Kneeboarding may look a little wacky, but for some it’s the perfect compromise between tubing and waterskiing: It isn’t really difficult to learn, but takes a bit more skill than just sitting on a tube waiting for the driver to buck you off. Here’s how to get started.
The pros of kneeboarding
The great thing about getting up on a kneeboard is that it puts your centre of gravity low to the water, making the learning curve a little smaller than other water sports. This is great when you’re hosting guests at your cottage or just want to do something different.
The other thing is that if you’ve got the boat and the tow-rope already, you should be able to get started pretty cheaply. Canadian Tire sells kneeboards for just over $100 and if you search around a bit at garage sales or eBay, you’ll be able to find one for even less.
Determining if you need lessons
So do you need to take lessons? The easy answer is “it depends.” If no one in your group has ever done it before, then maybe. If no one knows how to water ski, wakeboard, or drive a boat with a rider hanging on the tow-rope, then it is probably best to do so just to figure out the basics.
So you’ve got the gear, you’re in the water with your board, and your driver is ready to punch it. How do you get on this thing anyway? As a beginner, it’s best to start on your belly. With the nose of the board out of the water, lay on your board with the strap done up at the loosest position and sitting at the front of the knee pad. Lie on the board with your hands on the tow-rope with your palms facing down.
Signal the driver to start slowly. As the driver begins to move and the board begins to plane up onto the surface of the water, bring your knees up into the knee wells. Press down on the rope with your hands and slowly slide yourself up. Be sure to keep your weight back and bring both knees up at the same time. Otherwise, the board will start to turn. When you feel balanced, pull the strap around your legs with one hand while holding onto the rope with the other. Once you’re up and riding, the driver should be able to adjust the speed to your liking.
From there it’s just a matter of learning to steer. Lean left and you’ll go left, lean right and you’ll go right—it’s as simple as that!