Your ocean surfing experiences may have left you with memories of sore arms from paddling, a bruised ego from falling, and a lasting distaste for saltwater. If that sounds familiar, you may be a bit sceptical about wakesurfing, which is, basically, surfing in the wake behind your boat. But before you write off wakesurfing forever, consider this. Once you get the hang of it, you can surf on a consistent, never-ending wave, without paddling, without waiting on tides, right on your local lake. You don’t have to worry about the choppy water on a busy or windy day, because you are surfing right behind the boat, on the wake. If that sounds good to you, a wakesurfing board could be in your future. Here is what you need to know to choose the right surfer.
Size – Wakesurf boards come in different sizes, and the right size for you depends on your skill level and surfing style. If you are a beginner, or a bigger rider, you will want a bigger surfer, with more surface area and float. The surfer will move a bit slower through the water, but will allow for a more consistent ride. A smaller surfer will be more maneuverable and faster, and will also work well for a smaller rider.
Shape – There are two basic shapes of surfers – surf and skim style. Surf style boards are usually larger and thicker than skim boards. They look more like a surf shortboard, and give the rider a bit more stability. The thicker profile will make the board turn more gradually. They usually have more fin options as well (see Surf Fins: How to Choose for more info on fins). Skim style boards are smaller, thinner, and are designed to be fast, responsive, and maneuverable.
Rocker – A flat, low rocker board will move more quickly and smoothly on the wake, while a board with more rocker will move a bit more slowly but will give more pop off the wake. You should think about the type of riding you will do when choosing a rocker style.
Ropes and Handles – You will only need a rope and handle to get you up and out of the water, so you will want something a bit different for surfing than for wakeboarding. Wakesurfing ropes are shorter and thicker, so that you can pull yourself forward into the wake comfortably and then throw the rope back to the boat.
Boat – Since you want to be close to the boat and right in the wake, only use an inboard boat when you are wakesurfing, so you don’t risk being close to the prop. Speeds for surfing are nice and slow – about 10 MPH – making a pleasant ride for both the surfer and boat passengers. Depending on your boat, you may need to add some weight, or ballast, to get the perfect wake. Ballast bags and wake shaping tools are available to help with that.
Ready to give it a try? Stop in at Sun Sports+ and let us help you find the perfect wakesurfing setup for you and your family!