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Indyxc

Nasty Falls name of the wakeboarding game?

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Indyxc

Well, I grew up wakeboarding here and there a couple times a year.

Over the last 2 years living on a lake, I've been wakeboarding steadily and progressed to the point where I am trying Hs 360s, grabs, toe side wake to wake jumps.

On the 360s especially, I've had some nasty falls where I rotate basically 270 degress, catch my rear edge, and just slam into the water with my head. A couple times now I've seen stars after the fall, or even had a headache after.

I'm riding 21.5, 65 feet, stock VLX wake, so I'm not exactly bombing it.

I don't ride with anyone that is a pro level wakeboard for reference, so are falls like this just the name of the game? I can't imagine taking stary eyed fall after fall trying a trick.. Is that normal?

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srintx

Wish I could comment, all I can say is my crashes and burns have resulted in 2 broke ribs.

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85 Barefoot

avoid it obviously but yes normal. Back in the day I've heard some crazy stories of guys like Cobe and I wnat to say Charley Patterson and others who would get knocked out and they'd just get paid down on the dock and then come to and come back out and ride again. I'm sure that's somewhat exaggerated but there is some crazy head trauma involved for many WB falls.

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Michigan boarder

I'd say it's normal. I am right about where you are skill wise and I quit trying to progress for fear of busting myself up too badly (age 43). So all I do now are 180's, different grabs, and try to make every pass wake to wake. I can't afford any sort of leg injury, and I've seen stars too many times. Every now and then I try that front roll, if I under-rotate it's not a bad fall.

Try barefooting. It feels more intense and the falls are nothing like a board fall, you may tumble on the water more at 40mph but you don't absorb the impact like you do at 20mph.

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augie09

You don't need to see stars. Do you have your 180's with handle passes down?

I slowed down to 19mph, and practiced 180's with handle passes over one wake. I found the less I focused on the rotation/spin and more on just the handle pass at top of the jump, things went smoother for me. I started then practicing 3's over one wake, actually kept over rotating and landing (crashing) on a 450.

take with a grain of salt as I still haven't landed a 3 w2w since I broke my foot at the cable park practicing 3's on the rails as build up to w2w 3's.

Edited by augie09

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msuwaterski

Yes, nasty falls are the name of the game. I had a buddy fold his shin in half on a scarecrow earlier this summer. But it doesn't have to be that bad. Anytime you are learning a new trick you should slow the boat down and only do a one wake jump. Obviously the more advanced the trick you can't always do that but it will save you a lot of pain until then.

Edit: augie09 beat me to the punch.

Edited by msuwaterski

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mikeyg

If you want to progress, falls are going to be part of it. No way around it. In my opinion, spins are much more technical than the basic inverts. At my age (46) I've come to the realization that spins are not worth the risk of getting hurt.

Do you have all 8 of your 180s locked down? Or are you just hucking it with hopes of landing the 360? Learning all of the 180s definitely helps keep your rotation on the proper axis.

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kengrutza

It's interesting to see this post because 1. my youngest son is getting to this point in his skills and had taken some nasty falls (no stars reported yet)

I've played hockey for years and can remember a few times getting hit into the boards and "seeing stars". I was told that I had suffered minor concussions.

But I've been reading stories on ESPN.com about head trauma to football players. You don't have to be knocked cold to have a concussion.

Sounds like some good suggestions here to slow down and try the tricks in a less aggressive fashion. Have you considered wearing a helmet during the practice runs?

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Daren

Non-releasable bindings result in higher head impact speed (pretty obvious). I switched from LF Ultras to Transits a few years ago and got 2 concussions within a month. Pretty sure it wouldn't have happened with my Ultras. I liked the performance of my transits, but it's not worth it. I take a lot of my jumps into the flats and catch edges every now and then. I swear I catch more edges just boosting plain heelside jumps than I do when I'm trying to learn stuff so "slowing down when learning" doesn't work for me. I have gone back to my Ultras and bought several extra pair on Ebay. It's half way between catching an edge on a wakeskate (no problem) and taking a wicked digger with non-releasable bindings.

I don't have much helmet experience, but would definitely experiment with one if you're set on non-releasable bindings.

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obski

I've finally come to the conclusion that at this point in my life I'm not going to be progressing much beyond where I am. If I were younger, I would be all over progressing and paying the price to get there. I spent a week at The Boarding School 5 years ago and had a great time, but have never been so beat up in my life. I can't count (maybe it's can't remember) how many times I slapped the back of my head on the water. I'm not willing to pay the price any more. I have fun with my little bag of tricks and I ski more than I board now anyway. Of course, my worst injuries have come after wiping out on a slalom ski, but those are ones that I don't see coming.

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TallRedRider

I am in love with my helmet. The haters on helmets are just that.

I criticized my buddy when he first brought a helmet to the lake. We suggested he keep it on the boat right next to his purse and such. But then I took one of those headers. I took the helmet on my next run, and as luck would have it, I took a very similar faceplant. The difference sold me on it. I bought a helmet that afternoon and wear it almost religiously.

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Rooster Tail

I'll chip in with a recommendation to wear a helmet. I made the investment (pretty minimal, considering what I already have invested in 'Bu, board, bindings, wake line, handle, vest, etc.) after the first time my eyes wouldn't refocus after a toeside digger. Do I look like a doober when I wear it? Absolutely. Do falls still hurt? Yep, but not nearly as bad. I can't speak for the rest of the crew, but I don't exactly have brain cells to spare; so killing off the ones I had allocated to stayinig continent in my golden years seems like a bad tradeoff.

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oceanbu

I've finally come to the conclusion that at this point in my life I'm not going to be progressing much beyond where I am. If I were younger, I would be all over progressing and paying the price to get there. I spent a week at The Boarding School 5 years ago and had a great time, but have never been so beat up in my life. I can't count (maybe it's can't remember) how many times I slapped the back of my head on the water. I'm not willing to pay the price any more. I have fun with my little bag of tricks and I ski more than I board now anyway. Of course, my worst injuries have come after wiping out on a slalom ski, but those are ones that I don't see coming.

:plus1: Would love to progress but have a family and responsibilities that I need my head and limbs for. Every year I just try to maintain the tricks I know. Used to be able to do Tantrums in my sleep but after some bad falls and almost breaking my ankles just can't bring myself to even try them anymore.

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mikeyg

Not trying to hate on helmets and I do see their value protecting the head in the event of those "scorpion" falls where the board hits you in the back of the head. But wouldn't impacting the water with a larger surface area create more deceleration and rock your brain more? Worst concussion I ever got was when wearing a helmet.

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Indyxc

Wow, quite a bit of advice form everyone.

I don't have all my 180s down, basically just w2w heel side front side 180. I can do toe side 180, one wake, and switch heel side 180. That really isn't the issue. My question really revolved around quick stops in the water, regardless if the fall is wake to wake, or just catching an edge. I've had nasty falls off of one wake where I caught and edge, and was basically slammed against the water, then saw stars. I was really just wondering if those stars happen to everyone, or am I just being a wuss.. Because you see these pro videos where these guys go off a doulbe up do some inverted variations with a 720 in there, and just slam into the water. I can't imagine that, so was wonder how they survive that, when I don't like surviving basic edge catches.

So since it seems nasty falls are normal, what are some solutions? I think the better you get, the better you can "fall" meaning you know how you are coming to a fall, and you can brace/adapt your body to the fall, or somehow pull it out.

Other than that, loose bindings, I don't buy into. I rather have star eyes I think, then one foot staying in the binding, and the other not, and the board mangling my legs.

Helmet is a good idea, I have a ski helmet I am going to try, but how does the helmet decelerate your head any more slowly than the water? The main concept of a helmet is to prevent impact with solid stationary objects, which generally dont exsist in the water. Your head I think would slow down the same rate in water, with or without helmet. I'll give it a go though.

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martinarcher

I've finally come to the conclusion that at this point in my life I'm not going to be progressing much beyond where I am. If I were younger, I would be all over progressing and paying the price to get there. I spent a week at The Boarding School 5 years ago and had a great time, but have never been so beat up in my life. I can't count (maybe it's can't remember) how many times I slapped the back of my head on the water. I'm not willing to pay the price any more. I have fun with my little bag of tricks and I ski more than I board now anyway. Of course, my worst injuries have come after wiping out on a slalom ski, but those are ones that I don't see coming.

Unfortunately I'm right there with you. I was progressing pretty well for the first three years of riding by teaching myself trick by watching youtube and learning the hard way. I'm into just cutting my teeth on inverts and am ridiculously close to landing backrolls. Last summer I threw a fakie W2W 180 that I can do in my sleep and came down funny on my toe edge. The momentum of my body carries through and I ended up with my cheek slamming into my knee. I broke two bones in my face. First time I've ever not drove the boat back to the dock or drove my truck home. That slowed me way down and gave me the same outlook as obski. I suffered with neck problems and neck pain about 8 months after the accident. I just decided I have just as much fun throwing my easy bag of tricks and would rather come home and be able to walk alight the next morning.

I'll tell you one thing, after you've spent some time on a board and taken some of the big hits being discussed here it just makes you appreciate the guys who can really throw down even more. :thumbup: I give them mad props. :clap:

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shawndoggy

I've finally come to the conclusion that at this point in my life I'm not going to be progressing much beyond where I am. If I were younger, I would be all over progressing and paying the price to get there. I spent a week at The Boarding School 5 years ago and had a great time, but have never been so beat up in my life. I can't count (maybe it's can't remember) how many times I slapped the back of my head on the water. I'm not willing to pay the price any more. I have fun with my little bag of tricks and I ski more than I board now anyway. Of course, my worst injuries have come after wiping out on a slalom ski, but those are ones that I don't see coming.

I'm glad I'm not the only one who left the Boarding School feeling that way.

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Daren

Just to clarify, LF Ultras are not "loose", they are releasable. They are made from stretchy material that allows you to eject. I keep hearing people talk about crashing with one foot out and having a windmilling board shred your other leg to bits. I've had one foot come out after catching an edge hundreds of times. Once you slam down and one foot ejects, you're under water and basically stopped, there is no windmilling. Sure it could be nasty if one foot came out in mid air, but they're not that easy to come out of. I'm not saying you should get old school bindings, but if you ride non-releasable bindings you will get hit much harder.

I always cheer when someone rides by me throwing down big tricks. Sometimes people will ask me why I'm cheering, I tell them it's because I know how much that rider had to pay for those tricks.

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TallRedRider

Not trying to hate on helmets and I do see their value protecting the head in the event of those "scorpion" falls where the board hits you in the back of the head. But wouldn't impacting the water with a larger surface area create more deceleration and rock your brain more? Worst concussion I ever got was when wearing a helmet.

I think that your thinking is pretty sound there. You worry about the deceleration causing the brain rattle we call a concussion. But I think that the padding in the helmet gives your brain a few extra mm of cushion that you wouldn't get otherwise. I think that the overall benefit still is on the side of riding with a helmet.

Wow, quite a bit of advice form everyone.

So since it seems nasty falls are normal, what are some solutions? I think the better you get, the better you can "fall" meaning you know how you are coming to a fall, and you can brace/adapt your body to the fall, or somehow pull it out.

Other than that, loose bindings, I don't buy into. I rather have star eyes I think, then one foot staying in the binding, and the other not, and the board mangling my legs.

Helmet is a good idea, I have a ski helmet I am going to try, but how does the helmet decelerate your head any more slowly than the water? The main concept of a helmet is to prevent impact with solid stationary objects, which generally dont exsist in the water. Your head I think would slow down the same rate in water, with or without helmet. I'll give it a go though.

I ride with a guy who is very good, and even when trying new tricks, he rarely faceplants. It does seem that the better you get, the better you get at falling as well.

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Liquidmx

Falling and not getting hurt is 80% of the game. Just like house cats you need to learn to fall and build better air awareness to quickly make the decision to bail or hold on to the rope. What I tell a lot of beginners is that falling is kind of like the whole "head on drunk driver" phenomenon. The more relaxed you are and go with the fall/momentum...rather than fighting it...the less pain you will incur.

Now, with all that said...I have been knocked unconscious many times, done the ACL surgery dance as well as ankles and shoulders....and I would consider myself a decent rider at best. So in many ways...the injuries come with the territory...but at the same time, learning to fall without getting hurt is important as well.

In regards to your comments about learning 360's I would like to pose this question...how are your surface 360s at a slow speed...say 16mph? Your Toeside W2W should be on lock as well as a switch HS W2W and both TS and HS frontside 180's. Wakeboarding is one of the few sports that allows 95% of the riders to skip certain tricks and skillsets which contributes to a LOT of injuries. I trashed my knee on a scarecrow and was throwing whirlbirds before i could even do a HS BS 180 or 360...point being...we have all done it...but taking a few steps back to learn the basics will help you avoid getting injured.

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Joeprunc

Don't have time to read all the posts, I'm sure there are some good ones. I have a neighbor that got into wakeboarding a few years ago, he is 43 years young and can throw flips, & spins. These are some of the things he did to make sure he can go to work on Monday....(he is an engineer so he slightly over analyzes a lot of things).

1) Do not ride above your ability, make sure your wake to wake jump & technique is perfect before moving forward.

2) Practice on land. He has a trampoline in his back yard with a line attached to practice on the land before the water (this also saves $$ in gas and advil).

3) He goes to gymnastics class, he said this helps tremendously.

4) When trying something new they will load up their boat for one wake jumps (all weight on one side) they will tow at 18 mph with a 55 ft rope. This allows a large wake and time to get use to the trick without the beat downs.

5) He focuses on one trick at a time. If he gets frustrated he goes back to what he can do, then comes back to the new trick.

He is very meticulous. I on the other hand try stuff get beat down then have a few beers and try it again.

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wakeboarder3780

I'm not sure I fully agree with everyone here. Are falls in general necessary? Yes. Are nasty falls common place? Only if you make them. IMO after you learn the w2w, you get to the point riding skill wise where you can control how nasty of falls you take. Right now what you're describing for nasty falls is actually avoidable by technique if you know what you're doing wrong. What I mean by this is if you're spinning the correct axis, even if you spin a 270, you shouldn't come towards the boat and get whiplash.

Axis on a 360 should be tilted away from the boat so you can always see the bottom graphics of the board. I have currently just started landing this trick. I can confirm that some of the worst falls I've ever taken in my life were when trying to learn 360's when I was about 17. Things that are helping me not get beat up now are:

A) Shortening the line, once you can make it w2w and get your entire spin (maybe just missing the handle pass) that's the right length. You CAN choose to go longer line and do it one wake but if you can already do 2, stick with 2 and a shorter line.

B) Slow down slower than your normal speed, this will make you comfortable throwing the trick and help remove fear of crashing. If you've shortened the line, slowing down 1mph per 5' seems to work well.

C) Focus on pop. You may have heard the mantra "Pop, Pull, Pass". If nothing else make darn sure you're popping. The more air, the more time to spin.

D) Make sure you set your axis correctly and have slightly tilted backwards axis.

Put those together and you'll stop getting blackouts / lights. Always always progress in the safest manner possible (shortening line, slowing speed, doing progression drills) and it will be a lot easier on your body. I'm not saying you're doing anything wrong, but you CAN avoid a regular frequency of "bad" crashes by progressing "appropriately". Each trick is different. Read up lots each time about progression steps you can take so you save your body the beating. GL, stomp that 3!

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JonnyRad91

I always say if it didnt hurt they would call it wakesurfing. :)

My number one tip i can give you for lessoning the pain of falls is simple. Find yourself a great crew of positive happy people to ride with. If you have a good attitude and everyone on the boat is giving it everything they have, you will be encouraged and you will love the sport. The commoradory with the guys that I ride with make it so even when i do eat it i get up and do it again because I know everyone in the boat is cheering me on and doing the same thing. Wakeboarding is a team sport and we need it to be else more people are going to switch to rollerblading *cough* i mean wakesurfing :).

Edited by JonnyRad91

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flapjack

So since it seems nasty falls are normal, what are some solutions? I think the better you get, the better you can "fall" meaning you know how you are coming to a fall, and you can brace/adapt your body to the fall, or somehow pull it out.

1) someone mentioned earlier that you learn tricks by progressing. Don't huck tricks. If the trick isn't going right, ditch the handle. This will greatly reduce the awkwardness of the fall.

2) Falling forwards, never turn your head to the side (eardrum and concussion risk). Your goal is to get your forehead or top of head to the water first.

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augie09

1) someone mentioned earlier that you learn tricks by progressing. Don't huck tricks. If the trick isn't going right, ditch the handle. This will greatly reduce the awkwardness of the fall.

2) Falling forwards, never turn your head to the side (eardrum and concussion risk). Your goal is to get your forehead or top of head to the water first.

I don't know if I've ever had time to put my forehead down when catching a frontside edge, i'll have to work on that. I usually just wash out under my eyelids, up my sinus's and back of my throat with lake water, and maybe a bloody lip if I feel like it :)

Strange enough, I have gotten able to bracing for rear whiplash, i.e. back edge catch when landing with axis towards boat. the rear ones hurt me way more than the forward ones. I brace by thinking 'sit-up'. The sit up motion of tucking my chin down, curling back and crossing arms usually works and my mid back takes the slam instead of head. If you're not used to sit-ups though you may pull a neck muscle.

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