Learning Wakesurfing

Wakesurfing cannot be fixed on a date of origin, because it has developed steadily. In the 1950s and 1960s, some surfers used to surf with a longboard in the back of the wave of a normal motorboat. They had a lot of fun and didn’t think much about what they should or shouldn’t pay attention to. It worked relatively well, but it was a bit dangerous, because the screws of a normal motorboat are much closer to the surfer than on a special wakesurfboat.

There were many surfers at that time, who did a headstand on the longboard or surfed on the board with two people. Since the surfers no longer wanted it to be just an acrobatic spectacle, they came up with the idea of creating a safe and properly optimized material, which was no longer considered an acrobatic toy. The idea of wakesurfing had been around for a long time, but no one had completely implemented it. Since a lake, a wakeboard boat and a wakesurf board are all you need for wakesurfing, you don’t have to go to the sea to surf.

Besides, you don’t have to wait forever for the perfect wave, like in real surfing. There is always a wave, even if they are not real waves. Various special Wakesurfboards have been developed. These were not so long and heavy. They went much faster than normal surfboards, because they were made especially for strong waves.

For faster gliding, a small rocker (upswing of the surfboard, see illustration below) was integrated into the backhand (rear part) of the wakesurfboard. After the rocker they tried out how they had to stand in the back and sharpened the front of the board rounder than on a normal surfboard.

In the early 90’s the first Waksurf boat “Wave” came onto the market. This created a bigger wave than the other boats and you could surf closer to the boat. Many boat brands didn’t want to produce wakesurf boats because they were afraid of surfing so close to the boat.

In 1996, the World Wake Surf Championships was launched by a small group in Mission Bay. Afterwards the sport sloshed over to California. In the beginning, the sport was only practiced by a few surfers, but this changed greatly over the years.


Wakesurfing is surfing on a special wakesurfboard. I myself surfed on an Inland Surfer Board 4’6″ x 20″ x 1″ – 8 lbs. This is a beginner board and easy to handle. There are many other boards, such as the Wakeskate boards, which have the look of skateboards on the water.

There are also boards that are more aggressive and uncompromising, or there are the fast, light, but also easily controllable boards. The boards can weigh between 40 and 100 kg and be between 130 cm and 150 cm long. Their width is always around 50 cm.

There are also wakeboards that are similar to kitesurf boards, because a wakeboard has two straps and even boots where the feet are placed so that the surfer doesn’t fall off the board immediately. With these a surfer can perform faster and higher jumps and tricks than with a wakesurfboard.

You also need a polypropylene/spectra line (approx. 70’/21 m (1 x 55′ + 3 x 5′)) with a handle (rubber grip) at the end that is approx. 35 to 40 cm wide. In addition, a Wakesurf life jacket is obligatory. Of course a wakesurf boat is also needed to surf. The best known brands are Malibu, Centurion and Axis. I myself was on the water with an Axis boat.

A wakesurf boat, unlike a normal boat, produces a dominant, constant wave from one side of the boat to the other. Whether right in front or left in front, the wave is suitable for both types of surfers. The wave is specially designed to come from the side and from the bottom to create a clean and energetic white water wave.


The rope with the handle is mounted on the boat and then thrown into the water. The surfer then takes this to himself. The surfer jumps into the water with the board and grabs the handle. The biggest difference to surfing is that you don’t have to paddle, but have a handle with which the surfer can pull himself up and hold on to it.

The surfer grabs the board, turns to the boat, holds the handle with his right hand and the board with his left hand. With his head the surfer always looks towards the boat. Now he places the board flat between the boat and himself. Then the surfer places his heels on the lower half of the board and lies back. Don’t worry, the life jacket will keep you afloat. The toes look towards the sky. When the surfer is ready, he gives a signal to the skipper.

Both hands have to cover the handle and the arms have to be stretched

When the boat accelerates, the surfer pulls his knees towards him, leans back and presses his heels against the board. At this moment the skipper must increase the speed further so that the surfer can slowly get up. This position is reminiscent of a squat position. When the surfer is standing, he should always lie a little to the back and press the rear heel lightly onto the board. Do not place any weight on the front foot! In this position fix your eyes one point above the boat.

The knees must also be slightly bent and the arms stretched

The most important thing is the foot position. If this is not correct, you fall off the board. If the surfer shifts his weight to the rear heel, the board can be moved. When the surfer has reached the very wavy part, the surfer can slowly pull himself forward on the rope, so that the surfer can surf the front part of the wave, which is directly behind the boat. With the front foot the surfer accelerates and with the rear foot the surfer brakes and steers. If the surfer is safe enough, he can release the line, throw it onto the boat and continue surfing without using the handle.

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Author: John Wright

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