The tropical weather and pristine beaches in Malaysia provides the perfect excuse to indulge in water-related activities such as snorkelling, diving or even wakeboarding. If you are clueless as to what wakeboarding is, look no further for an activity that promises to be nothing but ten tonnes of exhilarating fun. The term wakeboarding may confuse the uninitiated but it is just a combination of water-skiing, snowboarding, and surfing. And once you get the hang of it, you will never want to let it go.
The sport, formerly known as skurfing, made its debut in the late 1980s after the advent of ski-boarding (now known as snowboarding) and has grown from its humble roots in California to cover every continent in the world. This high speed action sport is predominantly practised behind a purpose built speed boat, with the rider towed behind at approximately between 25 to 40km/h, where the boat creates two waves (or wakes) as it displaces water. These wakes are then used as ramps, allowing wakeboarders to perform jumps, aerial tricks, pull technical inverts and spins. The speed at which the boats travel at depends on the year, make and model of these boats.
In the same way that snowboarding has brought about a cultural revolution in the ski market, wakeboarding has reinvented water skiing as the fastest growing water sport in the world, boasting over 3 million participants worldwide. Although very different in principle, all board sports like surfing, skateboarding, and surfing crossover very easily, not just through the similarities in the tricks that are pulled off and the names that are given, but also the lifestyles they encompass and camaraderie that exists within the community.
Although wakeboarding may be young in Malaysia, it is fast gaining momentum as many individuals are expressing interest in this activity that gives them the adrenaline rush they seek in a relatively safe environment. Top wakeboarding spots in Malaysia include the Mines Wellness Hotel, Performance Watersport (both located at Mines Resort City), and Tristan Park in Johor Bahru where the water at Sebana Cove provides the perfect riding spot with glassy and clean water throughout the workout. If you are looking for places closer to the city, the Pullman Putrajaya Lakeside Hotel and Waterski and Wakeboard World Cup Sdn Bhd, a company founded in collaboration with the International Waterski & Wakeboard Federation (IWWF) in marketing, promoting and organising the sport in Malaysia, both offer water enthusiasts a chance to explore their athletic side.
Amateurs need not fret as a few of these quirky tips give them a head start on what to expect from wakeboarding. First things first, you need to work out if you are normal (left leg first) or goofy (right leg first). See which leg you lead with, as this leg is placed in front of the other, on the board. It is important to remember to allow the pull of the wire to hoist your body upwards and out of the water. If you stand up too soon, you are sure to sink as there is no force to keep the body upright. If you think you are going to fall, it is best to let go of the rope as soon as you can to prevent falling face-first into the water.
Although wakeboarding is similar to skiing and snowboarding, sports enthusiasts do not have to be well-versed in either sport to give it a try. Like most physical activities, wakeboarding will engage muscles you did not know you possessed; so stretch your arms, back, and shoulders before and after to prevent too much pain the following day. Who knows, you may even learn a new water trick or two before you know it!
Homepage Highlight Photo Credit: Prefeitura Municipal de Itanhaem, Flickr