume alcohol or drugs before riding or driving the boat.
Don't ride if you are sick or injured.
TIPS FOR THE NEW RIDER
1. Find out if they are regular or goofy footed (to determine use, tug of war, push from behind with their eyes
closed, skateboard foot push off methods etc)
2. Spread out the bindings on the board, with dominant foot at about 9 degrees ducked out and on the first
set of binding holes and back foot at 90 degrees to the board and all the way at the back set of binding holes.
What this does is cause 30% of your weight to be on the front of the board and about 70% of your weight on
the back foot. This stance also helps the first timer from being pulled out the front once they get up.
(this stance is just for getting up and doing some cruising no tricks using this stance as injury could result.)
3. Use only one fin at the back of the board, take the front fin off. (This helps turn the board when they
first get up) Also try to use a larger fin in the back than normal if you have one. On our Sol and Rhythm
we have several over-sized fins that we use in place of the stock fin to help make the board more stable
for the newbie.
4. Test getting up using line in the boat first. Give handle to newbie put them in the correct position,
ie tucked with heels to buttocks, shoulders back, chest up, knees bent, arms straight with knees
inside arms. Fit the wakeboard to the rider, a 133cm board probably wont work for somebody 6'3' at
235 lbs (you get the drift). Generally for a newbie the bigger the board the better because: it slows
things down once they get up and "generally" a bigger board creates more lift making it easier to get
up for the first time which is all we are trying to do at this point.
5. Have someone that knows how to ride get in the water with them to assist them getting them into
the correct position and to put them at ease (this probably helps more than anything else we do for the rider)
6. In the water put them in the proper stance, have the driver take up extra slack and put the new rider under
"slight" tension and when they are ready tell them to holler out "hit it" or whatever signal you use.
It is also important to diagnose what they are doing wrong if they don't get up the first 3-4 attempts so you
know what to tell them to correct the issue. There is nothing worse than an eager rider asking you
"What am I doing wrong" and you not being able to articulate to them what to do.
Here are a few common problems and fixes I found on the net that have been helpful to us;
Standing up too soon causes the board to sink. Keep in mind that you really can't stand up too late. If you want to
ride around the whole lake in the original crouched position in which you started, you can certainly do that. Always
err on the side of caution and stand up later rather than sooner. If you're working hard to stand up, it's probably
too soon. Turning the board too soon will also often make the board sink.
Remember, wait until the board is on top of the water before you stand and turn the board.
Muscling your way up often results in the "bungee-effect," where the rope suddenly becomes a weapon
that you use to nail your friends in the boat with. So keep your arms straight and shoulders back
and let the boat pull you up.
Plowing through the water is murder on your back and you'll feel it the next day. When you're hanging on
and all that seems to happen is that water is pushing against the bottom of the board, thus stretching out
your arms by a couple of inches, there's a simple solution - Slightly point your toes. You see, what's happening
is that no water is getting under the board to lift it up. By pointing your toes, the board is put at a slight angle,
allowing for water to rush under it and, as a result, lift it up.
Being pulled out the front If you don't hold your shoulders back, they will roll forward. When they roll forward,
you'll lose leverage and get pulled right over the board.
What if you got up alright, but just can't seem to stay up? Here are some common mistakes that
may be causing your problem...
The uncontrollable side slide is a precursor of the dreaded face plant. When the tail end of the board comes
sliding around so that the front tip is no longer pointed in the direction of the boat, but rather both your feet are
pointed at the boat, it is most often a result of not twisting at the waist and/or not keeping the handle at your lead hip.
Twisting at the waist keeps your shoulders facing the boat while your feet face the shore.
Again Being pulled out the front may also result in a face plant. The cause? Improper weight distribution
and/or leavingyour arms straight out in front of you. If you find that you are constantly being pulled forward,
consider putting a little more weight on your back foot. Ideally you'll want equal weight on both feet, but in
the beginning, until you are more comfortable on the board, you may want to think of placing 70% of your
weight on your back foot, and 30% on the front.
That is the jest of the main things we try to do and tell the new rider when trying their first deep water start.
We basically commit this stuff to memory because we often run into folks that want us to teach them to ride.
I am 56 and my memory isn't quite what it used to be so for me I have the info saved on my cell phone. I also have
some videos on my phone of the steps for deep water starts and an example of all the steps to show the newbie
in the boat after I finish with the talk/walk through.
This way I don't have to trust my memory and I don't miss covering anything with the new rider.
Good Luck, hope some of this stuff helps.