In wakeboarding, there are really only two ways to go about it: cable park or boat. Both have their advantages and disadvantages, neither being the correct or incorrect way to do it.
For many, a cable park is preferable because it is cheaper, incredibly accessible, and you don’t need to know someone who owns a boat! These days, cable parks are popping up all over the country and it’s easy to see the rise in its popularity.
Riding at cable parks is one of the best ways to hone in on your skills, especially surface tricks. Even after just a few sessions, you should come away with increased confidence in your technical ability. That said, it’s not the same as being towed by a wakeboard tower, so here’s what you need to know!
If you don’t have one of your own, you are usually able to make use of a wakeboard at the cable park. Wakeboards for cable parks tend not to have fins at the bottom so that you can perform surface tricks with ease. Furthermore, at cable parks there are usually ramps or sliders, meaning fins would get stuck on them, ruining your trick and possibly breaking off.
As you advance in wakeboarding, you generally get a good feel for which size of a wakeboard to choose. Wakeboard sizing is mostly based on rider weight, rather than height or foot size. We created a simple and easy to digest guide on sizing a wakeboard which should give you a good idea of what to go for. Alternatively, you can ask any of the instructors at the park and they will guide you.
How to Start
Starting can be done two ways: either a sitting or standing start. As a general rule, sitting starts are a bit easier because they require less coordination and timing. That said, once you get used to them, you’ll probably find a standing start more efficient.
Your cable park will likely have a dock or pontoon you’ll start from or you may even potentially start from in the water. Each cable park will have their own way of working and will explain to you what the process is.
For both types of starts, it’s important that you wait until you begin to feel slight tension in the rope before you do anything. People get anxious and too keen to get away early, resulting in a delightful faceplant. Always try to keep your chest up, weight shifted slightly towards the back, and arms extended.
Dealing with the Rope
One of the main differences between cable and boat riding is the angle/height of the rope. At a cable park, the rope is coming from above you which means you’ll find many beginners struggling to adjust to the new angle.
You will get a feeling of being pulled upward. Avoid the temptation to lean too far backward as an attempt to counterbalance this. If you do, it will create a wobble or back and forth rocking movement. Try to keep your shoulders even, with the rope at the height of your chest.