How to Wakesurf

how to wakesurf

When you see somebody wakesurfing, it’s hard not to imagine how fun that would be. It’s like a mini-version of surfing, but maybe even cooler. For those unfamiliar, wakesurfing involves a surfer riding waves behind a moving boat for a continuous period of time.

Believe it or not, people have been riding waves on the back of boats since the 50’s and 60’s. Today, it’s become a full-fledged professional sport with regular world championships held yearly.

You may think it looks difficult to learn how to wakesurf, but it’s actually pretty easy once you get the hang of it. With the right equipment and some consistent practice, you can master wakesurfing in no time. Here’s the ultimate beginner’s guide to wakesurfing.

Wakesurf Equipment

In order to get started  on wakesurfing, you need a specific set of equipment to do it. You need a boat, a rope, a wakesurf board, and a life jacket. But it can’t just be any kind of boat or rope. There are specific kinds of these items you need in order to have the best wakesurfing experience.

Can You Wakesurf Behind Any Boat?

wakesurfing speed boat

You might think any old boat can be good for making waves, but certain boats can really go above and beyond in accomplishing this. One example is the V-drive boats. These are boats that have the engine near the back of the boat.

They can be weighted to help produce big waves, and the propeller is under the hull for added safety. An example of a good V-drive boat would be the Malibu Wakesetter 23 LSV. Inboard direct drive boats are also good for wakesurfing as well.

You can check out more information we have on what boat you can wakesurf behind.

Adjusting the Boat for Wakesurfing

wakesurfing boat

Lead or concrete weights are placed in different sections of the boat’s ballast. You place the weights on the side of the boat that the rider will be riding on. For V-drive boats, most of the weight should be next to the engine.

A small amount should be under or on the seat of the side you want to wakesurf on. For direct drive boats, weight is placed on the side of the boat and behind the engine. How many passengers you have and where they’re positioned on the boat should also be taken into consideration. The more deep your wake boat is in the water, the larger the wave will be.

When you get more advanced at wakesurfing, you can try out a boat that offers you more technological adjusting options. Things have gotten so modern, it’s possible to customize your own waves, and change settings to work with a particular rider’s experience. Pretty cool stuff.

Wake Propeller

Some wakesurf boats aren’t really made to be on their side most of the day. One adjustment that could help with that is changing your propellers. A propeller with a large diameter will give more transmission of power from the engine to the water.

Your propeller should also have lower pitch. Pitch is the distance traveled by a propeller in one full rotation. The lower the pitch is, the higher the number of rotations per minute, which helps you have better wakesurfing performance.

Wakesurf Rope

wakesurf rope used by a wakesurfer

You’ve got your boat all set up, and now you need a good wakesurf rope. Let’s focus on safety first. The safest wakesurf rope you can get is one that has a small handle. The reason it’s safer is it helps prevent the rider’s arms or legs getting caught inside during a fall.

The last thing you want is to fall down and be dragged in the water by a boat going at 10 to 15 miles per hour. So make sure the handle on the wakesurf rope is small. A smaller handle actually helps you have better performance too, because it’s easier to hold on to with just one arm.

Loop the rope around the wakesurf tower with the desired length you want. The rope length should be around 10 to 20 feet. This will put you in the best part of the wave to really do some good surfing. It’s best not to interchange ropes that you use for wakeboarding or water skiing.

The best ropes made specifically for wakesurfing are thicker, shorter, and more knotted. This way you can use whatever amount of rope you desire to get on the right spot of the wave, and have an easier time moving around.

Check out some high quality and strong wakesurf ropes on Amazon.

Beginner Wakesurf Board

With your boat and your rope ready, it’s time to select a wakesurf board. As a beginner, you want something that’ll make getting started as easy as possible. The first thing you should keep in mind is getting a longer board.

The longer board moves you in the water at a slow pace. This helps you have more time to get used to staying balanced on the board. Next, find a long center fin. This will make it easier for you to stay moving in a straight line.

A board with a larger traction pad is also helpful because your feet will have more to grip on. As a result, you’re more able to avoid slipping off the board. When selecting a particular type of board, go for the surf style wakesurf board. They float more easily, making it easier for you get your footing on them.

Finally, choose wakesurf boards that have more rocker and thicker rails. The rocker is the curve of the board. More curve makes the board move slower in the water. Rails are the edges of the board. In general, most surf style wakesurf boards will have thicker rails.

When you get more advanced at wakesurfing, some smaller skim style boards with smaller fins will be useful to you. We have detailed information on the best wakesurf boards if you’re interested in learning more.

Life Jacket for Wakesurfing

The last item you need is a life jacket. Even if you’re a good swimmer, it’s better to be on the safe side and wear one while wakesurfing. After all, you are a beginner at this. Be sure to get a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket. If possible, getting a bright colored one is useful so if you fall in the water, you’ll be easy to find.

The best life jackets for wakesurfing can be found on Amazon.

Beginner’s Guide to Wakesurfing

After you get your wakesurfing equipment and finish your adjustments, you’ll be ready to go out into the ocean.

The rope length, boat weight adjustment, and wake propeller are some of the things that you need to test frequently so you can have a smooth ride on the waves. Here are the steps to learning how to wakesurf:

Wakesurfing Step by Step

  1. Put on a life jacket, get the board, get the rope and jump into the water. Now’s the time to learn how to get up. First, you’ll want to take the board and turn it perpendicular to the boat. Next, you put your heels on the board and place your heels nearest to the rail that’s closest to you. Lay in the water and sit back.
  2. Give the thumbs up to signal the boat to start moving. You’ll slowly lift yourself up on the board and turn the board in a regular or goofy position. Try to stay outside of the wake (left or right side).
  3. You’ll want to slowly drift into the wake and slowly drift outside of the wake. You’ll go into a rhythm and it will be easier after a few attempts.
  4. Putting more weight on your front foot will give you’re a boost to get closer to the boat. Putting weight on your back foot will help you drop back. Remember to hold onto the rope when you drop back because the wake will force you off the board.
  5. Find the sweet spot by putting your front foot and back foot weight. Release the rope, throw it on the boat and cruise down the wave created by the wake propeller.
  6. Grab the rope and get comfortable by practicing snaps on top of the wake. Start by edging out and putting your weight on the backfoot as you get closer to the top of the wake. Go over the top of the wake with the nose of the board, kick back your back foot and push your weight on that back foot as you’re going down the top of the wake.

How to do a Pump Trick

This is an intermediate trick that will help you generate speed and give you bounce. Once you master this art, then you’ll be able to do 180’s, 360’s and other tricks.

  1. Without the rope, you’ll want to put weight on your back foot to come up with the top of the wake.
  2. Then you put weight on your front foot to go down the wake.
  3. Try doing this reputedly to generate speed.

How to do a 360

  1. Drop back to your sweet spot in between the middle of the wake and outside of the wake.
  2. Get one or two good pumps in to generate speed or as many as you can.
  3. Lift the nose up off the wakesurf board by lifting your front foot off your board. Next, you dig your backhand into the wake and push your back foot out at the same time.
  4. This will kick it loose and you’ll be able to turn your body from left to right.
  5. Shifting your weight from front to back is going to be something that you’ll experience as you get comfortable in your 360s.

How to Get Air

  1. Drift back into your sweet spot and then get two to three good pumps in to get enough speed.
  2. On your last pump, come down on your front foot weight and then make a big bottom turn.
  3. Turn and come up to the top of the wake. As you come up, stay real light on your front foot and ride up there almost to the whole board is off the wake.
  4. Then you can start putting more weight on your front foot as you are going down the wake. This will let your back foot come up and it’s going to even out above the lip.
  5. You’ll want to make sure that you land even first with both your back foot and front foot. Put both weights evenly on your back foot and front foot.

Intermediate to Advanced Wakesurfing Tricks

The only way to try out new tricks is to practice your pumps. Once you master the pumps and generate speed then you’ll be able to get enough air to try out new tricks.

Try checking out videos and focus on the weight distribution when you’re performing intermediate to advanced tricks. Don’t worry, it all takes time and practice to get real comfortable with more intermediate and advanced tricks. Here is a video that will help you get started with wakesurfing:

Recent Posts