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Old 08-18-2015, 04:42 PM
bkwoodward bkwoodward is offline
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Teaching kids

Last week I was volunteered to spend 4 days on Diamond Lake in WA teaching a group of young men (ages 12-18) how to ski and/or wakeboard. I've been having a number of mechanical issues with my boat for the last month so I was hesitant to accept the invitation, but ended up going anyway.

Over the course of the 4 days, we had 178 boys split between 6-7 boats. Some had experience behind a boat, but for many of them, that was their first time trying anything other than tubing. What an awesome experience to watch kid after kid finally get up after what seemed like hours of trying. Even with my boat troubles I had 17 kids get up for the first time on either skis or a wakeboard.

It was disheartening to see how many of the kids these days are so incredibly out of shape. It was good to see the big boys at least try, but for the most part we could spot the ones who would never get up before they hit the dock. If we're asked to do it again, we're going to have some kind of mandatory strength:weight requirements so we don't waste everyone's time. If you've never done it before and can't do 1 pullup, you should probably think about some other way to spend your time. Anyone have any tips for getting chubby kids up?

On the other hand, I had some borderline crazy/athletic kids on my boat. One kid, after getting up on a slalom ski for the first time ever, tried to jump the wake. He made it all the way across and crashed spectacularly. A number of other kids attempted flips and other tricks on the wakeboards on only their second day on the water.

It was a great week, in spite of the 100+ temperatures and a bit of wind and wildfire haze on Friday. If asked to do it again, I don't know how I'll say no. Maybe next time I'll have all the kinks worked out on the boat and can spend more time pulling.
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Old 08-18-2015, 05:04 PM
TruckeeEP TruckeeEP is offline
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I have taught a lot of people adults and kids to ski/wakeboard. As you have experienced, some have very little chance of getting up on skis or wakeboard. I recently purchased a ZUP board, it's a kneeboard that everyone can ride. How cool would it be to let the "chubby" kid get a feel for watersports and then see them next year, slimmer and motivated to get up on a ski!!!
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Old 08-18-2015, 05:09 PM
lcgordon711 lcgordon711 is offline
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I think that getting up on skis does not take strength. But if you dont have strength then you better be small.
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Old 08-18-2015, 05:34 PM
bkwoodward bkwoodward is offline
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Right, gordon. Our problem was with teenage kids 250 lbs+ with little to no upper body strength. The small kids all got up without too much trouble, even the ones who couldn't put the board back in the rack because it was too heavy.

We did have one kid who was probably close to 350 who got up. I still can't believe the rope didn't break.
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Old 08-18-2015, 05:40 PM
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Wake Faller Wake Faller is offline
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I have had some success with starting them sitting on a small pancake tube - start the boat moving with board out of water, put wakeboard down as coming up to speed - leave tube behind. Has anyone else tried this?
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Old 08-18-2015, 05:41 PM
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Wake Faller Wake Faller is offline
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We had 53 Boy Scouts out this past weekend - I was only training for Surfing this time so did not have to go the tube route. Great time and very rewarding experience.
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Old 08-18-2015, 05:44 PM
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Mastercraft13 Mastercraft13 is offline
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Sad that our socitity is turning into this. This is a direct result of I Pads and X Box, no longer we ride bikes and climb trees like we all did when we were their age.

My only suggestion that may help is having someone on land doing dry runs with them in technique before they take it to the water.
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Old 08-18-2015, 05:55 PM
brentrr brentrr is offline
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We are teaching our young grandkids to ski and started by having them sit on a paddleboard which basically puts them in the ideal ready position. This teaches them how to control the skis and get the feel of being pulled by the rope w/o having to fully come out of the water. My wife came up with the idea and it works really well. There is also the added advantage that my wife can sit right next to them providing instruction and encouragement.

Last edited by brentrr; 08-18-2015 at 06:22 PM.
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Old 08-18-2015, 06:05 PM
bkwoodward bkwoodward is offline
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Thanks for the ideas, guys. One of the key requirements for their merit badge was to deep water start, but I can see how a training wheel method using tubes or boards would be helpful. Maybe I'll try that with my 8 yr old this weekend.
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Old 08-18-2015, 06:17 PM
kgrove kgrove is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bkwoodward View Post
Anyone have any tips for getting chubby kids up?
At some point no amount of technique will get a rider up if they are too heavy relative to their upper body strength, but a couple things can help even the odds:

1) make sure the board is big enough. Just because all the other 15 year olds might be using a 135, a 300lb rider probably needs the biggest board you have, like a 145. A bigger board will catch more water and pop them up a little sooner (if they are really big maybe you can mount boots to your front door ).

2) make sure they lock their arms straight and stay in a seated position. This makes the boat do most of the work and keeps them from getting in a tug-o-war with the boat they are guaranteed to lose. I tell them to straighten their arms and keep their elbows pinned to the inside of their knees - seems to simplify things in a way they can manage.

3) simulate a start by having them hold the handle in the water with the board against the swimstep, then pull them up by hand. This lets you give them corrections without having to circle back over and over and without having to shout over the engine. It would probably be smart to do that with every rider you are teaching so the big ones don't feel you singled them out.

My experience is almost all beginners try to pull themselves up instead of letting the boat do the work, but the heavier riders have less room for error in their technique.
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