How Wakesurfing Works

Wakesurfing Tips

Wakesurfing can be done with two types of boards: skim style and surf style. Skim-style boards have fins less than 2.5 inches (6.4 cm), while surf-style boards have larger fins. Skim-style surfers often perform tricks adapted from skateboarding and snowboarding, and surf-style surfers mostly perform aerial tricks that are similar to traditional surfing. Because wakesurfing has grown in popularity, many companies now market skim and surf-style boards specifically designed for the sport.

It's difficult to wakesurf without an adequately weighted boat -- one weighted to either the left or right side, which allows it to produce a larger wake. Large wakes break to one side, simulating a small, but surfable, ocean wave. The amount of extra ballast used depends on what your boat can handle. If you're a frequent surfer, you may want to install fat sacs on your boat and connect them to the ballast system.

To stand up, experienced wakesurfers recommend that you start by lying in the water with your heels resting on the board. As the boat picks up speed, hold on to the rope and use its tension to pull yourself onto the board. Bend your knees for balance and position your feet shoulder-width apart. You will likely want to stand toward the back of the board so the front won't catch the surface of the water, submerging the board. Your stance will vary depending on your personal preference, skill level and the type of board you use.

Once you feel confident on the board, it's possible to adjust your stance to move closer to and farther from the boat. Putting more pressure on your back foot will slow you down, causing you to back off from the boat. Leaning on your front foot will effectively speed you up, causing you to move forward in the wake. But be careful: too much pressure in one direction and you may wipe out. Even so, experiment with your footing to find where in the wake you're best able to surf.

If you're a boat driver and your wakesurfer wipes out, don't immediately turn around back into the wake -- you may unintentionally enter the waves you created and flood the boat. Instead, slow down -- or put the boat in neutral -- and circle back widely, away from the wake.