8 Easy Tips & Tricks to Get Your Kids Started Wakesurfing
Boating is such a great family activity and it can be so rewarding to watch kids learn and grow back behind the boat. Every kid will learn a bit differently, but for some, it can be intimidating to get back behind the boat.
Chantel’s ‘Boating 101‘ series is designed to help new boaters navigate some of the things that may be scary or not intuitive when you first get started. In this video she will share some tips and tricks to help your groms learn to love the water.
#1 priority is always safety. Most of the tips in this video are built around those using an inboard boat where the propeller is far underneath the boat. If you own an outboard motor or I/O, make sure you do all these things way far back behind the boat for safety purposes.
Tip #1: Start Small
Make sure you ease them into it. Every child will want to go at their own pace. If they just want to sit on the swim platform and dangle their feet into the water, that is totally fine! If they just want to float around on the wakesurf board without the boat’s motor running, great! The key is to let them go at their own pace and allow them to get comfortable before you even start to bring the boat into the equation.
Tip #2: Help Them be Successful
Give them some early, easy wins to inspire confidence and that feeling of success. This can be laying on their belly on a wakesurf board while you idle around or using tools such as the ZUP Board to get them comfortable behind the boat. They can sit, kneel, or stand while the handle is attached to the board so they don’t have to hold their own body weight.
Tip #3: Gentle Progression
Don’t push them too hard or too fast. Let them go at their own pace. Really listen to them for when they are ready to lengthen the rope, try standing up, etc.
Tip #4: Get Out There With Them
If you are a confident wakesurfer, you can easily ride tandem with them. This allows them to hold onto you, get a feel for what wakesurfing is like, and most importantly, feel the excitement! Doing it with someone else the first few times will make it a whole lot less scary for them. This method is a great confidence booster and will help them get closer to wanting to do it on their own.
Tip #5: Have Only One Coach
Have only one person talking to them while they are in the water. It can be really confusing and overwhelming when there are seven different people in the boat giving tips, etc. Designate on person who is going to be their coach and actually help them. This is a great tip for teaching any beginners, not just children. Everyone else in the boat should be cheering them on!
Tip #6: Go Slow
Pull them up slowly when they are first learning. Kids are super light so you don’t need to go very fast to get them to pop up out of the water. Definitely don’t hammer the throttle like you would with an adult. Gentle, small adjustments with the throttle will help them out a bunch.
Tip #7: Don’t Wait
You don’t always need to wait until they say they are ready. Particularly with wakesurfing, as they are getting their feet in position, they might not ever think they are ready. Oftentimes it is easier for the driver to watch them and then go when it looks like they are in the right position.
Tip #8: No Tubes!
Keep that tube packed away when you first get out on the water. Get your kids to try riding before you bring out the tube for the day. If the tube is an option, they won’t want to try anything else.