Learning the Air Raley

Whenever I suggest a student to try a Raley, the answer I typically get is “No way man!” It’s not as hard to learn as you might think; there are 3 steps that will make learning this trick much easier.

Step 1

Before you try a Raley, your cut at the wake must be perfect. This step consists of practicing hard cuts at the wake and landing in the flat water with total control, basically a big wake jump. The key to the Raley is a strong progressive cut. That is, your cut toward the wake should start very light and then build gradually, so that your hardest cut is through the wake.

Start out wide about 25-30 feet from the wake and cut in with a strong progressive cut, make sure to edge all the way through the top of the wake.

In the air, keep your head up and both hands on the handle. Practice this step a lot, at least 25 times, before moving onto step 2.

Step 2

Take the same strong cut at the wake and let the board drift back slightly behind you while you’re in the air. The key is get comfortable with gradually letting the board drift back a little bit at a time.

Make sure that you keep your head up and keep both hands on the handle so you will be able to pull the board back under your body. You’ll know you’re doing this right if you feel tension in your stomach muscles while you are in the air.

Step 3

This is the step where you throw the Raley back all the way.

At the camp, we’ve had success by making the rope very short, about 50 feet, and slowing the boat speed down about 13 MPH. The slower boat speed helps to take away the riders fear of trying the trick, while the shorter rope length make the wake steeper and gives an abrupt launch.

To avoid twisting in the air, make sure that you keep your eyes focused on the pylon of the boat.

As you edge up the wake bring your hips up toward the handle to help initiate the board to drift back. When you push the board back, keep your chest up and make sure your arms are fully extended. When you are fully laid out, you should feel a jerk or snap, pull the handle down to your knees as hard as you can. If you are butt checking on the landing, you’re pulling it down too early. After you land this trick once, it is very easy to get it consistent.

Trouble shooting

Twisting over in the air?
Keep your eyes focused on your boat’s pylon.

Doing a crooked or stargazed Raley?
Your front leg drifting back before your rear leg is off the wake causes this. Be patient. Make sure both feet are off the wake before you let the board drift back.

Doing a front flip crash out of the Raley?
As you get extended, keep your chest up, and don’t let go of the handle, pull it back to your knees.

Seems too scary to try?
Keep practicing step one, then slow the boat speed down; you’ll eventually get it.

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