Beginners Guide to Wakeboarding

Learn the basics of this increasingly popular water sport

Man wake boarding on sunny day, Idaho.
Gabe Rogel / Getty Images

"Wakeboarding is the younger (and now more popular) brother of water skiing," says Sam Haddad on the website, Cooler Lifestyles.com. To ride a wakeboard, you strap yourself onto a special board, securing your boots, also known as bindings, onto the board. (The boots are adapted from snow skiing, which also had an influence in the development of the sport.) You'll then hold onto a tow rope as a motorboat tows you through the water—in a manner very similar to water skiing.

"Wakeboarding has evolved in the last 30 years from a mixture of waterskiing, and other land- and snow-based board sports, resulting in the rad feeling of being towed across the water on a board a bit bigger than a skateboard, smaller than a surfboard and fatter than a snowboard," says Haddad.

Buying a Wakeboard

Deciding which wakeboard to buy can be a daunting task. Most cost at least $100; with that level of investment, you'll want to purchase the best one to match your needs and skill level. A beginner wakeboarder doesn't need to make the mistake of buying a board made for an advanced rider. To help you get started, access these helpful pages by clicking the links below:

    Bindings

    Using the correct wakeboard bindings is just as important as the wakeboard you stand on when it comes to your comfort and skill level on the water. If the bindings are too loose or too tight, you won't be able to ride for very long. Wakeboards and binding plates (the plate on which the boot rests) come with multiple predrilled holes that allow you to easily change the angle and position of the bindings on the board.

    The angle at which the binding is placed on the board is referred to in degrees, just like in geometry.

    Foot Placement

    Deciding which foot to put forward is also important. "If you are right foot forward, the term for this is goofy-foot," says USA Water Ski, which has a nifty how-guide for beginning wakeboarders in PDF format. "If you are left foot forward, this is called regular stance." Getting the foot placement right is particularly important because you need to place most of your weight on your front foot, says Discover Boating.

    Once you've figured that out, you'll need to determine the optimum binding locations to hold your feet in the proper position. "The location of the bindings should be shoulder width apart," says USA Water Ski. "The angle of the binding is also important. To start, your feet should be at a slightly ducked angle and should always be symmetrical." USA Water Ski also advises that you check the screws before each set—that is, every time you go onto the water.