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How to Wakesurf - Beginner Wakesurfing Tips

Wakesurfing is your one-way ticket to summer fun, and the rest of the year, too if you bundle up with a wetsuit. Combining the awesome flow of surfing, with the airtime and tricks of wakeboarding, wakesurfing is one of the most fun activities you can do behind a boat. But, how do you get started wakesurfing? Getting up and getting locked into the wave for the first time can feel like a tough hill to climb, but with a couple of tips, you’ll be shredding the endless wave in no time. Follow along and we’ll teach you how to get up on a wakesurf board, how to maneuver around the wave, and how to drop that rope and shred!

What you Need to go Wakesurfing

Of course, you’ll need a boat, but what else do you need to go wakesurfing? A few things, you’ll need your boardshorts or a swimsuit, a wakesurf board, a wakesurf rope, and perhaps most important, an appropriately sized life jacket. If you have more questions about boats for wakesurfing, check out our guide to wakesurfing boat setup.

What to Wear Wakesurfing

Before you get out there on the water, it’s important to be prepared. What to wear is step number one. A swimsuit is obvious, but here are a couple of tips to remember. While you may want to go out there and show off that summer body, opting for some more coverage will help to keep you protected, and keep in mind you’ll be wearing a life jacket, so choose a swimsuit that’s supportive and comfortable under a lifejacket. Beginner wakesurfers might want to consider wearing a wetsuit or rashguard, too. As a beginner, you’ll likely spend more time in the water, which can get chilly depending on where you are. More coverage also protects you better from any falls you might take.

Likely the most important item you’ll wear wakesurfing is a life jacket. Not only do life jackets keep you afloat, but they’ll also offer some protection when you fall. Make sure to choose a properly fitting Coast Guard Approved life jacket that is rated for your size and weight.

How to Choose a Beginner Wakesurf Board?

Choosing the right beginner wakesurf board will go a long way to helping you learn more quickly, and it’ll let you have more fun. Beginner wakesurfers emphasize stability and a predictable feel, rather than speed and pop. We recommend surf shape wakesurf boards with larger surface area, and a stable three fin setup. This will give you the most stable and forgiving platform to learn the basics on. Another characteristic of beginner wakesurfers is construction and buoyancy. Beginner boards are often made of materials that make them less buoyant, which makes them sit lower in the water for slower speeds and more stability. From there, you can work your way up to ultra poppy and simple nimble boards. For more info, check out our guide to choosing a wakesurf board.

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How to Drive a Wakesurf Boat?

To pull a wakesurfer, we recommend a “three-speed start. This helps to gently pull the rider up, rather than yanking them up suddenly, which can cause falls and bails. For more information on wakesurf boats, check out our guide to setting up your wakesurf boat.

  1. Put the boat into gear to get the rope tight.
  2. Slowly accelerate until you see the board flip up to the rider’s feet.
  3. Then pick up speed to your desired surfing speed.

How to Get up Wakesurfing?

  1. Sit in the water with your heels on the edge of the board, toes pointing up.
  2. As the board begins to move, let your knees come into your chest as you dig in your heels.
  3. Keep your knees bend until the board flips up to your feet and your weight is over the board.
  4. Stand up gently, planting your heels on the board.
How to get up wakesurfing

The most common advice given to new wakesurfers is to relax and let the boat do the work. This may be frustrating advice if you’re struggling to get up, but it’s true! Getting started is all about your setup, and patience. Sitting in the water with your feet resting up on the board, you’ll pressure your heels into the board, so it flips up to your feet and the boat begins to pull you up. Once your feet are firmly on the board, stay patient, and bend your knees as you come into a crouched position, leaning into the rope as your weight shifting over top of the board. When you’re fully over the board, you can gently stand up.

How to get up wakesurfing

One common mistake for beginner wakesurfers is trying too hard to push their feet into the board, rather than letting the pull of the boat flip it up naturally. Another common mistake is trying to pull yourself up, this might work some of the time, but as you muscle your way up, it’s easy to get off balance and fall. While patience is key, you don’t want to be too relaxed, sitting back staring at the sky - you want to bend your knees and remain in an athletic position as you let the boat pull you up.

How to Drop the Rope Wakesurfing?

Once you’ve gotten up, it’’s time to get into that wave and drop the rope! Once you move into the pocket of the wave, the push from the wave has enough support to keep you riding, and you don’t need the handle to pull you along. There are a couple of important tips to remember when you’re trying to get in that wave and drop the rope.

Posture is the first important step - if you’re all scrunched up, you won’t be able to move around freely, positioning yourself in the wave. Make sure you’re standing up straight, and that you’re not bent over at the waist. You can do a “posture check” by placing your back hand (not the one holding onto the handle) on your lower back, pushing forwards, and straightening your posture.


It’s helpful to have someone on the boat managing the slack in your rope as you get a feel for moving around on the wave. They will help soften any movements, meaning you won’t get yanked off your board if your slack quickly runs out.

Once you are comfortably surfing, with a consistently slack line, it’s time to toss the rope. Either throw the rope directly back into the boat, or across to the other side f the wave so that you don’t get caught up with it.

How to Control Your Speed Wakesurfing & Stay in the Wave

Changing the way you weight your feet helps you to control your speed while wakesurfing. In essence, your front foot becomes your gas pedal. To speed up, pressure your front foot, and to slow down, shift more weight to your back foot. Weighting your toes will also help you speed up, pressing you into the wave, while the opposite is true of pressuring your heels. To maintain your speed and stay in the wave, turn up into the wave, then drop back down to pick up speed.


If you’re having issues staying in the wave, and you keep getting dumped out of the back, think about popping right back up into the wave after you drop down. Likewise, if you feel like you are losing the wave, you actually need to turn up the wave, not down it, so that you can drop back down and pick up speed. Once you get these movements down, you’ll be surfing like a pro!