6 Ways to Improve My Wakeboarding
If you have ever ridden a wakeboard then you have most likely felt it. You felt the pure stoke and excitement of jumping a wake or trick, the calm and cool of riding behind the boat, and the thrill and energy of watching a rider in your group land that jump. It’s all about the chase of those feelings. The chase of learning something new, the thrill of gliding through the air, and the bliss of carving through glassy water is what we want. We seek the feeling of being stoked. If you are anything like us, then you are looking for any and everything that will help get you back to it. Below are six easy ways that wakeboarders of all levels can improve their skills and feel the stoke.
Practicing on a trampoline is a great way to hone your tricks and build confidence with less risk of injury. Large water trampolines for use in a lake or land trampolines for use in the backyard can be ideal wakeboard accessories. Here are some tips for trampoline training.
- Watch Your Height - You don’t need to jump high to do wakeboard tricks. High jumps on a trampoline will increase your risk of injury.
- Wakeboards Off - It isn’t very safe for you to use your board on the trampoline, nor is it very safe for the trampoline. A great alternative option is to look for a trampoline board, there are several options available, but these boards have softer materials that make them safe for both you and your trampoline. These boards are great for dialing in grabs and maintaining the feeling you get when you are strapped into your wakeboard.
- Pass the Rope - To make your trampoline training more like real wakeboarding, attach wakeboard ropes and handles to a tree or other stable object so you can get the feeling of tension that you will have when holding and passing the handle behind a boat.
CGA vs. Non CGA Vests
Coast Guard Approved (CGA) vests are always the safest option for riders of all levels. While they may be the safest option, they can also be restricting for some riders. Because of their large profile, CGA vests can be bulky and heavy.
If you choose to go with a lower profile vest, also called a competition vest, with lighter paddling and less flotation, keep in mind you will still need to have a CGA vest on the vessel at all times. Check your local laws or ordinances regarding flotation devices. However, a lower profile vest may give you the flex you need to add that new grab or tweak the one you have been doing for the last few seasons. As a reminder, non-CGA vest will not hold your head up in the water if you are unconscious.
At home, workouts are always a great benefit to any outdoor activity. They will keep your body prepared for your adventure ahead by keeping your muscles "worked" and your stamina up. Here are a few quick at-home exercises to help you conquer the wake.
The lower body is your powerhouse. Your legs and glutes carry a majority of your entire body’s muscle. This part of your body is what will launch your body up and off the wake driving you higher and farther in the air. To pop higher off the wake, try these exercises...
- Side Lunges
- Reverse Lunges
Upper body strength is essential not only in controlling the handle as you are pulled by the boat or cable, but also when launching off the wake. It’s vital to use your upper body to maneuver in the air with the use of the handle. Pulling down your handle to your hips and twisting your arms around your body will require a good amount of upper body strength. To see bigger results, do the following...
- Lateral Pulls
Your core is an essential muscle group to train and develop out of the water. Every single movement made both in the air and even simply riding on the water’s surface requires core engagement. To feel more engaged with your riding, do these exercises...
- Russian Twists
- Plank hip dips
Stretching is imperative to avoid stress and damage to your muscles. Yoga can be an excellent option for getting in deeper stretching, target specific muscle areas, and improve balance. Being flexible and limber will help you get that grab and tweak it out. If you don’t have much time, use these few yoga-inspired stretches both before and after riding to keep your body limber and ready to tackle your next set.
- Pigeon Pose
- Forward Fold or Seated Forward Fold
- Happy Baby Pose
- Crescent Lunge
- Supine Twist
- Cobra Pose
- Rabbit Pose
- Quad stretches
Hold these positions for 30-60 seconds and try to keep your breathing slow and stable.
Spending 20-30 minutes on a balance board is a great way to increase your balance and core strength. By using a balance board, it will help increase your board control, weight distribution, and (for cable riders) your control on features like rails and boxes. The best part of using a balance board is you can do tricks like spins, shoves, and hang ten, so make it fun! You can challenge a friend to a game of WAKE. Similar to HORSE or skate, you will do a trick and see if your pal can do it too. If not, then they get a letter, and the person who spells WAKE first loses.
Cable parks can be a great tool to use to your advantage, even if you mostly ride behind the boat. More water time equals more skills. If there is a cable park in your area, make sure to stop in and get some laps regularly. Ride time behind a boat is often limited due to lack of time, gas, or sharing with other riders. At a cable park, you can ride till your arms feel like they are going to fall off. This extra time on the water will help your progression grow leaps and bounds. The cable speed tends to be slower than the boat, too, so learning new spins or tricks come with softer falls. Although the approach and launch for a trick off the kicker at the wake park and off the boat wake are different, the tricks themselves are the same. Dialing tricks in at the cable park will give you the muscle memory and confidence to take it to the boat.
Start implementing one, two, or more of these into your routine, and you will amplify your wakeboarding skills and will be riding that wave of excitement we call stoke every time you get on the water. Have more questions about wakeboarding or how to improve your water sports experience? Come see us in-store or online at your local Sun & Ski Sports.