How to Wakesurf: A Beginner’s Guide

Next to not finding the right spot to surf, having to battle other surfers for territory is another thing that surfers need to be courteous about. 

Not with wakesurfing. This type of watersport allows the rider to have the wave all to himself. There won’t be the need to stake the claim to a wave by “dropping in first.” The wave is all yours as long as you want to ride it. 

Your aspiration to ride your own wave must have brought you to this page to find out how to wakesurf. The best way to start your learning progress is to understand what wakesurfing is and how different it is from surfing.

Wakesurf: The New Trend in Water Sport 


One of the water sports that have become increasingly popular in recent years is Wakesurf or wakesurfing. It looks quite simple – a board, a tow rope, and a boat. With the board towing, it seems as if the ride is laid back. 

One must be warned. It is not as easy as it looks. 

Wakesurf is an adrenalin-packed water activity that involves a rider trailing behind a boat. The rider relies on the boat’s wake without being directly dragged by the boat. As soon as the rider gets up stable on the wave, usually with a tow rope, the rope gets dropped. 

The rider then pushes through the steep face below the wave’s peak, similar to surfing. Riders who are into this sport use unique boards mostly that are designed explicitly for wakes. 

Wakesurf’s history dates as far back as the 1920s. Its origins are slightly disputed, with different groups and companies declaring to create this sport. The debate came from print media showing surfers riding behind motorboats between the 1950s and 1960s, and surfboard manufacturers claiming to have built wake-specific boards in the mid-60s. 

Although the difference of opinion is still present, there is no doubt its popularity continued with the board’s evolution for Wakesurf. They have progressively shortened in length as they took a page from windsurfing. Many wakesurfers also began to use devices fixed to the board to secure their feet in place. 


Wakesurf is technically still surfing, except for being towed and waves practically laid out to the rider. Thus, the basics are the same. The first thing you have to remember, as with surfing, is to Wakesurf responsibly. 

Wakesurfing responsibly is allowing yourself to have a good time but still respecting other boaters and homeowners nearby. Keep waterways open and wake-friendly. Keep in mind these three Wakesurf manners every time you ride:

1. Play down with repetitive passes. 

Wakesurfing allows us to ride our own tide sans the presence of other riders. This opportunity tempts us to ride it repeatedly, considering there is no one else waiting to surf it. However, keep in mind that continuously riding the same line can harm shores and docks. 

After a while of driving back and forth, you may have whipped up the waters. Pause for a while and allow the spot to collect itself. Move to another location and return after a period. Don’t worry; the spot won’t leave and will still be there when you get back. 

2. Keep it down with the music

To most riders, the thrill of hitting the waves is better accompanied by marine audio stereos. While water activities and loud tunes are best partners, it may not always be the case. When wakesurfing, be mindful of the time and situation. 

Some Wakesurf spots are near residential areas, and homeowners might need some quiet. Be extra considerate during mornings and late evenings.

3. Keep it at 200 feet from the shore

Staying at least 200 feet away from the coast provides you the benefit of getting the perfect wakes and waves. How – you might ask. Wakes and waves are optimized in deep waters and towards the middle of the lake is where the deep waters are. 

Aside from that, keeping away from the docks keep boat wakes diminishing soon enough, minimizing any adverse effects when they reach the shore. This reminder goes hand in hand with the first in this list, in ensuring to keep our waterways beautiful. 

Wakesurf Essentials

Now that you get the idea of wakesurfing responsibly, it’s time for the nitty-gritty of wakesurfing. Like most activities, you need to prepare yourself with everything you need before hopping on the adventure. In wakesurfing, you will need:

  • Wake generator or more commonly known as the boat
  • The wakeboard
  • The tow rope
  • Swimwear

The Boat

Most beginners may ask – can you Wakesurf behind any boat? Although an old ship is not dismissed for wakesurfing, certain boats are designed to go above and beyond in making waves. The best vessels for wakesurfing are the V-drive boats. These boats have their engine near the back of it like Super Air Nautique G23. 

Remember that boats with an outboard engine are not appropriate for Wakesurf. Outboard engine boats mean the engine is mounted externally to the back of the boat. Outboard motors do not feature protected fan blades, therefore presenting a risk to the rider. 

The Board

If you are starting with wakesurfing, pick the “beginner boards” like Connelly Voodoo Wakesurf Board. This watersport requires different wakesurfing boards and models according to skill level. Boards that are intended for more accomplished riders can be challenging for newbies to ride.  

The boards may look the same aesthetically but, they come different in how they carry the wake surfer. Beginner surfboards have a larger surface area and a stable three-fin setup. These characteristics will provide the most stable and lenient platform to learn the basics on. 

The Tow Rope

Your tow rope should not be just any rope. It has to be the safest tow rope. The safest is one that has a small handle. A small handle keeps the rider’s arms or legs from getting caught or tangled inside during a fall. You wouldn’t want to fall and get dragged around because your arm or foot got caught. 

Also, smaller handles improve your performance since they are more comfortable to hold on to even with just one arm. The best tow ropes are thicker, shorter, and more knotted as they allow the rider to use any amount of rope needed to get on the right spot of wave. It also helps in moving around easier. 

Remember that your tow rope’s sole use is to help you get up on the board. Once you are on your feet, controlling the board should be with your lower body and not through the tow rope. Concentrate on the weight distribution on both feet, as well as your heels and toes.

CWB Proline Wakesurf Rope/Handle is an option you may want to consider. 


Be prepared before heading out to the water. Your attire is your first defense against anything the water will bring you. Pick a swimwear that will keep you warm against the chilly feels of the seas. Rash guards and wet suits are your best options as they can also protect you from the falls you might take. 

Consider the life jacket that you should be wearing, too. These jackets should not only correctly fit you but are also Coast Guard Approved. Having said that, go for a swimsuit that is accommodating and comfortable under a life jacket.

Wakesurfing Step by Step 

By now, you would have completed your checklist for your wakesurfing essentials. The next step is for you to be ready to go out in the ocean. Be sure to regularly check the rope length, boat weight adjustment, and the wake propeller. Your performance depends on how well they work. 

Now, on to the coolest part – Wakesurfing basics!

Step 1. Before anything else, wear your life jacket. 

Step 2. Get the board and the rope and jump into the water. Your jump signals that it is time for you to learn how to get up. What you want to do is to take the board and rotate it parallel to the boat.

Step 3. Put your heels on the board and stick them nearest to the rail that is nearest you. Relax as you lay in the water and sit back. 

Step 4. Signal the boat if you are ready for it to start moving. As it slowly moves, gradually lift yourself up on the board, too. Turn the board in a regular position and try to stand away from the wake – either left or right side of the wake. 

Step 5. Slowly drift in and out of the wake. Do so repeatedly until you get into a rhythm. Once you get the groove, it will be more comfortable after a few tries. 

Step 6. Put more weight on your front foot to give you the boost you need to get nearer the boat. Doing the opposite or putting your weight on your back foot will help you drop back. Don’t forget to hold onto the tow rope when you drop back, as the wake may force you off the board. 

Step 7. Put your front and back foot weight to catch your perfect wake spot. Let go of the rope and cruise down the wave that the wake propeller produced. Begin by feeling your front foot to help you accelerate and your back foot to slow you down. Doing this keeps you in your sweet spot and will prevent you from getting too close to the boat. 

Step 8. Grab the rope back and practice snaps on top of the wake to get you more comfortable. Begin by edging out and putting your weight on the back foot as you come nearer to the wake’s top. Pan out and go over the top of the wake using the nose of the board. Then, kick with your back foot to push your weight as you go down the top of the wake. 

Noteworthy Wakesurfing Tips

Wakesurf is a hobby that can be quite discouraging. But, with a little practice and some tips from advanced-level wakesurfers, you’ll be riding in no time.

Be Confident!

Get your “I can do this” mindset on. Drops and falls are foreseeable in this watersport but flooding your mind with these thoughts will only keep you struggling. Your friends cheering you back from the boat might make you feel like you’d look silly at a fall. In reality, they don’t. They are there to cheer you on and encourage you. As they root for you, root for yourself, too!

Tow Rope Safety

 Tow ropes used for skiing or wakeboarding are different from tow ropes used in wakesurfing. With the right tow rope, remember these safety tips:

  • Never use the tow rope to pull yourself toward the boat
  • Do not pull the rope towards you and coil it around your arms
  • Throw the rope to the opposite side of the wake

Body Posture

The correct body posture can be tricky to find, especially for someone just starting out with wakesurfing. The reason for this is that we want to stay on board. You may look silly trying to keep your balance, but everybody around you understands. So, just keep going.  Once you’ve managed to stay afloat, let your body be acquainted with the wake and the water. As you get more comfortable, start making simple adjustments to your body posture. Soon enough, you’ll notice how helpful they are during your ride. Your posture, once you’re comfortable, should be: 

  • Shoulders squared with hips
  • Chest up, butt in, and knees slightly bent over
  • Hips in a neutral position. 

Controlling Speed and Staying in the Wave

Imagine wakesurfing as driving a car. In its essence, your front foot is your gas pedal. It lets you speed up by pressuring it. Your back foot is your brake, and shifting more weight to it enables you to slow down. Turning up into the wave and dropping back down to pick up your speed is your best way to stay in the wave and maintain your momentum. 


The popularity of Wakesurf doesn’t seem to slow down, thus the rise of Wakesurf schools in key Wakesurf areas. We hope you find our tips helpful with your wakesurfing journey. But, if you have any more questions, our comment box is always ready to hear your thoughts. 

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q: Is it hard to Wakesurf?

A: Wakesurfing is more manageable in terms of being low-impact, fun, and social. The movement also allows for flexible learning as well as how close the rider is to the boat. Unlike surfing, wakesurfing won’t require you to paddle, pop up in the wave, and fight the current. You only need to find your spot, and when you do, wakesurfing will feel like your innate talent. 

Q: Can you Wakesurf on any boat?

A: It is not advisable to Wakesurf on any boats. The boat you need is the one that has the propeller not exposed in the back. Wakesurfing is riding less than 10 feet behind the boat, so having a propeller exposed is risky. 

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