Wake Boarding for Beginners

Wake Boarding for Beginners

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Beginners should focus on form rather than speed.

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Like surfing, skiing and skateboarding, wake boarding is an exhilarating outdoors sport that relies heavily on balance. Wake boarders also depend on a boat or cable pulley system to build speed. Before you begin a session, set a system of communication between you and your boat driver, such as thumbs up for faster and thumbs down for slower. As a beginner, respect your limits and learn the basics before attempting high jumps or spinning tricks.

Body Position

The position of your body is key to retaining balance. Practice the right position on land so it'll feel more comfortable when you get in the water. Your feet should be in a sideways stance facing the boat, with your upper body twisted towards the boat. Keep your knees a little bit bent, your head up and your arms straight, knuckles facing the sky. You should have slightly more weight on your back foot than your front foot.

Getting Up

With your hands on the handle, sit upright and let your board float in front of you. Keep your knees bent, but your arms straight. As the boat begins to move forward, resist the urge to straighten out: keep your knees close to your chest. Your board will be partially underwater while you build speed, which is normal. USA Water Ski recommends uncurling from your cannonball shape only once the board is completely out of the water.


Also known as edging, cutting is when you cross back and forth across the wake from the boat. Move the handle slightly toward your forward-facing foot but don't try to control the movement with the cable. Keep your arms straight and move the weight to your heels. To go the other direction, move your shoulders and hips into the opposite direction and move the weight slowly from your heels into your toes and bend your knees more.


Jumping over wakes is one of the great joys of wake boarding. To make a jump more beginner-friendly, shorten your rope to a length of 55 to 60 feet. Cut toward the wake, keeping your eyes on a fixed object beyond it to help keep your balance. Straighten your knees as you reach the top of the wave. When you're in the air, bend your knees again to provide better shock absorption. Release some of the weight from the front of the board to keep yourself from submerging when you land.