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An iSUP is a stand-up paddleboard that is inflatable instead of rigid epoxy/fiberglass SUP. There are many benefits of inflatable SUPs when paddle boarding but what else can you do with one?
Would you believe you can use one to wakeboard? You can!
When it comes to the most versatile watersport equipment, iSUPs are at the top of the list. From surfing to fishing and from snorkeling to yoga, you’ll find there’s plenty to do on your iSUP. You can even go with a partner and make it a date, head out onto the water with the whole family, or bring your dog along.
But let’s get back to wakeboarding…
3 Benefits of Wakeboarding on an iSUP
There are several reasons why wakeboarding on an iSUP just makes sense. There may be additional ones based on your specific situation, but these three benefits apply to most everyone.
- Multitasking Equipment: If you love watersports as much as we do, you realize how fast your garage – or living room! – can fill up with all the necessary equipment. If you could use your iSUP to wakeboard, then you could cut down on the amount of equipment you need to keep on hand without cutting down on the amount of fun.
- Lighter Weight: An iSUP is significantly lighter than a traditional, rigid SUP board. The larger size of an iSUP over a wakeboard, however, can give you more stability when you first start out. If you intend to learn how to wakeboard on a SUP, then an iSUP is a much lighter option.
- Easier Transportation: Because an iSUP is inflatable, you can easily bring multiple boards with you to the dock and onto the boat without too much trouble. They are easy to inflate and deflate (use an electric inflation pump) and take back home.
- Water Ski Rope: There are many ropes and handles to choose from. The two biggest factors to consider will be the length of the rope and the style of handle or grip.
- Water Ski Flag: Depending on the specific rules where you are water skiing on an iSUP, you’ll need to have a water ski flag visible. This may be necessary only while the boat is moving and a skier is out or might be required any time someone is outside the boat. Be sure to learn your local laws.
- iSUP Board Leash: A leash attaches your board to your body so when you end up in the water you don’t end up losing your board too. Leashes can be either straight or coiled and can be designed to attach to the ankle or the calf. The style you choose will be based on the wakeboarding conditions and your preferences.
- Life Jacket: A life jacket is also called a PFD, or personal flotation device. This is necessary for safety even if you know how to swim and is usually required by law as well. Be sure your PFD is properly fitted for your size and weight.
- iSUP: The most important part of wakeboarding with an iSUP is the iSUP! There is a lot that goes into choosing a SUP but for our purposes, we will assume you already have one. If you don’t, you can check out our iSUP reviews and buying guide to learn more.
How to Wakeboard with an iSUP
Now that we have all that info out of the way, are you ready to learn how to use your iSUP to wakeboard? Even if you have no experience with wakeboarding, the following five steps are designed to get you riding the wakes in no time.
Before you get into the water, the boat should be turned off and someone onboard should be designated as a watcher. This person will keep their eyes on you while the captain focuses on the boat.
Step 1: Placement
Once you jump into the water with your iSUP and the ski rope you’ll need to climb onto the board and get yourself situated. Start out on your knees with your weight resting on your calves. You should be toward the back of the board and centered. Take the time to make sure you are as balanced as possible. This will make it easier to keep your balance once you get moving.
Step 2: Start Moving
Call out to your watcher or the captain to let them know they can start the boat and begin moving slowly. The goal is to add tension to the ski rope and not to pull you off the board. Once there is tension on the rope and you’ve started moving slowly, you can call out again to let them know you are ready. The captain should speed up slowly until you’re at a comfortable speed. Your watcher can help with this.
Step 3: Standing Up
While still on your knees, slowly move to one side or the other and cross the wake. You should be on the outside of the wake before attempting to stand up on the iSUP. Once you are comfortable with the speed and your stability, pull the ski rope handle toward you so you don’t lose tension as you stand. Adjust your position from kneeling to standing one leg at a time while still maintaining a squat, keeping your center of gravity as close to the board as possible. Once on both feet, slowly stand up.
Step 4: Getting “In the Pocket”
“The pocket” refers to the position behind the boat where you are still in front of the wake. This is where you want to comfortably be for a few moments before you decide to let go of the ski rope. The pocket is a place of calmer waters so you can make sure your footing is correct and you are as stable as possible on the board. It also sets you up to surf the wake from the perfect position once you let go. Your watcher can help you find your way here.
Step 5: Letting Go!
When you are ready, let go of the ski rope and surf the wake! When you are just learning to wakeboard on an iSUP, letting go of the rope can be the scariest part of the process but it’s also the most fun even if you aren’t able to successfully surf the wake. This is the part that usually requires the most practice other than learning how to stand up on the board.
3 Tips to Successfully Wakeboarding on an iSUP
While we could go on and on with plenty of tips about how to go about wakeboarding on an iSUP, it all boils down to the three biggest. If you have additional tips for others who want to give this a try, leave them below in the comments!
Tip #1: Practice, Practice, Practice!
Just as with most other watersports, it will take practice. Don’t let a few falls discourage you. Wakeboarding is a lot of hard work and you may find yourself tired after just a few tries, but that just means you’ll have to schedule another fun trip to the water.
Tip #2: Set Up the “Go!” Word in Advance
To make it easier for the captain and watcher to understand you while you are way out behind the boat, it’s important to have a consistent set of words that can be heard clearly in an exchange. If there’s a problem, there should be one word to shout that should be easily recognizable from the word that lets them know it’s time to take off.
Tip #3: Always Have a Safety Plan
Any time you head out on the water for any reason, there needs to be a safety plan in place. This should include PFDs, first aid kits, a buddy system, and more. It may seem boring, but be sure to go over all of this before heading out on the boat each and every time.
Ready to Get Started?
If you are looking for something new and adventurous to do the next time you’re out at the water, why not trying using your iSUP to wakeboard? Be sure you have all the equipment you’ll need, pack the cooler, grab your friends, and head out for a fun day or weekend at the lake.