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Teaching son to wakeboard


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We are headed out to lake Havasu this weekend for 5 days. My son who is 9 is very excited about trying to wakeboard this year. Last year I pretty much dragged him around the lake and he drank a lot of water. I tried getting in the water with him. He got up for about 5 seconds and then face plant and he was done.

Does anyone have any suggestions on what I can do to help. I feel bad for him because he really wants to board and I hope it's nothing I'm doing wrong. I don't want to drag him around again and have him lose that ecitement.



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knees bent up to chest

arms straight around knees

boat start to accelerate quite slowly

let bum move forward to touch back of ankles - board moves under body somewhat

slowly, when pressure on board, begin to stand up

as one begins to stand, move handle to in front of lead hip - do not leave handle in front of belly

a boom may help for the first time if a available?

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I was able to teach my 9 year old last year fairly easy....and he is afraid of his own shadow!

The first thing I did was to have him float in the water about 15' behind the boat with the board strapped on. I then just pulled on the rope to show him what it would feel like when the boat would take off. I was able to pull hard enough for him to reach standing position for a quick second. He only weighs in at about 60lbs. This way I was able to talk him through the process without the engine noise and the apprehension of the boat ripping his arms off. Shocking.gif

When we were ready to try it with the boat, we used a short line length so that I could talk him through the process. After a few trips of short length, he went out to about 55' and has been happy there ever since.

Good luck and be patient!


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I consider myself a pretty good teacher with kids. I have successfully started at least a dozen kids on their way to wakeboard careers. Some ideas:

Have the kid sit on the floor in your living room holding some kind of handle, knees bent. Reach down and grab the handle and help him/her stand up. It is a very similar feeling physically. That kind of lets them know what it should feel like.

Stick them in the water, knees bent as much as possible and just put the boat in gear. They can now feel the resistance they will encounter. Next, in the deep water start position accelerate to about 5 mph. If they look like they are going to get up, slowly continue to accelerate. Can't stress SLOWLY enough.

Encourage them by letting them know that they can just let go of the rope if they feel intimidated or scared.

This system has worked with everyone I've ever tried to teach except for one exception.

The exception was not at all athletic, and had a bad attitude after trying to get up 6 or 8 time unsuccessfully, and didn't think she could do it.

What I did with her was to sit her on the edge of a tube with board on and rope in hand. The tube wasn't tethered to anything, so it just came along with us. With her sitting on the tube, we slowly accelerated, and after a bit, she just stood up. She didn't stay up very long, but I got her up!

I've since used the tube method exclusively with 100% success.

Also regarding the boot spacing on the board...put the back foot all the way back on the board at a 90 degree angle to the board, put the front foot all the way back as well with a little angle towards the front. This is the most stable position for starting. If it looks like their legs are spread too far apart, adjust the back foot up one position.

My son started at 5 with his board in this position. He is now 8 and he has both feet all the way out, slightly ducked.

Make it fun...do it in front of an audience, because the applause really motivates the kids.

Good luck!

Edited by Peacock
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It really helps to have someone in the water with him when he starts. Best to start near a shore where the helper can wait for you to come back and get him.

A calming adult or teenager can really help settle nerves and apprehensiveness as well as keep the child stable in the water.

Worked for my sons.

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Even if you don't own one now, a boom is one of the very best investments that you can make in your boat. You can teach just about anybody anything on one. Aside from that, here's what we did before we got our boom.

We started our son (8 at the time) right behind the platform with my husband holding the rope (he had a life jacket on, as well as gloves). This takes good communication between the person holding the rope & the driver, but it works well because you can take just about all of the slack out of the line. It also puts the kid right there where you can talk to him & tell him what he needs to do. Having the line hooked to the tower, then you just feed the line out slowly & gently until he's all the way out. Don't use Perfect Pass until he gets the hang of it. The only bad thing about it is that some kids are scared of the turbulence, so YMMV.

Safety is the utmost concern using this technique - the driver should never leave his or her seat for any reason, & always be ready to kill the engine if needed.

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I found that if I have someone sitting in the boat talking to the kid when I am ridding, telling them how to watch what I am doing when I get up. Ill get up really slow stay squating down, just over do every action. then we do the sit down on the floor and mimic chris thing. by then they have a good idea of what it should feel like and look like. We then help them onto one our 1,000 boards, aid them getting into the water, and show them how to hold the rope so they can get up with the most succsess. Dad will drag them for a little bit so they get used to the pull of the boat, and learn not to let go right away. This has worked for most of the people who have come out on our boat, let them be 7 or 50.

But dont push kids too much to ride, did for my lil brother, now he doesnt want to ride any more after a wicked crash.

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Try and drag him around the grass/sand beach first. Make sure he has the feeling of the balance point between falling over backwards and getting pulled over the front. It's overkill for the proper feeling, but really helps kids transfer the feeling to the water.

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Thanks for all th great ideas. The tube idea is really an interesting idea. I will try and take it real slow and hopfully come back with some pic's to show off.


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I gave it a real good run last year for my son (8) then and couldn't get him to stay riding for more than a few seconds. I put him in a wakeboard camp last summer and he was riding around the bay on the second day. After that its like riding a bike for them.

Its a great feeling when their up a riding!

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It also helps if the new rider understands to keep that handle low and against the front hip as much as possible. I've found that the board wants to come back lipside on them. If that happens letting go with the back hand can right the board.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Well, I want to thank everyone hear for the input. It was a great vacation. My son was dieing to wakeboard. I thought about everything you guys said and decided to just put him in the water and pull him slow. Thinking I was going to go to one of your ideas next. Well, First pull he popped right up and stayed up for about 10 seconds. Second pull popped right up and stayed up for about 30 seconds. He never really stayed up much longer then about a minute but he is absolutly loving wakeboarding.

I think we created a monster. He was waking us up everyday at 6:00am to get out on the lake.

One of the best vacations I've ever had.

Thanks everyone

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I think we created a monster. He was waking us up everyday at 6:00am to get out on the lake.

One of the best vacations I've ever had.

That's awesome!! You've put a smile on my face. :)

Makes the boat worth having.

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All very good suggestions.

You've inspired me. . . my 5 yr old has been asking about wakeboarding the last couple of times out.

Maybe we'll give it a try this week. . . .

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We just got back from a week long trip to Dale Hollow. During the trip my 7 year old son learned to wakeboard Yahoo.gif . In one week he is already carving really good, trying to olie and thinking about crossing the wake. Woodsbu, your right about creating a monster once they get it they can't get enough.

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