How to Wake Surf: A Beginner's Guide
Published on October 6, 2022
Wake surfing is America’s hottest water sport for many reasons.
It’s easy to see why wake surfing has become so popular. It’s a water sport that can be done by riders of all ages. Wake surfing is fun and easy to learn, plus wipeouts at 11 mph don’t hurt too much.
For safety, wake surfing should only be done behind boats built for wake surfing, and with a forward facing propeller like the MerCruiser's Bravo Four-S outdrive.
The first thing riders need to know is which of their feet is the dominant one to place forward. There are two good ways to find out: whatever leg you put through your pants leg first is usually dominant. The first foot you use to step aboard a boat also indicates the same.
Getting up for the First Time
Getting up is easy and does not require a lot of strength due to the large planing surface of a board.
- Once in the water you should float on the surface, relax in your vest, lay back a bit and let your feet rest on the board in the correct position.
- Your heels should be placed so your feet are centered (heel to toe) and allow your toes to face upwards.
- Position your rear foot near the tail of the board. Most boards include a kick tail making it easy to find your rear foot position. Place your front foot a comfortable distance from your rear. Typically, the distance between your feet would be between 2 and 3 feet apart.
- Keep your arms straight.
- When the boat moves forward, let your behind slide forward until you feel scrunched up.
- As the board begins to plane, stand up.
- Lean toward your forward foot to find the pocket of the wave and lean back to move rearward.
- After using both arms to get up on the wakesurfer, you may choose to ride with only your front had on the handle. This will also assist with your shoulder positioning so it’s easier to face the wave.
- When you gain confidence that you are in the wave’s pocket and the wave is pushing you forward, you’ll notice slack in the surf rope, and this is when you want to let go of the rope.
Where to go Wake Surfing
The best place to go wake surfing is in water that’s at least 15 feet deep. Shallower water doesn’t allow the wave to reach its fullest potential. It’s also considered good etiquette to surf at least 200 feet or more from shore. Surf in the middle of the lake to give the wave plenty of time to dissipate before reaching shore and jostling a docked boat.
The Water Sports Industry Association (WSIA) offers more advice about wake surfing etiquette on its website.