|The O'Brien freestyle board shown is a very forgiving
board for beginners. We have got the instruction down such that
a beginner will normally be up and having fun on their 2nd try.
We have been running with the rope set at 20' off (~55ft). This
gives a better wake for jumping. Placing 2 adults in the read
seat makes the wake significantly bigger and more fun to jump
Later in the summer we got a Hydroslide with retractable fins.
It was a big improvement in handling. I can now clear the wake
The quick instructions for getting up:
Loosen strap and fix the Velcro at last 6" or so. Fold strap
forward and tuck under one elbow as you grip the handle and front
of the board. If it cannot be tucked under the elbow, it stands
a good chance of sliding down and getting caught under one of
As soon as the boat is moving pull knees up under you and get
your butt down. The driver will run at 1500-1800 rpm. Getting
the center of gravity low is a key point in successfully getting
up. As soon as a kneeling position is achieved, lift the strap
over the knees, but do not tighten. Just keep from kneeling on
the strap. At this point the driver should speed up slightly (~200
rpm) to reduce the pull on the boarders arms.
While kneeling, hold the handle centered over the board. When
one handed (tightening strap), it helps to hold it in the center
of the handle. Scoot your knees forward until you are at the front
of the pad. Now fasten the strap firmly across the thighs.
If the boarder is headed off to the wake when trying to get up,
stop and start over. This is common for the beginner and very
difficult to recover from. It is better to conserve strength and
re-start than to keep them struggling in an off balance situation.
Also, wear a short swim suit. A longer pair of shorts, while
fashionable, will often catch on the knee preventing the boarder
from pulling their knee forward as they get up. This is very comical
for those in the boat as the boarder is stuck halfway up and now
pulling their shorts down, but the humor seems to be lost on the
Finally lean back to stabilize. If the board is squirming, the
weight is too far forward. It is very hard to fall backwards.
Lean back even more when crossing the wake. Most of the falls
seem to be come from catching a leading edge or planting the tip
when crossing the wake.
Knee boarding is a low speed activity and you don't fall far.
This minimizes risk and helps get the fearful ones out of the
By the way, the Hydroslide video is nearly useless for instruction
for tricks and has no beginner information at all.
Next year we will add more photos and movies of this. It was
not easy to learn without instruction (it took me 10 times to
finally get up). With simple instruction and watching a couple
of people start, it is then actually very easy to learn.