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“How to” Wakesurf Guide

Wakesurfing is a sport that can be done on just about any open body of water, and some say that it’s been around since as early as the 1920’s. The sport only really gained its popularity thou in the 1960’s by a couple surfboard companies who claimed to have made wake-specific boards. Wake surfing is an extreme sport that requires balance, strength and coordination, but can be enjoyed by almost anyone. We’ve put together a beginner-friendly guide that will teach you all about wake surfing and get you up and riding.

What is Wakesurfing?

Wakesurfing is a wake based water sport that gets its roots from wakeboarding. The surfer can start off from either the boat or from in the water. The rope length will then position them close enough to the wake so that it carries them. Once on the wake, you should let go and throw the rope to freely ride the wakes solely off the momentum generated from the water.

In order to get the required momentum while wake surfing, you should use your arm and leg muscles in combination with rising up on your toes while crouching down (pushing off) with your back leg as required so that the momentum will carry you.

What’s needed to get started with wakesurfing?

  1. Dam – Any open body of water is great for wakesurfing.

2. Boat – A wake surf boat is a shorter version of a wakeboarding boat. These boats typically have multiple ballast tanks, which provide stability and weight and allows you to control all the aspects of the wake that you wouldn’t otherwise be able to adjust. Although having these luxuries are always a good thing to have, you can generally use any boat that generates a bit of a wake. You don’t need a big expensive boat to wake surf.

3. Wakesurf board – The wake surfing board is shorter and wider than a typical surfboard and has a slightly different fin configuration to help create more stability.

slingshot wake surf board for sale Watersports Warehouse, Cape Town

4. Wakesurf rope – A wakesurf rope is a short-ish line stretched between the boat and the wake on which you are surfing. These ropes have a smaller handle (or none at all) with knots along the rope to allow you to pull yourself along to the right spot on the wake.

How to get up on a wakesurf board

Getting up on a wakesurf board is pretty easy, and as mentioned earlier, there are two different ways this can be done.

Option One: Getting up from in the water.

  1. While you are in the water sit down with your feet tucked up in front of you, and your chest pointing outward towards the boat; engaging your core for stability.
  2. With the board in front of you, place the heels of your feet on the board so that it stays in front of you in a horizontal position.
  3. The next step is to grab hold of the handle with both hands, keeping the rope straight between your knees.
  4. Once you’re in a comfortable position, give your driver a quick thumbs up.
  5. When the boat begins to pull, stay tucked up, engage your core and let the boat pull you up.
  6. It’s very important to let the boat do all the work and pull you up. Once you have a little bit of speed you can slowly turn your hips and stand up.

Option Two: Getting up from the boat.

  1. To get up from the boat, place the front of the board on the step or backboard of your wake boat.
  2. Grab onto the rope and bend your knees so that you are in a balanced, wide stance.
  3. With the boat moving, transfer your weight onto your back foot, dipping the back of the board into the water.
  4. Keeping your knees bent and yourself balanced, simply let the water pressure pull you out off the back and away from the boat.

How does wake surfing work?

The wake is created by the displacement of water from the boat’s hull as it moves through the water and when that water moves back up to where it originally was. This consistent flow of water creates a wave (wake) that then moves in the same direction of travel as the boat.

The balance of weight (ballast) inside the boat plays a big role in shape of the wake. The more weight you place in the front of the boat the longer the wave will be, but this will result in a wake with less height. The opposite is true if you want a tall but shorter wake in length but bigger in height. Ballast also needs to be placed on the left or right side of the boat depending on which side you are surfing. More on the left if you surf this side, and more on the right if that’s your surfing side. It’s always best to play around with this to see what works best for you and the boat that you are wakesurfing on.

Is it safe to wakesurf behind any boat?

Technically it is possible to surf on any boat that creates a wake, BUT you definitely don’t want to be putting yourself in danger and risk of hitting the spinning propeller from a boat that has an outboard motor. You can, however, surf safely behind most inboard boats.

Some of the popular wakesurfing tricks (beginner to advanced)

• Pumping– Riding up and down the face of the wake to gain speed.

• Stalling – Putting pressure to the back foot to slow down or “stall”.

• Floater – When you carve upto the top of the wake and “float” on top of the wake.

• Lipslide – Just like the floater, but your board is sideways.

• Spray – Hard, aggressive turns on the face of the wake to create an explosion of spray.

• Fire hydrant – Placing one of your hands on the board and lifting up your front foot.

• Posing – Placing your hands and body in “posing” positions while riding.

• Hang 5 – When you extend your front foot (toes) over the front of the board.

• Rail grabs – Grabbing the board’s rail (side of the board) while riding the wake. Can be done with one or both hands.

• Cutbacks– Big, hard carves off the lip of the wake with the board – the more extreme and aggressive the better.

• Paddle in– When you go to the extreme rear of the wake, and then paddling back into the power zone. This can also be done by pulling the outside rail of the board to bring it back to the power zone.

• Switch stance – When you are riding the board with the opposite foot forward.

• Spin 180– Doing a 180 degree spin on the wake and riding the board back to front.

• Spin 360 – Doing a 360 degree spin on the wake.

• Air – When you launch off the lip with the board into the air and landing back on the wake.

I hope you enjoyed this article, and if you are unsure about anything, give us a call or drop us an email and we’ll assist you.

Remember to follow us on Instagram for regular updates.

6 thoughts on ““How to” Wakesurf Guide

  1. Great article, thanks for the useful info.

    1. Hey Bruce.
      Thanks for the comment and I’m.glad that you enjoyed the article.

  2. Wakesurfing is an exciting water sport that originated in the 1920s and gained popularity in the 1960s. It requires balance, strength, and coordination, but it’s accessible to almost anyone. To get started, you’ll need an open body of water, a boat capable of generating a wake, a wake surf board, and a wake surf rope. Getting up on the board can be done from the water or from the boat, using specific techniques. The wake created by the boat’s movement allows you to ride the wakes using the generated momentum. Wakesurfing tricks range from beginner to advanced, offering a thrilling experience.

    1. Hi There,

      Thanks for reading our blog and the comment.

  3. Love this article and all the imagery with it!! Very informative and make me excited to try wake surfing.

    1. Hey Abi,
      Many thanks for the feedback. Glad you liked the article.
      You’ll have to give it a try sometime when you back. 😉

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