Talk the Talk

OK, you’ve got your board, boat, tower, killer sound, ballast and fat sacs! You’re now ready to wakeboard!

Only, after 10 minutes on the lake with your newfound buddies, you feel like you’ve entered the Twilight Zone. The guys are talking about stalefish half-cabs and you’re looking around for dead fish. Obviously something’s not right.

When a rider does a “tweaked” move, he adds a little something different or out of the ordinary to make the move more spectacular. “Late” would be when a rider waits until the last second to actually throw the trick or grab. “Stalled” would be amount of air time held before landing.

Basically, if you’re not comfortable talking the talk right away, keep your mouth shut and just listen. After a little practice you’ll be shouting out props to your buddy’s super stylie method roll-to-revert off the double-up before you know it.

It usually happens when you’re trying to add a new move to your bag of tricks, so you seek the advice of those who have gone before. Inevitably, their instructions will be based upon some basic terms that you’ve probably heard a million times. However, has anybody really defined them?

Without knowing the true meanings of these basic building blocks, the mastery of that new maneuver may prove elusive. Here they are broken down as simply as possible.



Getting in the air, the amount of space between the rider and the water.


Air Trick

A trick performed using line tension for lift instead of the wake.


Backside Boardslide/Lipslide

A Boardslide or Lipside where the rider approached the slider or wake with their back closest to the object being used.


Backside Spin

A spin where the rider rotates with the back of their body towards the boat first. For a left-foot forward rider this would be clockwise. Sometimes mistakenly referred to as a “blindside spin”.



A term used to describe falling on your wakeboard or releasing the handle during a trick to prevent a hard landing.



Extra weight added to the boat to make the wake bigger. Ballast can be people, fat sacks, concrete paving slabs or anything else that’s heavy. Some boats include built-in ballast systems which take on water into a tank installed in the hull of the boat.



The rubber/foam boots that are attached the board to hold the board to the riders feet.



Landing blind is also like landing wrapped, where the rider does not pass the handle so they land with the handle behind their back with their back facing the boat. Referred to like a “Tantrum to Blind”, or “Front Flip to Blind”. Sometimes backside spins are mistakenly referred to as “blind” spins.



A shorter version of “wakeboard”.



A shorter version of “wakeboarder”.


Board Rack

A rack used for holding wakeboards and wakeskates. Usually attached to an extended pylon or tower.



A slide on an obstacle or wake where the nose of the board is what travels over the obstacle. So if you approach a slider with your chest facing it and ollie up and slide with the nose over the slider, it’s a Frontside Boardslide.



A wakeboarder or wakeskater is usually pulled by a motorized boat.


Boat Speed

Refers to the speed the boat is going while pulling a wakeboarder. Most riders ride between 28-35 km/h depending on rope length and skill level.



To bone out a grab or bone out your leg means you straighten it all the way out. So I “boned out grab” is one where your leg or legs are straightened out while grabbing.



The act of touching/hitting your board on an obstacle. If a rider “bonks a buoy”, they’re hitting their board against the buoy briefly.


Butt Check

When the rider lands a trick and drags or slaps their butt on the water. Generally this is considered a sloppy landing.



A term used for smooth water.



Cable wakeboarding is riding at a cable park instead of behind a boat. A cable park is a place where there are a series of mechanical cables connected by towers that pull the rider around the water. There are over 100 cable parks in the world, and they’re mainly in Europe.



To “case” the wake means to land right on top of the wake in an abrupt fashion.



The inside material used in a wakeboard. Common cores are foam, honeycomb, or wood.


Corked Spin

Another name for an off-axis spin. When a rider spins and the rider leaves their vertical axis and the board rises up to shoulder level or higher while spinning.


Dock Start

One way for a rider to start riding, is to to a Dock Start. The rider can either stand and jump off the dock as the boat goes, or sit on the edge of the dock and slide off.



When the boat circles around and cross back over it’s own wakes at about a 90-degree angle, the wakes converge causing the resulting wake to be twice the size. This is the Double-Up. If the rider times it right, they can edge in and hit the Double-Up, which will give them more air then normal.

Hitting the double-up isn’t hard. Probably the hardest thing about hitting a double-up is having it driven properly. Drivers need to accelerate through the turn to hold the boat speed, make the turn wide enough to keep the rider afloat and decelerate out of the turn, returning to the old speed as you hit the rollers at 90 degrees. If you are just learning double-ups, a wider angle gives you more time and is easier to hit.

If the double-up is driven properly, boosting 4 to 6 meters in the air is easy. There will be approximately three sets of rollers and consequently three double-ups to hit. The whole idea is to position yourself in one of the channels and edge down until you reach the crossing roller. The first one is the easiest to hit because it is the smallest. This is a good one to start on because it is relatively easy to place yourself in the channel.

The second double-up is the biggest and best to hit once you get the hang of hitting the first. Just ignore the third.

Once you have gotten the hang of getting yourself in the right channel, take a few times just riding it into the rollers to get a good picture of what you are going to hit. When you are ready to actually hit the double-up, edge at it slowly – just like a regular jump. Stay on edge and keep your hips up through the wake, and you will get all the pop you need. At first, start only 1 or 2 meters outside the wake. As you get used to hitting that, you can gradually take it bigger.

Once you pop off the wake, you will have a tendency to launch off-axis. Make sure you don’t pull the rope up high because that will cause you to fall backward. To avoid this tendency, keep the rope down at your hips and your head up.


Deep-Water Start

The normal way to start riding a wakeboard is to sit in deep water and let the boat start going and pull you up on top of the water.



The sides of the wakeboard are called edges. You have a Heelside Edge and a Toeside Edge on your board.


EVA Foam

A lightweight foam used in bindings and rope handles.


Extended Pylon

A pylon which is usually 6-feet tall or higher, used to attach the rope to so it’s higher off the water. A higher rope gives less downward pull on the rider while in the air.



A fall where you faceplant so fast that you can’t manage to close your eyes before hitting the water. We don’t recommend falling this way.



After you’ve face-planted with your eyes open, you’ve had an eye-peeler!



A fall where you catch your toeside edge causing you to fall very quickly so your face slaps the water hard.



A term from skateboarding that means riding the board in your normal riding position, but traveling the other direction. This can’t really be done in wakeboarding since you can’t change your foot position, so fakie is often interchanged with the term “Switchstance” in wakeboarding, which just means that the rider is riding the board with their opposite foot forward.


Fat Sack

A sack that is filled with water and placed in the boat to make the wake bigger.



A fin is the skeg on the front and back of the board to help stabilize the board in the water.



The section of the water outside of the wakes where the water is flat. If a rider does a big trick where they land way outside the wake, they’re doing a trick “out to the flats”.



The term can be interchanged with “Invert”, but in wakeboarding a Flip is usually a term used to define a tip over tail upside down rotation. There are a few exceptions though.


Frontside Boardslide/Lipslide

A Boardslide or Lipside where the rider approached the slider or wake with the front of their body closest to the object being used.


Frontside Spin

A spin where the rider rotates with the front of their body towards the boat first. For a left-foot forward rider, this would be a spin in the counter-clockwise direction.




A slippery substance used to help get your feet into bindings. There are some specially made lubes, but some people use shaving cream, soap or vaseline. Other terms : Lube, Slime, Goo, Juice, Soap.


Get Up

A term used for when the rider gets up out of the water and is riding the wakeboard standing up.



A term for smooth water.



A slippery substance used to help get your feet into bindings. There are some specially made lubes, but some people use shaving cream, soap or vaseline. Other terms : Lube, Slime, Juice, Soap, Gel.


Goofy Foot

Wakeboarder’s who ride with their right foot forward.



While in the air, if the rider reaches down to the board and clasps their hand on it, it’s a “Grab”. There are lots of different types of grabs that can be done alone or added to other tricks.



The handle is at the end of the rope, and is usually between 12″-15″ wide.


Handle Pass

When the rope handle is passed from one hand to the other, it’s called a Handle Pass. It’s usually only used to referred to when the rider passes the handle behind their back.


Heelside Edge

The Heelside Edge is the side of the board closest to your heels. Most riders are more comfortable edging with this edge when beginning.



A helmet is usually used when riders hit obstacles such as slider or kickers.



When the rider goes upside down while in the air, it’s called an Invert.




To hit a rail, slider, dock, etc. Basically riding/sliding something that isn’t water.



A slippery substance used to help get your feet into bindings. There are some specially made lubes, but some people use shaving cream, soap or vaseline. Other terms : Lube, Slime, Goo, Soap, Gel.



A non-stretch material used in ropes similar to Spectra. Wakeboarder’s want a Kevlar or Spectra rope that doesn’t stretch.



A ramp hit by a wakeboarder or wakeskater to catch air.


Life Jacket

A life vest or jacket is used to float the rider in the water.



A slide on an obstacle or wake where the tail of the board travels over the obstacle first. So if you approach a slider with your chest facing it and ollie up and put the tail of the board over the obstacle, you’re doing a Frontside Lipslide.


Loading the Line

The loading of the line comes from a progressive edge. Since you are pulling away from the boat, tension is generated tension between you and the boat, just like a tug-a-war with the boat. This is called line tension. You’ll know if you’ve got it because at the top of the wake, right before you release, you will feel a lot of pressure on the rope. This increases on the tricks like Raleys, where you have tons of progressive edge and TONS of line tension.

All tricks require some line tension. The key is a solid, slowly-built edge. A great way to get a feel for it is to drive someone that can really ride. The boat will slow as they approach the wake and speed up as they get airborne. A great rider doing a big trick will pull the boat super hard to the point that the driver needs to speed up during the trick. Someone who is not practicing this will jerk the boat and you will not see the speed change at all.



A slippery substance used to help get your feet into bindings. There are some specially made lubes, but some people use shaving cream, soap or vaseline. Other terms : Slime, Goo, Juice, Soap, Gel.


Mobe or Mobius

An invert that also contains at least a 360 degree spin in it.


Monkey Spin

Another name for an off-axis spin. When a rider spins and the rider leaves their vertical axis and the board rises up to shoulder level or higher while spinning.



The tip of the board, the closest end to the boat.


Off-Axis Spin

When a rider does a spin but goes off the vertical axis so the board usually gets up to shoulder level or above.



When the rider does a spin and instead of passing the handle just lifts the handle over their head.



When the rider pops the board into the air by pushing down on their back foot and jumping up leading with their front foot. Just like a skateboarding ollie.


Perfect Pass

This technology is modification to your boat’s speed and acceleration system which allows it to automatically and accurately maintain any speed you choose.



This is when you release from the wake, you generate pop. Pop is also similar to the term “Air”.


Progressive Edge

The proper technique to be used when edging. A progressive edge is when the rider builds their edge as they approach the wake so that their hardest edge is right when they hit the wake.

The best way I can describe this is to think about your board being completely flat on the water as a 0, and your board being perpendicular to the water as a 10. For this concept, forget everything else like wake, speed, board shape, etc. The idea of a progressive edge is to go from 0 to 10 as slowly as possible.

Now, throw a wake into the picture. You are still going from 0 to 10, but you only have enough time as you have cut out for. For example, take a five foot cut (a few feet outside of the spray) and STOP! that is 0. Slowly start drifting into the wake, increasing the angle of the board (toes toward your face if you’re heelside) as you approach the wake. When you arrive at the wake, the board should be close to perpendicular to the water (not the wake). In reality, the board will actually be closer to 45 degrees (which would be a five on our 0 to 10 scale) to the water on most normal tricks. The key to a progressive edge is taking everything slow!

The key to getting big, easy air is progressive edging and body position. Beginners often make the mistake of edging hard when they are outside, then easing off near the wake. Instead, begin with a gradual edge, then increase as you approach the wake. Your hardest edge should be right at the wake. Don’t crouch as you reach the wake. By standing tall, you will transfer the energy of the board and wake into vertical motion. Keep the handle close to your body during the approach and while you are in the air, then land with the same upright posture you held during the jump.


Pylon / Skylon

A metal pole used for attaching the rope to the boat.



A long rail made of metal, PVC, or wood used as an object to slide by a wakeboarder or wakeskater.


Raley-Based Tricks

Tricks built off of the Raley, which means they are all tricks with your body extended back with the board above your head, yet aren’t inverted flips.


Rampy Wake

A wake that has a very gradual slope to it. This type of wake is better for tricks where the rider edges all the way through the wake.


Regular Foot

A rider who rides with their left foot forward on their wakeboard.



Used to describe landing Switch or Fakie. A Roll To Revert is a Back Roll with a 180 causing the rider to land backwards, or Revert.



Another name for the person riding the wakeboard.



The amount of curvature in a wakeboard. If a wakeboard has 2 inches of Rocker, then the tip and tail are 2 inches higher than the middle of the board. There are two types of rocker, continuous and three-stage. Continuous rocker is a smooth curve, while a board with three-stages of rocker, with a flat spot in the middle of the board.



An invert where the board travels in an edge over edge rotation. However, some tricks that follow that rotation aren’t called Rolls, and a Back Roll has a tip over tail rotation, so it’s very confusing.



The rope connects the handle to the boat. Common wakeboarding rope lengths are between 16-20 meters.



A long rail made of metal, PVC, or wood used as an object to slide by a wakeboarder or wakeskater.



A slippery substance used to help get your feet into bindings. There are some specially made lubes, but some people use shaving cream, soap or vaseline. Other terms : Lube, Goo, Juice, Soap, Gel.



A slippery substance used to help get your feet into bindings. There are some specially made lubes, but some people use shaving cream, soap or vaseline. Other terms : Lube, Slime, Goo, Juice, Gel.


Spectra Rope

A spectra rope is one that is made out of the material called Spectra, which is a non-stretch substance. Wakeboarder’s want to use a non-stretch rope made of Spectra or Kevlar.



A spin is when the rider and board rotate around on a vertical axis.



Another term for a bad wreck.


Standing Tall

At the peak of the wake when the rider is about to pop off the wake they want to stand tall, which means extending at the hips and knees so they don’t absorb the energy created by the impact of the wake. you want your entire body to be as straight up and down as possible. If you are crouched over and bent at the knees or at the waist, you will lose everything you built up. Remember, the way you leave the wake is the way you will land, so if things aren’t going right then check your landing. Most people bend at the waist or pull up there knees as they ride up their wake and it kills their pop.

So for that solid wake jump, follow these steps. Cut out five to ten feet and STOP! Drift in while building your edge and hold it all the way through the wake. Keep your arms in, back straight, and stand as tall as you can when you leave the wake. Let the board and wake do all of the work and for God’s sake, hold on!


Steep Wake

A steep wake is a wake that is very abrupt and steep in shape. It’s closer to being a wall, and is better for tricks where the rider wants to stop and pop, or go up more instead of going out.



When a rider lands a trick in a smooth or clean manner, they have “stomped” the trick.



The look a rider has while riding. A unique style is a unique look to their ride. Things usually considered stylish are well-held grabs, smooth landings, tweaking out tricks, etc.


Surface Trick

A trick performed with the board on the water the whole time.



Riding the board backwards from your normal riding stance. To ride switch-stance you don’t actually switch your stance, you simply switch the direction you are going – you ride backward while looking like you are riding forward.

Going back to your stance: The best way to do this is the simple backside wake 180. Not an air-to-fakie.

Pull out with your back to the boat about half as far as you think you need to go to clear the wake – you only need to be about 3 to 4.5 meters outside the wake. The key to good air on a wakeboard is not the pull-out, but simply building a progressive edge as you approach the wake. Keep your head up, your handle low and your weight centered as you progressively build an edge to the wake. It is fine to have a slight crouch as you build your edge but be conscious to keep the pressure on your heels (on a backside cut), not your thighs. As you pull through the wake, stand up tall to get that much-coveted “pop” wakeboarders are always talking about. Once in the air, simply let go of the handle with your front hand and pull the handle to (or even behind) your trailing hip. This will turn you toward the boat and bring your back foot around to the lead. Try to land slightly on your toe-side edge. To do this, keep your eyes on the shore you are headed toward instead of looking down at your board. When you land, don’t think, don’t stop, just immediately head into a half-cab.



The end of the board farthest from the boat when riding.


Thumb Screws

These are screws used to screw the bindings onto the board. Other products used for this are Lokz, Hyperlocks, Bones, G-bolts, Claws etc.



The end of the board closest to the boat when riding.



The side of the board closest to the rider’s toes.



A “cage-like” aluminum attachment to a boat used for tying the rope to, placing board racks, speakers, etc.



Just like a Double-Up, except the boat makes an additional kink which it drives back through to make a roller even bigger than a Double-up.



When a rider moves the board or legs while making a grab. Tweaking out a Method Grab means the rider would grab the board, then possibly bone out one leg.



A life jacket, used to float the rider in the water.



The wave created behind the boat which is used by a wakeboarder to jump of off or slide.


Wake to Wake

When the rider does a trick where they take off from one wake, and land on the other, then the trick was “wake to wake”.



The board a wakeboarder rides. Usually between 115 and 145 cm in length, and 15-17 inches wide.



The person riding the wakeboard.



A combination of a wakeboard and a skateboard. The board doesn’t have bindings, is smaller, and covered with grip tape or a sticky foam.


Washy Wake

A wake that isn’t very clean. This means that it’s sort of bumpy and there may be a white turbulent water on the top of the wake.


Wipe Out

A term used to describe a fall on a wakeboard.



When the rider has the rope wrapped around their back when riding they are are going to perform a wrapped trick. It allows a rider to spin without doing a handle pass, so it allows for unique grabs.



When the rider falls and can no longer hold on to the rope.