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swell wakesurf how to wakesurf - surfing behind boat

How to Wakesurf: A Beginner's Guide to Ride The Wake

January 9, 2023      · 

Written by The SWELL Team

How to Wakesurf: A Beginner's Guide to Ride The Wake

Wakesurfing is an exciting water sport that allows you to ride the wake of a boat without being pulled by a rope. It's a great way to have fun on the water and show off your skills to your friends and family. If you're new to wakesurfing, don't worry – it's easier to learn than you might think. With a little bit of practice and the right equipment, you'll be wakesurfing like a pro in no time.

In this guide, we'll walk you through the steps of how to wakesurf, including how to choose the right wakesurf board and gear, and where to find the best wakesurf spots in the USA.

Step 1: Choose the Right Wakesurf Board

The first step to learning how to wakesurf is choosing the right wakesurf board. There are several factors to consider when selecting a wakesurf board, including your skill level, weight, and height.

For beginners, it's best to start with a larger board that is more stable and easier to ride. As you progress, you can move on to a smaller board that is more agile and allows for more advanced tricks.

In terms of weight, it's important to choose a board that is appropriate for your size. A board that is too small or too large will be difficult to control and may make it harder to learn how to wakesurf. Check out our full length article on How to Pick the Right Wakesurf Board

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Step 2: Get the Right Gear

While wakesurfing may seem like a simple sport, there is actually a lot of equipment that goes into it. From the right wakesurf board and gear to the right location and boat, every detail matters when it comes to having a great time on the water.

One of the most important pieces of equipment is a wake shaper. A wake shaper is a device that attaches to the back of the boat and helps to create a larger and more consistent wake for surfing. In other words, a good wake shaper can make a big difference in the quality of your ride.

When choosing one, it's important to consider factors such as the size and shape of your boat, as well as your personal preferences. Some wakeshapers are designed for larger boats, while others are better suited for smaller boats. Some are designed for a more aggressive ride, while others create a more mellow wake.

No matter what type of wake shaper you choose, it's important to make sure that it is properly installed and secured before hitting the water. A poorly installed wake shaper can not only ruin your ride, but it can also be dangerous.

In addition to a wakesurf board and wake shaper, there are a few other pieces of gear that you'll need to get started. These include life jackets, ballast weights, and wakesurfing ropes. At SWELL Wakesurf, we offer all the material and equipment you need to hit the water. Learn more here: https://www.swellwake.com/

swell wakesurf choosing the right gear

Step 3: Find a Safe Location

Before you start wakesurfing, it's important to find a safe location. This includes a body of water that is free of obstacles and other boats, and a spot where you can easily get in and out of the water.

Step 4: Position the Boat

Once you've found a safe location, it's time to position the boat. The key to creating the perfect wake for wakesurfing is to have the boat moving at a steady speed of around 10-12 mph.

To create the best wake, it's also important to have the boat positioned correctly. This typically means having the boat centered in the water and the weight evenly distributed.

Step 5: Get in the Water

Now it's time to get in the water and start surfing! To start, paddle out behind the boat and wait for the wake to form. Once you feel the wake, paddle towards it and begin to stand up on your board.

As you start to ride the wake, keep your weight centered and your hands on the rails of the board. If you feel like you're losing balance, try shifting your weight or adjusting your stance.

Step 6: Practice and Have Fun!

Learning how to wakesurf takes time and practice, but it's also a lot of fun. Don't be afraid to fall – it's a normal part of the learning process. The more you practice, the better you'll become.

Positioning and moving your body correctly is key to successful wakesurfing. Here are a few tips to help you get started:

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your weight centered on the board. This will help you maintain balance and control.
  • Keep your hands on the rails of the board and your elbows bent. This will help you make quick adjustments to your balance as needed.
  • Shift your weight to turn the board. To turn the board to the left, shift your weight to the right foot. To turn the board to the right, shift your weight to the left foot.
  • Practice carving turns. To carve a turn, shift your weight and turn the board in the opposite direction of the turn. For example, to carve a left turn, shift your weight to the right foot and turn the board to the right.
  • Experiment with different stances. Some people prefer to ride with a more forward stance (closer to the front of the board), while others prefer a more backside stance (closer to the back of the board). Try out different stances and see what feels most comfortable and natural for you.
  • As mentioned previously, don't be afraid to fall. Falling is a normal part of the learning process, so don't be afraid to take a few spills as you get the hang of it. As you practice, you'll get better at anticipating and correcting for falls, and you'll be able to ride the wake with more confidence.

Where to Find the Best Wakesurf Spots in the USA

Now that you know how to wakesurf, it's time to hit the water and start practicing! But where are the best places to wakesurf in the USA? Here are a few top spots to check out:

Lake Powell, Arizona: Located in the heart of the desert, Lake Powell is a popular spot for all kinds of water sports, including wakesurfing. With over 2,000 miles of shoreline and crystal clear water, it's the perfect place to ride the wake.

lake powell

Lake Tahoe, California: Located on the border of California and Nevada, Lake Tahoe is known for its stunning beauty and excellent wakesurfing conditions. With a variety of different spots to choose from, there's something for everyone at Lake Tahoe.

lake tahoe

Smith Mountain Lake, Virginia: Located in the Appalachian Mountains, Smith Mountain Lake is a hidden gem for wakesurfing. With a wide variety of spots to choose from, it's a great place to ride the wake and enjoy the natural beauty of the surrounding area.

smith mountain lake

Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri: Located in the heart of the Midwest, Lake of the Ozarks is a popular spot for wakesurfing. With over 1,150 miles of shoreline and plenty of secluded coves to choose from, it's the perfect place to ride the wake and escape the crowds.

lake of the ozarks

No matter where you go, remember to always follow local laws and regulations, and always wear a life jacket when wakesurfing. With a little bit of practice and the right gear, you'll be riding the wake like a pro in no time.

Frequently Asked Questions about Wakesurfing

What is wakesurfing and how is it different from wakeboarding?

Wakesurfing is a water sport in which a surfer rides the wake of a boat without being pulled by a rope. It is similar to wakeboarding, but the surfer does not use a rope or handle and relies on the shape and size of the wake to ride.

Is it safe to wakesurf?

Wakesurfing can be a safe and enjoyable water sport, as long as you follow proper safety precautions and use the right equipment. Always wear a life jacket and follow local laws and regulations when wakesurfing, and be mindful of your surroundings to avoid obstacles and other boats.

Is wakesurfing difficult to learn?

Wakesurfing can be easier to learn than other water sports, such as wakeboarding or water skiing, as it does not require the use of a rope or handle. However, it does require some balance and coordination, and it may take some practice to get the hang of it.

What do I need to start wakesurfing?

To start wakesurfing, you will need a wakesurf board, a wetsuit or rash guard, a life jacket, and a boat with a suitable wake. You may also want to consider wearing a helmet for added protection.

How do I choose the right wakesurf board?

When choosing a wakesurf board, it's important to consider your skill level, weight, and height. For beginners, it's best to start with a larger board that is more stable and easier to ride. As you progress, you can move on to a smaller board that is more agile and allows for more advanced tricks.

What is the best boat for wakesurfing?

The best boat for wakesurfing is one that is able to create a large, consistent wake with minimal boat roll. Inboard boats, such as ski boats and v-drive boats, are typically the best choice for wakesurfing, as they are designed to create a smooth and predictable wake. Outboard boats can also be used for wakesurfing, but they may require the use of a wake shaper to create a suitable wake.

How fast should the boat be going for wakesurfing?

The speed of the boat is an important factor in creating the perfect wake for wakesurfing. The ideal speed for wakesurfing is typically between 10-12 mph. Going too fast or too slow can make it difficult to ride the wake.

How do I position the boat for wakesurfing?

To create the best wake for wakesurfing, it's important to have the boat positioned correctly. This typically means having the boat centered in the water and the weight evenly distributed.

How do I get started with wakesurfing?

To get started wakesurfing, paddle out behind the boat and wait for the wake to form. Once you feel the wake, paddle towards it and begin to stand up on your board. As you start to ride the wake, keep your weight centered and your hands on the rails of the board. If you feel like you're losing balance, try shifting your weight or adjusting your stance.

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