Wakeboarding Lessons in Seattle, WA
If you are looking to learn how to wakeboard or wake surf then taking lessons from Northwest Wake Academy is a great opportunity. We have been teaching and coaching wakeboarding here in Seattle, WA and across the northwest for years. We have qualified instructors, use the best equipment, and we emphasize safety...all while making sure you have a great time.
We offer lessons out of Carillon Point on Lake Washington (7-days a week) >
Wakeboarding & Wakesurfing Lessons:
7-Days a Week by Appointment
- Kirkland, WA (Carillon Point Marina)
- Link to Directions (Address is: 1200 Carillon Point, Kirkland, WA 98033)
*** For details and further information, please click on the tabs at the top of this page.
- Our company started in 2004 as an action sports clothing brand. We began teaching wakeboard and wake surf lessons the following year, both as a way to promote our clothing brand and as an excuse to spend a few hours a day on the lake. Both sides of the business continued to grow over the years, and in 2012 we began operating our lessons business out of Carillon Point in Kirkland. We’re now branded as Northwest Wake Academy and teach wakeboard and wakesurf lessons 7 days per week all summer long.
Most lessons will be taught by Greg Young or Justin Drienser. Greg started Northwest Riders in 2004 and has been wakeboarding since 1995 and professionally coaching since 2005. In 2003, he was a member of Western WA University’s wakeboard team when they won the collegiate National Championships. In addition to wakeboarding and wakesurfing, Greg spends as much time as he can on the Washington coast, in Maui, or especially in Baja surfing.
Justin Driesner has been wakeboarding since 2006 and coaching full-time since 2015. He wakesurfs often and spends his winters surfing and snowboarding. Justin also drives a snowcat for Snoqualmie Pass during the winter.
- Available by appointment 7 days per week
- All necessary equipment is provided
- Ride behind a brand new, fully loaded 2022 Centurion Ri230
Book Online or call 425.220.0675 with questions
Our private wakeboard and wakesurf lessons are geared towards riders of all ages and abilities. Our goal is to teach you what you need and want to learn, whether it’s simply getting out of the water for the first time or landing your 10th invert. We strive to create a fun, laid back, safe environment for you to learn something new about the sport of wakeboarding or wakesurfing each time you come out with us. Our instructors, boat, and the equipment we provide are all top notch and our ability to customize a lesson around your individual needs will maintain a constant level of progression that will keep you coming back for more.
Private Wakeboard and Wakesurf Lessons
All of our appointments are private lessons, meaning the only people on the boat (besides your driver/instructor) are whoever you decide to bring. With a private lesson, you are running the show. Whether you want to bring 1 friend or 10, for an hour or an entire day, you dictate how we spend our time. Our schedule is flexible, all gear is provided, and you decide how to spend your time once on the boat. We can switch between wakeboarding and wakesurfing, work on 1 trick until you land it, or just have a leisurely morning or afternoon on the water. It’s completely up to you.
Private Parties, ½ Day Lessons, Full Day Lessons, Corporate Events
Do you have a large group of people that you’d like to take wakeboarding or wakesurfing for the day? We’d love to help! Some groups prefer to be in the boat together the entire time, while some groups prefer to pick a private residence or public park on the water to BBQ and enjoy the sun while we take out smaller groups on the boat all day for those that want to wakeboard or wakesurf. We can also help book event space of any size through the Woodmark Hotel, along with a wide range of catering options.
We’ve done this many times and are happy to make suggestions to make sure everything comes together. We’re also able to arrange for additional boats and staff, and of course, we provide all of the gear you’ll need. Please call 425.220.0675 to inquire about scheduling and pricing.
This year we are thrilled to be using a beautiful, brand new, FULLY loaded 2022 Centurion Ri230 for all of our lessons. We’re fortunate to be working closely with Centurion Tow Boats, as well as the local dealership Lynnwood Motoplex. Of all of the boats we’ve used through more than a decade of business, this is by far the nicest one we’ve gotten the keys to.
With plenty of additional ballast available with a few touches of a button, our wake can be fully customized for wakeboarding lessons and made big or small depending on your skill level. The wakesurfing wake on our 2022 Centurion Ri230 is massive, and makes learning to surf (or learning new tricks) easier than ever.
Due to Coast Guard regulations, the largest group that we can take out in the boat is 6 passengers at a time (in addition to our staff).
We will charge for fuel when the lesson is finished.
WAKEBOARD WEEKDAYS WAKEBOARD WEEKEND/HOLIDAY $299 per hour + FUEL $338 per hour + FUEL SURF WEEKDAYS SURF WEEKEND/HOLIDAY $299 per hour + FUEL $338 per hour + FUEL
* While 6 passengers (in addition to our staff) are allowed on the boat at a time, the most riders that we’ll tow in an hour is 3. Two riders per hour sets a relaxed pace, especially if learning for the first time. Three riders per hour is do-able, but sets a much faster pace and requires everyone to work together to switch riders efficiently when their time is up.
** Washington State Law mandates that “a spotter (or third person) be present in the boat at all times”, which means that in addition to you and our driver, you are responsible for bringing at least one person with you. If 2 or more people are already going in your group, you’re all set. If you want to spend the whole hour riding yourself, please bring someone with you simply as a passenger….. They don’t need to do much and they get a free boat ride out of the deal.
We will charge for fuel when the lesson is finished
Remember, our hourly rates are a flat rate for the boat, not per person.
Any lessons purchased as a gift will never expire, but will not be eligible for a refund. Additionally, any lessons purchased or won through a 3rd party (auctions, prizes at events, etc) will not qualify for a refund through Northwest Riders and must be taken up with the 3rd party that sold or distributed the voucher.
We seldom cancel or postpone a lesson, but we reserve the right to do so when necessary: due to water conditions, weather, insufficient reservations, or other reasons beyond our control. In such a case, 100% of your fees will be refunded or applied to another trip, but not expenses incurred in travel.
May 19th – September 11th (weather permitting)
*** We are open to starting earlier or later if weather permits, subject to availability.
Lessons are available 7 days per week during daylight hours. Subject to availability.
Wondering about the best time to book? Check out the FAQ tab above for more details.
1. Where do I go when I get there?
When you arrive at Carillon Point, you can park in any lot on either the right or the left. Once you’ve parked, follow signs to the Woodmark Hotel. At the top of the roundabout in front of the hotel, you will be looking directly down into the Public Marina. Walk down the steps on the right side (next to Como and Beach Cafe restaurants) toward the entrance to the long public guest pier. You will see a small desk at the entrance to the guest pier that’s used by the dockmaster. Please wait next to that desk (it’s usually unattended so don’t worry if nobody is there). If you don’t spot our driver, they should spot you. Because we schedule back-to-back lessons all day, you will be hopping on the boat while another group is hopping off. If you don’t see the boat right when you get there, don’t panic, we will be there shortly (we are usually pulling into the marina right at the top of the hour).2. Is it OK if I can’t swim?
Ultimately you know yourself better than we do. If you can’t swim but are still comfortable in the water, we’re all for you coming out with us (after all, your gear floats), but PLEASE LET YOUR DRIVER KNOW BEFORE YOU GET IN THE WATER! If you can’t swim and have a fear of the water, being strapped to a board doesn’t make the experience more comfortable… we’d suggest picking a different activity.3. I want to learn to wakesurf, but I’ve never wakesurfed or wakeboarded before. Is one better than the other to start with?
Yes! Learning to get up on a wakeboard first will save you tons of time (and frustration) learning to get up on a wakesurf board. While the process is very similar, having a board strapped to your feet (on a wakeboard) makes learning to get much easier your first time out. Then, once you can pop up on a wakeboard easily, learning to get up on a wakesurf board is 10 times easier. Most people can learn to get up on a wakeboard within 30 minutes of trying, and then can get up on a wakesurf board within a couple of tries (usually). Skipping the wakeboard part can make getting up on a surf board take over an hour or more. So…. save time and money learning to wakeboard first and then you can surf exclusively after that.
4. Is it OK if I’m just a beginner?
That’s fine! While we can teach people of all ages, skill levels, shapes & sizes, our specialty is working with people who have either never tried, or tried unsuccessfully to get up on a board. We have a 99% success rate for teaching people to get up on a wakeboard their first time out with us, as long as they’re willing to put in the time (we need an average of 20-45 minutes to say we’ve tried everything) and the effort to try.
5. May I tip my instructor?
Tips are not required, but they’re always appreciated. If you feel like your instructor went out of their way to give you a great experience, a tip is a great way to say thanks.
6. Where do I go when I get there?
When you arrive at Carillon Point follow signs to the Woodmark Hotel. At the top of the roundabout you will see a kiosk for Waterfront Adventures boat rental business. If you look directly out from there you will see a public section of the marina below. Walk down either set of steps. At the base of the steps is a wooden walkway where you should see our boat. If you don't spot our driver, chances are they will spot you. Because we schedule back-to-back lessons you will be hopping on the boat as another customer is hopping off. Don't worry, if the boat is not waiting when you arrive it will be along shortly.
7. What if the forecast doesn’t look too good before my lesson? Do you have an INCLEMENT WEATHER POLICY?
As anyone that lives in Seattle will tell you, the weather can change every few minutes. Our inclement weather policy is simply that all lessons will proceed as scheduled unless conditions are hazardous. That means that we’ll ride rain or shine, in calm water or choppy. We will cancel/reschedule lessons only based on our driver’s discretion, and generally only in the event of lightning or extraordinarily rough water. That said, our drivers/instructors are pretty knowledgeable about reading weather reports, so if you have a concern when scheduling, just ask. Our cancellation policy is set up to give you ample time to reschedule based on the forecast.
8. How much time should I book?
The minimum time we’ll book a lesson for is 1 hour. As a general rule of thumb, we typically recommend booking at least 30 minutes for each person that plans to ride, although some people may want/need more time. Because it takes a few minutes to switch gear between riders, 2 riders per hour sets a relaxed pace, while trying to fit 3 people into an hour is doable, but can feel pretty rushed. We can make recommendations, but ultimately it depends on your schedule and budget when deciding how much time to book.
9. What should I wear?
What you wear is really up to you, but choosing something comfortable and practical is your best bet. For guys, we recommend wearing boardshorts and a t-shirt onto the boat. Most women prefer to wear shorts and a t-shirt over a bathing suit. Two-piece bathing suits work fine, although if you have a pair of boardshorts or running shorts to wear over your bottoms while you’re in the water, that’s usually a good idea. If your lesson is scheduled early in the morning or later in the evening, a sweatshirt is a great idea. Sunglasses, hats, and sweatpants are optional, but worth considering based on the weather. You will be asked to remove your shoes before getting into the boat (you’ll bring them aboard with you), so sandals or flip flops work the best.
10. Can I change when I get there?
Yes, there are restrooms on site, but please allow extra time to get changed as the lesson starts at the booked time.
11. What Should I Pack?
We’d recommend the following:
- Swimsuit (something that won’t fall off in the water)
- Sweatshirt (morning/evening/chilly day)
- Sunscreen (PLEASE apply on the dock BEFORE lesson start time)
12. Is it OK to bring food/drinks out on the boat?
Most food/drinks are just fine to bring on the boat, after all we want to you to truly enjoy the entire experience. As a general rule, we just ask that you avoid foods that are messy or greasy (fried chicken, pizza, chips or crackers that will create a lot of crumbs, etc) or that don’t mix well with the motion of a boat (i.e. soup, etc). Just use common sense and you should be fine. Since kids can be ‘slightly’ messier than adults, we’ll just ask you to keep an eye on yours and that you help to clean up after them so the instructor can focus on his job. Beverages are no problem at all and we’ll even let you keep them in our cooler if you’d like. We do encourage bringing beverages that are less likely to spill (a can of soda works better than pouring out of a 2 liter bottle).
13. Can I bring alcohol on the boat?
While we are definitely here to provide a unique and fun experience, keep in mind this isn’t a party barge. We’re OK with alcohol as long as you’re of legal age and are drinking responsibly. Wakeboarding is an inherently dangerous sport and being under the influence of alcohol doesn’t make it any easier or less dangerous. Having a couple of drinks after you ride is OK with us, but all state laws apply and we ask that you don’t get too rowdy. The bottom line is that alcohol is intended for use by adults, so we expect you to act like one.
14. Is this a group lesson? Is it possible to join a group?
We only offer private lessons, meaning that besides the instructor, the only people in the boat during your lesson will be those that you invite. Scheduling “group” lessons between clients who don’t know each other can be difficult, and is not something that we offer.
15. Do you offer BOAT RENTALS?
If you'd like to rent a boat (or other watercraft) please visit Woodmark Waterfront Adventures website.
16. Will you teach a lesson on my own boat?
Yes. We certainly understand that you may want to learn how to land a trick behind the boat you’re going to be spending the most time riding behind. We are definitely willing to come out on your boat to make that happen, but are typically only able to early and late in the season (May, June, and September) and occasionally one of our coaches may be willing to come to you on their day off. Traveling to your house or another lake usually means that we’ll need to charge for travel time and fuel, and typically comes with a minimum of 2 hours on your boat. Oftentimes that makes it less expensive to come out on our boat. During the peak season, we tend to stay pretty busy on our boat, so it becomes much more difficult to make it happen.
17. How far in advance should I book my lesson?
Pre-Covid, we used to book up about a week in advance. Once Covid hit, things got crazy for us. In 2020 we were booking 3-4 weeks in advance, and in 2021 we were booking up about 6 weeks in advance. Who knows what 2022 will bring, but the safe bet is to book well in advance. If you don’t see the day or time you want, keep checking back! With people booking months in advance, cancellations do occasionally open up spots at the last minute.
18. What time of day is it best to schedule my lesson for?
That all depends on what you’re looking to get out of the lesson. If your biggest priority is improving on a wakeboard or wake surfer, the earlier in the morning you schedule your lesson, the better the odds of getting calm water. Many people make the mistake of choosing the warmest part of the day over the calmest time of the day, but trust us when we say that water quality is FAR more important if you’re truly interested in improving on a wakeboard or wake surfboard. The general rule of thumb (although never a guarantee) is that the best water conditions occur between 7am and 11am on the weekdays, and 6am-10am on the weekends. As the sun comes out and things warm up, the breeze will usually follow (creating rougher water), and the boat traffic will greatly increase (creating substantially rougher water).
If you’re looking for a good mix of calm-ish water and sun, then 11am until 2pm or 3pm on weekdays is usually still a good time to book, although the water will get progressively worse as the day moves on. After 11am on weekends is best suited for ‘recreational’ wakeboarding and wakesurfing. In other words, that time is best for people who aren’t learning for the first time or won’t get frustrated in less-than-ideal conditions.
*Afternoons and evenings are well suited for wakesurfing (still VERY fun, even in rough water) or cocktail cruises as the water can be a bit too rough to wakeboard.
To Carillon Point Marina (Kirkland, WA) -
General Directions to the marina > click here
The public dock where we pick people up is near the multiple on-site parking locations and is just a minutes walk from either of the parking lots. WE RECOMMEND ARRIVING 15-30 MINUTES EARLY TO MAKE SURE YOU’RE IN THE CORRECT PLACE ON TIME AND TO ENSURE YOU GET PAPERWORK FILLED OUT.
Once you have arrived in the main entrance of Carillon point you can either head to the left or the right and enter either of the parking lots. We validate up to 1.5 hours. Once parked, head to the roundabout near the hotel and head down the stairs to the rental hut for "Waterfront Adventures" and they will get you squared away.
- Our wakeboarding lessons would not be possible without our sponsors. We have the honor of being able to work with them on both a local level (here in Seattle) as well as on a national level in many cases. Our current sponsors are:
You cannot ride until you fill out and sign a liability wavier. Click the link above and be sure to bring it with you to your scheduled lesson. We will have blank forms available on the boat, however, filling it out on-site will cut into your alotted time so having it ready before hand is recommended.
Minors (persons under the age of 18) must have a parent initial and sign the form where required.