What are some kneeboarding trick I could learn?

Carley E asked:

I started kneeboarding a few summers ago. I can get a good bit of air and almost clear the wake. I can do a 360 on the water and ride backwards. What are some more advanced trick i could learn?

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Kneeboard Buyer’s Guide – What Features Do You Need?

Ross Angel asked:

Kneeboarding is a great way to begin with tow sports - you only have the balance of half your body to be concerned with, and psychologically, the feeling of being closer to the water if you fall gives you much more confidence. However there are nearly as many wicked tricks that can be pulled off on a kneeboard as on skis or a wakeboard and just as much fun to be had. If you've never felt the need to get off your knees and want your own board to progress with, here's a guide to the features you should look for.

This is less important when buying a kneeboard compared to buying waterskis or a wakeboard. The lower centre of gravity is one reason that weight is less of an issue; another reason is that kneeboarders generally move at much slower speeds than waterskiiers. That doesn't mean that kneeboarding isn't as hard - often the balance required to kneeboard surpasses what skiing requires. You won't usually find boards classified according to size when you're buying a kneeboard.

Nose shape
The standard or pointy-edged nose shape helps you cut in and out of the wake, and makes turning nice and smooth. Square nosed boards are great when you'll be doing tricks involving riding the board backwards, and other surface tricks become easier with a square nose shape and the extra width help to generate more pop or lift off the wake.

Edge shape
Flatter or sharper edges will give you better turning impetus, and more aggressive edge hold. Rounded edges are more forgiving, but make for slower turns when you are kneeboarding.

Straps & Pads
Kneeboard straps and pads come in many different shapes and quality. Fully contoured pads that use a good quality EVA rubber and generally more comfortable. Padded neoprene straps vary and width and normally come in single locking or double locking for the more advanced riders that need extra security.

Some models of kneeboard have fins that are retractable so you can ride with them down for better control and more aggressive slalom turns or fins up for surface turns and riding backwards.

The construction you choose will differ depending on what you want your board for. Advanced recreational users and those buying kneeboards for competitive use will want compression moulded boards. These are thinner and stiffer, and less buoyant but give optimum performance. Roto moulded or plastic boards are great for recreational boarders who aren't as confident in the water. They are more buoyant, and usually thicker and lighter and give a more stable controlled ride.

Homebrew Kegs

O’Brien 2010 Radica Kneeboard

Taking cues from O'Brien's leading wakeboard and water ski designs, the 2010 Radica kneeboard delivers a super-stable ride for an affordable price.

The Radica is equipped with wakeboard-style, molded quad fins that make edging and carving a breeze, while also allowing your legs to release for spin-type tricks. The water-ski-influenced bevel, meanwhile, helps the board sit low in the water, adding stability and supporting quick edge-to-edge transitions when carving. And riders will love the built-in hook and 3-inch padded strap, which make it easy to get in position. Made of entry-level plastic, the Radica is designed for beginning- and intermediate-level kneeboarders.

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Hydroslide Cyclone Kneeboard

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Exceptionally lightweight and thin, this roto-molded, traditional V-shaped kneeboard features an ergonomically contoured EVA kneepad with deep knee wells and a 2-inch padded strap.
About Hydroslide
Hydroslide, a division of Nash Manufacturing is the premier name brand in recreational water sports products. With products ranging from the innovative "Hoppers" wake skis to the most famous brand of kneeboards worldwide, all of Hydroslide's items are made with your enjoyment in mind.

Product Description

Ride a wake with the Hydroslide(r) Cyclone kneeboard. It features a built-in hook and extra-deep knee wells for superb control and comfort. The Cyclone kneeboard is lighter and thinner than many comparable kneeboards, so you know you'll get a great ride.

Kneeboard Rating

Perfect fit for adult riders. HydroHook makes getting on board much easier. Great price comparable to what you may find at the store.

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Types of Kneeboards

In the beginning, kneeboarding was just a fun water sport, but it soon also became a competitive water sport. When that happened, various additions had to be made to make kneeboards more for competition than their original design. That is why today there are two types of kneeboards. One type of kneeboards is like the original one, made for people to have fun kneeboarding without thinking about beating the other team or individuals, with no need for special tricks and stuff like that. The other type of kneeboard is made especially to be used in various competitions. These kneeboards are made for advanced kneeboarders to be able to do some awesome tricks and stunts with their kneeboards. Because of certain specific differences between these two types, as you will see, there is also another important difference, which is related to the cost of each type. As one would expect, beginner kneeboards are much cheaper than professional kneeboards, which have various additions to make them more professional in look and feel. I will go into further details about both of these types in the following paragraphs so that in the end, you’ll have a better understanding of the two types.

Regarding kneeboards for fun, they tend to be a rotomolded board, which is much cheaper than various other high tech models and it also has soft and wide edges that are great for beginners who aren’t planning on doing any advanced water tricks or stunts. Another good aspect is that this type of design offers easier turning. Basically, thanks to certain design characteristics, turning is possible to be performed by beginners in a much easier way than one would expect and it has great control, so beginners do not have any trouble in preventing loss of control. These boards are relatively thick and they float easily. There are also some additions offered as extra help for beginners with regard to turning of the kneeboard.

Regarding kneeboards for competition, they are molded by compression and offer much more for execution of various stunts and added durability. Unlike the kneeboards for fun, these are much thinner and lighter - plus they have sharper edges so that advanced kneeboarders are able to do quick turns and various other advanced water tricks and stunts. These kneeboards are also much more expensive than the beginner ones, because of all the high tech manufacturing the various additions. Another important thing with this type of kneeboards is that they aren’t as buoyant as the kneeboards for beginners, which mean they don’t float as easily and thus it allows advanced kneeboarders to use deepwater starts.

After you’ve read this it’s up to you to choose what type of kneeboarding are you interested in. Also, keep in mind that if you aren’t ready to dedicate extra time to kneeboarding then you shouldn’t even consider the competition type, because of it extra cost - and if you aren’t going to invest your time and to be serious about it, then it’s best to go with kneeboarding for fun.

Where to Kneeboard: Lake vs River vs Ocean

Kneeboarding originally started in the ocean, but since its beginnings it has moved to lakes and rivers across the globe. All three choices have their flaws and virtues. Some are more dangerous than others, and some are safer than others. There is also the factor of temperature and the fact that sea salt can be good or bad, depending on the person.

Let’s start with a lake. A lake is probably the safest of the three. It’s enclosed, so there are no currents to take you far from the shore should you end up in the water. Another positive is that in case of a storm, you won’t have to get out of the lake urgently, as because it is lake, no dangers like big waves can happen. There is also no salt in a lake and therefore no need to worry about drying yourself and having to immediately take a shower so you can wash off all the salt that remained on your skin and especially in your hair. Also, you can find quite acceptable temperatures near the lake, because unlike the ocean, lakes aren’t only found around extremely warm temperatures. There is possibility of finding an ocean with cold temperatures, but it’s very hard.  Depending on your location, especially if it’s somewhere far from the ocean, then a lake is the next best thing, unless if you want to travel many hours and maybe even many days to get to the shore of ocean.

The next option is a river. A river is somewhere in between, regarding dangers. It is more dangerous regarding currents compared to the ocean. The difference between the two is that if river has a strong current, just staying near the shore won’t help, or it will not help too much, meaning you won’t be able to do any kneeboarding because you will be too close, even in the very shallow part of the river. If you add to all that a nasty storm as well, then the current’s strength will increase drastically.

Finally we have the ocean. The ocean has warmth, and most of the time it has waves that can help if it’s not stormy weather. It’s the natural place to do kneeboarding if you have the luck to have been born near to the sea. Obviously, thanks to the fact that it is the ocean, there will be no worries about winter kneeboarding, and most of the time, depending on what shore you are at, you will have 350 out of 365 days a year to have great temperatures, great waves and great weather.

So, whichever one you choose, remember - they all have their issues. In all cases be very careful, especially when the weather looks stormy and waves look like they can cover the city. Make sure that you are using the proper equipment for the place and weather conditions - and you should be all set. All in all, everything is an adventure when it comes to kneeboarding.

Kneeboarding History

Kneeboard refers to a piece of board that is ridden by a person in a kneeling position. It is often used in ocean surfing or while being pulled behind a boat on a river or lake. Generally, riders of kneeboards wear wet suits or life jackets, as they catch the waves of water through dipping their hands, kicking, or paddling in the water. Some of the benefits of kneeboarding include taking off from a submerged part of the wave, the ability to ride further back and higher in the tubes, less wind resistance, and an extremely low center of gravity.

Kneeboard riders often compete in different expression sessions and trick events. One of the most popular derivatives of kneeboard is towed kneeboarding that of course uses towed kneeboards. This kind of kneeboard comes with a protected deck that is curved accordingly to the shape of the knees and shins. It also comes with a strap that firmly holds the rider on the board. However, the popularity of towed kneeboarding has declined with the arrival of modern water sports such as wakeboarding. Today, many water skiers still enjoy towed kneeboarding as a popular water sport, especially with the introduction of the newer kneeboard models and styles in the market.

Just like any piece of sport paraphernalia, kneeboard also has its own history. As most people know, kneeboarding is a famous alternative to three-event water sports that include bare footing, wakeboarding, and skiing. Athletes of kneeboarding usually compete in events of expression session, tricks, and slalom. The event of expression session is the same as wakeboarding in which every pass is subjectively scored for style points. The event of tricks are done in two 20-second passes, and granted with subjective and technical points. In the slalom event, the six markers are positioned similarly to the traditional course.

The origin of kneeboarding was traced from Southern California wherein enthusiasts of surfboard used their customized belly or knee boards to protect the back of their boats. This was about thirty five years ago. Since then, the attention was caught of surfers from nearby countries, thus they found a new concept of surf-skiing. In 1965, the Inland Wake Board Company was established in Downey, California and its kneeboard products were sold in the west, south, and east, in Abercrombie & Fitch stores.

Between the 1960s and 1970s, some California entrepreneurs developed a specifically designed kneeboard for towing from the rear of a boat. To produce fiberglass-wrapped Knee Ski, Mike Murphy worked hand in hand with Bud Holtz, while John Taylor created the Glide Slide, made of blow-molded plastic. Of these two products, Glide Slide was the most enjoyed, although its success in commercial business was short-lived.

Apparently, when Glide Slide went bankrupt, Danny Churchill, a skier who once worked for Taylor, secured financial support in order to form the Portugal Company, which in turn bought Glide Slide. The board was reshaped by Churchill, who switched it into rotational molding and is now popularly known as the Hydroslide. Since this product first hit the shelves, millions have been sold - while numerous manufacturers began generating kneeboards.

Kneeboard Brands

As with everything else, kneeboarding also has its own market. Since it appeared and started acquiring vast popularity, various brands arose. Everyone wants a piece of the pie, but which pie tastes the best is what we’ll try to discover in this article.

Firstly, some people tend to buy certain brands because of its popularity, which doesn’t necessarily means that the brand in question is the best - it’s just the most popular one. Like cars that run on gas, they aren’t the best cars, but they are the most popular cars, for now. So, before coming to a conclusion about a brand, you have to look at its quality. This is sometimes hard to do with certain products, especially if you are just another buyer, but with some kneeboards, it’s much easier to assess quality, but it does however require you to have a lot of experience in kneeboarding.

Today most of kneeboards are manufactured by the same manufacturers that make water skis. One of the very important aspects in comparing an ordinary kneeboard compared to a good one is its weight. The basic idea behind having a great and fun kneeboarding experience is to have very light kneeboard, but obviously not too light. You have to know exactly how much you weigh and how much your kneeboard should weigh compared to your weight. One of the best manufacturers of kneeboards has to be O’Brien.

O’Brien has been in the business of water sports and manufacturing for various water sports forever. O’Brien is a true legend in the field of water sports. Today it is still a strong brand and it is manufacturing surf boards, water skis and various other water sport equipment, including kneeboards. They are constantly trying to improve themselves and their products and - most importantly - is that they are succeeding.

If someone is new to kneeboarding - or has years or even decades of experience - O’Brien’s kneeboards will suit them perfectly. Top notch quality, help, support and long history to support its quality, all say that choosing an O’Brien’s product will guarantee quality and a fun time doing whatever water sport you are interested in.

One of the best guarantees when choosing a good brand regarding any product is the brand’s history. The longer the history, the better guarantee of its quality, but obviously only if it has improved over time. In the end, regardless of what the masses say regarding the best brand of any product, it is the individual’s feeling and understanding of a specific product made by specific brand that matters the most. Some may have luck in getting the best product from a brand associated with lesser quality products. On the other hand, some just don’t care what the brand of their product is, as long as it works well and didn’t cost much, or especially if it was free.

Kneeboard Surfing vs Kneeboard Towing

There are two ways that one can choose when it comes to kneeboarding water sport. There is kneeboard surfing and kneeboard towing. Each has its pros and cons. One is easier to do, the other costs a lot, but after reading this comparison, hopefully you’ll be able to decide the proper way for you to go kneeboarding.

The simplest, in that it requires the least amount of equipment and is cheapest, is kneeboard surfing. It’s cheap and fast to set it up to go kneeboard surfing. Surfing means that it requires help from Mother Nature regarding the waves. Aside from that, it requires skill to deal with the waves that nature throws at you. Regardless of the fact that you do not need too much equipment, you still have to make sure that the equipment that you do get is the proper equipment, great quality and suited for you and your skill level. Another cool feature with kneeboard surfing is that it’s a one man or woman job. There is no need for an extra hand to help you with getting everything set for kneeboard surfing. Although if you are beginner, you may consider having at least a spotter, but a qualified instructor is preferred.

When it comes to kneeboard towing, it costs more than kneeboard surfing and it requires an extra hand to do the towing. Aside from extra equipment and extra cost, you don’t have to worry about nature helping you out with proper wind and waves, because you will have artificial help from the motor boat or whatever is towing you. Another extra that you will need is skill for that type of kneeboarding. All the person that will be doing the towing has to be, unless if you are willing to risk your life by being driven by someone who has very little or no experience at kneeboard towing, is a expert. You may also want to consider getting a proper kneeboard that can handle being towed. I would have to be good quality and resistant to various external factors that can arise when it comes to kneeboard towing.

Basically, it’s up to you to make a decision based on your experience and level of skill. Also, you have to take into consideration the total cost of kneeboard surfing compared to total cost of kneeboard towing. There is also the issue with kneeboard towing that you have to consider the driver of the motor boat or whatever water vehicle that will do the towing.  This driver has to be someone who has enough experience in kneeboard surfing, does not drink while on duty and other small yet important factors need to be considered prior to getting yourself and your kneeboard towed. Regarding weather issues, you’ll be able to go kneeboard towing regardless of the weather up to a reasonable point.

Kneeboard Tricks

When it was first introduced, kneeboarding itself was some sort of trick until people started doing it more and more, and now they have come up with a huge amount of kneeboard tricks. Like with skateboarding and bicycling, the time for kneeboard tricks arrived and it still happening today.

There are kneeboard tricks from the easiest to the hardest. The tricks you can perform tell others if you are a beginner or a veteran kneeboarder. Before going further with explanations about these tricks, the first thing to remember is to keep your grip very, very tight - as tight as you can - while doing any tricks.

The most basic trick of them all, but still hard if you look at it, is called the belly start. As the name suggests, you start with your belly being laid flat on the kneeboard. Unfortunately that’s the only easy part of this basic trick, as after that it gets much more complicated. From lying flat on your stomach on your kneeboard, you have to change to a squatting position while still not losing your grip on your rope - and you have to do it at the time you start being pulled and the nose of your kneeboard has to be above water. You have to be fast at switching from lying on your stomach to squatting, and the squat has to be done so that you put your knees inside the knee pads of your kneeboard. Hang on - it’s almost over once you have managed to place knees inside the knee pads.  You also have to make sure that you are leaning backwards and that your weight is properly distributed.

As you can see the basic trick is really not so basic, but when you look at the advanced tricks, you’ll understand that this basic one is a piece of cake compared to the advanced ones. The advanced ones include spinning and doing all sorts of crazy stunts. Some will get you slightly beneath the water, while others will have you slightly above water, but always keep in mind not to delay your kneeboarding fun by falling in the water. Grab those ropes as tight as you can.

As with everything else in life, be it physical activity or mental activity, both things have something in common and that is to keep practicing. If you fall into the water, swim to the shore, take a deep breath and get back on your kneeboard with the more determination that you will accomplish the desired trick this time around, even if it is your hundredth time. Just keep trying, if you are truly interested in doing all sorts of crazy fun tricks with your kneeboard, you can’t give up, there’s no quitting. The only reason to give it all up, to quit and to go home is if you aren’t serious about it and if you aren’t really interested in kneeboarding. If you truly want to achieve something, no matter how impossible it may seem, as long as you really want it and as long as you give it everything you have, you will succeed.