How to Wakeboard

Three Methods:Getting Up on the BoardCutting (Edging) Across the WakePerforming a Simple Jump

Do you enjoy snowboarding in the winter and want to learn a sport to keep you busy in the summer? Or are you just looking for an alternative to water skiing? Wakeboarding is a great sport that can be enjoyed and easily learned by anyone! Here are some tips and tricks to help you learn some wakeboard basics.

Method 1
Getting Up on the Board

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    Put on your lifejacket. You should have 3 people in your boating party: you, a driver and a spotter.
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    Practice on land first. Place your feet on your wakeboard on land and have your spotter pull you. The foot that automatically goes forward on land will be the foot that should go forward in the water.
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    Lie on your back in deep water with your feet in the wakeboard bindings. The wakeboard will float in front of you, and you want it to be perpendicular to the water.
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    Hold the wakeboard rope and handle in your hands with the handle perpendicular to the water. Keep your arms straight as the boat accelerates slowly and pulls you up.
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    Bend your knees and pull your heels toward your bottom as the wakeboard comes up out of the water. Keep your knees at your chest and your arms straight; let the boat do the pulling for you.
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    Stay in a crouched position until the board is out of the water. Stand up slowly, as though you are coming up out of a squat.
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    Swing your foot forward so that the front of your board is facing the boat. Place your weight over your back foot and "carve" against the water to maintain balance. Keep your knees bent and your arms straight. Your shoulders and hips should be aligned with the board, not with the boat.
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    Get comfortable on your board. Remember to keep the handle of the rope on the same side as your hip that's facing the boat. Position your hips over your front foot and your shoulders over your back foot.
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    Stay in position for 20 seconds. Make sure that:
    • Your feet are in a sideways stance to the boat.
    • Your shoulders and hips are lined up with the board and are not facing the boat.
    • The rope handle is down and your arms are straight.
    • Your knees are bent, and your head is facing up.[1]

Method 2
Cutting (Edging) Across the Wake

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    Turn your hips and shoulders slightly so that you are leaning slightly away from the boat.[2] Grab your rope handle and pull it ever so slightly toward your forward facing hip. You want to steer with your heels more than you steer with the rope.
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    Roll your board slowly at an angle by placing pressure on your heels. Use your lower body to maneuver the board, and keep the rope at hip height.
    • Keep your knees bent as you cross the wake. Make sure that you don't cut hard and then let up. If you do, you'll allow slack into the rope, which can cause you to lose control.[3]
    • To cut heelside: Roll your weight back onto your heels and turn your shoulders and your hips toward the wakes.
    • To cut toeside: Push your hips over your toes. Avoid pulling in on the handle as you veer in and out of the wakes.

Method 3
Performing a Simple Jump

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    Steer yourself about 10 to 15 feet (3.0 to 4.6 m) outside of the wake. Your toes should face away from the wake.
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    Cut in gently toward the wake by pushing your hips slightly over your toes. Cut in at a gentle angle at first, and then cut in harder as you get closer to the peak of the wake.
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    Let the wake do the work. Extend your knees and stand tall as you ride up the peak of the wake, and keep the rope taut. You'll fly up over the edge of the wake and catch air at that point. Draw the board up toward yourself while you're in the air to stay up longer.[4]
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    Bend your knees when you land to absorb the impact. Place your weight over your toes so that you have maximum control of your landing.[5]


  • If you are having trouble getting up onto the board, try locking your elbows around your knees. This will help you get the right position to pull you out of the water and up on the board. Hold the position until you pop out of it.
  • As you get better at wakeboarding, you can speed up your boat and switch to a longer rope so that you can catch more air with your jumps.
  • Choose equipment in a store as opposed to online. Ask an employee to help you to choose the right board for your weight and your experience level.
  • The ideal speed for wakeboarding is 16 to 20 mph (26 to 32 km/h) for a beginning adult. Try pulling children at 12 mph (19 km/h) until they adjust to higher speeds.


  • Keep your hands close to your body if you fall. Let go of the rope and allow yourself to hit the water. Then, wave so that your spotter in the boat will see that you're down. Never let yourself be dragged by the boat.
  • Finish in deep water when you're done wakeboarding. Don't go into the shallows; you could be injured.
  • Don't use ski rope to wakeboard. Purchase specially made wakeboard rope that doesn't stretch.

Things You'll Need

  • Boat
  • Wakeboard rope (45 to 50 feet for beginners) and handle
  • Wakeboard
  • Life jacket
  • Spotter
  • A boat driver
  • A swim suit or swim trunks
  • A lake or open body of water

Article Info

Categories: Surfing