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This page last updated 7/19/03                        2000-2003 Mark Bronkalla

This was the summer of learning

We finally figured it out.

After getting the video "Class In Session I" and many attempts, the kids, friends and I can now successfully wakeboard.

We spent much more time this summer boarding than skiing.

Here is David airborne on my board.

Yes, even big guys can board

Last summer I tried to get up on David's board (135cm) and could not. This summer I got a Liquid Force Rhythm 147 cm. The larger board was a big help. I got up on my third try.

When learning, it helped to have the front binding facing more nearly forward on the board. After a bit we changed to a neutral stance to be able to switch to a "goofy" stance with the other foot forward.

As we learned, it was a fun competition between David and myself to see who could do the next trick. We kept leap-frogging each other and goading each other on to do more.

After becoming comfortable in the normal stance we then moved on to goofy. Once we could ride in either stance it was time for 180s. There are many variations with increasing levels of difficulty.

Photography and falls

Timing is everything and with a digital camera, the 1-2 second delay after you depress the shutter release is very annoying.

When he pushed the button I looked REALLY GOOD (honest). Anyway the shot did capture one of my many spectacular falls. Lots of water in the air is good for the amusement of the spectators in the boat.

This landing did not hurt. Front edge catches are another matter altogether. We learned to release early on a forward fall to avoid being slapped on the water and having the insides of our eyelids rinsed out.

To hold 'em or to fold 'em?

Knowing when to let go of the handle is also important. Holding on too long can result in a painful face plant. This is usually done by catching the leading edge of the board and then slapping the water hard with your body (kind of like a high speed belly flop) and peelng your eye lids open on impact.

Sometimes, you just loose your grip. Hard to tell exactly what David was thinking here.

 

Amusing the spotter

Our attepmts to learn new tricks provides nearly endless amusement for the spotter. Whether we go (too) big and fall or "save" a landing with some spectacular maneuvering, the wakeboarding is fun to watch.

Teaching and learning

Last summer (2002)we taught a total of 10 people how to board.

We have now mastered 180s both on the surface and wake. Power slides and butter slides are a lot of fun. For more information on tricks and techniques try: http://www.wakeboarder.com/tricks/tricks.phtml

The "Detention" and "Class in session" videos are a big help as well.

This summer clearing the wake has become much more consistent with the pylon and side sacks.

So far, we have not yet successfully landed a 360 or a flip.

Having a pylon is a big advantage. We went boarding on a friend's boat with a pylon the ease of getting up is a big difference , but also the increase in altitude on jumps is tremendous.

New boarders

Here is a shot of Elyse learning.

At first skiers who make the transition to boarding hold the rope in front of them rather than at the hip. This causes them to go through the water at an angle and zoom out of the wake in an uncontrolled manner. Invariably they will be out on heel side and then are stuck as they cannot turn strongly enough to toe side to cross back in the wake.

Simply letting go with the rear hand allows the handle to move to your side and straighten out.

This allows the boarder to practice in the wake and get comfortable with steering heel to toe.

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