How to Wakesurf – Beginner Tips 

If you’re interested in learning to wake surf, Miami Natiuqe is here to help. With 20 years of experience in water sports sales, our pro staff can help you pick out the best gear and share expert wakesurfing tips. Ready to move from a wakesurf beginner to a master? Let’s get started.

What Is Wakesurfing?

Wakesurfing is a water sport in which you ride the wake from a boat, much like a surfer would ride a wave. You’ll need a tow rope to get you up to speed, but once you’re upright and moving, you can drop the rope and simply ride the wake. Unlike wakeboarding, you don’t have bindings holding you to the board, so the effect is similar to traditional surfing. 

Wakesurfing enthusiasts say that the sport is better than surfing because the wake from a boat lasts longer than ocean waves, and you don’t have to wait around for a wake. Just start up a boat, and the wake will form! You can also add in all the tricks and flourishes of traditional wakeboarding to increase the style factor to 11. 

Getting Started

Whenever you try a new sport, you should think about safety first. For wake surfing, we recommend using appropriate flotation equipment and a helmet for head protection. Even experts should wear a flotation vest on the water as a safety precaution — you can suffer an injury that prevents you from swimming on your own, so the flotation device will keep you safe. We can fit you for a vest if you stop by our store.

Some people like to wear wetsuits or rash guards. A wetsuit can keep you comfortable in cold water. They also provide some protection from scrapes and bruises if you fall. Additionally, if you’re outside in the sun, the wetsuit will block harmful rays and keep your skin healthy. 

In addition, choose a swimsuit or board shorts that are comfortable and easy to move in. You want them to be secure and snug so they don’t slip off if you fall. Water shoes or boat shoes can also afford some protection when you’re on the shore or waiting in the boat. 

You should also be sure that you’re wakesurfing behind the correct type of boat. The boat should have an inboard motor, as boats with outboard motors are dangerous since wakesurfers stay close to the vessel and can tangle with the engine in a fall.

Choosing Your Board

Picking out a wake surf board is all about personal preference. The boards come in a variety of sizes and shapes. While you should choose a board that fits your body size, there’s no hard and fast formula for how large a board you need.

In general, larger boards are easier for beginners to use. They have more surface area, so they float more readily. The additional weight means they move more slowly through the water, so beginners find them easier to control. 

Smaller boards are lighter and offer more agility. They’re quicker and easier to maneuver across the wake. As you get more confident in your wakesurfing, you may want to try a smaller board. 

The staff at Miami Nautique has personal experience surfing with the boards in our shop. They can give you an expert view on which board will give you the best wakesurfing experience. 

How to Wakesurf

The first skill to master in wakesurfing is the most basic: getting up. If you have tried wakeboarding or water skiing before, you’ll be familiar with the basic idea. If you’re a wakesurfing beginner, you may need to fall a few times before you manage to stand!  

  • Start behind the boat, with the board lying flat. Hold the tow rope with both hands. 
  • Sit back in the water and rest your heels on the edge of the board, soles facing the boat.
  • When the boat begins to move, curl your knees into your chest and dig your heels into the board.
  • Keep your knees bent and let the boat pull you forward until the board flips up, so your feet are flat on it. 
  • Stand up slowly, keeping your heels planted on the board.

Once you’re upright, you can move into the curl of the wake. If you have experience with wakeboarding, you’ll be familiar with edging and balancing along the wake from the boat. Bend slightly at the knees for balance but don’t bend at the waist. Once you have your board situated in the wake so that the water can propel you, toss the rope back into the boat and just surf the wake.

If you’re new to riding the wake, you can practice while holding the tow line. With practice, you’ll be able to let the line go slack between you and the boat. Once you feel confident surfing the wake without the line, you can try surfing without the rope for support. 

Controlling Your Speed and Staying in the Wake

Once you’re up and surfing the wake, you can make adjustments by shifting your weight slightly. You don’t need to move your feet or change your arm position dramatically. Small changes in your balance will get the job done.

If you want to slow down, push back onto your rear foot. Bring more of your weight onto your back leg and think about sinking into your heel. To speed up, do the opposite. Shift your weight forward to the front foot and push into your toes.

Every wake curl has a sweet spot where the motion of the water carries you along. You’ll need to experiment a little to get a feel for it, but generally, you want to position yourself at the bottom of the wake curl, just in front of the “break” where the water is curling over.

To stay with the wake, aim to be about 5 feet behind the boat. If you fall behind, press forward to speed up into the wake. If you want to fall back, lean into your back foot to slow down and increase the distance between you and the boat.

Like with every sport, you’ll get better the more you practice!

Come to Miami Nautique Today

If you’re ready to get started with wakesurfing, come by our ProShop or call 305-438-9464 to let our staff get you set you up and get our best wakesurf tips. Miami Nautique is ready to answer all your questions about wake surfing for beginners, from the best equipment to buy to how to move on the board!

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