Wild rides and aerial stunts

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 03 September, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 03 September, 2011, 12:00am


Wakeboarding is one of the more popular water sports in Hong Kong with people trying the activity in preference to traditional water skiing.

In addition to the fun of being pulled across the water by a speeding boat, wakeboarding also offers participants the chance to perform aerial tricks that involve a variety of twists and turns.

To perform tricks, proficient riders use the wake and pull of the boat to launch themselves into the air.

'Once a person can comfortably stand up while being pulled by the boat, there are some great tricks they can learn,' says Joe Hung, director of coaching development for the Hong Kong Water Skiing Association (HKWSA, www.waterski.org.hk).

Hung, who is also coach of the Hong Kong wakeboarding team, recommends beginners learn basic techniques from a coach registered with the HKWSA. A list is on the HKWSA website.

'I've coached over 3,000 beginners and only three haven't been able to stand up out of the water during their first lesson. Everyone needs to start by being pulled slowly to learn a sound basic technique. Faulty technique leads to a lot of stress on knee ligaments that can lead to major injury,' Hung says.

While Hung runs HKWSA beginner's courses during the summer months, he also coaches groups of beginners throughout the year in Tai Tam. Cost is HK$800 per hour for instruction, boat hire and all the equipment needed. Bookings can be made on 94370757.

Wakeben (www.wakeben.com) runs three-hour beginner's courses that introduce the equipment, safety issues and basic techniques in the first hour, followed by two hours on the water.

Courses take place in Sai Kung and cost HK$1,800 on weekends and public holidays, and HK$1,500 on weekdays. Groups of four are recommended in order to have sufficient rest time.

'It's important for beginners to develop good foundation skills to prevent injury and for learning tricks later. They need good concentration and a good, comfortable riding position. In the first lesson, most people are able to stand up and ride within the wake in a controlled way,' explains Patrick Choy, instructor at Wakeben.

Hong Kong Wakeboarding (www.hkwakeboard.com) also runs courses for beginners in Tai Po and Choi Hing. Cost ranges from HK$700 to HK$1,200 per hour depending on the time of the week and the boat being used.