Behind the Boat – Lake Martin–The Basics and a few fundamentals


This may seem simple to some, but I get asked or see some confusion in the difference between wakeboarding, wakeskating and wakesurfing.  I think most know what wakeboarding is, but when you mention wakeskating or wakesurfing there are more people confused with them so I figured a little sport definition might be in order.
Wakeboarding is the easy one, you have bindings mounted on a composite or wood core board, and the rider varies in rope length from 55-75 feet and in speed from the upper teens to mid twenties depending on the rider.  That being said, a beginner will typically be at the shortest line length and the slowest speed.  A beginner will work on cutting in to the wake for one wake jumps until comfortable enough to edge out far enough to pull in and jump one wake, riding down the other side- “going wake to wake / w2w” .  Once a rider progresses and is able to consistently clear his/her w2w jump, we usually speed up a little and lengthen the rope 5 feet.  This will give the rider more speed and a greater distance to clear in the width of the wake, continuing on this pattern until you are comfortable at a 70 foot line.  The speed is usually slightly rider choice at that point, you will see some guys/girls pick up a 1/10 of a mile and hour here or there as a personal preference.  Also, we have the rider that lengthens the rope more and may want more speed.  If the boat can produce a clean lip and weighted correctly, longer rope and more speed equals boosting bigger, more air and time to do tricks. Keith Lyman and Randall Harris always comes to mind when I think about the high speed rider at long line, like 100ft rope at 27 mph.. those guys go big and I’ve talked to some friends that have driven them, apparently it’s something to see.
Wakeskating I think is where people get a little confused, the sport kind of came and went.  there’s still a pro tour, but is really unfortunate the lack of support the sport has (probably my favorite to watch!)  It’s a difficult sport because just like on a skateboard, you are not bound to it, where you are on a wakeboard.  The falls on a skate, are both plentiful and painful when your learning.  The griptape doesn’t befriend skin, it removes it quite quickly.. and hitting the board after you separate from it and reconnect with it on impact to the water…well it hurts.. which I think are a few of the reasons it lost some of it’s popularity.  The boat will still go similar speed and rope lengths in progression of rider as you would if you were wakeboarding.  Going wake to wake on a skate is a bit different that doing it on a wakeboard.  As you can imagine, not being bound to it.  You do wear skate shoes and the board has griptape like on a skateboard.  (There are some boards made with a rubber type grip but not very popular amongst riders) You don’t HAVE to wear shoes and I must admit it’s fun to play around barefoot on one but do go w2w or do most of your tricks it’s very beneficial to use shoes.  Wakesurfing and wakeskating I think get people a little mixed up because your not bound to the board on both.  The tricks on the wakesurfboard are much like the ones on the skate, shuvits, 3shuvs, backside bigspins etc.. The wakesurfer is ridden right behind the boat at slow speeds about 10-11 mph.  There are two styles of wakesurfing.  Surf style and skim style, which are from their origin.  The surf style is a reshaped surfboard.  It’s shorter, and has different shaped rails, much less rounded than an ocean surfer.  You will have similar fin set ups from ocean to wake on the surf style.  They are big deep fins and sometimes have 5 locations which gives an enormous amount of options for setting the board up. I will say that we are seeing the surf style riders get more and more of the tricks that were only done on a skim style incorporated into their runs, it’s pretty amazing to see a surf style rider hit a back big or a 3 shuv!!   The skim style is a modified version of a ocean skimboard.  the more fins, the tighter the ride, it’s locked in the straight line, the single fin would be the loosest. The skim style surfer will typically be shorter and wider, especially in the nose and have more rocker.  (that means the nose is curved up more.)  Skim style boards typically have a single fin, its the opposite of a surf style, it’s long and shallow in comparison.  There are some skim style that has 3 fins for a extremely tight ride but still is not near that of the surf style on it’s loosest setup.  There are some boards that have been designed with sort of a hybrid of both which might be a good option for a “everyone in the boat board” but realistically, boards should be sized for the rider.  A small kid will have a miserable time on a board that’s to large for him/her and the same goes for the big rider on one that’s to small, it’s no fun and you can’t throw the rope and surf.. so getting the right equipment is pretty important if you really wanna surf, have fun and progress!!
skimstyle surfer

The Victoria Impulse Skimstyle Wakesurfer

surfstyle wakesurf

The Byerly Surfstyle Wakesurfer


Ben Horan’s Pro Model Remote Wakeskate


Lake Martin Real Estate - Wakeboard

Hyperlite Murry Wakeboard


Pre Season Wake Training

Last month in LAKE magazine, I discussed preseason training and looked at a few sports specific exercises that I’ve been using to accomplish more balance and strength. I briefly mentioned the use of cardio exercise and how HIIT- hi intensity interval training was incorporated into my regimen. There are several ways to build a strong cardio program for us as writers  behind the boat.  I think it is the one thing we all want to skip and after reading joe manganiello’s book Evolution he in no uncertain terms states cardio is extremely important part of the “chain” we build and uses both long slow and high-intensity cardio.

HIIT training can be done in any number of ways but simplistically let’s just start with sprints. Keep in mind, any program can be modified to start as a beginner in evolve to advanced. Sprint times can be shorter and rest longer or use higher or lower speeds and you can change your incline  when you’re using a treadmill. As we all know, is nice it is to be able to run outside but the treadmill has definitely found place in my routine due to the scientific manner of control of your incline and speed. I know exactly how fast and how steep each workout will be unlike running the open road. Sprints are a great HIIT cardio and starting with a 5 to 10 minute warm-up, be it walking or slow jog, do 20 so  second sprint and 40 seconds rest. I prefer to start my first sprint at five incline  and 10 speed. I like to grow them both over the course of a 10 or 15 minute sprint session. I will also  grow the time of the sprint and reduce the time of the rest. If you happen to have one and want to really make it difficult, throw on a weight vest for a couple sprints.  Doing a 5 to 10 minute cool-down walk or light jog. You can  always change the medium of your cardio from a treadmill to something like a bike or even elliptical and do 20 seconds of intense and 40 seconds rest . This is a great high heart rate cardio session.
Admittedly, I like the low intensity long duration cardio better. I read in Joe’s book about a method he uses; walking at a high incline and low speed. Obviously the speed and incline can be catered to your beginning point and level. He suggested 3.5 speed and 10 to 12 incline.  The workout is a little vague so here’s what I have found very effective. A 5-10 minute warm-up at at 3.5 speed . After 10 minutes grow the incline one every minute until you’re at an incline at 10.  Obviously given your level you could go higher. Also growing the speed every few minutes by 1/10.  When I started this workout 30 minutes at 3.5 and 10 incline was pretty brutal, but it got easier and the times for the workout got longer. Joe was exactly right describing the workout in the book and about hitting walls at certain times in the course of an hour but sometimes it feels like you can walk forever. Modifying these two types of workouts in your preseason cardio training will help for long riding sessions. The days when you are really trying to learn a new trick and go after it repeatedly. you not being exhausted and gasping for air  but instead anticipating the boat to get back so you’re up and charging it again.
Train hard, hope to see you on the water soon,

Waterfront lot values rebounding

Scarce residential inventory drives up demand
for waterfront lots

With available waterfront residential inventory falling to levels not seen on Lake Martin for over a decade, potential purchasers are now buying lots at a faster pace. An analysis of the past 12 months of sales shows that the contraction in residential sales is being countered by increases in waterfront lot sales and construction volume.

For nearly a year, the number of residential properties available on Lake Martin has been falling. In fact, overall supply has dropped 7.7% below this same period last year. For the first time in memory, the number of single-family lake homes has persistently remained below 195 units. That is fewer than one house per four miles of shoreline.

Last year’s sales volume for single-family homes was 241 units, so supply is well below demand. Condo inventory is nearly gone with only 33 units for sale at the end of January. Last year, 72 units sold, so, by mid-June, we will be out of available condos unless current owners place properties on the market.

With dwindling supply, attractive interest rates, an improving economy (not to mention the beauty of Lake Martin), and fewer properties in “move-in” condition, something had to give, and it has; sales of waterfront homes sites have increased. For the past 12 months, the overall volume of lot sales has increased 23.1% over this same period last year.

The average sales price for a waterfront lot has increased by 33% (to $315,625), and the median price has increased by 22.5% over the same period last year as well. This increased sales volume has reduced the available inventory in the local MLS to just 90 waterfront lots at the end of July. Clearly, people are bravely choosing to build a lake home in this new environment.

Turn-key lake homes meet new demand From 2007 to 2014, the business of “homes built for sale,” or “spec” homes, was virtually non-existent. With the relatively robust inventory of homes then being offered at what could be described today as bargain prices, there was little opportunity for builders. Lake Martin remained a popular choice for second-home and retirement-home ownership, so the inventory of attractive lake homes has been decimated.

In 2012, Russell Lands began developing plans and neighborhoods where turn-key lake homes were an option. This program has been very successful. What it offers is a fully developed series of lake home designs that could be built on a variety of lots. See the new-construction homes currently available.

Once a homesite-and-plan combo is selected, customers can make custom changes and then receive a “turn-key” price. Nine to twelve months later (depending on start date and size), keys are delivered for a beautiful new lake home. This has proven to be a great option for many people. Our sales team has worked with their builder contacts to expand this concept across the lake—most recently at Cedar Point in the Real Island area. See an example here.
Market Predictions
Over time, the number of attractive and available lake lots will shrink as well. Developers like Russell Lands will continue to maintain a diverse selection of building lots and plans that are available through Lake Martin Realty. We are constantly working to find attractive building lots to marry potential lake owners with builders. This market will likely tighten past spring.

There are quite a few lots that were purchased last year by our builder clientele. Houses are now coming up on these lots providing a new supply of attractive lake homes. There are likely not enough to meet the demand that we expect to see this summer.

If you want to look at the best available inventory of existing lake homes, lake homes being built for sale or waterfront building lots, call me 256-749-7592 india davis or email

Lake Martin waterfront lot view

How’d you like that view of Lake Martin to be yours?

Russell Cabins at The Ridge

April 2, 2012 By Leave a Comment

Hey, “They’re selling Russell Cabins!”


In last month’s Explorer, we published an article related toRussell Cabins. The article was mostly about the history of and the lifestyle afforded by Russell Cabins. Many readers were interested in the article, especially the part where we had decided to sell some Russell Cabins. As you might guess, we are often asked, “Can I buy my Russell Cabin?” Until recently, the answer has always been a polite “no.”
There are many reasons that we want to keep our cabins. One is that they are a very important part of Lake Martin history. Another reason is the rental cabins provide a sensible financial alternative for a lake residence. But the primary reason we don’t sell them is there is a great demand for this sensible getaway place on Lake Martin. With a constant waiting list, we really can’t afford to take a rental cabin out of inventory.


Selling verses Renting
The break from history and tradition in the recent sale of four newer cabins on beautiful lots caused us to consider a new cabin product mix. Obviously, there is a strong desire to offer for sale a cabin that provides a simpler lifestyle and can be owned rather than rented. Ownership of a cabin implies an investment. Therefore, purchased Russell Cabins need an upgrade. So, there are two fundamental questions – what gets upgraded and what remains the same?


What will not change is the land. Our tenants fall in love with their private lake setting (Russell Cabin lots are legendary). So, all we need to upgrade is the cabin. Many tenants either outgrow their cabin or fall out of love with its rustic amenities (like window unit air conditioners). From a design standpoint the plan is simple, keep the large private cabin lots and create a humble cabin with modern amenities.


The 21st Century Russell Cabin
While there are house plan books in the grocery store, websites full of house designs and even magazines dedicated to cabin life, no one has a design which fits the image of the Russell Cabin. Designs are either contrived to look old or they are meant for rustic forest settings instead of the world’s most beautiful lake. We just couldn’t just rush out and buy a design.


We had to design a cabin that fit the following criteria. First, it must look like it belongs on Lake Martin. Second, it must avoid appearing to be a starter castle, while still being large enough to gather extended family and friends. Third, it must have a rustic-modern décor. Fourth, the cabins would be built on large waterfront lots with great water and expansive views.


In order to accomplish this task, we needed the right team of designers. After a thorough search, we settled on a team whose designs have become symbolic of Lake Martin. The team selected to work within the above design criteria is Bill Ingram, Taylor Dawson and Bill Farshee. Bill Ingram’s designs are well known to those familiar with Trillium or The Ridge. Taylor’s designs are found all around the lake, with his family’s lake home adjacent to Dixie Sailing Club being featured in Southern Living and The Barefoot Home. Bill Farshee has designed homes in Trillium and the Ridge, but most notably, he helped bring life to Bobby McAlpine’s Russell Cabin design so popular in Nichols Cove. What evolved are several new designs which are great examples of the 21st Century Russell Cabin.


With the architectural team in place, all that was needed was the right piece of land. What better place to build new, purchase-ready Russell Cabins than an old sector of Russell Cabins. After looking at the various Russell Cabin sectors, Robinson Drive was selected due to the combination of its location on gorgeous Ware Slough, beautiful land and its proximity to Ridge amenities and utilities.


Staying Informed
The blending of large lots, modest cabins (the typical cabin has only 2,200 square feet of conditioned space) and pristine waters is generating a lot of interest – especially for those who are looking for the lake cabin lifestyle. Excitement is building in advance of the planned mid-April release to lake lovers.


If you can’t wait and desire more information sooner, please call or email me


Check out the following Videos
Taylor Dawson Tree Top
Taylor Dawson Windward
Farshee Waters Edge
Farshee Verandas
Ingram 2 Plus 2
Ingram Bird’s Eye

Lake Martin Treasure Hunt touring waterfront properties

Lake Martin Treasure Hunt

Tour Lake Front homes in willow Glynn and new South Ridge Harbor


Lake Martin Real Estate

The map to all the waterfront properties in WillowGlynn and The Ridge

How about a little fun this Saturday June 25th on Lake Martin touring high end properties by Russell Lands.  Visit lakefront hones and homesites in Willow Glynn and the new South Ridge Harbor.  You can pick up treausre maps at Willow Glynn fron 1-4pm.  Follow the map to the homes and sites to ge t your treasure cards to enter for the 9 prizes.  Bring the cards to The Ridge Club from 4-6 for live music, food and drinks by Springhouse.

Lake Martin and black bears

Black Bears Lake Martin

Black Bear information and tips to avoid conflict

The black bear population in Alabama is not very larger per say, guestimated to be less that 400 but appears to be increasing with the number of sightings.  From our Outdoor Alabama website, the Alabama dept of conservation & natural resources, Keith Gauldin stated “It is quite evident that black bears are increasing in numbers and expanding the historic ranges,” said Keith Gauldin, Assistant Wildlife Chief for the Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries (WFF). “During spring and summer, adult males will cover surprisingly large areas in search of receptive females. Young sub-adult bears, recently ousted from their mothers’ territory, will also roam widely to establish their own home ranges.”

Black bears are not really know to be agressive, more shy and don’t want any human contact.  If they are in an area that is a little out of it’s element, they are usually looking for food.  So a good rule of thumb is not to leave your animals food bowls filled outside.

While bears are classified as a game animal, there is no open hunting season for black bears in Alabama. The public is encouraged to report black bear sightings to WFF district wildlife offices, online at, or by email to Keith Gauldin at

Tips from Outdoor Alabama on what to do if you encounter a black bear-

• Do not be frightened
• Do not approach the animal
• Do not run from the bear, back away slowly
• Stand tall and upright
• Avoid direct eye contact with the bear
• Make sure the bear has a unobstructed direction to escape
• Never purposely feed a bear
update * 6/30/16

Field testing new Victoria wakesurfer on Lake Martin

Victoria Wakesurf Lake Martin

A new Victoria prototype being test on Lake Martin

Testing testing and more testing( to me its riding , riding and more riding)….I guess technically you call it research and development.  Last year I wrote about Victoria ‘ s  wakesurf line testing grounds being here on Lake Martin.  I have been working with the guys at Vic for a handful of years now and in the past few with the enormous growth of the wakesurf industry so has their line.  When I first called Laguna Beach, CA and spoke with the then team manager, there was one board and it was optionally outfitted as a carbon fiber board, same shape, different structural materials.  The line has grown to 6 shapes and the original has been dramatically changed.  I am proud to say that in the current line up two of the boards have come from some concepts we came up with and tested here on Lake Martin. The Debut hit the market in 2015, a full wooden board which has become more of a kids board than anything for a number of reasons.  The Captain, a fish tail multi fin skim style board was quite a few years in testing before it launched in the 2016 line, seems to be more of a bigger rider board.
So what’s happening now in the world of R&D for Victoria….I have two prototypes we are testing that today have a ton of potential to be the next new board in the line.  It is very different concept then that its predecessors, with some serious surf style influences.  It’s a big board, really big! It’s made to be ridden by someone who wants to cruise and carve, with lots of stability.  when this board is ridden by a little bit lighter rider, it catches a little push from the very back of the wave with ease.  It’s body does have a pin-tail and  it’s an inch thick mid density foam core(for right now anyway).  I would generally describe it as a skim style long board, which will use up to three fins.  The exciting part about this board is that it will really preform when you push it.  I have tested it with a few fin set ups, which makes a enormous difference in how it handles on the wave.  Currently  my favorite set up is a dual 1.25 ” fin set up, followed closely by the single 1.25″ fin.  Obviously there is a nearly infinite number of setups with fin sizes and from a single to three fins.  I like the twin fin configuration for the stability and ease of use..yet when you want to get agressive and carve it hooks up, when you go to spin the board in a 360 it will break free and the rail holds the board on the wave face with slipping out.  When you kick it around in a shuv-it it snaps around fin side or even easier when ridding it backward (once you’ve shuved it and do your shuv out).  You can even boost a nice amount of air off the lip when you snap it at the top of the lip.  The board is so stable that I was able to spin a 360 with a friend of mines kid on my shoulders, and she rode tandem on the nose and center along with me.  Unquestionably the easiest tandem board I’ve used.
I wouldn’t be surprised a but if this is one of the 2017 additions in the line; question is how much will we change it.  It can always be improved, and that’s why there is another with some nips and tucks on the table right now that is about to be mailed to Lake Martin…we shall see what Tex Haines and the guys Victoria can come up with!


Lake Martin tandem wakesurfing

Lake Martin wakesurfing

Sometimes when your out on the wake, you gotta bring along a friend. Lake Martin is the testing ground for Victoria skimboards wakesurf line and I’m testing out a new big board and figured why not bring Vivi Dunbar along for a ride. The board handled really well and took us for a nice 360 and kept us moving right along the wave face. Vivi said that was about all the tricks she wanted to do, so we left it at that. 🙂

Sawyer Davis wakesurf Lake Martin Victoria Skimboards

Sawyer and Vivi getting ready to wakesurf

Sawyer Davis testing a Victoria wakesurfer, tandem 360

The 360 was Vivi’s favorite and least favorite part of wakesurfing 🙂

Lake Martin wakesurfing

Little friendly tandem wakesurfing on Lake Martin.

Lake Martin wakesurfing

Vivi waves to mom and dad as we surfed a little wave

Summertime is here on Lake Martin!

Summertime is here!  We’ve had an amazing year with higher than normal water levels and decent temperatures.  I hope for those of you who have been striving for a solid progression for this season did take the winter months to train.  It isn’t’ always fun spending hour after hour in the gym, but it pays off when the season opens and you get to start riding.  A good off season gets us a little lighter, and the soreness isn’t as bad.  Maybe it’s just me, but even when I was younger, no matter what, opening day left me unbelievably sore.  Those kind of mornings where you cant extend your arms out and put your palms together because the back and shoulders were screaming from those opening day pulls.  Nothing seems to replicate the boats vs rider pull in the gym, so riding doesn’t have a substitute.  We can just lessen the pain and that being said…  It’s time to get out and do some summer riding.  So what’s new out there in wakeboard land..

I was having a conversation with my young bud, Ben Watts, about the technology in wakeboards today.  We were specifically talking about Harley Clifford and his pro model, the “Remedy”.  I casually asked Ben if Harley was still the best rider in the world, and without even a blink of hesitation he responded, yeah, NO QUESTION, there are a few guys starting to catch up.  The Austrailian is hands down the best and mostly because of his consistency.  Ben coached with Harley on a few of the Liquid Force “Trip Across North America” tours and actually is riding Harley’s pro model… which was what I were chatting about.. The Remedy, it’s not for the average rider.  It’s made especially for Harley and those who really charge the wake.  Ben said for most the Harley classic is a perfect board, but if you are a very advance rider, the jump might be what helps you get that little bit of extra somethin somethin to make it happen.  Both models are stiff and really fast, the Remedy, is faster and designed to have more pop.  It has this crazy V notched tail for more hold and bite since they increase the surface area of the tip and tail.  The Remedy is set up with a triple concave bottom, of which the center is slightly lower than the two sides.  The three channels flow together and get wider out the back(what us old school slalom skiers might remember they called the Venturi effect)  Jimmy Redmon, the Liquid Force board designer/shaper added more rocker, which normally would slow down the board, but overcame that obstacle with the triple channel and increased speed from the Venturi tunnel… more speed, and more rocker equals more pop.  The Harley Classic which is now on it’s 6th year of production is a really good all around option, it’s fast, and has great pop and holds on the landing.  The body hasn’t changed so you can even score a older model w/ previous years graphics and get yourself a deal.. the boards are pretty easy to come by and well worth the coin. With all of this talk about the product, I figured it’d be a good month for Ben to hook us up with a Trick Tip:

The wake to wake is the first big step you take in intermediate to advanced level wake boarding. You need to know how to do it in order to do any other trick in these categories.

    To start the heelside wake to wake, edge out on the side where your heels are facing the wake. Cut out at least 20 feet, then you will start what we call a progressive edge. In doing this you will start out by edging back towards the wake slowly and then continuing to increase your speed all the way to the wake. When you reach the wake, hold your edge all the way to the top. It is important not to flatten  your board off and also not to try and jump off the wake. Instead you need to approach in the seated position, and stand up at the top. Keep the handle low and your momentum will carry you across to the down side of the other wake. You can also add your own style to it by grabbing your board on the nose or tail, or in the front/back middle of your board.  -ben

Come check out Ben and the new Liquid Force gear June 20 at Blue Creek Marina.  The demo day will be split into 2 sessions 9-12 and 1-4, reservations only with 32 spots per session.  Call now and get your spot reserved in the boat!

See you on the water-

The Summer Season on Lake Martin

It’s that time of the year again!  It’s time to start getting the boats summarized and getting them out to the dock or on the lift… and the season begins.  Winter is behind us and the water level is full pool.  The debris is still a little bit of a problem this time of the year.  It’s something we have to keep an eye out for constantly.  When the water fills everything that was on shore makes it’s way out into the lake and some of it can be detrimental to the boat and even your rider if they were unlucky enough to fall into some floating debris, and I’ve actually seen a few near misses.. boats hulls, drive shafts and props can all be fixed.  It might not be the most inexpensive fix, but it’s repairable.  If one of us falls into something low floating, like a part of a tree, that’s not really medicine cabinet hurt.. that’s a trip to the hospital.  It might be in your best interest to take a ride down the slough and make sure there’s nothing floating around before you hit it for a little while until this stuff makes its way to the bottom, or back to shore.  It’s still a bit risky and may not be a great time to take night boat rides [for the first part of the month] for the obvious, you can’t see anything.  I’ve seen a sea doo port floating in the middle of the lake, trees, all sorts of wood from docks etc.. so just be careful.
The lake temp was at 66 the other day, and it felt it.  Neoprene is your friend for a this part of the year.  I’m a huge fan of the long sleeve top.  It is the most used wet suit piece i use every year.  It is actually even layer-able with a shorty which i do early season.  I don’t like to be cold out there, and I know some people don’t even use wet suits or tops this month.  I don’t take cold showers in the morning because i have a hot water heater.. i have neoprene, so i use it.  To each his/her own, but it sure does make the early morning set more pleasant if you ask me!
The new stuff for 2016
What the market is showing per sales and the company reps supplying the gear is that wakesurfing has continued to overtake the market.  One rep told me the at 40% of his territory was buying more surfboards that wakeboards.  This is up from maybe 1 store buying more surfers previously.  The wakesurf lines are growing in leaps and bounds.  Tons of different shapes, fin set ups and thickness (which some of you have found is important when it’s time to put it in the board rack!)  So there is the question surf style or skim.  If your new to wakesurfing, it’s THE question.  If your not, then it’s probably time to find one of the opposite you’ve been riding to add to your quiver of boards.  So if you are shopping for your first board, what do you want?  You definitely need to get someone to help you fit the board to your size and weight…. AND fit that to the wave your riding.  The same 5’10” 180lb rider on competition size wave, will not really enjoy trying to ride that board behind a boat with a normal size surf wake.  He/she will have to work really hard to stay in the drive of the wave, and have to surf way to close to the boat.  If you ware properly set up for your size/weight/wake they you should be able to learn to surf way back on the wave.  That is the number one thing i have to teach new students, is they are surfing entirely to close to the boat.  I will get into this problem shortly.  We can get endless descriptions and reviews online for boards.  The best way to figure out what you like is obviously to ride the board, but if you can’t then you need to be able to tell the salesman what you want to do on the board.  If you want to learn 360s then a 5 fin surfstyle board is not going to be what you want to buy.  If you want to cruize around and jsut ride the wave a bit and carve around, then it could be perfect.  This is the tough one for a lot of people…one size does not fit all.  A small kid will be miserable on a board that will fit an average adult.  Again, it’s all wave specific as well, so make sure you explain the boat you use and the weight you add so they can get a good understanding on how to fit your family.

 Back to the surfing to close to the boat – This happens for a few reasons; first the wake is not set up properly in terms of how the boat is weighted.  The wave is tall but not very long and the rider is stuck right at the platform… this is not fun.  If however it is a proper wave and they are surfing a few feet off the platform, it’s generally because the board is to small and that is the fastest, hardest pushing area in the wave, which does keep them moving along with the boat without the rope.  It’s not a good place to surf and your stuck in one spot.  the goal is to be able to drop way back on the wave and ride forward up and down the wave face, hopefully doing some tricks as we progress our riding.  The tricks should be done behind where 75% of the people I coach start out riding on the wave.  Example; if I drop back to the farthest point on the wave that i can keep the board moving forward (we have to work to move it forward at this point, it’s not just going to be pushed by the wave’s energy) I should start, if not be mid trick( say a 360) at the halfway point from there to the boat. You want to ride all over the wave and stay back from the first few feet off the platform.  That part of the wave is very hard and fast, you’ll notice the board shoot out from under you there for that very reason.  If your back on teh wave, the board’s rail can dig into the wave face better.

Next month I’m going to talk a lot about wakeboarding, some trick tips from my buddy Ben Watts.. so stay tuned, summer is around the corner.  Make sure you get that last push of training in just before the season.  If your starting late, pull ups are the best quickest most efficient way to get strong in the uppper body.

See you on the water!