I didn't start as out a wakeboarder -- I stumbled on the sport after I hurt myself in gymnastics, and got hooked. But so many people still have no idea that it even exists. Here's why wakeboarding should be on your bucket list this summer. Give it a go and who knows -- you may just fall in love with it like I did!
1. It's easy to find someone to teach you
Just like when you hit the mountain for the first time and buy the lift and lesson pass, there are plenty of people who are great at teaching wakeboarding around the world. In fact, I am sure there is someone in your city who coaches the sport so you can learn the easy way with no bad habits or bad experiences. The Wakeboard Camp in Clermont, Fla., has Ladies Week every year, and they always have a few women who have never tried wakeboarding learn for the first time. And Wakegirls.com stays up to date with all the happenings in women's wakeboarding, and offers a lot of information.
2. You don't even need a boat
Even if you can't find anyone who owns a boat, you can check out a Cable Park to get started. Cable Parks are set on small lakes and involve 2-5 towers posted around the lake with around six carrier systems pulling people in circles around the lake. There are generally ramps and rails in the water that people use for tricks, just like in snowboarding and skateboarding. Once you fall off, you take a short swim to the shore and line up for another turn.
3. It's a social sport
You get to know your friends well by spending countless hours in the boat with them or standing in line at a Cable Park. These friendships transfer to a large network of people who love boating and wherever you are in the world, there is usually someone stoked to take you wakeboarding in their hometown. It's really one big community.
4. Tanned, toned, shirtless men
Generally when you're out boating, the ratio of guys to girls is about 3:1. And wakeboarding is a very physical upper-body sport, so you can count on some eye candy when venturing out on the boat. (I hope this turns you from "maybe" to "definitely" trying wakeboarding!)
5. You can now get inspired by the pros
I love the sport so much that I created a Web series called, "Sets in Motion" -- an all-women wakeboard project sponsored by Oakley that captures the best female riders around the world. I wanted to showcase just how cool wakeboarding can be at the highest level. Check it out -- you have to try it now, right?
Amber Wing is one of the top women's wakeboarders of all time, with four U.S. national titles and two world titles. Find out more about her here.