Wakeboard Critic

Wakeboard Terms

New to wakeboarding? Get to know the language and get out on the water or down to your local cable park

As a first-time wakeboarder hanging out with other, more experienced wakeboarders, you may feel like you’ve traveled to a foreign country. Your companions are throwing out wakeboard terms like “fakie” and “rumpy wake”, and you have no idea what they’re talking about. They could be speaking French for all you know.


If you’ve never experienced watersports slang before, and you’re planning on spending a lot of time out on the water, it’s a good idea to get acquainted with those wakeboard terms other wakeboarders are constantly throwing out. One way is to spend enough time listening and trying to pick up what they’re saying, but there’s an easier way – our list of wakeboard terms and their meanings.


We’ve compiled a list of the top wakeboard terms that you’ll hear out on the water along with their meanings so you can know what your companions are saying next time, and even throw in a little watersports slang yourself.

Don’t worry! Wakeboarding isn’t only available to slim and athletic people. It’s open to people of all shapes and sizes, whether they’re small and skinny or tall and heavy. If you’re one of those tall and heavy guys and you’ve been itching to get out on a wakeboard, don’t give up! This is the article for you. We’ll help you figure out which is the best wakeboard for big guys and what to look for when you’re purchasing a wakeboard.

Wakeboard Terms for Beginners


This wakeboard term refers to the amount of space that is between the rider and the water when the rider is up in the air.

Air Trick

An air trick is a trick that is performed using the tension of the line instead of just the wake.
wakeboard terms


When you fall off of your wakeboard it is called “bailing”.


Ballast refers to the extra weight that you add to your boat to make a bigger wake. Anything that’s heavy can be ballast, including people, sacks of sand, or anything heavy. Some wakeboarding boats have built-in ballast systems that can fill with water to provide extra weight.


When a rider lands blind it means that they are landing with their back to the boat and the handle behind their back.

Also pay attention to the number of fins on the wakeboard. The more fins there are, the easier it will be for beginners to stay afloat. Removable fins let you remove them as you progress. Experiment with different fins to figure out which size is best for you.


Also said as “bone out a grab” or “bone out your leg”, this means straightening your leg all the way out while grabbing.


When a rider hits or touches something with their board it’s referred to as “bonk”. For instance, a rider can “bonk a buoy”.

Butt Check

When a rider lands a trick but their butt drags or slaps on the water it’s called a “butt check”. This is considered a sloppy landing.


Smooth water is often referred to as “butter”.


When a rider lands abruptly on top of a wake it’s called “casing the wake”.


Rough water is called “choppy”.


When a rider is involved in a bad wreck it’s often referred to as a “digger”.


This is when you faceplant on the water so quickly that you aren’t able to close your eyes before you hit the water.


When you catch your toeside edge and fall so quickly that your face slaps the water.


This watersports slang is borrowed from skateboarding, and it means you’re riding your board in a normal riding position but traveling in the opposite direction. Since you can’t change your foot position in wakeboarding, this term is often used instead of “Switchstance” which means that you’re riding the board with your opposite foot forward.


Flats are the section of water that lies outside the wakes, where the water is flat. When riders do a trick that brings them to land far outside the wake it’s called doing a trick “out to the flats”.

Get Up

A wakeboard term from when a rider gets up out of the water and rides the wakeboard standing up.

Wondering how to get up on a wakeboard?

Our instructions and helpful tips will give you the confidence
to get out on the water and up out of the water


Water that is smooth is called “glass”.

Goofy Foot

Wakeboarders who ride with their right foot forward have a “goofy foot”.


You may think this is what a rider wears on their head, but it really refers to when a rider hits an obstacle like a slider.


Similar to “helmet”, this is when a rider hits a rail, slider, dock, or other object that is not water.

watersports slang


The tip of the board that is closest to the boat is called the nose.


When a rider is doing a spin and lifts the handle over their head instead of passing it.

Perfect Pass

This is an add-on that you can put on a boat to ensure that it keeps a consistent speed.


Similar to “air”, it’s when you release from the wake, generating pop.

Rampy Wake

Wakes that have very gradual slopes are called Rampy Wakes.

Regular Foot

A rider who rides with their left foot forward on the wakeboard has what is called a “regular foot”.


Each wakeboarder’s turn on the water is called a set. Each ride is referred to as “taking a set”.


No matter your skill level, if you are having fun while you’re riding then you are shredding.

Shuv It

A rider who rides with their left foot forward on the wakeboard has what is called a “regular foot”.


This is another word for a bad wreck.

Steep Wake

Wakes that are very abrupt and steep in shape are called “steep wakes”. These wakes are better for doing tricks where the riders wants more pop.


Another word for having style, often used in Southern California.


When a rider lands a trick smoothly or cleanly it’s called “stomping” a trick.


Each rider has a unique look when riding, and things that contribute to being stylish are well-held grabs, smooth landings, etc.


Watersports slang that comes from skateboarding, and often interchanged with “fakie”, this means you are riding your board backwards.


The tail is the end of the board that is farthest from the boat.


This is the side of the board that is closest to your toes.

Washy Wake

A wake that isn’t very clean, meaning it’s bumpy and may have turbulent water at the top, is called a “washy wake”.

wakeboarding terminology

Wipe Out

Falling off of a wakeboard is called a Wipe Out.


A rider who falls and can’t hold on the rope any longer is a wreck.

Try out your new lingo!

Now that you know some wakeboard terms and watersports slang, you won’t feel like quite such a newby when you hit the water next time. When your companions say that the water is “glass” today, you’ll know exactly what they’re talking about!