What Makes a Great Wakeboard Session?
Wakeboarding has evolved tremendously since the inception and so has the involvement that goes into it. In this article, you will learn everything you need to know so that you'll be wakeboarding on the lake all summer long.
Keep reading to learn all about:
• What Makes a Great Wakeboard Boat?
• Types of Wakes
• Wakeboard Innovation, Convenience & Technology
• How To Wakeboard
• Wakeboard Boat Driving Tips
• How to Get Up on a Wakeboard
• Picking the Best Wakeboard Board for You
What Makes a Great Wakeboard Boat?
It’s easy to think a great wakeboard boat is all about a great wake, and that’s definitely a big part of it, but the best wakeboard boats do it all. They are just as much about comfort, convenience and technology as they are about a great wake. That’s why Malibu’s wakeboard boats can do everything. At Malibu, it’s all about the little details combined with the huge innovations that add up to make the best-selling wakeboard boats in the world. It all starts with our world-class wakes.
At Malibu, we’ve had performance dialed in for a long time. Where other brands have fickle wakes that may not be even, or they may wash over in windy conditions, Malibu has a great wake straight out of the box on all of its boats. It’s a huge part of the reason the 23 LSV is the best-selling towboat of all time. It’s hard to find perfection in today’s world, but Malibu has the perfect wakeboard wake. Here’s what to look for in a perfect wakeboard wake and what goes into it.
A Clean Wake
Clean Wake is Key
The Perfect Pop
A Perfect Curve
Convenience & Technology
Malibu Command Center
Malibu Comfort & Luxury
HOW TO WAKEBOARD
Wakeboard Boat Driving Tips
All the high-flying, adrenaline-fueled action is at your fingertips with your new wakeboard boat, but first you need to learn some basics to get you started. Here are some wakeboarding tips on driving and riding to get you started. Let’s get things started with some wakeboard driving tips that will have you pulling sets like a pro in no time.
Wakeboarding is all about having fun and pushing your limits when you’re behind the boat, but it’s important to consider some safety points when you’re driving the boat. Make sure there’s a sized, US Coast Guard-approved life jacket for every member of your crew, as well as a throwable. Kids 12 and under need to wear their life jacket at all times, so pick one that’s comfortable enough for them to wear for a long time. In some states a watersports flag is required to show other boaters your rider has fallen as well. Always keep the rider in view on the driver’s side when you’re at slow speeds, and always face forward when you’re pulling the rider. The driver’s responsibility while underway is always to see what is ahead, and the spotter’s responsibility is to let the driver know what’s happening with the rider. Never drive while facing backward toward the rider. Always circle back to the rider with a wide enough arch that you don’t run over your wakeboard rope, and never power turn back to the rider unless it’s an emergency. Also, stay 200 feet away from other boats, docks and stationary objects while underway.
Always try to keep 12 feet of water under you while wakeboarding. 12 feet is the minimum, but more is better. Less than 12 feet will make a less-than-ideal wake, and chances are you’ll be too close to shore anyway.
How to Set Up the Boat to Wakeboard
Unlike some other boats whose setup seems to change from day to day, a great wakeboard boat should have a consistent ballast and wake-shaping configuration that works every time. Malibu makes this a no brainer with presets in the Malibu Command Center. Dive into the touch screen and hit the “Wakeboard Beginner,” “Wakeboard Intermediate,” or “Wakeboard Advanced” button to set up the boat. That’s it. Just hit the button, press “Load” and the boat takes care of filling the ballast to the proper levels, setting the Power Wedge III and adjusting the GPS speed control to the perfect speed. If you want to tweak anything from there, you can do it from the Malibu Command Center. Your boat speed when wakeboarding should typically be between 17 and 23 miles per hour.
How to Choose a Wakeboard Spot
When you’re looking for a line to run, find a spot that’s long enough to make a solid pass with plenty of tricks. Ideally, the spot has a long, straight line with a bit of wind shelter. If other boats are running that line, it’s courtesy to either wait until they’re done, run a line parallel to them, or find another spot. If possible, try to avoid going perpendicular to their line, because your rollers will mess up their spot (and theirs will mess up yours) for quite a while.
Wakeboard Rider and Driver Signals
A few hand signals are really helpful to establish for good communication between the rider and driver. For example, if your rider takes a good fall and needs to indicate they’re okay, have them wave above their head so the whole boat can see them. If they’re done for that session, have them make a fist, then put it on top of their head. If they need to speed up or slow down, a thumbs up or thumbs down to the driver will do it. When they’re situated and ready to try a deep water start, have them say “hit it” (“go sounds too much like “no” and could be confusing).
Designate a passenger to be a line tender. They will be in charge of watching the rope as the boat swings around after a fall. Swing wide and have the line tender direct you so you don’t run over the line. When the rider is done, this person will also bring the line into the boat.
Designate another person (or the line tender) to be the observer. They will tell you what signals the rider is giving or if the rider falls. They will also handle raising a watersports flag if that’s required in your state.
How Long of a Wakeboard Line Should I Use?
One of the best ways to establish how long your rope should be is to hit the preset you want, then attach the rope to the tower’s tow point and bring the boat up to wakeboard speed. If the handle is dragging on or near the spot where you see a clean, well-formed ramp then your line is the perfect length. Typical beginner wakeboard line length is around 60-65 feet.
How to Drive for a Wakeboard Deep-Water Start
Attach the rope to the tower’s main tow point. Wait to start the engine until the rider has their board on and their US Coast Guard-approved life jacket on and snug. When they jump off the platform, start the engine and slowly idle forward until there’s just a little slack in the rope. Wait until the rider is ready and says “hit it” before easing the line tight and gradually moving the throttle forward. Slow and steady wins here. The key is to not jerk the handle out of their hands or use too much power. Rely on your spotter for information as you look ahead and to the sides for any boats coming your way. Your main focus should always be driving the boat and your spotter’s main focus should always be the rider.
When your rider falls, ease back on the throttle and keep the wheel straight. It can be tempting at first to circle back around to the rider at speed, but “power turning” like this messes up the water for everyone and is more dangerous for your rider. Power turns should only be done in an emergency. Instead, wait for the boat to settle down to idle speed and turn back toward the rider, keeping them on the driver’s side where you can see them. Be careful not to run over the rope on your way back around. You should be close enough to the rider to get them the handle, but there’s no need to get any closer unless they are getting back in the boat.
How to Get Up on a Wakeboard
Doing a deep water start on a wakeboard is really simple when you get the hang of it, but it’s going to be really difficult without a little background knowledge. Like everything with watersports, we want to take the headache out of it, so here are some tips to get up on a wakeboard, and whether it’s your first time or your 100th time you just might learn something new.
Goofy or Regular
If you don’t know which foot forward you ride, a good way to figure it out is to just not think about it until you’re up. When you deep water, just face your toes toward the boat and whichever way the board wants to start facing will be the way you will ride. Left foot forward is “regular” and right foot forward is “goofy,” but there really is no right or wrong way.
Attach your rope to the tower’s main tow point. The extra height will help to pull you up and on top of the board.
How to Get Up on a Wakeboard
When you’ve got your US Coast Guard-approved life jacket on and snugged, grab your board and handle, then get your board on at the platform. Face the water so you can sit on the transom while you gear up. When you’re ready, slide off the platform and get onto your back. Bring your knees into your chest and put your arms around them with your hands in a double overhand grip on the handle (palms facing toward the water). Resist the urge to try to fight the boat by pushing with your legs. Instead, keep your knees bent and your heels as close as possible to your butt. As the slack goes out of the line, tell the driver to “hit it” and the board should start to pop you up on top of the water. Lean back against the boat and stay low. At some point, one foot is going to go forward and the tip of the board will point toward the boat. When this happens, you can let go with your back hand to get the feel of proper positioning. Flex your core and bend your knees in an athletic stance.
How to Carve on a Wakeboard
When you’re feeling more comfortable, start to put a little pressure on your toes or heels and feel how the board responds. This is the foundation of carving, and when you get the hang of it, you’ll use your whole body. For now, though, just try to make small adjustments and avoid overcorrecting. When you’re ready, you can put your back hand on the handle again, but just remember to keep your body somewhat twisted and the handle in front of your leading hip.
How to Jump Wake to Wake on a Wakeboard
When you want to learn wake-to-wake jumps, the first step is a one-wake jump. Let your line all the way out to the end and get a lot of weight in the boat on the side you want to jump. Go heelside first (when you’re edging in your weight is on your heels) and slow the boat way down. Just enough speed to be able to stay on top of the water is plenty. Edge in slowly and push off the wake, absorbing the landing between the wakes with your knees. Try this until you’re comfortable, then stop the boat and shorten your rope to where it’s just beyond the rooster tail; the shorter rope will mean the wakes are closer together and you don’t need as much height to clear the second wake. Keep your speed slower than usual and cut in just like you did for your one-wake jump. Keep your tip up and try to get just enough height that you land with your back foot on the down side of the second wake. Keep edging out and smile for the camera!
Picking the Best Wakeboard for You
First off, it’s important to note that there is no perfect board, it’s just the right board for you. And frankly, a lot of it comes down to size. A beginner can ride an intermediate board, or an advanced rider can shred a beginner board, but if a large rider goes with an undersized board, it’s not going to be pretty. We can’t help you with what graphics to choose, but here are some practical tips on picking a wakeboard.
How to Size a Wakeboard
If you’re under 100 pounds, each manufacturer is probably only going to have one option for you and it will be under 130cm. For 90-150 pounds, around a 130-134cm board should be about right. For 150-180 pounds, a 135-139cm board should be a good starting point. For 180-250 pounds, a 140-144cm board is a typical range. And for 250 pounds and above, you can go up from 144cm. These are just guidelines, however, and if you feel great on a size above, go for it. Or if you know you’re going to do some growing and you want to size up a bit, you’re not going to have any issues. Many times you can buy a package board and bindings that are already sized for a great value. Brands include Ronix, Liquid Force, Hyperlite, Slingshot, Connelly (CWB) and more.
What’s the Difference Between Wakeboard Rocker Types?
The main difference between a beginner and advanced board is the type of rocker. Typically, a beginner board will have a continuous rocker. That means from tip to tail is one long curve. This shape is very forgiving and will tend to send you out into the flats rather than straight up off the wake. It has a very predictable pop. A more advanced board is usually a three-stage rocker, which curves up at the tip and tail, but is flatter at the middle. This type of rocker will send you more vertical off the wake, but the pop is less forgiving. There’s also a hybrid, which combines the a three-stage and continuous rocker and takes elements of the two.
How to Size Wakeboard Bindings
Bindings go by range of shoe sizes, so it’s pretty straightforward. One thing though, never go too small. You’re better off a little big than too small. Your bindings have to be comfortable to be able to ride for any length of time, and if they’re too small your feet will be cramping in short order. Brands include Ronix, Liquid Force, Hyperlite, Slingshot, Connelly (CWB) and more.
What’s the Difference Between Wakeboard Binding Types?
A lot of this comes down to personal preference, but if you live in a cold climate and you like to do early- or late-season riding, we would definitely recommend closed toes to keep your feet warm. As long as you find something that feels secure and has plenty of ankle support, you can’t go too wrong.