Skimming the waters on their boards and executing heart-stopping flips and turns, wakeboarders live life to the fullest and are happiest out in the open seas, riding the wake.
What is wakeboarding?
A common sight at East Coast and out at sea, wakeboarding is a popular water sport that combines the techniques of water skiing, surfing and snowboarding. Pulled along by a motorboat, wakeboarders ride the waves (better known as wakes) on a lightweight board, skimming the water’s surface as they move along.
Origins of wakeboarding
Wakeboarding is considered a relatively new sport, having only burst onto the scene in the last 25 years. A unique combination of various sports, wakeboarding was most influenced by surfing, a perennial favourite among beach goers. The very first wakeboard was called a ‘skurfer’ and was developed by American surfer Tony Finn back in 1985.
The skurfer was a hybrid between a water ski and a surfboard, pulled along by a boat while its rider performed various surf-style moves on the wake. Though popular, it was difficult to ride the skurfer as it was akin to surfing behind a boat on a miniature surfboard. During the summer of 1985 however, foot straps were added to these boards and allowed for a better grip, thus marking the evolution of wakeboarding.
I want to be a wakeboarder
If you love the sun and the sea, wakeboarding is definitely a sport to consider picking up. Out in the open waters, there is literally nothing standing in your way as you ride the wakes, cutting through the waters at top speed.
While wakeboarding is a relatively easy sport to pick up, the most important thing when learning the sport is getting up on the board. Once you master that, it is easier to move on and learn more techniques.
“At the beginner level, it is crucial for students to get up and ride the wake, even if it for a short period of time. Once they are able to do that, they then graduate to moving in and out of the wake before embarking on surface tricks like bunny hops and surface 180,” says Jeremy Hoh, owner of local wakeboarding school, Wake Pirates.
For the uninitiated, bunny hops require the rider to hop along the wake while a surface 180 has the rider turning 180 degrees on his board while riding the wake.
What skills do I need?
Being a water sport, it is safer if students know the basics of swimming and treading water. However, there are non-swimmers who pick up the sport and are adept at it. Apart from the adrenalin high one gets while riding the wakes at full speed, regular sessions also develop your core muscles and help tone your body.
“Wakeboarding is a physically demanding sport and even though it seems like you might not be doing much, your body is actually getting a good work out,” says Jeremy.
Where do I sign up?
If you love the water and open seas, why not try your hand at wakeboarding? Classes are available daily at Wake Pirates, simply call to make an appointment.
Wake Pirates is located at SAF Yacht Club, Sembawang Club House, 43 Admiralty Road West, Tel: 9845 7452