wakeboarder in green shorts

Wake up! | Wakeboarding For Beginners [Essential Tips]

Wakeboarding and wakesurfing are captivating water activities that have gained popularity among individuals of various expertise levels.

The “foundation” of these exhilarating water sports is, well, water… and wakes!

Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a beginner eager to ride the wakes, understanding the fundamentals of is crucial for a safe and enjoyable experience on the water.

From mastering the basics, to optimizing boat dynamics, safety considerations and honing advanced maneuvers, this guide provides essential tips that are useful for both beginners and pros alike.

So, Get ready to navigate the waves, elevate your skills, and make the most of your wake boat adventures!

What Is Wakeboarding?

wakeboard jump

Riders secure themselves onto a wakeboard, which is a more compact and maneuverable iteration of a surfboard, employing foot bindings crafted to anchor their feet securely. As the boat propels forward, it generates a wake; a trail of water and waves marking its passage.

Leveraging this wake as a natural ramp, the rider skillfully executes an array of tricks and maneuvers with finesse and flair, creating a captivating spectacle. The harmonious interplay of board, boat, and wake defines the unique and dynamic essence that characterizes the thrill of wake boating.

Key elements integral to wakeboarding:

  1. Wakeboard: These specially designed boards are shorter and wider than traditional water skis, ensuring stability and control during rides.
  2. Boat: Wake boats are crafted with features like wakeboard towers and ballast systems. The wakeboard tower enhances the tow point, providing an improved pull for the rider, while the ballast system permits the boat to take on water for added weight, influencing the wake’s size and shape.
  3. Towing rope: A sturdy and durable rope is utilized to tow the rider behind the boat. The length and design of the rope significantly impact the riding experience.
  4. Wake: This refers to the continuous series of waves formed by the boat’s movement. Riders skillfully use the wake as a ramp, executing jumps, flips, spins, and other tricks.

Wake Boats Versus Ski Boats

Now that we’ve covered a little bit of the wakeboarding basics, let’s dive into the distinctives of wake boats!

1. Hull Design

wakeboat on water
water skiier

2. Size and Weight

Wake boats tend to be larger and heavier than ski boats. The added size accommodates ballast systems, allowing wake enthusiasts to customize the size and shape of the wake.

Ski boats, designed for speed and agility, are generally more compact and lightweight, ensuring optimal performance for water skiing activities.

O'Brien System Wakeboard 140cm w/Clutch 7-11 bindings
  • Affordable Performance: Exceptional performance at a budget-friendly price. Continuous Rocker design ensures stability on the water and predictability off the wake, making it an excellent choice for riders just starting out.
  • Pro-Level Features: Deep, dual-barrel channels at the tip and tail, combined with center-mounted Attack Fins, ensure predictable tracking and easy edging and even pro-level riding if you aspire to that. Our pro team riders love this board.
  • Effortless Get-Up: Our extra buoyant foam core makes it incredibly easy to get up and out of the water, ensuring a frustration-free experience for beginners.
  • Versatile and Ideal for Friends: The System Wakeboard is not only perfect for newcomers to the sport but also a great addition to your boat. If you have friends or family members who want to try their hand at wakeboarding, this easy to ride board is the ideal choice for sharing the excitement.
  • Clutch size 2-5 bindings are already mounted on the board making you able to ride sooner!
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03/02/2024 09:35 pm GMT

3. Tow Points

wakeboat tower

Wake boats are equipped with elevated tow points, often facilitated by wakeboard towers. This configuration assists in achieving a higher tow point, enhancing the upward pull and resulting in a more pronounced wake.

Ski boats, conversely, have lower tow points, optimizing the line of pull for water skiers aiming for speed and precision.

4. Purpose-Built Features

Wake boats boast purpose-built attributes. This includes integrated ballast systems, wakeboard towers, and surf systems meticulously designed to establish optimal conditions for wake boating and wakesurfing enthusiasts.

In contrast, ski boats feature specialized elements like adjustable ski pylons, slalom ski racks, and speed control systems, addressing the unique requirements of water skiers with precision and efficiency.

Big Air Hydro Wakeboard Tower Wake Rack (Polished Aluminium)
  • Holds 2 Wakeboard Racks
  • Fits 2", 2.25", and 2.5" tubing sizes
  • Bungee straps for securing boards
  • Fully adjustable
  • Rubber inserts to protect your high end wakeboards
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03/02/2024 09:35 pm GMT

5. Maneuverability

Ski boats excel in agility and speed, showcasing their proficiency in effortlessly towing water skiers through slalom courses characterized by tight turns.

On the contrary, wake boats are specifically crafted to generate and navigate more substantial wakes, although retaining maneuverability, elevating the overall experience for enthusiasts engaged in wakeboarding and wakesurfing.

Understanding these fundamental distinctions empowers enthusiasts to make informed decisions aligned with their preferred water activities. Whether in pursuit of the ideal wake for executing tricks, or navigating the slalom course with precision, selecting the appropriate boat guarantees a customized and optimized experience on the water.

Top 5 Essential Tips for Wakeboarding Beginners

wakeboard in sunlight

1. Select the Right Equipment

For novices embarking on their wake boating/wakeboarding journey, it is advisable that the rider start with a user-friendly wakeboard designed to provide stability and forgiveness. As proficiency develops, one can gradually transition to boards featuring advanced attributes.

It is also imperative that your boat is outfitted with a top-notch wakeboard tower and a dependable towing rope. The inclusion of a quality wakeboard tower serves to elevate the tow point, resulting in a more elevated and consistently formed wake.

In addition, a high-caliber towing rope contributes to heightened control and responsiveness while wake boating. These considerations collectively contribute to an enhanced and safer wake boating experience.

2. Understand Boat Speed and Wake Shape

wake boat and wake boarder

As proficiency advances, there is room for a gradual increment in speed, introducing riders to a larger and more demanding wake. Experimenting with various speeds becomes paramount, allowing individuals to discern and settle on the optimum setting aligned with their evolving skill set and personal preferences.

Understanding how to manipulate the wake shape can be indispensable. Most wake boats feature ballast systems, enabling riders to augment weight in specific areas, thereby influencing the size and configuration of the wake.

Distributing weight evenly on both sides of the boat generates a symmetrical wake while augmenting weight on one side results in a more inclined or steeper wake. The ability to experiment with the ballast settings on your boat empowers riders to customize the wake according to their unique riding style, further elevating the wake boating experience.

Big Air Super Shadow Wakeboard Tower Bimini (Sunbrella Jet Black) - 76" x 76" - Mounts Over Existing Wake Tower
  • A HUGE 76" x 76" square frame that can adjust to virtually any position (not one size fits all like most competitors)
  • WAKE TOWER NOT INCLUDED - Must mount onto round tubing (cannot attach to flat plate, or oval tubing)
  • Will accommodate 1-7/8" tubing (5.89" circumference) to 2-1/2" tubing (7.85" circumference) - All mounting hardware for these measurements is included.
  • Fits over the top of your tower to offer headroom, speaker and light clearance
  • 100% compatible with your Big Air wakeboard tower or virtually any tower on the market. Fits other towers including: Monster, Aerial, DIY, Barewest, Samson and OEM Towers

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03/02/2024 09:41 pm GMT

3. Master the Basics: Body Position and Balance

wakeboarder with life jacket on

For beginners, maintain a stance with slightly bent knees, squared shoulders, and the distribution of weight centered over the wakeboard. Ensuring an even distribution of weight between both feet is crucial to prevent inadvertent leaning to one side.

As confidence grows and comfort levels increase, consider experimenting with weight shifts to exert control over the direction and edge of the ride.

Effectively redistributing your weight proves invaluable in navigating the wake, executing tricks, and adapting to the ever-changing dynamics of water conditions. This progressive approach not only enhances the overall wake boating experience but also lays the groundwork for more advanced maneuvers and techniques down the line.

4. Progression Through Practice and Patience

Wake boating stands as a sport that generously rewards dedication and continuous practice. For beginners venturing into this thrilling activity, it’s essential to spend time perfecting foundational maneuvers.

girl doing trick on wakeboard

Some examples of this are standing up on the board, navigating the wake, and executing controlled turns. These introductory steps serve as a solid foundation upon which more advanced tricks and spins can be gradually introduced as proficiency increases.

Consistency emerges as a central theme in the pursuit of wakeboarding mastery, with patience playing a crucial role. The learning curve is natural, and setbacks are part of the process, especially when attempting novel tricks.

Each fall or challenge presents an invaluable learning opportunity, enabling individuals to refine their techniques and enhance their overall skill set. Celebrating small victories along the way becomes a motivational tool, fostering a positive mindset and reinforcing a sense of achievement.

Airhead Bling Stealth Wakeboard Rope, 5 Sections, 75-Feet
  • The 15-inch EVA squid grip handle has full finger protectors for optimum comfort
  • Wakeboard rope is 75-feet long and has five takeoff sections of various lengths
  • 16 strand shimmering rope has innovative reflective material woven with high-quality polypropylene and features a 1,500 pound break strength
  • Bling tow rope sparkles in the sun and glows at twilight to increase visibility in the water
  • A Rope Keeper is included for tangle-free storage

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03/02/2024 09:45 pm GMT

5. Prioritize Safety

Prioritizing safety is a non-negotiable aspect of wakeboarding and boating in general, regardless of one’s skill level. Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned pro, a steadfast commitment to safety ensures a secure and enjoyable experience on the water.

life jackers on a rack

Enrolling in a boating safety course is highly recommended, providing invaluable insights into water rules and effective responses to diverse situations.

Additionally, having a dedicated spotter on board is essential. This individual serves as an extra set of vigilant eyes, keeping a watchful gaze on the rider and maintaining clear communication with the boat driver.

Even seasoned wake boaters should continually reinforce safety habits. This entails staying abreast of the latest safety regulations and advancements in safety equipment. A proactive approach ensures all participants are aware of and adhere to established safety protocols.

Making safety a top priority can ensure wake boaters engage in the sport with confidence, knowing that everyone on board is adequately protected. This collective commitment to safety creates an environment where enthusiasts can push their limits, explore new tricks, and enjoy the thrill of wake boating while mitigating risks on the water.

Final Thoughts On Wakeboarding

wakeboarder in mid air

These foundational principles establish the framework for a successful and gratifying wakeboarding/wake boating expedition. So, prepare your gear, launch into the adventure, and dive headfirst into the exhilarating thrill that wake boating has to offer.

orange sun in sky

Sunshine Dilemma – SPF vs. UPF: What’s The Difference?

Most of us love waking up and seeing bright, beautiful sunshine waiting for us outside. That warming sun can provide endless opportunities for beach trips, hiking, and other fun outdoor activities. 

While thinking about the countless adventures you can have on warm, sunny days, it’s also worth sparing a thought for your skin; specifically, how to protect it.

kayak fishing at dawn

What’s So Dangerous About the Sun?

There must be a reason why we lather ourselves in sunscreen and wear sun hats and skin protection sleeves. It’s because the sun can be dangerous. However, not everyone understands how hazardous it can be and the repercussions of poor sun safety. 

fiery sun

Exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays can result in skin, eye, and immune system damage. Sunburn and excessive UV light exposure can also result in skin damage, which might cause premature skin aging and even skin cancer

The Sun’s Ultraviolet Rays

UV radiation type chart

Earth’s atmosphere absorbs UVC (Ultraviolet-C) rays , so we don’t need to worry about those. However, long-term exposure to UVA (Ultraviolet-A) rays can cause wrinkling, aging, and skin elasticity loss.

UVB (Ultraviolet-B) rays can increase your risk of skin cancer compared to UVA rays. However, UVA rays may increase UVB’s damaging effects, like cataracts and skin cancer. 

CDC UV Rays graphic


Sun Protection Factor (SPF) vs. Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF)

So, what’s the difference between SPF and UPF?

Well, let’s take a look at what differentiates them…

sun and clouds

Sun Protection Factor (SPF)

Sun protection factor is a rating included on sun protection products for skin, like sunscreen and lip balm.

This is because the SPF rating measures how much protection a product can provide against UVB radiation, the UV ray known to cause sunburn and contribute to a skin cancer diagnosis. 

SPF 50 sunscreen

Most SPF products like sunscreens and lotions are produced for the sole purpose of preventing sunburn. Whether you’re hiking or relaxing poolside, SPF products can be crucial to wear at all times. 

Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF)

In contrast to SPF, the ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) is a rating for UV radiation that penetrates fabrics to get to the skin. It factors in UVA and UVB radiation, whereas SPF only factors in UVB.

UPF is something you might see mentioned on the labels of sun-protective clothing items like specific fabrics and hats. The higher the UPF rating, the less UV radiation can pass through the material.  Like SPF, UPF products are designed to prevent sunburn. However, they also aim to reduce the risk of skin damage. 

How to Protect Yourself From the Sun’s Harmful Rays

As much as we love spending time outside basking in the sun’s rays, that doesn’t mean we can’t keep ourselves safe when we do.

You can take a number of proactive measures to protect yourself and your family whenever you venture outside for relaxation or outdoor activities

Apply Sunscreen

Sunscreen is one of the easiest ways to protect yourself from the sun’s damaging effects. It’s also one of the most effective ways to prevent sunburn while reducing the risk of melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancer. 

However, what you use and how you use it matters in your bid to enjoy sun protection.

sunscreen in hand

Apply a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen to all exposed skin. Ensure it has an SPF rating of at least 30. Remember, the higher the number, the more protection you can enjoy.

Seeing broad-spectrum on the label can also give you peace of mind that the sunscreen can protect you from UVA as well as UVB rays. 

Re-applying the sunscreen every two hours will help maintain its protective barrier. However, you’ll need to apply it more frequently if you’re sweating, participating in swimming or other water sports, or exposed to moisture in other ways. If you don’t like the feeling of sunscreen on your lips, purchase an SPF lip balm for total protection. 


Wear Protective Clothing

The less skin you expose to harmful UV rays, the more protected you can be. Alongside applying sunscreen to any exposed skin, you can also wear protective clothing.

Long-sleeved shirts or T-shirts with skin protection sleeves, pants, sunglasses, and hats can all be excellent options. You might also like to purchase clothing and accessories with tightly woven fabric or an ultraviolet protection factor rating. 

Seek Shade

Spending time in the sunshine can be fun, but you don’t have to spend all day in it.

Seek shade when the sun’s rays are at their strongest, which is typically between 10 am and 4 pm. Fortunately, seeking shade when you’re out and about can be easy.

woman with sunscreen on nose

Get Vitamin D In Other Ways

If your entire aim with being outside in the sunshine is to ensure you get enough vitamin D, consider obtaining it in other ways. You can obtain vitamin D through supplements, oily fish, eggs, and red meat. Some food producers also add it to other foods like plant milk and breakfast cereals. 

Final Thoughts on SPF vs. UPF

As much as we can enjoy seeing the sun when we’re participating in outdoor activities, it can be more harmful than you think. So the more you know about sun safety and protecting your skin, the smaller your risk of sun-related illnesses and damage might be.  

Remember to wear sunscreen an UPF protective clothing… and have fun outdoors!

boat parked at marina for maintenance

Secrets To A Happy Boat | 4 Basics Of Boat Maintenance

Boats need love too…

Just like your car, your boat requires regular care and maintenance to keep it in optimal condition. And, with appropriate upkeep, it will last for several years and bring great memories to you and your family—whether using it on seas, rivers, or lakes.

However, boat care and maintenance isn’t just about inspecting a vessel visually before heading out into the waters. It’s also about caring for a boat after every trip and diligently following a maintenance schedule.

man riding in fishing boat

If you are not familiar with what is involved in boat maintenance, don’t fret! Most boat maintenance-related tasks don’t require a specialist.

In this guide, you’ll learn the basics of boat maintenance. We’ll show you how to keep your boat in excellent condition, like it brand new.

After all, if you can take care of your boat, you’ll be able to enjoy being in the water whenever you want.

Boat Maintenance List

Let’s take a look at a boat maintenance to-do list, so that you can keep your boat in top shape:

1. Keep Your Boat’s Exterior Clean

Keeping your boat’s exterior clean is important for reasons other than just looking good. 

First, having a clean boat helps prevent the spread of harmful and/or invasive species. It’s difficult to know what animal or plant has stuck to your boat, so it’s important to clean the boat, to ensure that you get rid of them, as to protect other bodies of water. 

man wearing black waterproof suit while pressure washing boat hull

Cleaning your boat’s exterior is an important part of boat maintenance that not only keeps your boat’s finish in good shape, but also prevents you from transporting invasive species to other bodies of water.

Second, having a clean boat keeps the boat structure protected by ensuring its finish is intact. For example, as time passes, the salt content of the sea will cause erosions, abrasions, and scratches, which could be too expensive to repair.

Third, a spotlessly clean vessel can save you money. If your boat’s hull is dirty, fuel costs may increase by up to 30%!

2. Keep Your Boat’s Upholstery Clean

At a minimum, you should clean your boat’s upholstery once every six months.

boat upholstery in fancy boat

High-quality boat upholstery is often resistant to sun damage, mildew, and mold. However, it can be subject to bubbling, cracking, and fading if it isn’t properly maintained. Plus, mildew and mold can make your upholstery smell bad and appear unkempt.

Follow these simple tips below when cleaning your boat’s upholstery. And, if this is too much for you, you can always ask professional boat cleaning services for help.

Here’s how to clean your boat’s upholstery:

  • Grab a brush with soft bristles and sweep the crevices and cracks of the upholstery. Make sure to get rid of any crumbs and hair strands.
  • To eradicate mold and mildew, create a vinegar solution (two parts water and three parts white vinegar). Use a spray bottle to apply the solution and let it soak for several minutes.
  • Rinse the vinegar solution with warm water. You may use a sponge to wipe down surfaces, too. 
  • Consider applying tea tree oil or baking soda if there’s stubborn mildew or mold. However, be more careful when it comes to stitching. Wipe and dry the excess using a microfiber cloth.
  • Lastly, apply a marine protection solution. This provides UV protection to prevent sun damage.


3. Store Your Boat

Storage is another critical part of boat maintenance. Most boat owners don’t use their vessels for 12 months a year. So, they must store them when the boating season reaches its finale. Learning how to store and winterize your boat may help prolong its lifespan. 

yacht boat at marina

There are many ways to store your boat, depending on where you live. Storage fees typically range from USD$50 to USD$200 per foot—when in season. 

During winter, you need to keep your boat away from ice, moisture, and snow. However, you shouldn’t seal it airtight, because it requires proper airflow to prevent mildew growth. Also, fuel and fluid lines must be clear to ensure that chemicals don’t destroy anything.

  • On The Water Storage: This is a good option for warmer climates. Most marinas and harbors will let you store your boat all year round.
  • Outdoor Storage: This is a cost-effective boat storage solution. Hire a pro to wrap your boat to ensure optimum protection and airflow. 
  • Indoor Storage: You can store your boat in your garage if you have ample spare space. Or you can rent a storage unit if your budget allows it.

Prepare your boat for storage with these simple tips:

  • Check all hoses and replace those that are damaged.
  • Replace inline fuel filters.
  • Clean the propeller and its shaft, and make sure to lubricate them properly.
  • Flush the waterlines and engine using clean water.
  • Remove spark plugs and lubricate the holes.
  • Fill the tank with fuel and add an antibacterial stabilizer.
  • Remove the battery and keep it to preserve the charge.
  • Remove all electronics and carpets.

Following these tips before you store your boat for a long time will help preserve its condition correctly.


4. Follow The Boat Maintenance Checklist

Mechanic installing speed boat engine

Here’s a basic boat maintenance checklist below to help you keep track of the boat parts that may require attention

Boat Maintenance Checklist:

  • Engine: Inspect for loose belts and cracked hoses and replace them immediately. And, check to ensure that the outboard motor is secured. 
  • Propeller: If your boat has a stern drive or outboard motor, make sure you check the propeller before launching. Inspect the nut and tighten it using a deep socket wrench if necessary.
  • Battery: Like every vehicle, the battery is the heart of the boat. Without it, the engine and other electrical components won’t start. Check your battery once a year and inspect its charge with a multimeter, and also check connectors for corrosion. 
  • Bilge Pump: The bilge is a part where excess water accumulates, and the bilge pump removes it. So, if it doesn’t work properly, your boat might sink. You can also buy a backup pump in case of emergency.
  • Electrical Lines: Inspect electrical lines for deterioration, as they could become a fire hazard. Always keep them clean to ensure that everything works fine.
  • Oil And Filter: Change the oil and filter whenever necessary, according to manufacturer’s recommendations. If you don’t, some engine parts may get damaged. 
  • Fluid Levels: To ensure optimal boat performance, check other fluid levels occasionally, such as coolant and power steering fluids.


Final Thoughts On Boat Maintenance

boat in water with motor running

Proper boat maintenance may help your vessel perform better. By using the checklists and information above, you can help to ensure a safe and enjoyable boating experience.

If you need an extra hand, don’t hesitate to seek professional help. There are a number of companies like Seakeeper Maintenance, or other boat service providers that can help guarantee the best condition of your boat parts.

Enjoy your time on the water!