How to Wakeboard – Beginner Tips 

So you want to try wakeboarding for the first time. Great! 

At Miami Nautique, we love showing folks the (tow) ropes on this great water sport. For more than 20 years, we have provided expert advice and top-level watersport gear to experts and beginners alike. We can help you pick the right equipment and share tips and tricks so you can have a safe and fun start to wakeboarding. 

What Is Wakeboarding?

Wakeboarding is a cross between water skiing, surfing, and snowboarding. You’ll use a tow rope behind a boat just like water skiing, but the equipment is different. Instead of two skis, you use a single, shorter board with bindings for both feet. 

You don’t need previous experience with surfing, water skiing, or snowboarding to enjoy wakeboarding. It’s a sport that people of all ages can enjoy. Even a wakeboarding beginner can learn to do tricks.

Getting Started

The first and most important point to consider is safety. We recommend that every wakeboarder use appropriate flotation equipment and a helmet for head protection. Ever strong swimmers and experienced wakeboarders should wear a flotation vest — it will keep you above water if you’re injured and can’t swim on your own. We recommend coming into the store to get fitted for a snug vest that properly fits. 

Wetsuits and rash guards are optional, but if you’re going out in cold water, they can help prevent the chill. Some beginners like wetsuits because they protect against bumps and bruises from falls. The extra coverage from a wetsuit or rash guard can protect from the sun, which is also important. 

Other than safety gear, you should choose a swimsuit that’s comfortable and secure enough to stay on even if you fall. You won’t need shoes on the wakeboard, but a pair of boat shoes will be helpful on the docks and the boat. 

Choosing Your Board

Choosing your first board might seem like the most confusing part of wakeboarding. We have professional staff with plenty of experience on the water to help you out. They’ve tried out the boards we sell and can steer you towards the right gear.

You should pick a board that’s appropriate for your height and weight. Longer boards are more stable, so many people find them easier when they’re getting started. Shorter boards are lighter, but they’re harder to control. 

Boards come with different rockers, which refers to how the board curves. The rocker affects your balance, so choosing the right style is important. Continuous rockers offer the smoothest ride. 3-stage rockers are better for getting more “pop” when you’re riding the wake and performing tricks. 

Finally, you’ll need to fit the board with bindings. There is a wide variety of bindings at your disposal. Fit and comfort are critical for bindings, so trying out a few options will let you choose what works for you. 

Our staff can work with you to pick the best board for your needs and experience level. 

How to Wakeboard

The first skill you’ll need to master is getting up on the board. It’s not as tricky as it sounds, though you may need a few tries to get the hang of it. Here are some wakeboarding beginner tips:

  • Secure yourself in your bindings, then get lined up with the boat. Keep the line short at first, so the boat does most of the lifting for you.  
  • Begin with your board in front of you, with your arms straight and knees bent. 
  • When the boat starts moving, stay crouched down toward your board, knees bent. 
  • Let the boat pull you forward until your board is flat against the water and your body is above it. Slowly unbend your knees until you’re standing up. 
  • Gently rotate your dominant foot to the back and enjoy the ride!

Edging the Wakeboard

Once you’re on your feet, you can try turning. Turning, or edging, is a matter of shifting your weight toeside (forward) or heelside (backward).  

To edge heelside, lean back and let the rope support you. Push down onto the board with your heels and shift your body weight in the direction you want to turn. 

For toeside turns, stand as straight as possible and lean into the rope. Arch your back to give yourself added leverage. Once you put your weight forward, you can push your toes down and steer from the front of the board. 

Edging will help you cross back and forth over the wake. Once you’re comfortable with that, you can move on to the good stuff!

Beginner Tricks

Beginner wakeboarding tricks can be simple to pull off. See what you can do after a few trips on the water!

Jumping the Wake: Jumping is a fun way to take wakeboarding to the next level. 

  • Point yourself in the direction you want to go. Let the rope pull you toward the wake.
  • Shift your weight to your back leg.
  • When you hit the wake, life the board with your front leg, bringing as much of the board as you can into the air.
  • When you come off the wake, shift your weight to your front foot.
  • Lift your back leg up toward your hips but keep your weight on your front foot. This will lift your board off the surface and get you into the jump. 

Powerslide: The power slide is the move that lets you send an awesome arc of spray off the edge of your board. 

  • Start next to the wake on the side furthest from your front foot.
  • Edge your board heelside toward the left wake.
  • Cut out hard, then edge toward the flats.
  • Kick your back foot in the same direction as your cutting movement. Then take your backhand off the handle and relax your front arm.
  • Lean back away from the boat. Angle the board so your toes are in the water and your heels are in the air.  
  • Get your wakeboard perpendicular to the boat. Once you are at a 90-degree angle, you can move back and repeat the slide.

The more you practice wakeboarding, the more fun you’ll have in your new sport. You’ll get stronger and more confident every time you go out on the water! 

Visit Miami Nautique

If you’re ready to hit the water, come by our ProShop or call 305-438-9464 to let our staff set you up with all the gear you need. Wakeboarding for beginners shouldn’t be a challenge, and Miami Nautique wants to make sure your first time is a success. We’re ready to answer all your questions and give you great wakeboarding tips so you can have a blast in the water!

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