Over the years, it seems like wakeboarding and wakesurfing have passed skiing in popularity, especially at Smith Lake. More and more teenagers and younger kids are taking up the wakeboard as it offers a variety of ways to get big air, jump off the wake, and generally have an experience that is more like skating and surfing on the water.
Coverage of events like the x-games have brought extreme sports into the national consciousness. Wakeboarding is a great way to experience Smith Lake, and it can be safe if you take care to follow basic boating safety.
Here are some tips for beginners:
- Optimum boat speed is around 16-23 mph. This should create a decent sized wake at a reasonable speed. Experienced riders can ride at about 18mph or more and use a shorter rope.
- The difference between a wakeboard and a wakesurf board are the footbindings on the wakeboard. Wakesurfing doesn’t have bindings and allow for a number of different moves. With practice, wakesurfers can drop the rope and surf off the wake.
- When you’re starting out in wakeboarding, learn the fundamentals first. Then you can move up to advanced tricks.
- Always wear a life jacket, no matter how good you are. It’s not only a good idea, it’s the law. And always observe proper boat safety.
- Always use a boat with an inboard motor.
- To get up on the board the first time–stay in a squat position as the boat revs up. Drag your knees to your chest and point the board at the boat. The resistance will shoot you out of the water. Hold onto the rope and stay relaxed in an athletic position.
- Once you’re up, try hitting the wake back and forth. Don’t be afraid to experiment with some turns and jumps. If you feel out of control, drop the rope.
Smith Lake is an ideal spot for wakeboarding. Have fun out there, be safe and take advantage of the last few weeks of the year to get out on the wakeboard.