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Tip for Contest Riders
- By Jason Long
- Published April 23, 2014
Me again,here to share some tips for the contest riders as they wait their turn to ride at the starting docks. While I’m not a great contest rider I am a people watcher and that has helped me over the years with preparing myself to ride contests. This will be just a few tidbits of info to help things move along more smoothly.
- This kind of goes without saying, but listen for your riding division to be called. I know it gets loud on the boat line and can be hard to hear the announcer sometimes, so before the day’s events start try to get an idea of when each division will begin from one of the helpful staff workers. Throughout the day keep aware of which division has run. I like to ask one of the event staff on jet skis on occasion which division is currently riding to help me keep up. Of course you can always turn down the tunes for a bit to help hear the announcers too.
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- Once you hear your riding division called to make their way towards the docks, get all your gear (board, bindings, vest, rope) together and head for the starting dock. I prefer to get all my gear out and set aside earlier so I’m not rushing. Try not to bring a bunch of extra stuff you won’t need while riding. That way it’s not crowding the start dock and everyone can move around easier.
- If on land just walk to the start docks. Those of you in the boat line try to get a ride from one the event staff on jet skis or another boat that is not tied up. Breaking your boat off from the boat line can be messy sometimes, so only do that as a last resort. I don’t suggest swimming across as this could be very dangerous if another division is still riding.
- Once at the start dock find out the running order so you’ll know whom you’re riding after. This way you can be putting on your board and vest while the rider ahead of you is taking their run. Also take time to lie out your rope.
- While on the subject of ropes… If you are riding with your own, take time to make sure it is not tangled before you’re run starts. This will help save time between riders. Also know what length to tell the rope handler in the boat to use. There is a “community rope” in the towboat if you do not have one so don’t be worried about that.
- Stretching is always important whenever performing strenuous activities. Let’s face it; some of you are basically doing gymnastics on water. Gymnasts stretch and so should you! Take a few minutes before your run to loosen up. I find it helps to get my mind off the run ahead and stay calm too. Stretching could help you avoid injury as well.
- Know the run format of your riding division. Some divisions allow 2-3 falls while others are unlimited falls. Know what tricks you are allowed to perform in your division. If you can do a backroll or 540 but your division doesn’t allow that odds are you signed up for the wrong division and you may be bumped up. While signing up ask opinions from the event staff as to what division you need to ride in and they can help you decide if you’re unsure.
- Be aware of the riding course. It’s fairly simple… There will be a large buoy at either end of the course. These designate the start and stop points of the course. Once in the course bang out whatever tricks you may have. If you fall outside the course it will not count against your run, only falls within the course count.
- Don’t expect epic water conditions with perfect butter for miles… It ain’t gonna happen! It’s the nature of the beast and I’ve never seen a contest with smooth water. We try our best to keep the area as smooth as possible from boat traffic, but no one can control the weather. Make the best with what you have.
- Lastly and most importantly… HAVE FUN!!! That’s part of what this event and sport are all about. I’ve ridden in dozens of contests over my 18 years of wakeboarding. The only events I did well in are where I had the most fun. Just think of it as another day on your home lake riding with friends and family and not a contest. Good luck and we can’t wait to see you ride!