Spins are a big stumbling block for a lot of new riders. In fact, Julz Heaney and I see students all the time at Wake Experience who can do a back roll or a tantrum but can’t do any spins. Those wakeboarders’ progressions tend to stagnate because they don’t develop the board skills they need for more intricate wakeboarding tricks. Don’t let this happen to you or your friends. Follow these techniques we use at Wake Experience to teach wakeboarders their first toeside frontside 360 without getting whacked. — Nick Heaney
Lower the line: If your wakeboard rope is up high, you’ll tend to get pulled off-axis as you initiate your spin and you’re more likely to catch an edge. To prevent this, start on a long line (at least 75 feet) so it’s nice and low.
Cut the consequences: Slow your speed to about 19 mph. Wakeboarding on a 75-foot rope at 19 mph makes it look like you’re wakeboarding at 90 feet because the wakes are so wide you’d never clear them. Plus, your takeoffs and landings will be nice and forgiving.
One wake first: Casing the wake is one of the biggest problems wakeboarders run into when learning to spin, so take the second wake out of the equation and focus first on one-wake toeside frontside 180s. You only need about a foot of air, and you should land just on the other side of the wake you take off on.
Build confidence: Once you’re consistent with your one-wake 180s, take it to 3. Trust me, in no time you’ll be so confident you’ll want to take it wake-to-wake.
Go wake-to-wake: When you’re comfortable with the one-wake frontside 3, shorten the rope and try it wake-to-wake. Don’t be afraid to shorten your line to even 50 feet so the wakes are ridiculously close together. Once you make it on a 50-foot rope, you’ll make it at 55. And once you make it at 55, you’ll make it at 60 feet back. Just bump up your speed a little each time you let out your line.
Keep building:The toeside frontside 360 gives you the platform for all your spins. Once you have it on your toeside edge, you’ll find the heelside much less inhibitive. Try your first heelside 360 just like you learned the toeside 3 — one wake on a long, low line at a slow speed. One more secret: Use a wrap wakeboarding handle at first so you get the feeling for the full 360 without having to pass the handle.
Photo: Nick Meistrell