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Knowing when to release the tow line is one question new wake surfers struggle with when they are learning to wakesurf. As wakesurfers become more experienced they develop a better understanding of when they are ready to release the tow line and free surf. Wakesurfers who do not have a great deal of experience can rely on a few basic pieces of advice to help them make decisions while they are learning. In general it is safe to release the tow line when the board is gliding smoothly over the wave and the tow line has some slack in it. If the tow line is taut and board is not gliding smoothly over the water, the wakesurfer may need to reposition himself or the driver of the boat may need to adjust the speed.
It is important to recognize the distinction between teak dragging and wakesurfing. Many people mistakenly confuse the two but in actuality they are completely different. Wakesurfing involves riding on wakesurf boards in the wake of a boat moving at a moderate pace. The riders are sufficiently far enough from the boat to be safe from noxious fumes and other hazards. Teak dragging is a dangerous practice of body surfing while holding onto the swim platform of a boat in motion. This practice puts the surfer in dangerous proximity to carbon monoxide fumes as well as the boat's propellers.
The balance of weight is critical in dictating speed while wakesurfing. Understanding how shifting weight can affect the speed will help to keep the wake surfer balanced. Shifting weight onto the rear foot and leaning the body back over the rear foot will help to slow down the board. To increase speed, shift weight forward over the front foot. Pumping the front foot on the board is helpful for maintaining speed.
Wakesurfing is a sport involving riding the wake left by a boat. Ballast is used to create this wake necessary to wakesurf. The ballast causes the boat to sit lower in the water and create a wave behind the boat. Determining how much ballast to use is largely a matter of personal preference. Ballast on the front end of the boat will create long and short waves while ballast on the back end will create short and high waves. In general the majority of the ballast should be water with only a small portion of the ballast comprised of solid materials. This is important because the boat may swamp with water ballast but it is more likely to sink with solid ballast. Neither is an ideal situation but swamping is preferred to sinking.
Standing up on wakesurf boards is one element of wakesurfing that frightens most new riders. The key to getting up on the board is to take a wide stance and maintain a low center of gravity until the boat reaches the desired speed. As the boat accelerates the board will rotate so it is parallel with the board. Once the rider feels comfortable, it is time to push up into a standing position. The rider should push upward through each foot equally to avoid throwing the board off balance.
Only go wake surfing behind an inboard boat. Never use a wake surf board behind an outboard, stern drive, or inboard/outboard boat. If you can see the boat's propeller, do not surf behind that boat. Wakesurfing behind these types of boats is very dangerous. You also want to make sure your boat has enough power and maneuverability to be successful for recreational wakeboarding. Do plenty of research and don't rule out a used power boat!
Once you are "up" on your wake surf board, accelerate slowly towards the boat until you feel comfortable and your pull rope is consistently slack, then gently toss the rope into the boat or to the opposite side of the wave. Try wake surfing with your dominant leg forward, facing the wave. On a twin tipped wake surfboard, while holding the handle, move off into the flat water and quickly turn the board.
Using an inboard boat is one of the critical elements to safe wakesurfing. The propellers on inboard boats are concealed unlike the propellers on outboard boats. This is important because wakesurfers follow approximately three to seven feet behind the boat. A concealed propeller creates less of a hazard for the wakesurfer.
Liquid Force has a line of wakesurf boards for riders of all skill levels. Their Venture 5'6” has a wide profile and thick rails making it ideal for beginners. Intermediate wakesurfers enjoy the Venture 5'0” and its easy maneuverability. The Brigade 4'0” is designed for more aggressive surfers. This board features sharp rails and variable edges to allow for trick riding.
There are many ways you can enjoy using a wake surf board. If you are a beginner, you would be wise to read a wakesurf board guide, in order to figure out which type of board is best for you. Once you have done this, you can take to learning the basics of using a wake surf board. Wake surfing is difficult to master in the initial stages, but once you get past them, you can start learning various tricks. Watch other wakesurfers for ideas on how to control and guide your board. You should also experiment with various techniques to see which one suits you best.
Wake surfing was one of the first "behind speed boat" sports that was invented. Wakesurfing actually started before wakeboarding. Originally, a wake surf board was only a 9" long board behind an aluminum "john-boat." The wake surfers couldn't let go of the rope for longer than a couple of seconds to surf the wake. Nowadays, riders can let go of the rope for longer, and use it to help them do all sorts of tricks. You don't need perfectly still water for wakesurfing, and can use your wake surfboard on a choppy lake. All you need is some fat ballast and a few wakeboarding buddies to enjoy the fun.
There are numerous tricks you can do with a wake surf board. Pumping is a great one for imcreasing your speed - you basically push down and let up with your front foot on the wakesurf board and by turning in and out of the wake, you gain speed. Another fun wake surfing trick is the fire hydrant. In this trick you put your hand on the front of the board and take your front foot off the board. The Floater is another popular maneuver where the rider literally appears to float on top of a wake and if you turn sideways you are performing a lip slide.
When choosing a proper wake surf board you will find they come in 2 basic styles. Skim board style and conventional style. Skimboard style wake surf boards are thinner and smaller than your typical surfboard styles. Conventional style wake surf boards are thicker than skimboard styles and have better buoyancy. Riders should read a wakesurf board guide and talk to experts for assistance before buying a wake surfboard.
Wake surfing involves using a wake surf board to surf the wake created behind a boat. Wakesurfing works best with a ballasted wakeboat, and the boat speed should be kept fairly slow (around 9 to 14mph). When wake surfing, the rider uses a tow rope to pull themselves out of the water. A wake surf board is designed for use in this sport, but some people also use traditional surfboards, although it's not highly recommended. It can take a lot of time and patience to learn the basics of this sport, but the enjoyment is well worth it. Now you don't need to live on the coast with big ocean waves to be a surfer!
There are many different models of wakesurf boards available on the market but there are two general styles of boards available. These two types are skimboard style and conventional style. Both types have advantages and disadvantages and each wakesurfer must decide for himself which type is right for him. The skimboard type is easy for beginners to stand up on and is easier to spin. The major disadvantage to the skimboard type board is boats usually have to circle back to pick up fallen riders. Conversely, the conventional style is often more difficult for beginners to control. The advantage to this type of board is fallen riders can paddle to the boat.
Wake surfing is a low impact sport that can be enjoyed by everyone but it can also be terrific preparation for wakeboarding. Children are able to enjoy this challenging sport and enhance their balance and agility, and parents are able to go out onto the lake and carve it up as well. Unlike wakeboarding, the sport of wakesurfing is low impact, which means it causes less damage to your body. While you won't be using your wake surf board to jump ten foot in the air, you can use it to practice. You also won't be subject to heavy landings that can really jar your knees and the muscles in your legs. Wake surfing is a great sport in itself, and is also good for building up strength and stamina for wakeboarding.
Choosing a reputable wake surf instructor can significantly impact the quality of the lessons. Ask for recommendations from trusted friends or family members. Next research the available options before signing up for wake surf lessons to ensure the highest quality of instruction. When interviewing potential wake surf instructors ask for references and testimonials from previous client and investigate the instructor or school with the Better Business Bureau. An instructor or school with a solid reputation is likely to provide quality service and instruction.
Like all sports these says, wakesurfing has its own lingo.
Regular Riding on the left side of the boat.
Goofy Riding on the right side of the boat.
Lineride Holding onto the rope while riding the wake surfboard
Freeride Actually surfing; not holding the handle
If you can do the tricks - make sure you know what they are called!
As in all water sports, there is a professional wake surf tour with formal competitions. Wake surfing judges have a certain criteria when judging a contest. The Top 7 are:
!. Most difficult wake surf board maneuvers
2. Maneuvers with most power
3. Maneuvers with most style
4. Maneuvers with most progression (charging the wake surfboard maneuver as opposed to attempting it with caution)
5. New age maneuvers presented successfully
7. Wake Usage
In wake surfing, proper ballast is required. Ballast is added to your wake surfing power boat to force the boat to sit lower in the water, and heavier on the side the rider. This forces the boat to cut more deeply in the water and thereby created a surfable wave. For wake surfing this ballast is necessary to build a wave that you can use your wake surf board on. Some boats have internal ballast. The internal ballast can be filled in less than a minute, drained in 15 seconds.
Like snowboarding and skateboarding, wakesurfing has a regular stance and a goofy stance. Those who wakesurf with their left foot forward and ride on the left side of the boat and are considered to be regular riders. Those who wakesurf on the right side with their left foot forward are considered to be goofy riders. One way to determine which stance a rider prefers is to sneak up behind him and gently push him forward. If his first step is with his left foot he might be comfortable riding regular and if his first step is with his right foot he might be comfortable riding goofy.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|