How To Do A Dock Start At The Wakeboard Cable Park
Getting started at a wakeboard cable park can be a little intimidating, between the fast speed of the handle and the unexpected jerking at the dock, the first couple attempts can be scary. Don’t be worried everyone at the park, be it another rider or the cable operator, someone will always be down to help!
The cable park is a fun and exciting spot that a lot of people choose to do as a side hobby in their free time. It is never anything serious out there just good fun under the sun.
Now to get started there are 3 different ways of getting up on a wakeboard and off the dock. One can choose to perform the sit start, the slide start, or even a jump start off the dock. In that order those starts will go from easiest for beginners to intermediate for more experienced wakeboarders.
The Sitting Wakeboard Dock Start
Starting it off is the classic and easiest way to learn how to get up on a wakeboard, is the sit start. For the sitting start at the cable park, grab a spot on the bench strap the wakeboard boots on your feet and while staying on the bench swing your feet around and into the water. At this point the cable operator will pass you the handle and let you know when a carrier is open and coming for you. To prepare for this start, keep both hands side by side on the handle and keep it in close to the center of your hips. The key to getting up off the start is flexing your ankle tight with your toes pointing up at the sky. Once the cable connects, lock that handle in as close as you can to your hips, as it pulls you begin to dig those heels into the water and lean your weight on the back of the wakeboard. The cable is moving quick, so you need to lean back in anticipation for the carrier to release all the slack in the line. As you feel the water rolling under the board and your body comes off the starting bench turn your body and place your dominant foot forward (whether that is goofy foot or regular foot forward will be based on your specific riding). Then slowly extend your arms out to your forward hips. It may feel a bit unnatural in the start but release your arms straight and concentrate on a flat foot stance with your weight fixed on the back foot of the board.
The Standing Wakeboard Dock Start
Moving onto the standing slide start, basically it is a standing power slide off the dock and onto the water no jumping required. The trick to the slide start is muscle, you must flex and stay as tight as you can so when the cable pulls you, you don’t lose balance while sliding off the dock. Position your front foot on the take off line (not the end of the dock). Here at the line you want to squat and bend both knees, so you are as low as you can to the wakeboard. You want to be sideways in your riding stance and then get another inch lower in preparation for the starting pull. Make sure once the cable clicks (signaling it is about to pull you) focus your weight on the back foot to initiate the power slide off the dock and lock in the handle as best as you can to your hips (center of gravity). Avoid straightening your arms out until you are fully on the water and balanced, if you let them out to early you become top heavy and fall forward.
The Jumping Wakeboard Dock Start
Now, without further ado, onto the fun one! Now the standing jump start is not for your first time rider. Once you get comfortable with the sitting and sliding dock starts, then move onto this one. For this start you’ll need to set up your boots while standing on the sitting bench at your local wakeboard cable park.
Position both of your feet towards the edge of the sitting dock so you are ready to go. Basically lineing up parallel with the starting dock. With the handle close to your hips you must be prepared for the cable to hook on and take off, the key to the jumping dock start is all timing. You will physically hear the carrier click around the home turn, at the click its one Mississippi two Mississippi, jump (timing varies from park to park)! You will start to feel the cable tension building and there is a very small sweet spot you need to time and jump at so that you go with the cable as opposed to it yanking you off. When going for the jump off, you are rolling from your heel weight onto the balls of your toe and jumping into the riding position. While jumping you must stay calm with the handle, avoid swinging your arms but instead keep it low near your hips. Staying centered, and balanced is key to completing a smooth jumping dock start on a wakeboard. While jumping to the water begin to twist your body so the dominant foot is out front as well as begin to pull the handle from the center of your body towards your dominant hip forward. Absorb your landing by squatting and bending your knees into your riding position. Stay even on both feet, regain your balance and smile as your complete your first jumping dock start at the cable park.
Next Steps At The Cable Park
If it is your first time ever riding or if it has even been a few years since your last ride we always recommend the sitting dock start to get your bearings straight. The slide start may be easier for some people who are still struggling with the sitting start. Finally, once you’ve become a pro at these take offs and you are ready for the next step, approach the jump start to fuel your adrenaline needs. Wakeboarding brings together a beautiful culture of people and while on the dock you will see many different styles and techniques. Do not ever hesitate to ask for a few pointers towards any one of these starts, you never know who you’ll meet and who knows they could even be working on the same dock start as you!