Wakey Wakey with Wakeboarding
While 05:30hrs isn’t an ideal time to be getting out of bed on a Wednesday, it is if you’re in Dubai and intending on getting some flat water to go wakeboarding on! Riding courtesy of Xtremewakeuae.com, our rendezvous was on the East Marina walk, where we met owners Karim and Ahmed. Having recently opened their business, the flow of wakeboarder’s has steadily increased in the last few months with first timers arriving on a daily basis.
Goli Hashtroudi, a fitness instructor and yoga teacher gives some tips for those of you who are thinking of strapping in for the first time!
Having your bindings/boots set up correctly on your wakeboard is important to maintain comfort while riding and to match your skill level. How a rider stands on a wakeboard is called a "stance." There are different stances that work best for beginner, intermediate, and advanced riders.
Getting started is easy if you follow these simple steps. Have the right equipment! The latest pro-board is not always the best to learn with. Give yourself a chance and get a board that is forgiving and helps you to progress. A larger board with one or more large rear fins helps to give the board direction and stability which is important when learning.
In terms of the length of the rope, about 15 meters (50') gets you closer to the boat in a bigger wake, which will be helpful for learning to wakeboard. Now, direction. Your first step is determining whether you are regular (left-foot-forward) or goofy (right-foot-forward). For those of you who skateboard or snowboard, this is easy. If this is your first board sport, don't panic. Stand up, feet together and have someone push you from behind. Whichever foot goes forward first is your lead foot. If you fall on your face, wakeboarding may not be your sport.
Start in the water, floating on your back with a buoyancy vest. The board should be perpendicular to the rope with your arms outside of your knees. As the boat engages the throttle, you will be pulled against the board, allowing you to get into the proper starting position with most of the board below the surface of the water. Let the pressure on the board push your knees into your chest, then push your front foot forward toward the boat. As the boat begins to accelerate, keep your arms slightly bent in and near your lower stomach. Shift your weight towards the front foot while keeping the nose above the water, and as the water begins to give you support, let the boat pull you and simply start to rise in to the standing position by extending your legs until your knees are slightly bent. Once you're up, get comfortable on your board by bringing your weight toward the centre of the board.
CROSSING THE WAKE
This is one of the first steps you’ll need to take to begin feeling comfortable on the board. As you are pulled behind the boat, two predominant wakes will be created and you will be standing in between them. Crossing the wake involves you directing your board outwards and literally flowing over the wake, leaving you standing on the outside. The simplest thing to remember when doing this would be to point your hips and the board in the same direction, and once committed, cross it! Remember the sharper the angle you attack the wake, the more likely you will be commencing take off, so remember to keep your knees bent at all times!
WHICH MUSCLES ARE IMPORTANT?
The most important muscle group for any wakeboarder to target is the core muscle group, consisting of the abdominals, lower back, and pelvic muscles. These muscles are critical in keeping an individual's weight centred over their board. Beyond the core muscles, no one group of muscles is more important than the other. Wakeboarders need to have good arm and upper body strength to help them keeping a good grip on the rope. Leg muscles are also important as they not only keep a rider on their board, but they also help the rider guide their board and absorb the impact of both choppy water and landings. As with most things, the best way to learn is to get out there and try it, so I look forward to seeing all you would be wakeboarder’s out on the water!
So you’ve got the basics under control, and you’re looking to push yourself out of your comfort zone? We hear from Oliver Amos who tells us a little about the sport and how to get yourself off the water and airborne with style!
If you were to sell wakeboarding in one minute, what would you say?
Wakeboarding is by far the most exhilarating, rewarding and sociable sports out there. It is aimed at all ages, shapes and sizes. With the correct instruction, it is fairly easy to learn and progress quickly and only starts to get complicated when attempting to perform aerial manoeuvrs. I recommend anyone to try it so that you can promote the sport whilst feeling that buzz that all wakeboarders feel.
What was it that first attracted you to the sport?
I was fortunate enough to live abroad and by the coast. I started waterskiing at the age of three and soon went onto mono-skiing where I competed at the age of 11. During my teenage years I found myself more turning toward wakeboarding and then the rest is history.
What can rookies expect from their first wakeboarding experience?
First time experiences can vary; some may get it straight away, some may take a few goes to crack it. Women generally are faster at learning with getting out of the water. This is partly because women are better listeners and they don’t try and fight the boat and try to stand up too early. The early stages are more about relaxing, being patient and getting used to the feeling of getting up and starting to use your edges. I would generally say after one or two sessions a rider should be able to stand and start to feel comfortable on your heal edge.
Is it physically demanding and if so, which muscles are likely to be sore after your first few sessions?
Wakeboarding is very unique as there are very few sports and activities that consist of being pulled forward at these speeds. After a wakeboarding session, you can expect your pecs, lats, most of you core muscles, to be a little sore, but the difference in wakeboarding is you are also using these muscles completely differently, so the fittest man/women would still feel that burn as if he had not used those muscle.
If you’re already comfortable behind the boat and want to try a few tricks, which would you recommend and how would you do them?
Many want to learn to jump as fast as possible and why not. The way to perform a full wake to wake jump is about creating a progressive edge, having your weight over the board. Leading to the wake about 1.5m -2m you then start to dig in your heal but not leaning back and keeping your arms into your body. When you start to rise up the wake you should then begin extending your body* and thrusting the hands down which results in a full wake to wake jump.
*E.g. If one jumps on a trampoline using your legs only, you won’t actually get any height. But when you extend your body at the right time you get a huge amount of height. This is called hang time or air time and all wakeboarders crave it!
When advancing onto aerial manoeuvres, it is all about not thinking too much and working more on the basics. With a back roll the manoeuvre is actually rather easy but still looks impressive. With the lead up, you shouldn’t cut out so much (about 4-5metres), again using the progressive edge, dig in 1.5m before the wakes edge, keeping your weight over the board, arms into your body, as if you are going to perform a normal wake to wake. This is when you have to do a simple action, after you have just left the wake allowing yourself to have the pop you need, almost simultaneously you swing the hand (golf swing action) in the direction you wish to rotate and looking over your shoulder to spot your landing. If you follow those step. Pop and roll, you will have completed a back roll.
This is a little more advanced and will need a lot more speed than a back roll. The rider should take a big cut out on the toe side. Remember not to rush the lead up, the progressive edge movement allows you to get into the right position. Cutting in toward the wake you then should really dig in your heels, leaning back creating huge tension in the rope; this is called loading. Always keeping you head up when rising up the wake and getting the pop, you then release the tension, your body will then go parallel to the water (superman position). Most people fail because they do not look at the boat and don’t give them enough time to pull back into position. Remember, load the rope, arms in, head up, when you feel that pull mid-air pull back and always spot your landing.
In conclusion, remember to ride safe, don’t under estimate the sport and enjoy yourself!
“Xtreme wake” is a Dubai-based water sports community that was founded 2 months back.
Their dream is simple: gathering a community of water sports lovers and enjoying the game!
Realising the growing demand for outdoor activities that are easily accessible, Xtreme wake was born.Dubai has almost the perfect weather for wakeboarding and can be practiced all year long!
For further information please visit our website www.xtremewakeuae.com and facebook page @ xtreme wake.