Your first basic tricks each has four different variations that you should learn. The tricks are one-wake jumps, one wake 180s, two-wake jumps and two-wake 180s. The four variations of two-wake jumps are backside regular stance, frontside regular stance, backside switchstance and frontside switchstance. Learning all four of these basic variations will prepare you for all four tricks because you will have learned how to approach the wake from all sides.
Learning most new skills can be broken down into four basic steps:
* Step 1: The approach. Use a consistent setup every time to place you on the wake with the same angle, speed and attitude.
* Step 2: The jump. With a consistent approach, this step is much easier to master. Things to focus on include amount of line loading, knee bend, upper-body position and most.
* Step 3: Controlling the line tension. The rope is your ally, not your adversary. Use the tension to help pull you through your tricks.
* Step 4: The landing. Your touchdown begins while you are still in the air. Lead moves with your head to get a better spot and remind yourself to keep your eyes open to see the landing. Get ready to ride away by landing your board with the same angle as your take-off.
Loading the line is the newest term used to describe the proper approach for any move. If you plan on progressing into inverted and spin tricks, now is the time to get down the basic skills with your two-wake jumps. A good load depends on the proper set up. It starts outside the wakes with a slow turn in on a tight line. Once you are wide, patience is the key. Wait for the boat to start pulling you in naturally toward the wakes. From here it’s time to generate angle and speed with the progressive cut.
“Imagine yourself as a pendulum,” says Darin Shapiro. “At the top of the swing, your speed is zero. As you near the wakes your speed should increase progressively from zero up to the maximum at the bottom of the arc” (at the wake).
It’s kind of like a tug of war with the boat. To generate maximum rope tension you need to put pressure on your rail or edge and lean against the line with your whole body. The key is to have a tight line that can pull you through the move. In the air, it’s all about using handle position to control the line tension and speed of rotation.
The most common mistakes people make are turning in too quick and getting slack right from the start. Next, they usually cut too hard at the start to generate speed and end up coasting in to the wake on a flat board. The result is too much speed with a line that is not tight. With that in mind, make a fluid approach from a few feet away and keep the board pointed across and through the wake. Keep your arms in and knees like shock absorbers. Maintain the same position through the wakes and don’t jerk the rope.
Remember, with the right progressive cut it’s possible to start just a few feet out from the wake and load the line. When you do it right you’ll feel the snap (or “pop”) that shoots you up with enough height, speed and distance to complete a move in plenty of time for the landing.
Now that you’re outside the wakes, it’s time to learn to jump. Your first step in flight is the backside wake jump. Backside jumps are easier than frontside because your shoulders are open to the boat.
Cut out casually, loading the line like we told you, then slowly turn into the wake from about 10 feet out. Start an easy cut by turning the board to the wake. Maintain strong body position with the handle in, knees bent aand back straight. When you hit the wake, spring by pushing equally on both legs. Avoid throwing your shoulders back; instead rise straight through the lower body. Keep the tip up and the board pointed in the same direction you are going by maintaining your edge. Try to land with a bit more weight on your back foot and keep the handle in.
Once you’re comfortable backside, don’t neglect your frontside wake jumps. Start cutting about 5-10 feet from the wake and hold a constant edge through the wake. As you spring off the wake, keep your board and body headed in the same direction. Really concentrate on staying on your toes through the whole edge. Keep your shoulders turned away from the boat and handle in tight to avoid off-balance landings.
Work on all four of your wake jumps for the best learning curve, starting with one-wake jumps and progressing to two-wake jumps. If you are having difficulty clearing both wakes, try shortening the rope until you can comfortably make it across. Then let the line out slowly. Try to develop both sides equally.