If you’re into wakeboarding, you might know by now that progression comes in no linear fashion. We’d like to recommend switching it up and getting out of your comfort zone. Try hitting your local cable and challenge your boat friends to see who can pick up their bag of tricks the fastest. If you are comfortable riding behind the boat, and your skills are progressing quickly. What’s next, you ask? Besides working on switch riding and your weaknesses, you can always head to the cable park near you.
Cable parks have made wakeboarding accessible to all. Gone are the days when you couldn’t indulge in some watersports fun without a boat. All you need to do now is head to the nearest cable park, sign in, strap up, and take off. We’d like to take the time to give you some tips on how you can transition from boat to cable, the gear you might need, and some starts to make you look like a pro before even getting off the dock your first time.
Why Cable Parks?
Whether you’re an experienced rider looking to boost your progression, or a beginner aiming to learn to wakeboard, cable parks can be your best friend. Your progression is often times a lot faster due to the amount of time you get on the water with each session. It makes things often easier to understand and pull off moves on the cable since the pull is consistent and you end up worrying about less variables.
Progression is the operative word when it comes to cable parks. An entire session on the cable allows you to maximize your ride time per cost and get your board control dialed in. Plus it’s easier to ride at the same time as your friends allowing for a maximum progression to time ratio.
A proficient rider can tell a boat board apart from a cable board. Typically, boat boards have a 3 stage rocker with less flexibility. Built using a variety of materials, while cable boards are more often then not full wood. Cable boards can be ridden on boat, but boat boards are a whole lot less fun on cable. The rocker design creates a bump that gets an explosive pop off the wake, leading toward a rigid feel on the rails.
Cable boards, are usually built vertically with complete wood cores and tip-to-tail flex for added play in the park setting. But that doesn’t mean you can’t ride a cable board on a boat or vice versa.
Whether you’re a wakeboarder or a wakeskater, you should take a board or skate with a “grind” base. These sturdy bases are meant to take the beating at cable parks. You might also be required to remove any fins on your board before hitting the water at a park.
One of the best things to happen for cable parks was the advent of the Hyperlite System Binding. This binding changed the game and allowed walk around would be suitable for boots and bindings. Since they are two separate components, you can loosen the strap and walk around like you’re wearing regular boots. This protects your feet from undesirable objects and potential spilinters that have made their way to the edge of the lake.
Some cable parks allow Impact vest control, while others require USCGA LifeVests. Always check your local cable parks information for specific rules and regulations. You will also need a helmet to ride on the cable. All of which we offer instore at Miami Nautique.
Once you’ve put on the gear and the helmet, there’s not much else to it other then get down to the dock and try your hand at a start. A lot of boat riders look at this like it’s crazy, dock starts are advanced maneuvers; or so they thought. But what they don’t realize is that it’s actually the easiest way off the dock at the cable park.
While each park has its own setup, there will always be a starting dock. Look for the motor tower that powers the cable’s movement. You will find the starting dock, typically a floating square level with the water. The cable will sport five to seven carriers to connect your rope.
But you won’t be doing deep water starts at the cable park. The different ways of getting up on a wakeboard and off the dock at the cable park are:
The classic start is also the easiest to learn. Take a seat at the edge of the starting dock and wait for the cable operator to pass you the handle. Once the carrier comes for you, your hands should be side-by-side on the handle, and the handle should be close to the center of your hips. Keep your lead ankle flexed and your toes pointing upward. Put your front foot in the direction that you’re going to head off the dock. Once the rope loads and the carrier connects, move the handle close to your hips, let the cable pull you up, dig your heels in a bit and center your weight.
Once the water starts rolling under your board, assume your stance, plane out, and ride as you do behind a boat.
Once you become a regular at the local park, this will become your starting choice. Balance is the name of the game here. Stay flexed and tight on the board with your weight shifted forward. With your front foot on the take-off line, squat and bend your knees. Go as low as possible, and initiate the power slide off the dock when the cable is about to pull you.
Remember not to straighten your arms out too soon — doing so will make you top-heavy and fall forward.
Not for the first-time rider, a jumping start is a fun method for those who have mastered the sitting and standing starts.
You need to be familiar with the small window of time as you need to jump and go with the cable rather than being pulled by it. You should transfer your weight from the heels to the balls of your feet and jump into the riding stance. The handle should stay low near your hips. As you jump, twist and assume the dominant-foot-in-front stance. Squat and bend the knees to stick the landing, and slowly regain your balance.
Mastering these starts will make you look like a pro at the cable park in no time. It’s even easier if you’re an experienced wakeboarder, as the edge control is the same as behind the boat.
Keeping Your Line
While the basics remain the same, riding a cable can differ slightly from riding a boat. The rope elevation off a carrier is higher than from your boat tower. Since the extra height will pull you upward, it is easy to compensate by leaning back and losing your shape.
To counter the upward movement, get low and stay calm. You will strike the balance by squaring your hips, keeping the rope at your chest, and keeping your shoulders even.
Visit Your Local Cable Park Today
Looking for the nearest cable park? Check out our local cable park: Miami watersports complex. We believe watersports are for everyone. With our boat and cable park operation, you can experience an active lifestyle that is safe and healthy, fun for the entire family, and environmentally conscious.
At the Miami Watersports Complex, we will supply you with all the gear you need for both the boat and cable. Visit one of the largest cable wakeboard parks in the U.S. today!
For all your gear needs, check out our list of reputed manufacturers like Hyperlite, Ronix, Liquid Force, etc. Stop by the Miami Nautique pro shop or browse our site.