I first tried wakeboarding on my honeymoon and I fell down a lot. I can surf, so you’d think I wouldn’t struggle too much (board plus water equals fun, right?) but I couldn’t get used to the idea of not pulling the rope, for some reason, and that makes you fall forward.
Anyway, fast forward a couple of years and apparently the memories of falling forward a lot yet, in defiance of physics and biology as I understand them, somehow getting lots of water up my nose have faded. Somehow, the idea of being strapped to a board rather than just tied to it, as in surfing, seems appealing again. Time to hit the surf wake(s(?))!
Somehow, this time, I got it right. Wind and spray whipping through my hair, things suddenly don’t seem too bad at all and I can’t even remember how I screwed up wakeboarding so badly last time. I was in Dubai this time and as soon as I got back home I started trying to find a place locally that did wakeboarding (another advantage over surfing: You don’t need to live near the sea. Any big stretch of water will do!) and fortunately was able to. Now I’m an addict.
Advantages of wakeboarding
The advantages of wakeboarding are endless. As I already mentioned, it’s more easily accessible than surfing for when you’ve just got to get in the water with a board. It’s also – my experience notwithstanding – a little easier to pick up. You also never have to spend hours in the water waiting for the right wave. Instead, someone goes ahead of you in a boat and creates waves for you, so it’s good if you’re impatient or you don’t have a lot of time (I live in London. Enough said.). In some places, you’re towed along by a cable or winch, so you don’t even have to worry about getting someone to drive the boat for you. These places usually have jumps and obstacles rather than waves but you can still have a lot of fun!
Like any regular physical activity, wakeboarding is good for you, working your back and leg muscles pretty hard, especially. It’s also got an amazing amount of complexity to it, with all the familiar ‘grab’ tricks from skate- and snowboarding that everyone who grew up playing Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater will remember trying to do once and breaking a tooth (sidenote: I have never broken anything while wakeboarding). It also has a whole load of its own moves, varying according to whether you’re doing tricks on the surface, off a wake or wave, or off a stationary jump. You can check out a wide variety here: They range from ‘My grandma could do that’ to ‘Buzz Lightyear couldn’t do that’. Something for everyone, really.
For more info on wakeboarding, check out 10 Myths About Wakeboarding if you’re not convinced or the official site of the World Wakeboard Association (the acronym is WWA, which, funnily enough, is the exact noise you’ll make the first time you fall down – you don’t get time for more ‘A’s). You can also check out the ultra official page for the International Waterski and Wakeboard Federation if you want to seem some classic ’90s web design.