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How to: Get up on a Wakesurf Board

Posted June 28, 2012 @ 8:34am | by George Michaelsen

Getting up on a Wakesurf board is easy learn.  In my opinion and many others it is easier to get up on than waterskis, wakeboard and even a kneeboard.  Wakesurfing is a low impact, fun and social watersport.  Wakesurfing is much easier to learn because of how slow the boat is moving, usually not more than 12mph, and because the rider is so close to the boat when they are learning.  Wakesurfers are coachable while they are riding instead of just after a fall or in between sets.

If you haven't done any board sports before you need to establish whether or not you're Regular (left foot in front) or Goofy (right foot in front).  Once you have figured that out you'll know which side of the wake to surf on.  Regular footed surfers on the port side and Goofy footed surfers on the starboard side.

Step 1: Setting the Wakesurfer up behind the boat.

It's best to set the wakesurfer up at a 45 degree angle off the stern of the boat instead of directly behind the boat.  By setting up at an angle it is easier for someone to continue going after they stand up on the board because the wake builds up behind them.  If the wakesurfer starts directly behind the boat they can end up on top of the wake and have to surf down (that's tough for a beginner).

How to Wakesurf: Setting up behind the boat

Step 2: Position you feet on the wakesurf board.

Now that you're in the water at a 45 degree angle off the boat, get you feet on top of the board.  You want your feet to be at a comfortable width, a little more than shoulder width is what I do.  Notice in the picture how my heels are on the board, toes pointing to the sky, that is crucial.  Let the board float in the water and just rest your heels on the edge of the board.  The closer your heels are to the edge of the board the easier it will be to flip on to your feet.  

Step 2A: Proper body position

Notice in the picture, my heels are on the edge of the board, toes pointing to the sky, rope inbetween my my feet shoulders squared up with the board pointing at the corner of the boat.  What you can't see is that I'm in a cannon ball position, sort of like what you would do if you were doing a cannon ball off a diving board.

(Step 2 and 2A should be done with slack in the rope, boat in neutral)

Getting up wakesurfing, Heels down

Step 3: Boat in gear, Line tight, Heels down.

In order for the wakesurfer to get up the driver needs to know what to do.  In the first picture the rider is in the water getting set up with the rope slacked, once the rider is set up on the board and feeling good put the boat in gear, make sure the rider is still off the corner of the boat, not directly behind.  Once the line gets tight the wakesurfer needs to push their heels straight down, keeping the toes pointing to the sky.  Once the driver sees the board flip on to the bottoms of the feet it is up to the driver to hit the throttle.  Wakesurf boards have a lot of surface area it doesn't require much power to get someone up.  Throttle the boat slowly up to surf speed.

Standing up on wakesurf board

Step 4: Getting into the wave.

Your up!!  That's awesome you did it, now the fun begins.  Like any other board sport you want to make sure you are balanced on the board, have your weight close 50/50 on each foot and try to stay at the bottom of the wave while you get your bearings.  

Finding the sweet spot on the wake

Step 5: Gas and Brake.

Once you feel comfortable on the board, hold on to the rope with one hand.  Hang on to the rope with whatever foot you have in front, in my case surfing Regular on the port side, I'm holding on to the rope with just my left hand.  

Your front foot is the gas and your back foot is the brake.  If you want to speed up pressure your front foot, to slow down pressure your back foot.  The amount of pressure you apply doesn't have to be a lot, just make small movements.  As you speed up you'll notice the line will get slack, if you hit the brakes too hard the line will get tight. 

Step 6: Finding the sweet spot on the wake.

Now that you have the feeling of 'Gas and Brake' figured out you can try to find the sweet spot on the wake.  Every boat is different, on our boat the sweet spot is very large, so it's pretty easy.  Keep the rope in your lead hand and try to keep slack in the rope for as long as you can.  This will help you find the boundries of the wake without falling constantly.  

How to wakesurf, throwing the rope in

Step 7: Throwing the rope in.

Once you have found the sweet spot on the wake and you can stay in it for an extended period of time keeping slack in the rope, it's time to throw in the rope.  Make sure the rope gets pulled all the way into the boat so it doesn't get caught on the wakesurfer if they were to fall.

Wakesurfing without the rope

Getting up a wakesurf board isn't hard, but it's not up to just the surfer in the water.  As you can tell from reading this it also requires a good driver and coach talking to the beginner wakesurfer off the back of the boat.

Once we have the surfer set up on the board off the corner of the boat, with slack in the line.  The driver puts the boat in gear taking the slack out of the line, coach tells wakesurfer 'Heels Down' once the line gets tight, Driver sees the board flip up to the bottom of the feet then hits the throttle, and they're up.  

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