For a fantastic adrenaline rush out on the water, very few sports can beat wakeboarding. Similar to water skiing, wakeboarding involves being towed behind a boat and using the wakes the boat generates to perform tricks and jumps. Wakeboarding is generally practiced at lower speeds than water skiing, but that doesn’t make it perfectly safe. Plenty of hazards exist and you’ll want to be prepared to deal with anything that might happen, which means arming yourself with gear and knowledge first.
The folks at Norfolk Marine have created this list of wakeboard safety tips to help you practice this thrilling watersport without endangering yourself or others out on the lake. Come to us with any questions you might have about wakeboarding safety practices after reading this guide.
Equip Yourself With Safety Gear
As in any sport, safety gear is essential when wakeboarding. The most important piece of safety equipment is, of course, a life jacket. You’ll likely fall off when wakeboarding so you’ll need help staying afloat and righting yourself in the water in order to swim to safety. Someone on your boat should also have a signal flag to alert other boaters and crafts to your presence in the water. Another great piece of safety equipment to have is a helmet. You could hit an underwater obstacle, your board, or a boat if you fall off, so you’ll want to protect yourself from a concussion.
Be A Strong Swimmer
It’s likely that if you’re a weak swimmer, you’re probably not inclined to try watersports in the first place, but if you do want to wakeboard and your swimming skills need work, it’s best to get better at swimming first. You’ll need to be able to keep yourself afloat because you’ll likely fall off the first several times you try wakeboarding. A life jacket will help you, but it isn’t infallible and having strong swimming skills will save you a lot of floundering and exhausting yourself in the water waiting for rescue. Take some time to practice at a local pool or check out swimming lessons in your area to improve before you hit the water on your board.
Remain Courteous To Other Boaters
Showing other boaters and water users respect is important if you want that same respect shown to you. It’s common courtesy and being courteous can help you stay safe, too. Slow down around slower boats and pass to the right while signaling your approach. Give any swimmers in the water a wide berth. Respect that other boaters may be going faster or slower than you and be mindful of any craft nearby.
Obey Speed Limits & Signs
Your boat operator should always follow posted speed limits. There are also a number of safety signs on the water that address shallow depths, hidden obstacles and wildlife protection. Follow any guidelines you encounter to avoid doing damage to the environment or to your boat.
Work Your Way Up To Doing Tricks
While jumps, spins and flips are a lot of fun, they do require a certain level of skill to perform safely. Don’t try to do any of these moves right away; give yourself time to get used to simple wakeboarding maneuvers to build up your skills. After you feel comfortable with the board and how it moves, you can try simple tricks. Eventually, you’ll be confident and practiced enough to try the big moves.
Got a wakeboard, but don’t have a boat to tow it with? Come by our showroom to see our wide selection of new and used boats for sale, including boats for wakeboarding and other watersports. Norfolk Marine serves the cities of Chesapeake, Virginia Beach and Hampton, Virginia, with our location in Norfolk.