Surfs Up!

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Surfs Up!

With the long weekend coming up and summer winding its way down let check out one of the fastest growing water sports out there, wake surfing. With it being one of the fastest growing watersports out there let’s take a look at the three pieces of equipment that we need to get started. 


              To start a watersport a boat is definitely in order. Water ski boats and wake boats have come a long way over the years. While water skiing requires the smallest, flattest wakes possible, wakeboarders are looking to increase those wakes so they can get big air for the moves that make the sport so extreme. Equally in contrast between the two sports is, for water skiing, the fewer people on board, the better. In wakeboarding, the more, the merrier, however the inboard-powered ski boat was still the right tool for the job.  

              Within the last few years, there has been even more change, with respect to boats, via the increase in the popularity of wake surfing. Wakeboarding boats have evolved into wake surfing boats, with an increasing amount of wake- and wave-enhancing devices. 

              This has created a wake boat industry that is more competitive and innovative than ever. The sport’s popularity has exploded so much that new technological innovation was even created for the sport, the creation of forward facing stern drives which are similar to a stern drive with the propellers in the front. While that may sound kind of weird, it also allows for a sterndrive boat to perform well for wakeboarding and wake surfing (safer)—which opened the market to more manufacturers. In today’s market, there are dedicated models for skiing, for wakeboarding, for wake surfing, and “crossover” models that are geared to be able to do all three.  

Choosing a Wake Surf Board 

Wake surfing is one of the most fun things you can do in the water and with good reason. It offers hours of fun on the water and virtually anyone can do it. If you already have the boat, and want to get in on the action, one of your next steps is to buy a wake surf board, but with so many options to choose from, where should you start 

1) Surf or skim? First, decide if you want a skim-style or a surf-style board. 

  • Skim-style wake surf boards usually have a small single fin and are loose, fast and very maneuverable, but still steady enough for beginners. 

  • Surf-style wake surf boards typically have two to four full-size fins, are longer and thicker than skim-style boards and have a more traditional surfboard design. As a result, they’re best suited to surf-style moves like big carves and airs off the wake. 


2) Size up your wake. The size and shape of your surf wake affects your board size. 

  • If you’re going to surf with stock ballast and only a few passengers, you’ll have difficulty riding a board that’s close to your weight limit. 

  • Larger wakes have more push, allowing you to ride a smaller board that is right at the top of your weight class. If your wakes are on the small side, either add more weight or buy a larger board. 


3) Do your homework. Research websites, look up weight limits and call manufacturers. 

  • Once you’ve narrowed your search, head to your local dealer for a demo because actually riding a board is the best way to know if it’s right for you. During the demo, try to mimic your boat’s wake as closely as possible so you get the same feel. 


Tow Rope and Safety 

The Rope: Rope choice is important, believe it or not, and of course a wake surfing rope differs from that of a wake boarding or water skiing rope. Wake surfing ropes are thicker and shorter, with a heavily padded handle. Some even have knots to help new riders pull themselves into the wave’s “sweet spot”. 

Life Jacket or PFD: You’ll need a personal flotation device, too. Modern PFDs look and feel more like down vests than the blocky foam pieces you might remember. Bright colors are helpful for spotting downed riders. 

              These are the bare minimum pieces of equipment to attempt to wake surf. There will always be advanced techniques and tricks, however, as with any pastime, practice makes perfect, and the more time you spend surfing the better you will become. Have fun and stay safe! 

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