A boat, a board, a tow line, a life jacket and a body of water are what the wakeboarder needs to get started. These pieces of equipment can vary in expense and detail and can be overwhelming for the beginner. This article will help the beginner get started and define what equipment and brand names to look out for to get ready to ride the perfect wake.
First, the rider needs an inboard motor boat to produce a wake. These boats can range in power and speed. A wakeboarding boat has a tower mounted on the back of the boat, usually 2 meters high above the water line, where the attached rope extends out to a handle which the rider uses to hold onto. The boat can be weighted with ballasts or "fat sacks" which are bags filled with water or sand to give the boat additional weight in the front and back which produce larger wakes. Calabria, Centurion, Correct Craft, Epic, Gekko, Malibu, MasterCraft, MB, Moomba, Sanger, Session, Supra, Svfara, Tige are all leading brand names of wakeboarding boats. Typically, a beginner will want the boat to travel at a leisurely 19 mph, increasing to 24 mph as the rider's comfort level and skill progresses. This speed is fast enough for the rider to experience cutting over the wake and slow enough that the rider doesn't experience too much drag.
The wakeboard the rider buys will determine what style and kind of rider he or she wants to be. There are various features on a wakeboard which correspond to actions the rider can maneuver while riding. Beginner riders will want to buy a board with squared edges, this makes for a better startup and adds steadiness when the rider feels a lack of control. If the rider is more advanced and prefers to perform air tricks, a board with rounded edges will be optimal for landing in the water and gaining speed. Wakeboards are made in either single tip or twin tipped. Single tipped wakeboards are used when the rider wants to ride in one direction. Twin tipped boards offer the rider freedom to ride in normal stance and switchstance. Most boards today are sold as twin-tipped as the rider will ideally want to be able to ride and perform tricks while riding in both directions. A wakeboard's length average length is 120-150 cm. with a width of an average of 38-44cm. A beginner will want to work with a longer board for stability with starts and turns. A board has an angle or curves at its ends, referred to as rocker. A high rocker has a more rounded bottom which aids the rider in landing easier with jumps. A low rocker has a flat bottom and is optimal for acceleration and control.
Under the wakeboard is a set of fins, which is used for the rider's tracking and turning in the water. The boards also come equipped with boots and bindings which can be adjusted to the rider's comfort and foot size.
The rider will want to use a rope that doesn't stretch and is made of fabric such as Kevlar. The rope to tow the rider should be 60-70 feet long and the beginner will want to ride on the shorter end of this spectrum, towing the rider a bit closer to the boat where the wake is narrower and easier to ride.
Last but not least, the rider should always wear a life jacket!