Wakeboarding - Equipment
The equipment required for an extreme sport are equally important in contribution to the player’s performance. Since wakeboarding is an extreme game with involvement of adventure and energy of the rider, the comfort level of the rider with equipment also matters primarily.
Let us see, what all equipment are mandatory in this game −
This is the most basic equipment of this sport. The present boards are of foam, honeycomb or wood mixed with resin and are coated with fiberglass. Metal screws are inserted in to it in order to attach bindings and fins.
The size of the wakeboards recommended is directly proportional to the rider’s weight. The width of the board affects the way it sits on the water.
Mostly the areas where the width of the board matters are: tip area, middle area, and the tail area. Narrower tips and tails make the board turn more aggressively whereas wider tails and tips allow the player to perform different tricks. The wider the middle area, the harder in bounces off and sits higher in the water.
The length of the board plays a vital role in deciding the riding style of the rider. While a smaller board feels lighter and spins faster but faces difficulty while landing where as a larger board moves slowly and smoothly.
The present wakeboards that are mostly used by the riders are 5 feet long with 2 feet width at the center with a blunt nose and tail.
Types of Wakeboards
A specific bending on the board from head to tail is called Rocker. Broadly there are five types of wakeboards depending on the rocker design &Minus;
Five Stage rocker
A continuous rocker is a smooth curve where as in case of a three-stage rocker, there are 2 prominent bends on the board.
The wakeboards with continuous rocker move fast as water flows without any disruption at the bottom of the board. In case of three-stage rocker, the board pushes more water at the front side which makes the ride slower.
The boards with three stage or five stage rockers help the riders to jump higher while performing tricks. The rocker and board profile determine the performance.
Wakeboard Bottom Design
There are different bottom designs in case of a wakeboard which may be concaves, channels or nothing. These designs define the functionality of the boards and how it rides through the water. The concaves at the bottoms create lift and make the board sit high on water.
Double concave at the middle of the bottom helps the board sit higher than that of single concaves. Channels at the bottom act like long fins and help the wakeboard edge harder. In case of channels at the middle of the bottom of the board, the board edges harder while sitting perfectly in the water.
In case of a featureless board at the bottom, the board moves smoothly with the length, width, and rocker of the board; deciding its speed. The attached fins decide the nature of the board.
Fins are a type of wakeboard components which are fixed below the board and act as a pair of grips which inhibits the flow of water during the travel. Fins are responsible for the controlled forward movement of the board during the travel.
The configurations as well as the placement of these fins are done according to the rider’s preferences.
Based on the type of tricks the player performs, different types of fins are changed. The usage of the fins make it easily maneuvered. The more closer the fins are to the center of the board, the quicker and better the board sits and moves on the water.
In case the fins are placed nearer to the tail and tip area, the board hooks more in the water and doesn’t sit well.
Different types of fins are used by the players based on their desired effects and performance of the player.
Types of Wakeboard Fins
Some of the wakeboard fins are described below −
Long based fins − These kinds of fins release better and give the board a smooth feel while riding flat on water. These fins hold up well on ramps and rails.
Moulded fins − These fins look like big channels and hold up against rails and ramps. These are more slippery as compared to other types.
Multi-finned set-ups − These kind of fins capture the maximum aggressiveness trough and in to the wake.
Canted side fins − These kinds of fins are leaned at an angle. They stay inactive while the board travels flat. But when the rider starts leaning on the edges, these fins help the board holding up more. These kinds of fins provide hard edges.
No fins − Some riders prefer to go with finless boards in case of a board specially designed for the cable parks and other uses.
The binding are used to hold the rider’s feet in position during the travel. Those are connected to the board and the players need to put their foot in it. While the rider rides up the wake, the energy of the wake makes the rider airborne where the rider performs different tricks. These tricks vary from basic to advance.
Mostly two types of binding are used by the players which are − Open Toe binding and Closed Toe binding. The open toe bindings look mostly like shoes with broad size and better toe movement whereas in case of closed toe binding, it brings more responsiveness to the board while moving the toes.
The wakeboarding boats are different than regular boats. In case of wakeboarding boats, a Wakeboard Tower made of stainless steel or aluminum tubing is available with the pull point 2 meters off the water surface. These boats are made to keep water inside which makes them heavier.
By keeping the water inside, these boats try to pump out water which creates big wakes behind the boat. Also these boats have a massive engine which enables them to get fast acceleration enough to keep the player off the water.
Supplementary Equipment for Wakeboarding
The following supplementary equipment is used for wakeboarding −
The wet suits used by the players keep their body warm in case of cold water. These suits are tightly fit and don’t let water come inside.
These suits absorb very less amount of water. Some players don’t use wet suits as they restrict the legs as well as arm movements. This suit is mandatory in certain tournaments; otherwise it is not a must.
Mostly used as a protective guard, these life vests also help the player stay on top of water.
In case the player falls down in the water while losing balance, these vests help him/her staying up the water.
This is a connecting line between the boat and the player. One end of it is attached with the boat while at the other end there is a handlebar for the player to hold on.
The length of the wakeboard rope varies between 55 to 75 feet and players use it depending on their experience level. The most common rope length i.e. used by riders is 24-26 meters.
Helmet is used as a protective measure as loosing balance and falling down in case of great speed can be dangerous.