RIDING ON WATER
Words: Johanna Graflund
Wakeboarding is a combination of snowboarding, waterskiing and surfing. It’s a sport and a lifestyle that is becoming more and more popular in many different countries.
Wakeboarding for the first time
Imagine a beautiful, sunny day by a lake. A perfect day for wakeboarding and a great way to spend the weekend. Wakeboarding means you get towed on a board behind a motorboat going at a speed of 25–40km per hour. Wakeboarding can be a dangerous sport so it’s important that you have the proper equipment and it’s becoming common to see wakeboarders wearing a helmet, knee braces and different kinds of equipment just to be safer. However, the most important and valuable piece of equipment is the life vest!
The first thing you have to do if you want to go wakeboarding is to figure out if you’re a ‘regular’ or a ‘goofy’. This refers to which foot you feel most comfortable placing forward on the board. By being regular, you will have your left foot in front, which is the most common among wakeboarders. If you’re a goofy foot it means you will ride with your right foot in front.
The first thing you have to do if you want to go wakeboarding is to figure out if you’re a ‘regular’ or a ‘goofy’. This refers to which foot you feel most comfortable placing forward on the board.
Another thing that is really important to sort out before you will get going is communication. You will have to learn the hand signals so you can tell the boat driver if you want him to wait, go faster or slower and when to stop.
Wakeboarding is, like almost every other sport, about doing as many unique tricks as you can. This could be really difficult and scary, because remember you’re going quite fast behind a motorboat. For the more experienced rider it’s possible to jump over the wave and do for an example a somersault or some other impressive trick.
For the more experienced rider you could always try to better your tricks on the board. There are a lot of tricks you can learn and some of them are perhaps easier said than done. The tricks are sorted in categories by how the rider performs them, for example there is the ‘grab category’, which includes tricks where the rider can grab the board while in the air. Tricks where you spin your board and body while you’re in the air are called ‘spin tricks’. There are also the flips or invert category, where the rider is turned upside down.
As a rookie it can be tricky to even try to get up on the board... But as soon as you’re up you will find it very enjoyable!
Talk the talk
As in surfing or snowboarding, those tricks and manoeuvres have weird names. It is almost like a new language and could be really confusing if you’re not used to it. If you’re hanging out with a wakeboard crew, it’s not strange to hear words like ‘butter’, ‘washy wake’, ‘jib’ or ‘bail’. Wakeboarding is more than just a sport, as for many it’s a lifestyle and with that lifestyle comes a special way to talk, dress and just be yourself and enjoy the simple things in life.
Nowadays when it’s important to take responsibility about the environment there’s some questions about the wakeboard boat. The boat needs a lot of fuel to get going, and that is both expensive and detrimental to the environment. To solve this problem, there is something called ‘cable parks’. The idea behind these parks is to have something similar to a ski lift around a lake, a cable system, where the rider goes behind a wire instead of a boat. By using a cable park the energy cost will be very small compared to a boat.
Wakeskate & wakesurf
The great thing about wakeboarding is that you could divide the wake sport in to three different categories. First is the original wakeboarding, with a wakeboard on your feet and you hold onto a line and get towed behind the boat. The second is ‘wakeskating’. Imagine skateboarding on the water. This means you aren’t strapped on the board so your feet are free. And the last category is ‘wakesurf’. This means that all your friends sit on one side of the boat and create a wake the rider can surf on.
There may be all kinds of different ways to ride on a wave behind a boat, but all of them have one thing in common: the unique experience you get when you’re feeling united with the water, the board and the wave!
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