In this wakeboarding How-To, The Boarding School’s Shaun Murray shows you how to find the perfect wakeboard stance for your style of riding.
The basic idea of wakeboarding is to keep the board going with you on top of the water. It seems simple enough, but here’s why I say such an obvious thing. It’s much easier to keep the board going with you if your body is over or, more specifically, on top of the board. Upon landing tricks, do you find yourself being pulled forward and fighting to keep the board going with you, and sometimes suffering painful edge catches? We all fall sometimes, but if you could, would you fall less?
Your stance may be too narrow if you’re getting pulled out the front frequently. I say this cautiously because I don’t want anyone using an uncomfortable stance that hurts his knees. But knees are meant to bend, so making your stance wider may help you bend your knees more in the correct position. Keeping your upper body leaned away from the boat is the most important thing to keep the board going with you.
A Murray Analogy
When doing squats in the gym, it’s all about keeping your upper body upright with the least amount of strain on your back so your quads can work. If you can, right now, stand up with your feet shoulder-width apart or less and do a squat. Make sure to keep your upper body upright as well as your heels planted. Do you feel your lower back bending and your hind end sticking out?
Now, move each foot about 3 inches out and do the same thing. Do you notice how your upper body can stay upright with less strain on your back? When you land, impact is going to go somewhere, so try to use your knees properly rather than taking the landing force in your spine.
Duck Stance (Angled Out)
The reason we duck our feet out a little is to increase the direction of stability. Sometimes when landing, we need to catch our balance toward the nose or tail.
Now stand with your feet at your most comfortable width and point your feet straight forward with no angle out. Lean to your right or left and see how much of your foot you use to catch your balance. Now, slightly angle each foot out and lean to the right or left. You should be able to feel how you can use your entire foot to catch your balance. Be careful not to angle your feet too much because you still need to be able to catch your balance toward your toeside edge. You may be seated.
Some boards have stances I consider too wide if the rider isn’t really tall. Try to find what feels best for you by unscrewing your boots and moving your feet around while squatting up and down.
Everyone’s body is different, so it’s very important to do what feels best for you. Ride easy on a new stance at first and then get into your harder tricks as you adapt to your new gnarliness. (Is that a word? I just made that up. Use it. In fact, whoever writes in the best letter to the editor about his new stance using that word, I will send him a copy of Detention 2012 and a signed Fox shirt.)