Singapore is an island-state surrounded by water. It is no wonder that people living here love the various water sports available. Some of the most popular water activities include canoeing, kayaking and wakeboarding. Singapore’s size also meant that these sports are only found in specific locations and work on pre-booking systems. For example, wakeboarding locations such as Marina Cove Country Club and East Coast are always crowded with eager wakeboarders on weekends.

What is wakeboarding?

In a nutshell, wakeboarding is a variation of waterskiing. It is a water sport that allows a person to ride on the surface of the water using a board. In wakeboarding, the rider gets himself or herself fastened to a board and a motorised boat tows the person around. The rider enjoys the thrill of riding on water and also performs tricks using the board in advanced stages of their wakeboarding journey.

Some skiers do not fancy using a motorised boat as it risks water contamination. It is also expensive to hire a boat for wakeboarding. These skiers are likely to choose cable ski, where riders are fastened to an overhead cable that is about 8 to 12 metres above the water surface. Cable skiing allows riders to enjoy wakeboarding using clean energy at a lower cost.

A Brief History of Wakeboarding

Wakeboarding has a complicated history. There are many claims regarding its origins from various places. However, the most widely accepted answer is Australia. In the 1980s, a man named Darby was given a skurfing board (Skurfing board is the predecessor of wakeboarding where no bindings were used during the tow). Darby and his friends began to craft their own skurfing board as a hobby and ended up incorporating a company selling the self-made boards.

Around the same time, a surfer in Florida, named Howard Jacobs, was adding foot straps and pads on his surfing board to attempt tricks that were impossible on a regular surfboard.

By the mid-1980s, two companies emerged as the forerunners for selling wakeboards. Darby teamed up with inventor Bruce McKee to create the “Wake-Snake” while Bruce and his associate, Mitchell Ross, created the “Surf-Ski” board and launched it during the 1984 Chicago’s IMTEC show.

Wakeboarding also became a competitive sport in the X Games II in 1996. The addition gave recognition to the water sport, and it continued to be celebrated in the X Games today.

Wakeboarding as a recreational sport

With wakeboarding gaining popularity in Singapore, the water sport has climbed the social ladder to become one of the top recreational sports. It is now enjoyed by groups of friends and family members looking for a bonding session in the great outdoors. Learning to wakeboard may sound difficult at first, but it is actually easier to pick up than some other sports. All you need is patience, humour and the below few criteria.

Knowing how to swim

It is imperative to know how to swim if you are preparing to learn a water sport. You do not need to be a superb fast swimmer, but you need to have stamina and the necessary swimming skills to keep yourself safe in the water.

Getting to know your strength

You need to know your strength as wakeboarding can become strenuous if you are not strong enough to handle the pull of the cable or the motorised boat. If you have some form of medical conditions, it is best to consult your doctor before engaging in the sport.

Finding your balance

Balance is an integral part of wakeboarding techniques. Take a short test to find out which foot is your leading one. Simply make a sprint in a straight line and come to an abrupt stop. The foot that you put out to stop yourself is your leading foot. Once you discover your leading foot, use knowledge to your advantage when trying to stand on the wakeboard.

Using the right techniques

To be more successful during your first few wakeboarding sessions, you can consider putting around 60% of your body weight on the front foot and stay close to the board. Trying to stand up by straightening your legs is a sure way to fall.

Keeping the tow rope short

The shorter the tow rope, the easier it is to handle the board. As beginners, the tow rope must be short, and the tow handle should be low down on your body.

Benefits of Wakeboarding

Many water sports lovers enjoy the great outdoors and the beautiful memories that these sports allow them to create with one another. Wakeboarding is a perfect way to spend a day together. Family members, couples, or friends can enjoy the sport together. The challenges you face together while learning the sport make bonding more memorable as well.

If you, your child or friend does not know how to swim but want to try wakeboarding, you can first learn how to swim! It is, after all, a life skill, and you can enjoy a lot of water sports after picking up swimming too!