Riding natural terrain has become a big part of why I strap into my wakeboard. Things like jibbing trees and rocks and riding a waterfall or ollieing over a dam require just as much focus and determination as moves off the wake, and it’s a different kind of challenge that drives me to progress on a whole other level.
What makes riding natural terrain so cool for me is the adventure. It’s exciting to break away from the wake and find spots that might only be accessible with a winch. Don’t let the shorelines of your lake or river be your boundaries in wakeboarding. Follow these tips to find ways to incorporate natural terrain into your wakeboarding this season. — Gabe Lucas
Scope things out If you normally wakeboard on a big lake, start there. Check out the shoreline for trees and other objects that might be ridable. But don’t stop there. I usually find the best rocks, trees, waterfalls and even man-made, stationary objects like dams and spillways in the smaller rivers and creeks. Just remember to think outside the box, and look at every situation like a skater would. When you incorporate fixed objects into your wakeboarding and adapt to your surroundings, the real possibilities will open up to you.
Evaluate the situation Don’t just jump in and hit the first tree you find without testing it to make sure it’s not going to snap underneath you. Check everything to make sure it’s sturdy, stable and safe. You also want to carefully calculate the line you’ll take and determine how you’ll approach and exit the object. Remember: The more room you have to stick your landing, the better. If everything lines up right, the last thing you should do is check for unknown hazards. This is important because you never know what’s under the water.
Have fun After you know the situation is safe, it’s time to ride. The feeling you get when you conquer a new spot is indescribable, and that feeling will fuel you to search for new spots. There are a lot of untapped areas to be conquered, and you could be the first to wakeboard each of them, but you have to be proactive. After all, the spots aren’t going to find you. No matter how confident you feel, remember to be safe, always wear a life jacket and stay within your abilities. Wakeboarding natural terrain can be dangerous and should never be underestimated.
Need a little inspiration? Check out tarfilms.com to see the newest videos of Gabe Lucas, Aaron Reed, Danny Hampson and many more wakeboarders winching all across America.