Costa Rica is one of the best places to vacation in the world, not least because of the number of activities on offer.
One of the most popular activities is wakeboarding, which involves being tugged along by a boat at around 15 to 25 mph while your feet are attached to a single board.
If you’ve never tried wakeboarding before, taking a costa rica watersports vacation is a pretty good way to experience it for the first time! Specifically, wakeboarding on Lake Arenal in Arenal National Park.
This is one of the most popular tourist spots in the country, with hundreds of watersports enthusiasts visiting every year to race along the surface of the lake under the looming presence of the volcano as a backdrop.
But how easy is wakeboarding for beginners? It’s all very well talking about the beauty of Costa Rica and Lake Arenal, but you won’t get the chance to appreciate much of it if you’re constantly in the water!
Well, on Lake Arenal, there are instructors who can show you the ropes. But if you would like a few pointers before you get out there, we think we’re well-placed to give you a bit of advice.
Below, you’ll find 7 things you need to remember to make your Costa Rican wakeboarding session a success the first time around:
Your Arms Might Feel More Like Twigs
First off, it’s important to note that wakeboarding is incredibly hard on the arms. Your whole body is being pulled along by a boat, and the power of that boat is shooting through your muscles and tendons, so they’re going to feel a little sore after a while! Even if you pride yourself on particularly impressive biceps, you’re going to feel the strain, so be prepared and don’t think of yourself as weak. It’s natural!
Try Not To Pull On The Rope
A big factor in nailing wakeboarding is simply getting up onto your feet. To start out, you’ll be floating on your back with the rope firmly in your grip. Once you’ve given the thumbs up, the boat will begin to go, and it’s your job to let it pull you along. Many first-timers get this part wrong, as it’s in their instinct to pull on the rope to help them lift up. But you don’t need to do this. All you need to do is lean back and let the boat do the work.
Bend Your Knees As Much As You Can
While the boat is doing its work, your only job is to bend your knees into a crouching stance. This will help you balance as you get pulled upright. Once you are upright, you can begin to slowly pull out of the crunched position and stand up.
Don’t Look At Your Feet
Another mistake that many first-timers make is becoming ultra-conscious of their feet. Because there is a big emphasis on weight distribution, wakeboarders think they need to watch their feet in order to distribute themselves efficiently across the board. But by staring at your feet, you’ll end up putting too much weight onto the front foot, and then you’re going to get pretty wet. Make sure to keep looking ahead and keep your eyes on the boat.
But Still Think About Where Your Feet Are!
In the same breath, you shouldn’t forget about your feet entirely! As mentioned before, weight distribution and learning how to stay balanced on a wakeboard are key. Make sure your weight is across the whole board with correct foot placement and a good upper-body stance. Your instructors will certainly remind you of this and tell you what a good stance looks like.
This Isn’t About Doing Fancy Tricks
Another thing to remember is that this isn’t about doing fancy tricks. Yes, you’ve probably seen a few pictures of people wakeboarding in Costa Rica, perhaps mid-spin, with their board flying up into the air. It looks cool, sure, but it’s not realistic for your first attempt! The way to nail your first wakeboarding session is simply to get it right and enjoy it. Learning how to do all the best wakeboarding tricks can come later on down the line.
You’re Going To Get Wet!
Lastly, remember that you’re going to get wet. It’s very rare that any first-time wakeboarder gets it perfect in their first-ever session. They fall. They get back up again. They fall. They get back up again.
The key to mastering wakeboarding is patience and persistence. Yes, you’re going to fall flat on your face more times than you would like, but that’s part of the learning experience. Never be downhearted, and always try again.
Remember, you’re in Costa Rica, wakeboarding along a beautiful lake amongst an abundance of natural beauty and wildlife. It could be worse!