While Lake Coeur d’Alene doesn’t get waves for surfing, Lake Coeur d’Alene is perfect for riding wakes. Your first time wakeboarding might seem a little scary, but this fun sport is very easy to get the hang of. In no time, you’ll be gliding and jumping across the wake like a pro.
Are you ready to try wakeboarding? Here are our tips for your first time wakeboarding:
Choose the Right Boat for Wakeboarding
Did you know some boats are made for wakeboarding? A good boat for wakeboarding will be less than 30 ft. long with enough speed to pull you out of the water. It should have a tower with a high tow point to attach the rope to. The tower pulls the rope upward instead of just forward. You can technically wakeboard using a boat that has a tower, but it’s a lot more difficult to stand upright on the board.
Axis is one of the top wakeboarding boat producers in the world. To see a great example of one of the best wakeboarding boats, check out the Axis A24.
You also want a boat with speed control and an integrated balance for zipping around the lake. The ideal boat will have a nice wedge shape to create the perfect wakes and a hull design that cuts a crisp wave into the water.
Choose the right equipment:
What to wear:
You should wear a life jacket and a well-fitting swimsuit or boardshorts. For your first time, you don’t need a helmet but you can wear one if you would feel safer. However, if you’re visiting a rail park or doing tricks that involve flipping, you should wear a helmet.
Choosing a wakeboard:
The worst crashes and falls happen when your equipment doesn’t fit you properly. Wakeboards come in several different sizes and you need to find the right one for you. To check if a wakeboard fits you perfectly, stand it upright next to you. If it’s roughly near your chin height, it’s a good board to start with.
We recommend starting with a rental board for your first time wakeboarding. Wakeboards can be a little expensive, so it’s a good idea to make sure you love wakeboarding before investing in the equipment.
The next piece of equipment to consider is your rope. You’ll want a non-stretch wakeboard rope with a handle on the end.
Start with people you trust
Like most activities, wakeboarding is even more fun with people you love. You’ll want an experienced driver behind the wheel of the boat. A great driver will have careful speed control and the ability to smoothly maneuver through the water. Additionally, you’ll want a spotter who will keep a diligent eye on you while you ride the wakes.
Have the right mindset
Wakeboarding is an incredibly fun sport but your first time might not be easy. Here are some things to keep in mind when you’re first starting:
- You will get wet. Don’t be scared of the water.
- You will most likely fall flat on your face. It will sting, but it won’t last very long.
- Falling does not mean you failed.
- Trust the boat and let the boat do all the work.
- Focus on getting your form right at the beginning. You don’t want to build bad habits.
Getting into the water
Start with a short rope connected to the tower. A short rope will pull you upright once you get situated in the water more effectively than a long rope. Make sure the rope is not wrapped around you at all.
Figure out your footing first. You’ll want to determine if you’re regular-footed (left foot forward) or goofy-footed (right foot forward). Right-handed people will be regular footed most of the time, but there are always exceptions. A good rule of thumb is whichever foot you would kick a soccer ball with is the foot you should put in the back.
Place your feet into the boots and shoulder-width apart on the board. Once secured, slide carefully off the back of the boat into the water. Do not jump or you might hurt yourself.
Get lined up behind the boat and bend your knees, keeping the handle low to your hip. Your arms should be straight out and resting on your knees.
Now that it’s time to pull you upward, let the boat do all the work. The boat is a lot stronger than you and if you pull yourself up, you will fall face-first into the water. As the boat pulls you forward, you’ll feel your rear hit your feet. That’s when you may slowly begin standing up. Be very careful about rushing into standing up on the board. Once you’re standing up, put your weight on your heels and put your lead foot ahead a little bit. Soon you’ll be at the perfect angle to the wake.
Focus on your form
Keep your arms straight. Your back leg should be bent and your front leg straight and pointed forward. Otherwise, you might catch an edge and smack your face on the water. Try to keep your hips forward without arching your back. If you feel it in your core, you’re doing it right.
And whatever you do, do not bend over at the waist.
Don’t rush into complex tricks during your first time wakeboarding. At first, just try to get comfortable with going back and forth across the wake, and on heel edge and toe edge. Heelside or heel edge is when you put your pressure on your heels to ride the back of the board into the wave. Toeside or toe edge is when you press your toes forward to push the front of the board into the water. Toeside is more difficult and less intuitive. Most people feel like they’re going to face plant in the water and it’s ok if you do too.
If you would like to try 180-degree spins, ask your driver to slow the boat down. Try to get comfortable putting the wrong foot forward and going across the wake. This will make it easier to make the full 180-degree spin.
Jumping wakes takes time and practice. Start with a little pop on your knees. As you get more comfortable with this, you can build into jumping wakes.
Hagadone Marine Group
Hagadone Marine Group is home to the largest on-water boat dealership in Coeur d’Alene. Hagadone Marine Center has a great selection of new and pre-owned boats available at our Coeur d’Alene showroom, including a vast selection of Axis wakeboarding boats. Give us a call to set up an appointment to test drive one today.