Wakesurfing is a combination of surfing and wakeboarding and is a growing aquatic sport that is certainly becoming more popular here in the UK.
Learning to ride a wave can be a daunting task and is not for the faint-hearted. Here, we’ll guide you through the basics with some essential tips on how to use your wakesurfing board to execute seamless rope tricks and stay safe at the same time.
What Do You Need?
First things first, you’ll need a boat. Beyond that, essentials include your wakesurfing board, a rope, a wetsuit and a life jacket.
While swimsuits or a wetsuit are the obvious choice, the ideal attire for wakesurfing extends beyond just that. A life jacket is a must for safety, but you need to make sure that it is comfortable. For those new to the sport, wetsuits and rash vests are advisable especially if you’re expecting multiple tumbles. These garments offer protection against falls and help keep you warm in cold water so they are a must.
The life jacket is more than essential—it’s mandatory. It needs to fit snugly and hold your weight if you fall in the water.
Your First Wakesurfing Board
When you’re starting out, it’s not all about speed or making a splash. It’s more about stability. You should go for a surf-style board with a larger surface area and a tri-fin setup for added stability. This kind of beginner-friendly board is designed to be less buoyant and allows for faster speeds and steadier rides.
Wakesurfing Boat Tips
There are two key factors here. The first is the boat, the second is the person wakesurfing. It’s a good idea to build up speed slowly to prevent jolting the wake surfer, so a boat that can go through the gears is essential.
Engage the boat in a low gear to tighten the rope. Gradually accelerate so the board can flip under the rider’s feet. Then, pick up the pace to maintain surfing speed. As with water skiing, the boat driver and the wake surfer need to be in constant contact.
It can take a lot of practice to get the hang of being pulled along on a surf board by a boat. Here are our tips:
- Start by resting your feet on the edge of the board, toes pointing upwards.
- As the board moves, bring your knees toward your chest and press your heels down.
- Keep your knees bent until the board flips under your feet, then stand up.
Remember, let the boat do the heavy lifting, not you. Your job is to maintain your balance and let the boat’s pull get you up.
Once you’re up and riding, it’s time to let go of the rope and fully ride the wave caused by the boat. Ensure you are upright and not hunched over. A helpful technique, in the beginning, is to get someone to help you in managing the rope. That way, if you slip up, you won’t get jerked away from the board. When you’re ready and comfortable, either toss the rope back into the boat or across one side of the wave so that it doesn’t get in the way.
Finally, controlling your speed in wakesurfing, as with traditional surfing, is a matter of weight distribution. Press down on your front foot to speed up and shift your weight to the back foot to slow down. If you find yourself getting pushed out of the wave, remember, that you need to speed up, not slow down.