Wakesurfing: Everybody’s Going Surfing

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Wakesurfing is a watersport in which the rider trails behind a boat, riding the boat’s wake without being directly pulled by the boat.

After getting up on the wake, typically with the use of a tow rope, the wakesurfer will drop the rope, and ride the steep face below the wave’s peak in a fashion reminiscent of surfing.

Wakesurf boards are designed specifically for wakes.

Wakesurfing has been well received and its popularity has grown immensely with it taking over many dams and rivers within South Africa. It isn’t mom and dad pulling their sons and daughters anymore. Now mom and dad are out behind the boat enjoying it as much as their children.

If you were wakesurfing 10 years ago, every boat that drove past you when you were wakesurfing would give you a “what the heck are they doing?” look. Now, it is not uncommon to see numerous wakesurfing boats out on the water.

What is the correct wakesurfing boat?

Inboard ski/wakeboard boats are the most popular choice for wakesurfing as the propeller is under the boat and less likely to make contact with the rider.

There are local manufacturers who will sell you their brand of “inboards”, but please remember a true inboard does not have a transom and the prop shaft comes out underneath the boat, behind the backboard.

This is the safest boat design for a wakesurfer, as there is no chance of falling forward onto the prop.

A true V8 direct-drive inboard is also easier to drive at the low speed required to make a large wake, which is between 10- 11.5 mp/h or 16-18 km/h.

You don’t have to have the latest, greatest or newest beast, any inboard boat will do the trick. I have seen decent 2001 Nautiques and other boats going for R80 000 and up, which are perfect for wakeboarding and wakesurfing.

How to get up

  1. When getting up out of the water, you should lie on your back and bend your knees, much like getting up on a wakeboard.
  2. Allow the surfboard to float naturally and keep it at a 90 degree angle to you and the boat, with the nose of the board facing away from the boat.
  3. Place your feet on the board so that your heels rest on the board and your toes are pointing up.
  4. Depending on the board, your back foot should be somewhere around a foot from the back of the board. Your feet should be placed shoulder-width or slightly further apart.


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