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Learn to Wake Surf

Learn to Wake Surf

Wake surfing is an excellent activity to add to your boating repertoire and a great way to catch a wave even if you are thousands of miles from the nearest ocean. No need to worry about sharks, getting cut up on a coral reef, or being swept away by the current.

It’s important to have the right tools!

You will need:

1. Wake surfing board – these boards are specifically made to use behind boats.

2. Wake surfing rope/handle – these make wake surfing easier and safer for the rider. The rope is thick and has multiple handles for adjusting where you are on the wave. Wakeboard ropes are much longer and thinner which can be dangerous if wrapped around one of the riders limbs.

3. Inboard wake boat - Very crucial. NEVER wake surf behind an outboard or inboard/outboard boat. Outboard and I/O boats have the propeller directly behind the boat. People and propellers rotating at high speeds do not mix. Safety first, only surf behind an inboard boat.

4. Ballast - Wake surfing requires additional weight to be placed on one side of the boat to create a clean wave. Use the ballast to reach the desired weight that produces the best wave. Having the people in the boat move to one side can also be used as a substitution.

Now you have all the necessary equipment, it’s time to hit the water and catch a wave.

Driving the boat – very little power is required to pull the rider out of the water. A general rule of thumb is to gradually increase the speed until you reach 10 mph.

Getting up – Start by lying on your back in the water with your heels near the edge of the board closest to you.  Keep your feet shoulder length apart on top of the board with your toes pointing toward the sky. Your knees and elbows should be slightly bent.

When the boat accelerates it will create tension on the rope and the pressure of the water will suction the board up to your feet. Let this process happen naturally.  Once you reach a speed where the board is riding on top of the water straighten your legs and stand up while keeping a slight bend in your knees.

The next step is to transfer your weight to move the board out of the wake onto the side you are going to surf. The key to success is to find the ‘sweet spot‘. The sweet spot is the section of the wave which will perpetually propel you forward without the use of the rope.  Finding the sweet spot is tricky and requires you to apply weight to your front foot to accelerate and back foot to slow down.

Getting to the sweet spot will require you to grab the rope and pull yourself closer to the boat. Be very aware of where the rope is during the process as you do not want it to be wrapped around your arms or legs.

The first time you hit the sweet spot you will notice the slack in the rope. At this point do not throw the rope in the boat just yet, hang on until you get a good feel for where you need your weight positioned on the board.

After you have the hang of it, it’s time to get rid of the rope. For beginners, it is easier to throw the rope to the opposite side of the wake and let someone in the boat pull it in. The temptation of watching throwing the rope into the boat causes riders to lose focus and fall out of the sweet spot.

As the Beach Boy’s would say catch a wave and you’re sitting on top of the world. Work on changing speeds and feeling comfortable on the board. Then you can advance to turns and tricks. Enjoy!

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