So you want to learn water sports? Start with kneeboarding!
Learn to Kneeboard
Learning to kneeboard is easy and fun for kids of all ages. Getting the hang of being pulled behind a boat, navigating the waves, and balancing is not only rewarding, but are critical skills needed for water skiing and wakeboarding as well.
1. Get in position: Wearing a properly fitted flotation device, lay flat on your belly on top of the kneeboard with your feet dangling in the water behind you. The handle of the tow rope should be in the hook at the top of the kneeboard. Allow the boat to inch forward to create a bit of tension on the rope. Keep your weight back to hold the board tip up while pointed straight at the boat. Hang onto each side of the board with your elbows resting on the kneepad, balancing your weight on the board with your elbows.
Get Ready to Kneeboard
2. Start moving: When you are in proper position, signal the boat driver to begin accelerating. As the kneeboard is being towed, slowly move your knees up to your elbows while keeping the front of the board pointed at the boat and your weight back. When your knees touch your elbows, rock back on your heels, and straighten your back and arms. Keep your eyes up and looking forward.
3. Secure the strap: There is no rush to get strapped in. You will glide behind the boat as you pull the strap up over your knees. After getting comfortable for 20 seconds or so with your shoulders back and arms straight, secure the kneeboard strap over your thighs and take the tow rope handle off of the hook. Hold the handle with your knuckles up and your arms stretched out in front of you, bent slightly at the elbows. Signal the boat driver to increase or decrease your speed until you feel comfortable: thumbs up to increase speed, thumbs down to decrease speed. The boat driver should be now driving at a speed appropriate for your weight (less than 50 pounds: 5-8 mph; 50 – 100 pounds: 8-12 mph; 100 – 150 pounds: 12-16 mph; 150 or more pounds: 16-20 mph).
4. Steer the kneeboard: When you are ready, learn to control the kneeboard inside the boat wake by turning your head and shoulders in the direction you would like to turn and lean slightly. This will make the front of the kneeboard turn naturally. To cut deeper and add speed to your turn, put your weight on the back side of the direction you want to turn. For example, to turn right, lean back on the back right side of the kneeboard while you move your head and shoulders to the right.
Use the Kneeboard to Steer
5. Cross the wake and learn some tricks: After learning to start and steer, the real fun begins! You’ll soon be comfortable enough to cross over a single wake, then it will be natural to take wider cuts with deeper edges to cross over from outside one boat wake to the other side. Continue to be mindful of proper body position as you attempt more tricks such as side slides, reverse side slides, 180-degree turns, and backwards steering. Trust yourself as you improve your skills. Learn how to build momentum to cross from one wake to up and over the opposite wake, always keeping your weight on the back of the board with the front tip pointed up and in the right direction. At this point, congrats! You are now officially a water sports champion.