This month we take a look at a relatively accessible sport in the Middle East: Wakeboarding. From beginner to expert, wakeboarding is not only fun, but a great way to give your core muscles a workout while getting a fresh dose of Vitamin D!

While 05:30hrs isn’t an ideal time to be getting out of bed on a Wednesday, it is if you’re in Dubai and intending on getting some flat water to go wake-boarding on! Riding courtesy of Xtremewakeuae.com, our rendezvous was on the East Marina walk, where we met owners Karim and Ahmed. Having recently opened their business, the flow of wakeboarder’s has steadily increased in the last few months with first timers arriving on a daily basis.
Goli Hashtroudi, yoga instructor and general all-round action chick gives some tips for those of you who are thinking of strapping in for the first time!

Step 1
Having your bindings/boots set up correctly on your wakeboard is important to maintain comfort while riding and to match your skill level. How a rider stands on a wakeboard is called a “stance.” There are different stances that work best for beginner, intermediate, and advanced riders.

Step 2
Getting started is easy if you follow these simple steps. Have the right equipment! The latest pro-board is not always the best to learn with. Give yourself a chance and get a board that is forgiving and helps you to progress. A larger board with one or more large rear fins helps to give the board direction and stability which is important when learning.
In terms of the length of the rope, about 15 meters (50’) gets you closer to the boat in a bigger wake, which will be helpful for learning to wakeboard. Now, direction. Your first step is determining whether you are regular (left-foot-forward) or goofy (right-foot-forward). For those of you who skateboard or snowboard, this is easy. If this is your first board sport, don’t panic. Stand up, feet together and have someone push you from behind. Whichever foot goes forward first is your lead foot. If you fall on your face, wakeboarding may not be your sport.

Step 3
Start in the water, floating on your back with a buoyancy vest. The board should be perpendicular to the rope with your arms outside of your knees. As the boat engages the throttle, you will be pulled against the board, allowing you to get into the proper starting position with most of the board below the surface of the water. Let the pressure on the board push your knees into your chest, then push your front food forward toward the boat. As the boat begins to accelerate, keep your arms slightly bent in and near your lower stomach. Shift your weight towards the front foot while keeping the nose above the water, and as the water begins to give you support, let the boar pull you and simple start to rise in to the standing position by extending your legs until your knees are slightly bent. Once you’re up, get comfortable on your board by bringing your weight toward the center of the board.

Crossing the Wake
This is one of the first steps you’ll need to take to begin feeling comfortable on the board. As you are pulled behind the boat, two predominant wakes will be created, and you will be standing in between them. Crossing the wake involves you directing your board outwards and literally flowing over the wake, leaving you standing on the outside. The simplest thing to remember when doing this would be to point your hips and the board in the same direction, and once committed, cross it! Remember the sharper the angle you attack the wake, the more likely you will be commencing take off, so remember to keep your knees bent at all times!

Which Muscles are Important?
The most important muscle group for any wakeboarder to target is the core muscle group, consisting of the abdominals, lower back, and pelvic muscles. These muscles are critical in keeping an individual’s weight centered over their board. Beyond the core muscles, no one group of muscles is more important than the other. Wakeboarders need to have good arm and upper body strength to help them keeping a good grip on the rope. Leg muscles are also important as they not only keep a rider on their board, but they also help the rider guide their board and absorb the impact of both choppy water and landings. As with most things, the best way to learn is to get out there and try it, so I look forward to seeing all you would be wakeboarder’s out on the water!

So you’ve got the basics under control, and you’re looking to push yourself out of your comfort zone? We hear from Oliver Amos who tells us a little about the sport and how to get yourself off the water and airborne with style!

Shape Magazine | June 2013