Cable park access provided by O-dub, aka OWC, aka “the cable”. The Orlando Watersports Complex is a unique watersports park designed for wakeboarding, wakeskating, kneeboarding and waterskiing. Now over 10 years old, OWC has established itself as the premiere locale for riders of all levels. Click here for more information.
At most cable parks, doing a standing dock start with ease is a good indicator of a rider's comfort level. In this video, we will walk you through the basics of a standing dock start at your local cable park, making you look like a seasoned local the next time that you leave the dock.
Let's start off by going over how the cable works. Each cable has a set amount of carriers. Carriers hold each rope to the actual “cables” that loop from tower to tower around the lake. Each carrier usually has an assigned number attached to it. Your cable operator may reference carriers by their assigned number.
If you look closely at the parts of the machine, you will notice that there is a pipe or bar that the end of your rope is attached to. Your rope starts out at one end of the bar and is then pushed to a halfway point. This is called the “preloaded” position. The cable operator will have probably passed you the handle at this point in the process. Keep in mind, while in the preloaded position, your rope cannot connect to the carrier. The rope will have to move from this halfway point, to the very end of that bar or pipe into the “engaged” position. At this point, the next carrier will hook on to the end of your rope, pull out all of the slack in your line, and send you on your way.
Remember, every action made by the machine is controlled by a button in the operator's booth. To calm your nerves, look up your rope to see where you are in this process and communicate well with your operator.
Now that you understand how the machine works, let's talk about timing the jump. During your first few attempts, you may miss the timing and fall off the dock. If this happens, do not climb back on to the starting dock. Quickly remove your board and swim to the nearest shore in the opposite direction of the operator's booth. The cable operator will not send another rider until you are safely out of the way.
To help you better grasp the physics behind the line tension on the dock, I'll start off with a short analogy. If you have ever been lazy like I have after vacuuming, then you've probably whipped the cord out of the wall instead of walking over to the outlet to unplug it. Note that there is a delay between when you whip your end of the cord and when the plug actually comes out of the outlet. You can watch a little wavelength of tension roll all the way to the end of the cord. Notice that the plug in the wall does not react to the effects of the whip until after the wavelength of tension has rolled all the way down to the end of the cord.
On the cable, however, you are the plug and the carrier is the one whipping you off of the dock. In both cases, there is a delay between the initial “whipping” motion and the resulting yank of the object at the other end. At the cable, as soon as you hear the “click” of the rope hooking on to the carrier, you can watch that little wavelength of line tension roll all the way down the line until it hits the handle. The goal is to have your board hit the water as soon as the tension hits the handle.
Keep in mind, when you jump off of the dock, it should only be a tiny hop. Think about the amount of jump that it requires to hop off of the bottom step of a staircase. All you need to do is gently place your board in the water right in front of the dock.
If you jump too high, then you will be in the air longer, which will mess with your timing and wear you out in the learning process. If you jump too early, then you will land in the water with no tension and begin to sink. By the time the tension hits the handle, your board will be submerged and the rest of your body will be yanked forward, resulting in a fall. If you jump too late, you will get a yank either before or during the jump. This will pull your upper body forward into the air, which will lead to a pretty entertaining fall.
To avoid the risk of mistiming your jump, The following steps will lessen the yank off of the dock, making the learning process much easier on your body . . . and your ego:
- Place the Toeside edge of your board even with the edge of the dock. Keep your board parallel to the edge regardless of your stance. You can turn the board back to your normal stance once you are in the air or after you land.
- Rest your forearms on your knees and push the handle down near your shins. At this point, there will be hardly any slack in the line. Make sure that the line is not too tight. If there is too much tension on the line, the rope will miss the carrier completely and be knocked into the water throwing off the operator's groove.
- Look up at the machine and watch for the next carrier to pick up your rope. Once you hear the click, watch the line tension rush down your rope toward the handle.
- When you feel the tension in the line, move with the handle and make your tiny hop into the water like I mentioned before.
- Land back over your heels to resist the pull of the rope. The line tension will be a bit higher until you have caught up to the speed of the cable.
Alright, now you are ready to attempt your first standing dock start at your local cable park! Once you become more comfortable, you can begin drifting the board out behind you to add some extra style to your standing dock start.