How to Wakesurf : Everything you Need To Know!

How to Wakesurf

Do you love watching people ride the waves with their boards and wondered how fun it is? Have you considered trying a watersport but couldn’t decide which one to do first? Why not start with wakesurfing? It is easier to learn than surfing but just as fun and enjoyable.

Wake surfing is somewhat similar to surfing but with a twist. It’s like surfing and wakeboarding all at the same time. So, you get to learn and experience two water sports, how cool is that? To get you started here’s everything you need to know on how to wakesurf.

What is Wakesurfing

What is Wakesurfing

For those who have no idea what wakesurfing is, it is a kind of water sport where a rider is towed by a boat. The rider then rides the boat’s wake. Once a rider had gotten up on the wake with the help of a rope, the wakesurfer will then let go of the rope and ride the steep part of the wake which is under the wave’s peak similar to surfing.

In general, wakesurfers use a special board that is designed for riding boat wakes. This sport is not new at all, as people have been doing this since the 1950s. However, it has more become popular now and is considered a professional sport.

Wakesurfing Equipment

Wakesurfing Equipment

Before we teach you how to wakesurf, you need to know first the equipment you need for this sport. It is important to get the right equipment in order to learn quickly and have a more enjoyable ride.

Wakesurf Board

For beginner boards, it is recommended to get something that will make learning easier, so a longer board would be the best option. Finding one with a larger traction pad for better grip is also a good idea.

A board with a long centre fin will help you keep a straight or ride the same line while moving. A beginner wakesurf board with a stable three-fin setup is also ideal.

Lastly, choose a surf-style wakesurfing boards with more curves. This type of wakesurfing board float easily and the more curves it has, the slower it will move on the water.


If you want to get the best out of your wakesurfing, go for V-drive boats to pull you. These wakesurf boats can be weighted which helps in producing a bigger wave. A V-drive boat also has a propeller and an engine close to the back part of the boat.

There are other kinds of tow boats for wakesurfing, the modern ones have a wake generator which is really cool in making waves that can be customized. Some boats also have marine audio stereos so wakesurfers can enjoy good music while riding. However, remember that there are certain boats that cannot be used for wakesurfing.

Boat Weight Adjustment for Wakesurfing

Depending on the kind of watercraft you have, you need to know the right place to put the concrete weights on the boat’s ballast for proper weight distribution. If you are using a V-drive boat, most of the weights are placed beside the engine.

There should be some weight on the seat or below the side of where you prefer to wakesurf on. You also need to know the number of passengers in the vessel and where they will be positioned to get the right amount of wake in the water. If you want a larger wave, your wake boat should be deeper in the water.

Wake Propeller

Propellers can help make your wakesurf experience easier and more fun by changing them. You may want to pick a propeller with a lower pitch and a large diameter. This will make your wakesurfing performance better.

Wakesurf Tow Rope

When it comes to wakesurf ropes, go for shorter, thicker and more knotted ones. Choose a rope with a smaller handle, too. This is for your own safety, to prevent the rider’s arms or legs from getting caught inside in the event that you fall.

A smaller handle will enhance your preformance and make it more comfortable to hold on to with just one arm. Keep in mind that a wakeboarding rope is different from a wakesurfing rope. The typical rope length is around 10 to 20 feet.

Life Jacket

This is for safety purposes and even if you know how to swim, it is a must to wear a life jacket. Add the fact that you are still a beginner, so it is best to wear one at all times. Life jackets that are coast guard approved, have bright colours and that fit you well are a good choice.

Bright-coloured life jackets will help you be seen easily by other boaters and other surfers especially during late evenings.

Wakesurfing Step-by-step Beginner’s Guide

Wakesurfing Step-by-step Beginner's Guide

Now that you have prepared all your equipment and you know how to adjust your boat, you are now ready to learn how to wakesurf. Here’s an easy-to-follow guide for beginners.

  • Once you have put on your life jacket, jump in the water with your board and rope. The first thing you need to learn is how to get up on the board. Position it perpendicular to the towboat. Put your heels on the rail nearest to you with your toes pointing up then sit in the water.
  • When you are in the right position and are ready, give the go signal to the boat to move. Lift yourself up slowly and if you are a regular or goofy, turn the board in your stance’s position.
  • Try to slowly drift in and out of the wake. It might take you a few tries but keep going. You’ll get the hang of it after several attempts.
  • If you want to be close to the boat, put more weight on your front foot. If you want to drop back, put more weight on your back foot. When dropping back, keep your hands to the rope so you won’t get off the board.
  • To find the sweet spot, put your front and back foot weight. Let go of the rope and throw it to the boat. Now, cruise on the wave.
  • It is ideal to practice your snaps on top of the wake. This will help you get more comfortable riding a wave.

How to Control Speed

How to Control Speed

Now that you know how to stand on the board and ride the wake, you need to learn how to control and generate speed. It is fairly easy as your feet will do all the work.

Front Foot

Your front foot will act as your gas pedal. If you want to speed up, put more pressure on your front foot. You can also add some weight to your toes if you want to generate more speed.

Back Foot

Now, of course, when you speed up, you also need to slow down. You can do this by shifting your weight to your back foot. You can also put more pressure on your heels if you want to slow down.

You can stay in the wave and maintain speed by turning up and dropping back down into the wave so you can pick up speed.

Wakesurfing Tricks

Wakesurfing Tricks

Are you ready to learn some wakesurfing tricks? Here are some of the basic tricks that wakesurfers can easily learn.

Pump Trick

This is somehow the foundation of all other tricks. Once you have perfected the pump trick you’ll be able to perform different tricks that more accomplished riders are doing.

The pump trick is used to give you more bounce and to generate more speed. To do this without holding the rope, put some weight on your back foot. This will help you come up to the top of the wake. When going down a wake, put some load on your front foot.

360 Trick

Start by dropping back to your sweet spot then generate speed by performing one or more good pumps. Lift your front foot off the wakesurf board so the nose will go up, then with your backhand, dig into the wake while pushing your back foot. This will allow you to turn your body from right to left. As you practice more, you’ll be more comfortable in shifting your weight.

Wakesurfing Tips for Beginners

Wakesurfing Tips for Beginners
  • If you haven’t tried any board sport before, know your stance first before hitting the water. This will allow you to position yourself comfortably on the board as you get up. Find out whether you are regular or goofy.
  • Regular riders will find it more comfortable on the port side while goofy riders should go to starboard.
  • Always observe the proper positioning of your feet.
  • Find the right boat and rope. Ropes with more knots will help newbies pull themselves in the sweet spot of the wave.
  • When standing on wakesurf boards, your feet should be at least shoulder-width apart.
  • If it’s your first time to wakesurf, find a wake-friendly spot so you can learn easily.
  • Understanding the ballast system of your boat will help you distribute weight correctly.
  • Remind the boat’s driver to keep the speed low; 10 MPH will do.
  • As you started wakesurfing, it can be frustrating in the beginning, but relax and let your boat do all the work. You’ll struggle standing up at first but with patience and determination, you’ll be able to do it.
  • Don’t push your feet too hard on the board, but instead let the boat flip if for you in a natural way.
  • Don’t try to pull yourself up as it can make you fall and lose balance.
  • Keep your knees bent as the boat pulls you up.
  • Ask someone to manage the slack of your rope to help you surf comfortably.
  • Take a break and minimize repetitive passes.
  • Always be mindful of other surfers, keep the place wake-friendly, and waterways open.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to Wakesurf Frequently Asked Questions

How do you Wakesurf for beginners?

The first thing beginners need to do is prepare their equipment. Once they are complete, the next thing you need to learn is standing up on your surfboard, letting go of the rope, and riding the wake.

Is Wakesurfing harder than wakeboarding?

Wakesurfing is basically easier to learn than wakeboarding. This is because of the boat pull speed – the wakesurfer at a slower rate than in wakeboarding. In addition to that, the rider is closer to the boat.

How do you get up on a Wakesurf?

While sitting in the water, place your heels on the rail or edge of the board. When the boat begins to move, allow your knees to get near your chest while digging your heels on the board. Remember to keep your knees bent to get a board flip and your body weight is on the wakesurf board. Now, try to gently stand up and plant your heels.

Is Wakesurfing harder than surfing?

Being pulled by a boat with a tow rope at slow speed makes it easier to get up on wakesurf boards. This makes wakesurfing easier to learn than surfing. With surfing, there are other skills to master like paddling, duck diving, popping up on the board, and a lot more.

How do you know whether you are goofy or regular?

Your dominant foot will determine whether you are regular or goofy. Try falling forward and the foot that will catch your weight will be your front foot. If you use your left foot to catch yourself then that’s your front foot, so you are regular. Goofy is the other way around.


Are you now convinced to try wakesurfing as your first-ever water sport? Just like with any other sports, it may take a number of tries before you master wakesurfing. Don’t be frustrated if you fall several times, that’s normal. Most riders, even the professional ones, still fall off from time to time. Once you’ve mastered how to ride a wave, you’ll be riding wave after endless wave soon. Lastly, practice is the key. Just keep on practicing until you are comfortable and confident with your wakesurfing skills.

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Picture of Lisa Hayden-Matthews

Lisa Hayden-Matthews

An avid Skier, bike rider, triathlon enthusiast, amateurish beach volleyball player and nature lover who has never lost a dare! I manage the overall Editorial section for the magazine here and occasionally chip in with my own nature photographs, when required.
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