Get out wide, turn slow and build your edge progressively. You’ve probably heard this a thousand times. But has anyone ever told you why you should do it? Let me explain.
Getting air on a board behind a boat is one of the most unique combinations of forces ever put together for your enjoyment. You’ve got a rope pulling you across the water, a board to help you leverage gravity, and this little wave that has the capability of throwing you very high into the air IF you know how to use it correctly.
In almost every other sport, athletes get air by jumping off a flat surface. They gain speed by various means, hit an object flat and jump off of it. Think of snowboarding, skateboarding and motocross. If you do this on a wakeboard, you might land a few tricks, but chances are the handle will be out and your hips will be flailing. The most common mistake made by beginning riders is that they cut too hard, too fast. They build up lots of speed and then flatten out and jump off the wake like it’s a ramp. The wake is not a ramp. It is an orbital pattern of energy that moves through the water like any other wave. If you turn slowly and stand tall as you edge through the wake, you will harness that energy and fly through the air with a tight rope and strong body position. You will do less work and get the same height while rotating and moving more slowly.
If you were in a helicopter looking down at someone riding, you would see that the rider, the boat and the wake all move across the water. I think that a lot of people forget this because there isn’t much to indicate motion if the water is really calm. They forget how much energy is already there and they work too hard. Just leverage against the boat in the right places for each trick and you will be moved.
P.J. is sponsored by Liquid Force, Jet Pilot, Reef Brazil, Dragon and Performance Ski & Surf. For free on-line tips contact the Wakeboard Camp, www.wakeboardcamp.com.