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IT'S TIME TO ROLL AND FEEL

IT'S TIME TO ROLL AND FEEL

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RIDE WAVES: EXPERT KNEEBOARDING TIPS

Check out what kneeboarding is

Some people like to call it kneeboard surfing, but it’s been kneeboarding for ages now. Can you believe this cool water sport has been around for almost 50 years? Yep, it all started back in the early 1970s with the invention of the Knee Ski. It revolutionized how people hit the water behind a boat, offering a fresh perspective on towed watersports.

It might seem like the next logical step in the water sports world, but it’s more than just a step—it’s a whole new game! There’s a whole bunch of kneeboard tricks and skills to master, making it a sport in its own right. Trust us, watching expert kneeboard riders pull off their moves is a blast!!!

Little Guide to the basics of kneeboarding

  • To get started, lie on top of the kneeboard in deep water.

  • Get a grip on the tow rope by placing your arms under the kneeboard strap.

  • Position your upper body forward so you can tuck your knees.

  • Wait for the boat to start moving and the kneeboard to a plane on the water’s surface.

  • Tuck your knees in until your shins are flat against the board.

  • Secure the strap over your thighs snugly.

  • Keep your weight towards the back of the board to maintain balance.

Now, the burning question for kneeboarding newbies: how to get up on the board? Well, there are a few ways to go about it, but one of the easiest methods is to start by lying on top of the kneeboard with your arms under the strap and gripping the tow rope handle.

Once you’re in position, facing the boat, lean your upper body forward enough to tuck your knees almost in front of you, fitting them into the foam impressions on the board. When you’re set, give the driver the signal to hit the throttle.

As the boat accelerates, the kneeboard will rise on the water, allowing you to slide your knees fully into position. Shift your arms one by one from under to over the kneeboard strap, tightening it securely over your thighs while keeping your weight towards the rear of the board. Avoid leaning too far forward, or you might take an unexpected plunge into the water—a hilarious sight for onlookers, but not so much for you. Remember, let the boat do the heavy lifting!

It might take a few tries to get the hang of it, but starting with your arms under the strap ensures it ends up in the right place—over your thighs—rather than under your shins, which can be tricky to adjust once you’re up and riding. With a bit of practice, you’ll soon be ready to take kneeboarding to the next level!

WAKEBOARDING: A COMBINATION OF WATERSPORTS

Kneeboard Equipment

One of the cool things about kneeboarding is that, apart from needing a boat, the gear doesn’t have to break the bank—though some top-tier boards can go for around $500, which isn’t exactly cheap—and you don’t need much to get started.

What you’ll need:

  • A kneeboard

  • A life jacket

  • A tow rope

Kids can take a tumble off a kneeboard and end up bobbing in the water, so they must have a life jacket that stays put. With so many options out there, opt for bright colors for kids to make them more visible in the water.

Keep in mind, that the responsibility for the kneeboarder’s safety largely falls on the driver. They need to be hyper-aware of everything happening around them. Think of it like keeping your head on a swivel. 

When towing a kneeboarder, they typically swing out wide in the opposite direction of your turn, so it’s especially important to watch out for shorelines, docks, trees, and other boats. Less traffic on the lake when towing people on a kneeboard equals a safer ride.

To tow your rider, you’ll need a kneeboard rope, usually designed for one person at a time. Similar to ski ropes, these have a bit of “give” to them. Some tow ropes for tubing come with a “bungee” feature, but those might not be suitable or safe for towing kneeboarders.

Lastly, let’s talk about boards. There are plenty of brands and styles to choose from. Some kneeboards are designed to help riders transition from kneeboarding to stand-up water sports like wakeboarding. Look for kneeboards with plush cushions for your shins and a wide strap with hook-and-loop fastening strips for easy use.

The great news is there’s a wide selection of kids’ kneeboards to choose from. Major retailers like Bass Pro Shops, Cabela’s, Overtons, Bart’s, West Marine, and others offer plenty of variety so you can find the right board for your riders!

WHAT IS BODYBOARDING? LEARN HOW TO DO IT

Types of Boats Used for Kneeboarding

One of the beauties of this aquatic sport is its versatility—it can be done behind almost any type of boat. Whether it’s a bowrider, deck boat, ski boat, wake boat, cruiser, you name it, it works. 

Wake boats are particularly favored by experienced riders for the impressive tricks they can pull off with big wakes. However, even pontoon boats can handle towing kids on a kneeboard, although you might need more than a 25-horsepower engine to ensure they can do a deep-water start. 

Keep in mind, as riders progress in skill, pontoon boats may not quite meet their needs, so it’s good to have that in mind from the get-go.

Boat Speed

As for the right speed, it comes down to what your rider is comfortable with, but it also depends on the type of boat you’re using. With wakeboard boats, for instance, the size of the wakes decreases with higher speeds, so faster isn’t always better. For younger kids, stick to speeds under 10 MPH or the slowest, safest speed at which they can manage a deep-water start and stay on the plane.

  • 5-10 years: Around 10 mph, give or take a few MPH

  • 10-13 years: 10 to 15 MPH

  • 14-17 years: 15-20 MPH

  • 18 and up: Rider preference

WHAT IS AQUABIKING? THE PERFECT COMBINATION

Types of Kneeboards

Kneeboards come in various designs tailored to different riders, and this often affects the materials and construction.

Beginner boards: Typically made of roto-molded plastic with bottoms designed for easy use by novices.

Intermediate boards: Tend to have stiffer compression-molded construction.

Advanced/professional boards: Feature wood stringers, CNC-machined foam cores, and sandwich construction that stores energy for dynamic launches off wakes.

Lessons learned from skis and wakeboards have influenced kneeboard construction, resulting in a science-backed approach. While there aren’t dedicated kneeboard racks for storage, wakeboard racks with extra-wide forks can accommodate kneeboards.

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