As the three-decade-old water sport of wakeboarding continues to grow in global popularity, it’s no wonder that there are many aspiring rookie wakeboarders looking to enter the scene. While it’s a given that you should have the talent, skill, and work ethic to pull off competitive rides and difficult wakeboarding tricks, that’s not the only thing you need to become a successful professional wakeboarder.
Here are six helpful tips on how you can propel your wakeboarding career and hit the waves with a purpose.
1. Reach out to mentors
For a successful start in any career path, it is important to find mentors who you can rely on to give you professional advice and learn from. If you have wakeboarders you’ve admired for a long time, don’t be shy to reach out to them with a message on social media, or email their business email! For example, if you are or want to be involved in the Australian wakeboarding scene, consider reaching out to Bec Gange (eight-time Australian wakeboarding champion) and book a wakeboarding coaching lesson with her! The same goes for wakeboarders who may not be riding in a well-established region (yet!). Take Felix Georgii for example, who has emerged from Germany as a challenger of the world’s top wakeboarders! At JetPilot, you can find out more about Felix and the gear he uses.
Of course, don’t start off with a demand for a mentorship, rather express your admiration and see if they have any advice they’re willing to share. Develop a friendly relationship with them before asking to see if they are available to be your mentor.
2. Enter into competitions you are confident in
This tip may seem obvious but it’s still an incredibly important one to keep in mind. If you are just starting out as a professional wakeboarder, you’ll need to skill-check yourself and research what kind of competitions you can perform decently at. Don’t underestimate or overestimate your wakeboarding abilities. You don’t want to be making your wakeboarding debut in the last place for every tournament you compete in, nor do you want to be smashing competitions made for amateurs where you are clearly stronger in skill level. This is where a mentor may come in handy to help you determine which competitions you should register for.
3. Find the right sponsor for you
In the case that you’ve participated in a few wakeboarding competitions with promising results, you may have already been contacted by sports gear and sportswear companies wanting to sponsor you. While having a sponsor is definitely an exciting achievement and something to be proud of, don’t just settle for the first sponsor offer you get. Better yet, reach out to companies that you are interested in working with yourself!
Make sure the company you will be working with has goals that align with your own values and are relatively well-established in the space. You will be wearing and using their gear for a long time so treat them as a professional partner rather than a simple sponsor. Research the organizations offering you sponsors and their history of sponsoring other athletes before making any rash decisions. Sportswear and sports gear companies like Jet Pilot are well established in the scene for sponsoring a few Australian wakeboarders including Bec Gange and Zahra Kell.
4. Never stop training
It does not matter whether it is wakeboarding, football, soccer, baseball, or any other sport you can think of, to become a professional, to become good and competitive, the only thing you can do is never stop training. Even in the moments when you feel most lazy, tired, and exhausted, you should still push forward and train to get better. Do not ever think that you have reached your limit. You can never know what your real limit is.
Keep in mind, your training does not necessarily always have to be related to wakeboarding. Even weightlifting or bodyweight workouts can be very beneficial to you in this sport. For example, bodyweight workouts can boost your stamina, your core strength, and your overall strength which is very important when you are out there riding the wakeboard. Lifting weights can also be very good for overall muscle strength.
5. Make sure you have the right gear
Most people would say that wakeboarders do not require any kind of special equipment. For professionals, that might be true. They can perform very well on any kind of board you give them. But, if you expect those professionals to perform at their absolute best, they must have a board that has been specifically designed and sized based on them.
That is why it is so important to have the right gear. You need a board that will be compatible with your weight, body type in height. Otherwise, your balance will always be all over the place. Without proper balance, your freedom of movement is limited to considerably. Whenever you lose balance, you fall in the end it is game over.
6. Experiment with new tricks
These days, many would say that all the tricks have already been invented. There is not anything new you can bring to the table, or more specifically, the professional wakeboarding scene. But, I do not believe that it is true. This is something that you hear in every sport. But, even today, we still see huge improvements in the world’s oldest sports such as soccer or basketball. The top sports players from today I will perform the older players by a significant amount of skill.
What I am trying to tell you is that you should always keep experimenting and trying new things. If you do come up with a very difficult, new trick, I assure you that a lot of people will notice that. That is what talent hunters and wakeboarding managers are looking for.
Taking the leap to become a professional athlete is difficult, let alone into the relatively new sports scene that is wakeboarding. Although it is definitely a challenge, achieving your dreams as a professional wakeboarder is definitely possible, especially if you keep these tips in mind!