Wakesurfers span a wide array of shapes to accommodate for different riding styles and ability levels. Wakesurfers are measured in feet and inches like surfboards. There are no strict length recommendations. Below are guidelines for choosing a bigger or smaller wakesurfer.
Bigger wakesurfers have more surface area and more float, which means they work well for heavier riders. If you are riding behind a boat that throws a smaller wake, choose a bigger board. Larger wakesurfers move more slowly through the water and are easier for beginners to learn on.
Smaller wakesurfers are more maneuverable, spry and faster on the wave. These are an excellent choice for more advanced riders and lighter weight riders. Big wakes will support use of a smaller wakesurfer.
Wakesurf board shapes come from the surf and skimboard worlds, and tend to fall into 3 general categories: thruster style surf shapes, skim board style shapes, and "hybrid" shapes that combine the two.
These shapes are often reminiscent of surf shortboards but in a smaller package, with a directional shape and fish or square tail (but not always). These boards come in a wide variety of materials, lengths, and configurations. Surf style wakesurf boards are usually the largest in size and total volume. Surf style boards often have a lot of fin options, helping riders tighten up the on-water feel and to generate power and speed to pump the wave. The added volume of surf style boards helps them stay fast and on the surface.
Smaller in size and with less buoyancy, skim style wakesurf boards are made to be more playful in the water. They also have smaller fins and fewer bottom (hull) features, creating a board that is slippery and borderline rowdy on the water. Unlike surf style boards that track up and down the face of the wave, a skim board wants to spin, slide, and do anything but stay on the straight and narrow!
Wake surfing rope/handle combinations are shorter and thicker than standard wakeboard ropes. You will use the rope to get up and into the wake. The width allows you to use the rope to pull yourself forward into the wave. Once you are in the wave you can throw the rope back to the boat. Wakeboard ropes are too skinny to hang on to directly and they have the potential to tangle around your arms, legs or neck causing injury.
Only wakesurf behind boats with an inboard engine. Outboard engines expose the surfer to the prop, which, as you might have guessed, is extremely dangerous. Say there was a fight between you and the prop… your not winning.
It can be difficult finding the best speed to surf at, and it requires a lot of trial and error. A good speed to start at is about 10mph, but depends heavily on your boat and how much weight you have in it.
HOW DOES A BOAT THROW A GOOD WAKE FOR SURFING?
You need weight or ballast. The optimal experience wakesurfing requires that you add additional ballast to one side of your boat to increase the wave size. The most common way to do this is by weighting down the port (left) side of the boat. The prop wash is spinning off in a direction that makes this side of the boat most desirable for surfing. Some boats have internal ballast systems which fill tanks with water to weigh down the boat. You can also add weight with external water ballast in ballast bags. Other forms of additional weight include your fat brother Roy or anything you can think of. The nice feature of the water ballast is that you can get rid of the weight easily and it doesn’t roll around.
WAKESURF BALLAST KITS
Not everybody can afford to buy a new boat with the latest wakesurfing technology to surf. Here at Trojan we've put together some ballast kits to help get some extra weight in your wakeboat, or even load up a ski boat (yes, a ski boat) to surf behind that.