Want a bikini body? Sign up for cable skiing lessons at the Singapore Wake Park. By Estelle Low
Wakeboarding is one of the best kept secrets to sculpting a bikini body. Photos: Darren Chang
Wakeboarding is one of those sports for daredevils, I’ve always thought. Save for a compulsory trial during my university orientation camp, I’ve never got around to doing it.
Besides the fear of falling (which is a big deal for noobs like myself), I’d like to think that this sport isn’t that accessible or convenient. You’d have to head all the way to Marina Country Club in a far-flung part of Punggol, get driven by boat out to sea, and pray for good weather.
Plus, wakeboarding can take a toll on your wallet. A one-hour session costs $100 to $150. Going in a group is more economical, except that you’ll have less time on the water, and will take longer to master the skills.
Another bugbear: Gathering enough interested folks to form a group.
So in this regard, the newly opened Singapore Wake Park is a godsend to anyone who’s interested to wakeboard.
The difference between cable skiing and wakeboarding
Cable skiing is similar to wakeboarding in the sense that you’re pulled while standing on a wakeboard. The main difference is the source of the force. In wakeboarding, the energy comes from the boat’s engine; in cable skiing, an electrically driven overhead cable system does the job.
To appeal to first-timers, the Singapore Wake Park is equipped with two beginner systems with adjustable cable speeds. The pull starts slow, gradually picking up speed as you find your footing and rise on the wakeboard.
This. Is. The. Best. Thing. Ever.
In a normal, full-sized cable system, the pulley runs at a high speed of 30kmh from the get-go, making it much harder for a newbie to stand on the wakeboard. This also means a higher chance of falling.
So just how easy is it to cable ski?
Tip #1: Squat and balance
There’s glory cruising on the water while making it look effortless. But before that, prep work needs to be done.
The park’s marketing manager, Viviane Then, who’s also a wakeboarding instructor, gave me form tips: “When on the wakeboard, get into a squat position and shift weight to your heels. Stay in that stance as you slowly stand up. Your board should be almost perpendicular to the water.”
We did a few practice rounds on the ground, with Viviane pulling my hands to simulate the cable system.
Estelle practises rising from a squat position with wakeboarding instructor Viviane Then.
“Remember to engage your core. You have to resist this pull using your core, not your arms. Your arms should be relaxed but strong at all times,” she said.
After going through a safety briefing, it was time to hit the water. I was a bundle of nerves, imagining the worst that could happen. What if I fell horribly into the water and couldn’t get up? What if I could never manage to stand on the wakeboard?
Like most beginners, my first try was a failure. I lost my balance after tugging at the pulley handle in an attempt to stand. Big mistake. Doing so threw me off my centre of gravity. I crashed, taking a gulp of the salty seawater.
You’ll spend most of the time swimming and carrying your wakeboard back to the bank.
Tip #2: Loosen up
“Don’t pull, relax,” I kept repeating to myself. To calm down, I looked ahead and imagined myself reaching the end point, which was 20m away.
The next few attempts were more promising. I got used to the pulling force, and learned to relax my arms while keeping my core engaged. “Imagine you’re a piece of rock. Your body is solid, and you’re going with the flow,” Viviane advised. Okay, rock. I’m a rock. I’m a rock. I’m a rock.
Before long, I managed to stand and adopt the proper stance. My confidence soared.
Every ride lasted just 15 seconds, but the feeling was unforgettable. Cruising on the water was my reward. I realised that once I stopped being fearful, I was free.
Cruising on the water is your reward for being brave.
Fit factor: 8/10
Cable skiing requires balance and stability, so you’ll activate all the muscles in your body. Think you’re done once you fall into the water? The real workout happens after that: swim to the nearest walkway, hoist your wakeboard and yourself out of the water, and trudge back to where you started. My body – especially the forearms, upper back, core and glutes – was sore for the next few days.
Fun factor: 9/10
Adrenalin seekers will love this. It’s very addictive. Spend a day at the park, which opens from 10am to 10pm on weekdays, and 9am to 10pm on weekends and public holidays. With a few hours of intensive training by an instructor, you’re guaranteed to be able to manoeuvre with ease, and even do tricks!
Fear factor: 7/10
Though I’m a decent swimmer, I was jittery most of the lesson. But keep trying. The more times I fell, the braver I got.
Writers Estelle and Claire with the wakeboarding instructors at the Singapore Wake Park.
The Singapore Wake Park is located at 1206A East Coast Parkway (tel: 6636-4266), between the East Coast Lagoon Food Village and East Coast Seafood Centre. Rates start from $40 for a one-hour session on weekdays, and $60 on weekends. The price includes rental of wakeboard, wakeskate or kneeboard, as well as a life vest and helmet. Visit www.singaporewakepark.com.
Next: What to wear for cable skiing