If you really understand the physics of wakeboarding, you’ll realize how much more pop you can get off the wake simply by doing less. It’s the first thing I tell my students when they come to The Boarding School, because working too hard to get air is such a common mistake. All you really have to do is stand tall, which you’re already doing when you cut away from the wake to set up for a wake jump. It’s all about energy transfer. I like to use jumping on a trampoline as an example. When you come down on a trampoline, all you have to do to bounce right back into the air is keep your legs straight and your upper body in line with your legs. If you crouch down and try to push off the trampoline, your legs will absorb rather than transfer the energy and you won’t spring as high. The same rules apply to getting pop off the wake. Making these simple changes will help you work less and achieve more. — Shaun Murray
It all starts with the edge I have all my students start very close to the wake to show them getting air isn’t about speed, it’s about edging. When you’re on edge, your wakeboard actually creates energy because the water wants to push the board back up to the surface. As you cut harder, that energy increases, but you need to harness it correctly. For instance, you can take an easy cut and do nothing more than stand tall at the wake, and you’ll get more pop than if you took a hard cut, crouched down and tried to push off the wake but mistimed the pop. Once you understand what the right kind of pop feels like, start going wider and wider until you find the right combination. Just remember to always edge harder as you get closer to the wake and to hold that edge all the way through.
Line it up To effectively use the energy created by edging, you need to resist with your entire body, which means keeping your upper body in line with your lower body. Your hips should be close to the handle with your arms straight. Edge all the way up the wake, and make sure your chest is facing the sky. If your hips move away from the handle, your chest will automatically cave in and you’ll lose some of the pressure — and energy — from the board. Put simply: Stand tall and lean away with your arms straight.
Use both hands It’s common to let go of the handle too early when you’re going for a trick with a grab or a handle pass. But when you’re coming into the wake, all of the force from the board needs to be transferred through your hands into the rope. If you change the dynamic before you finish the pop, you’ll have lost some of your energy. So make sure you always keep both hands on the rope until your board leaves the wake.
All together now Less is definitely more when it comes to efficient energy transfer, so just hang on, make sure you have a progressive edge and stand tall at the wake. You’ll get all the pop you’ll ever need.
More with Murray For more riding advice from Murray, watch his video, Detention 2012 (detention2012.com), or attend his camp, The Boarding School, which is located in St. Cloud, Florida, just outside Orlando.
Words: Shaun Murray Photos: Joey Meddock