Wake surfing is a water sport that combines the speed and excitement of wakeboarding with the fun of surfing. Wake surfing, as opposed to traditional surfing, is done behind a boat that generates a strong wave, allowing surfers to ride for an extended amount of time without paddling.

The sport has grown in popularity recently due to its accessibility and ease of learning. Wake surfing is a fun alternative to traditional surfing that doesn't need to brave ocean waves or venture into deep water. With the correct gear and instruction, anyone can learn to wake surf and have a great time.

What is wakesurfing?

Wake surfing is a water sport where participants ride waves generated by a moving boat while unattached to the vessel. Wake surfing is a variation of wakeboarding that differs from typical wakeboarding in which the ship does not carry the rider. Instead, the surfer rides a wave created by the wake left behind by the boat.

Wake surfing requires the rider to initially stand on the board while hanging onto a tow rope to get started. When they have reached a point where they are steady, they can let go of the rope and ride the wave using only their balance and the movements of their bodies. It takes a lot of practice and patience to perfect, but once you get the hang of it, it's a thrilling experience. 

How to wakesurf: Step-by-step instructions

  1. Gather the Necessary Equipment: Ensure you have all the required equipment ready! This involves your surfboard, tow rope, or any additional gear you need. 
  2. Choose a Safe Location: Pick a safe, open area for wakesurfing away from shallow water and other boats. Check the local regulations and rules regarding wakesurfing in the area.
  3. Prepare the Boat: Fill the boat's ballast tanks or bags with water to create a larger wake. Set the boat speed to the appropriate wake surfing speed, typically between 9 and 14 mph (but it can vary depending on the boat and rider's preference).
  4. Attach the Rope: Attach the wakesurf rope to the boat's tow point, ensuring it's secure. Then, position the rope handle on the side of the boat where you plan to surf (usually on the same side as your dominant foot).
  5. Choose Your Stance: Determine your stance, whether you're regular (left foot forward) or goofy (right foot forward). Position your feet on the board accordingly and accurately. 
  6. Enter the Water: Hold the handle with both hands and float alongside the boat. Let the boat pull you gently until you find balance on the board.
  7. Start Surfing: Gradually shift your weight to your back foot to create distance between you and the boat. Use your front foot to steer and adjust your balance. Once you're comfortable, signal the driver to reduce tension on the rope, allowing you to ride the boat's wake without being pulled. 
  8. Ride the Wave: Focus on maintaining balance and staying in the "sweet spot" of the wave created by the boat. Keep your knees slightly bent and your weight centred. Experiment with shifting your weight to control your speed and direction only once you're confident. 
  9. Practice and Improve: It may take several attempts to get the hang of wakesurfing. Practice and gradually increase your skills, trying tricks and turns as you become more comfortable.

Always wear a life jacket and follow safety guidelines. Stay aware of your surroundings and the boat's position. Try communicating with the boat driver and spotter using hand signals.

Remember that wakesurfing can be physically demanding and requires practice to become proficient. Start with the basics, and as you gain experience and confidence, you can progress to more advanced moves and tricks. 

Wakesurfing vs. wakeboarding: What's the difference?

Wake surfing and wakeboarding are popular water sports that involve riding on a board behind a boat. However, there are some significant differences between the two.

Wakeboarding involves riding on a smaller board with bindings for your feet, similar to a snowboard. The rider is pulled up by the boat's tow rope and rides in the wake of the boat, performing tricks and jumps. It is usually more challenging and tough to learn due to the tow rope spinning at faster rates. Thus, it requires more skill and control. 

On the other hand, wake surfing involves riding on a giant board without bindings and surfing the boat's wake without being directly pulled by the rope. The rider can perform tricks and manoeuvres using the boat's wake as a ramp. This activity is much more accessible and easier to learn and skill. It can also be enjoyable for beginners since it's a relatively relaxed ride. 

Wakesurfing equipment

Regarding wake surfing, having the right equipment can make all the difference. To enjoy wakesurfing, you'll need specific equipment to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience. Here's a list of the essential wake surfing equipment you'll need:

  • Wakesurf Board: This is the most essential requirement. Choose a wakesurf board suitable for your skill level, weight, and riding style. Beginners should often start with larger, more stable boards.
  • Life Jacket: Always wear a properly fitting US Coast Guard-approved life jacket to ensure safety on the water.
  • Wakesurf Rope: Use a wakesurf-specific rope with a handle. These ropes are typically shorter (around 20-25 feet) than traditional water ski or wakeboard ropes, designed to keep you closer to the boat.
  • Boat with Surf System or Ballast: You'll need a boat equipped with a specialized surf system or ballast tanks/bags to create a surfable wake. 
  • Towboat: Make sure you have access to a suitable towboat. Towboats for wakesurfing typically have features like surf tabs, trim systems, and speed control.

More optional and additional types of equipment are used once you achieve the advanced level. You can consult a friend or a coach who often wakesurfs to guide you properly. 

Quick tips for Wakesurfing for beginners

Even though wake surfing is fun and easy to learn, one should always be mindful while doing it the first time. If you're a beginner, here are a few tips that can help you gain confidence and ensure a smooth and relaxed ride:

  1. Take a wake surfing lesson from a certified instructor to learn the basics, safety procedures, and proper technique. 
  2. Choose the right board, and try starting with a more giant, stable wakesurf board designed for beginners. These boards offer better balance and are easier to learn on.
  3.  Always wear a properly fitting US Coast Guard-approved life jacket. 
  4. Keep a safe distance from the boat but stay within the wave's sweet spot, which provides the best push and ride.
  5. Maintain a slight bend in your knees to absorb the wave's energy and help with balance. Keep your posture still. 
  6. Focus on one point in the distance to help maintain balance and avoid looking down at your feet.
  7. Use your body to steer and adjust your balance on the board. Shifting your weight from the back foot to the front foot can help you control your direction and speed.
  8. Don't tense up; try to stay relaxed and go with the flow of the wave.


In conclusion, wake surfing is a thrilling water sport that requires skill, patience, and practice. It combines the excitement of surfing with the speed and power of boating, creating an experience unlike any other.

Whether you are a beginner or an experienced surfer, wake surfing offers endless opportunities for fun and adventure. So grab your board, hit the water, and see where this exciting sport takes you!

Frequently Asked Questions: 

  1. Is wake surfing easier than wakeboarding?

Yes, wake surfing is much easier than wakeboarding. 

  1. Is it safer to wake up?

Wakesurfing is generally considered to be a safer water sport compared to activities like wakeboarding or water skiing.

  1. How do I choose the right wakesurf board?

The right wakesurf board will depend on several factors, such as weight, size or preference. Ideally, Beginners should choose a more giant board since they can balance it well. 

Related tags :