Wakeboarding Quick Beginners Guide
This quick beginner's guide for wakeboarding is designed to quickly get you out on the water. Before learning about all the shapes and sizes of boards, it is best to understand your riding ability. Buying a wakeboard that matches your riding ability will assist you in becoming a better rider.
A novice rider is entirely new to the sport, might still be learning how to get up on top of the water, and has trouble riding outside of the wake. Slower speeds will help this rider gain confidence and ability with friendlier falls.
A beginner rider can consistently get up on top of the water and are able to cut in and out of the wake. Riders at this level can ollie, do some surface or ollie 180’s, and are starting to make progress in clearing the wake on their heelside and toeside edges. A smaller, softer wake can help this rider build confidence and ability.
While most boards are twin shaped and are well suited for a beginner, the best option is an asymmetrically shaped board. As a beginner rider, one of the hardest techniques to master is the toe side edge. When cutting on the toe side edge, the body is in a twisted position. To master this edge, the rider needs to resist the urge to untwist to maintain a powerful edge all the way through the wake. The shorter toe side edge on an asymmetrical board gives the rider more leverage over their toes, which assists riders in holding this harder to master edge. Overall, asymmetrical boards assist in a rider’s control of their toe side edge and speeds up the riders learning progression.
A rider’s weight is one of the most significant factors when determining the correct size for their board. Later on, as riders progress, their own individual style and preferences will influence their board size as well. For beginners, it is best to use this sizing guide and to size to the upper end according to your weight. For example, if a rider weighs 160 lbs according to this chart, they could ride a board anywhere from 134cm – 146cm. A beginner rider would benefit from riding closer to the upper end of this size range (140-146cm) as the added surface area and buoyancy of the larger board will make learning to get up out of the water easier.
The four types of rocker profiles are a continuous rocker, three-stage rocker, hybrid, and camber rocker. These shapes define the way that your board cuts through the water and how it releases off the wake. For the beginner rider, the continuous and hybrid rockers will be the most consistent and forgiving to aid in the learning process. Beginners should avoid camber rockers.
- Continuous Rocker – is a bend in the shape of the board from tip to tail without interruption. This type of rocker provides consistent pop off of the wake and softer landings. This rocker cuts through the water with ease giving the board a fast and consistent ride.
- Three-Stage Rocker – has a flat profile with a sharp rising tip and tail. This allows wakeboarders to be more aggressive when coming off the wakes and catch more air.
- Hybrid Rocker – is a combination of continuous rocker and three-stage rockers. There are different variations of this rocker type, but they all strive to provide the consistency and softer landings of a continuous rocker board with the aggressive pop of a three-stage rocker.
The design of the wakeboards edges plays an important role in the way the board moves through the water. The profile of a wakeboard is thicker in the middle and is thinner in the tip and tail. This profile can have a sharper or more variable edge design. A sharper edge will aid in the boards’ ability to aggressively cut through the water and hold a strong edge. This type of edge gives the board a fast feel but is less forgiving. A variable edge has a softer, more rolled shape in the middle as it tapers to a sharper edge on the tip and tail. This variable design gives the tracking you need when the board is on edge, but the forgiveness a beginner will want when the board is flat.
Fins help your board track through the water. They help you tell the board which direction to go as well as aid in holding a nice hard edge. A beginner would benefit from having a nice center fin, which assists in controlling the direction of the board while a more experienced rider will want a loser more forgiving feel by not having a center fin.
With this quick beginner's guide, you'll be able to go out and choose the right board for your water adventures. For a more in-depth look at choosing the right wakeboard, take a look at our Wakeboard Buying Guide. Have more questions about wakeboarding or any other water sports? Visit us in-store or online at your local Sun & Ski Sports.