Wakeboarding is a great activity not only for the fun times that we all have on the water and the accomplishment we all feel when improving as a rider but it is also a great exercise. We don’t really realize it when we are riding because we are having so much fun but we are burning a ton of calories and building muscle at the same time. Think about how sore you are after your first ride of the season and you know that you are really using those muscles! Not only does wakeboarding improve your fitness but to a certain degree it requires it as well.
One problem I have struggled with in the past is staying in wakeboarding shape in the winter time so when spring comes around I am ready to shred. I really focused on this problem last year and was ready to ride this spring!
While there is no real way to simulate the pull that we receive behind the boat I feel that snowboarding and skateboarding may be the two most important things that I can do during the winter to keep my lower body and legs in peak wakeboarding condition. In wakeboarding, riders keep a natural squat a lot of the time when they are riding. This is something we don’t really do or experience much anywhere else in our daily routine but it is common in other board sports. Also, a lot of the skills that we can learn snowboarding and skateboarding can really translate into helping us on the water.
Snowboarding may be the activity that is most closely related to wakeboarding. While we do still use our heel and toe edges they feel a little bit different on a snowboard since the tail of the board kicks out a little more and we are standing for the most part on top of the snow, where the tail edges on a wakeboard are buried in the water a little more thus creating more locked in edges. Although there are subtle differences in edging, getting comfortable on your heels and toes easily translates to wakeboarding. Also when you get comfortable on a snowboard and start getting some air, grabbing the board and control in the air is very similar to wakeboarding. While we don’t have the handle to help our stability when snowboarding, getting comfortable grabbing the board can really help your comfort doing the same on the water.
Skateboarding is another great activity to do when the lake or river is freezing cold. Heel and toe edge control is similar to a wakeboard although not as aggressive or tight as what we may experience on the water. Since we aren’t strapped in when riding a skateboard, it is a really great fall and winter activity to get into to help your wake skating. Shuv-its and kickflips are much more manageable on a skateboard than a wake skate for most and getting comfortable doing them skating can definitely help on the water. Also learning to Ollie on a skateboard is paramount to learning to air off the wake and Ollie on a wake skate as well. The sucking up motion of the knees and feet translates great to similar actions on the water.
In addition to snowboarding and skateboarding, getting on a balance board is another way to help increase you comfort, balance and body awareness. Skills learned on these balance boards may not translate directly to the water like snow and skateboarding do, but they help with balance whether it is perceived or not.
Spring is right around the corner so get out there and enjoy the winter months and stay in great wake shape at the same time. When that first session of the season gets here, it will feel like you never missed a beat!