How to Get Up on a Wakeboard at the Cable Park
If you’ve never ridden at a cable wakeboard park, you may not know how to get started your first time. That’s okay! Most riders actually find it easier to wakeboard at a cable park the first time, because there are expert instructors who can teach you the basics so you can avoid the hard crashes. Most of our cable operators at Ski Rixen are actually riders themselves, so they have firsthand knowledge of how to start beginners off on the right foot (literally, because in most cases we need to establish which foot you will have forward)! Here’s a quick rundown of how to get up on a wakeboard at the cable park.
Before anything else, you need to figure out which foot you will have forward. You can be regular (left foot forward) or goofy foot (right foot forward). Even though goofy foot gets the funny name, there’s no difference between the two and there’s absolutely no right or wrong way to do it—just what’s right for you. Most riders will establish which foot forward they are with the push test. The instructor or a friend will stand behind you with your feet side by side and give you a light push. Whichever foot naturally goes forward will likely be the foot you’ll want to have forward when you wakeboard. It’s that simple!
From there, it’s all about having fun and learning to get up. The cable pulls a lot slower than a boat, so crashes are easy in most cases. Your instructor/cable operator will get you set up. You will most likely be seated at the edge of the starting dock with the handle in your hand. You’ll grab the handle with a double overhand grip, meaning both your palms will face downward. While this grip orientation isn’t critical at first, it will help later on when you’re learning spins and more advanced tricks.
Getting Up and Riding
Keep the handle tight into your waist and your knees bent as you prepare you for the handle to come around. The cable operator will let you know when it’s your turn. As the handle comes around, stay in your athletic stance with your knees bent and the board out in front of you. When the handle engages, you’ll feel the pull of the cable and you can start to bring the handle around to the side you established would be forward with the push test. It’s important to lean back so your tip doesn’t catch, and try to stay in that crouched, athletic position for as long as it takes to get comfortable.
To turn the board, apply slight pressure on your heels or toes and you’ll start to feel the board turn in that direction. It’s usually easier to try to lean on your heels first because you can hold on with both hands and lean against the pull of the rope. At Ski Rixen there’s a long straightaway right off the starting dock to give you time to get comfortable riding. When you come to the first corner, just let go of the rope if you don’t feel comfortable turning. Then you can pull your board off and walk back to the starting dock and try again. When you do feel more comfortable turning, you can edge toward the two buoys that mark the corner and stay between them. When you’re through the first set of buoys, start turning as soon as possible to point the nose of your board at the next set of buoys. Stay between them and continue the process until you’re back at the starting dock and heading around again!
Wakeboarding is all about having fun and progressing, so it’s not a question of if you’ll fall, it’s a question of when. You can make it easier on yourself by making sure the tip of your board stays facing forward as you ride, and always leaning against the leading edge of your board when you start to try surface spins or going switch stance (turning the board around to your unnatural foot forward). As mentioned, when you fall you can just take your board off and swim out of the path of other riders and toward the shore. When you get there, just walk back to the starting dock and get in line for your next ride. Congratulations, you’re officially a cable wakeboarder!
At Ski Rixen—America’s longest-running cable park—we’ve taught thousands of people young and old to ride a wakeboard for the first time, and we can teach you too! Come join us for a day of fun in Deerfield Beach, FL. Give us a call or come on out!