What Is The Best Age To Start Wakeboarding?
Wakeboarding is a summer sport that involves holding onto a rope attached to the end of a boat and letting that boat pull you as you skid across the water. It is a great activity for getting your kids out and about under the sun. Keep reading to find out the best age to get your kids into this fun family watersport.
Before getting your children into wakeboarding, it is appropriate to set reasonable goals. How you approach the sport will differ depending on what you want your kids to get out of it. Do you want them to get in the water and have some fun, or do you hope they become professional athletes?
You must define these goals upfront so that you and your kids do not have unrealistic or differing expectations. Decide early on, and let them try wakeboarding first to see if they’d like to pursue it as a career.
Kids this age are probably not ready for waves. Wakeboarding is an intense sport. Being pulled by a boat fast enough so that you can slide on top of the water is physically demanding. When your child is gliding on the water, expect speeds of about 15 or 25 mph.
The best thing to do at this age is to give your children a love for the water. Take them out on the lake. Buy them paddle boards or canoes with which they can have some fun. Put a lifejacket on them and have them enjoy the water in the lake. They will be more inclined to want to go wakeboarding later if you instill a love for the lake early on.
Older children should be able to start wakeboarding, albeit with caution. Lifejackets are required for any person being pulled by a boat. Additionally, buy your child a wakeboard and shoes (a lot of them come with shoes attached) that are the right size for them.
Have them get in the water with their life vest and float on their back. Throw the wakeboarding rope and show them how to hold it over their chest and between their legs.
Increase the boat’s speed and have your child practice getting up on their feet. They should face sideways when wakeboarding. Have them place their dominant foot first, or whatever one they have in front while skateboarding or longboarding.
Older children, even six-year-olds, could have the strength to get themselves up and on the water. Cheer them up if they can’t get up on their first few trips since wakeboarding takes skill and strength that is built through practice.
Ages 12 and Up
Teenagers have the necessary strength to get up on a wakeboard as well as adults. However, that does not mean standing up on the water will be easy. Some people are naturals, but for many, it takes several tries.
Show your child how to properly lay flat on their back in the water and teach them how to rotate their torso and hips to get in the proper sideways position. Emphasize the importance of letting the boat pull them up. They don't need to work so hard to get up.
For Future College Athletes
Before you put your child on the road to becoming a wakeboarder in college, you should set appropriate expectations. Does your child want to be in a wakeboarding club, or do they want to be on a competitive college team? One may be available at their college if they want to join a club. These clubs usually do not require prior experience; therefore, your child could join one of them fairly easily.
However, if you are raising a future professional wakeboarding athlete, you will need to get a little more serious. College-level competitions are fierce: if you want to be competitive, you will need substantial practice.
If your child wants to continue their wakeboarding career after college, you should start looking for good colleges now. Search top wakeboarding colleges in the United States to get an idea of what to look for. Arizona State University, University of Central Florida, University of South Florida, University of Florida, Texas A&M, Oklahoma State, Mississippi State, and Baylor University are among the best wakeboarding colleges.
For Future Professional Athletes
While many colleges, such as Baylor University, will not require students who want to join their wakeboarding clubs and teams to have much prior experience, professional wakeboarders do not have it so easy. Professional wakeboarding takes a lot of determination and dedication. Hitting the water at 25 mph is tiring and demanding, especially when jumping over the wake and doing flips.
If your child wants to be a professional wakeboarder, you must teach them never to give up. They will fall; they will fall a lot. They will only be successful if they can get up every time the water knocks them down.
Look up professional wakeboarding to get an idea of what the athlete's life will be like. The Pro Wake Tour is an excellent resource for general professional wakeboarding information. The World Wake Association is also an excellent resource for finding professional wakeboarders.
Drowning is an obvious concern, but it is actually not the biggest one. Most lakes require persons being pulled by boats to wear life jackets. As long as you ensure your child wears one, they should avoid most of the dangers of drowning.
A more significant concern is the safety of where and how your child is wakeboarding. Make sure that there are no jagged rocks they may crash into. Also, be very aware of other boats. Always raise an orange flag into the air if you have a rider being pulled by the boat so that other boats do not miss them. Do not let your child start wakeboarding if another boat is nearby or passing by.
Additionally, ensure that your child drinks enough water, eats enough food, and applies plenty of sunscreen. Teach them to have proper posture as they get up onto the water and as they fall in the water. Not keeping your back straight and not using your legs can lead to back issues. Also, whiplash and neck problems are a genuine concern, as wakeboarders often fall in body positions.
How do I get my kid started with wakeboarding?
Get a boat or call a friend who has one, buy a wakeboard, and get out on the lake. If you do not know anyone with a boat, try to get your child hooked up with a wakeboarding club or team that will take them out.
How old should my child be to play wakeboarding?
Six years old is a reasonable minimum, but you can decide what is best for your child. If you are an experienced wakeboarder and are comfortable with starting them earlier, then great! However, ensure they can swim, wear a lifejacket, and have the strength to get themselves up on the water before starting them at any age.
Can I teach my child wakeboarding?
Yes, you can teach your child wakeboarding! There are many online tutorials for teaching your child wakeboarding. Snowboarders, skaters, surfers, and skiers already have an advantage. If you are any of these, many of your skills will transfer over.
How do I pick a wakeboarding coach for my child?
Search wakeboarding coaches near me. Make sure to choose the coach that connects best with your child’s learning style. Wakecoaches is an excellent resource to try out.