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Dad and son wakeboarding together

How to Wakeboard: A Guide for Beginners

Unlike most watersports, wakeboarding comes with a satisfyingly steep learning curve. Depending on your previous experience on the board and confidence, you can be carving up a watery storm and popping ollies after just a few tries.

Wakeboarding is one of the most fun and adrenaline-inducing sports you can ever try out. While it’s fast, furious, and exciting, it can be a little intimidating for first-timers.

But that shouldn't deter you. All you need is the right wakeboard gear and some confidence to get you started. Let’s hop into the basics of how to wakeboard so you can start gliding across your favorite lake.

What is Wakeboarding?

Wakeboarding is essentially a combination of water skiing, surfing, and snowboarding. It is an extreme water sport where riders, standing on wakeboards, are towed behind boats across the wake at speeds of up to 30 miles per hour. As you glide above the water, you’ll feel like you’re riding an endless wave and can perform aerial maneuvers.

How to Wakeboard: Beginners Steps

Are you interested in wakeboarding but don't know where to start? Here are some beginner steps to get you started:

Step 1: Choose the Right-Sized Wakeboard

Choosing a well-sized wakeboard is your first step to improving the skills needed for stability, control, and balance on the water. When picking a wakeboard, you should consider your height, weight, and wakeboarding skill level. Wakeboard sizing can make or break your wakeboarding experience. 

Step 2: Tie the Rope to the Motorboat

To set yourself up for success, you need to tie up the rope as short as you can to the wakeboard boat. It’ll increase the amount of upward pull from the boat, allowing you to stand steadily when gliding. The wakeboard rope and handle should be strong for your safety.

Step 3: Set Your Wakeboard Properly

Set up your wakeboard, ensuring your feet are shoulder-width apart and slightly turned out. This will give you stability when gliding through the water. You also need to stand facing outwards toward the back of the boat. This allows you to sit on the swim step and squat your way into the water.

Step 4: Get Lined Up With the Wakeboard Boat

When wakeboarding, you need to let the boat do the hard work for you. To start, get lined up with the boat with your arms straight, resting on your knees. Once the boat starts moving, let your knees bend toward your chest. This way, the boat can help you get up while on the water.

As a beginner, you may find yourself straightening your legs. This is not recommended as it will only keep you out of position. Instead, hold the crunched position until you’re over the top of your wakeboard.

Step 5: Stand Up Slowly

As soon as you’re over the top of your board and the boat pulls you forward, you can start standing up.

Do it slowly to reduce your chances of falling over. Once up, gently rotate your dominant foot to the back to start wakeboarding. You can now start performing some wakeboarding tricks that you are confident in.

Wakeboarding Tips and Tricks for Beginners

Once you’re used to the wakeboard, you can learn some exciting tricks. Here are some simple beginner tricks you can try out on your next wakeboarding adventure:


Edging involves moving the heel side and toe side within the wake. To edge, you need to apply pressure on your front toes and front heels and move in the direction you want to glide to. Keep your arms relaxed to get the most out of edging.

Crossing the Wake

After riding for a while, you can cross the wake by turning your chest and shoulders so that they’re more open toward the boat. Keep your eyes focused on where you want to go as you hold the pressure on your heels and toes. Ensure your knees are bent and your arms relaxed so that you’re more comfortable crossing the wake.

Surface 180

Learning Surface 180 spins is a great way for you to dive into wakeboarding tricks without leaving the surface of the water. While keeping the elbows locked, ensure to bend the knees while turning the wakeboard to 180-degrees using your hips.

You can try the front side spin by turning your chest toward the boat or the backside spin that involves moving your chest away from the boat.

Surface 360

Once you’ve mastered Surface 180, you can work on Surface 360. The spin is similar to Surface 180 but you should advance your hips more to make yourself come all the way around. Try to keep the tension in your shoulders so you don't fall back toward the motorboat.


The Ollie can be your jumping-off point for much more challenging tricks. You can start on your heel side edge and push your back leg forward toward your front leg to get a good Ollie.

After nailing the heel side, you can do the same to the toe side. Remember to keep your arms relaxed for the best results.

Jump the Wake

Air tricks are the most fun and maybe the main reason you got into wakeboarding. You can begin with cutting and pulling from your wake as you further your skills.

Once the boat pulls you back in, you can turn back to the wake with knees bent and ropes pulled to the front hip. This makes landing easier. When leaving the wake, stand tall to develop the pop you need to get some air.

Tail Grab

If you start getting your wake jump right, you can throw in a tail grab. To do this, keep your handle and hips forward and bring the wakeboard toward you until you are in the air. Bend your knees while pulling them toward your chest area. Don't forget to release before landing. 

Get Quality Wakeboard Gear for the Ultimate Wakeboarding Experience 

Learning how to wakeboard starts with the right gear. Wakesports Unlimited has got you covered in this regard with superior quality and innovative wakeboards for sale to kick start your wakeboarding journey. 

Ross Villarino, owner of wakesports unlimited on the water

Written by Ross Villarino - Owner & CEO

Being on a boat since he was 2 yrs old and getting up on a wakeboard and waterskis by the age of 5, Ross has more than 3 decades of experience being on a boat and around the Watersports industry. Ross taught wakeboarding, waterskiing and wakesurfing lessons for the greater part of a decade before owning Wakesports Unlimited. 

Learn more about Ross Villarino

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