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Beginner's Wakesurfing Equipment Guide

Beginner's Wakesurfing Equipment Guide
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Like most other sports, wakesurfing does require a bit of a financial commitment as you invest in the gear and equipment that you need. Ensuring you are making the right investment is important so you can enjoy wakesurfing to its fullest. If you are ready to hop onto a wake surf board to enjoy the thrill of riding the waves and experience the adrenaline rush that comes with it, you are in the right place.

As you might have noticed, a little research will tell you that there is a lot to consider for wakesurfing, from the best wakesurf board to tow ropes, wake shapers, and even boats designed specifically for the sport. We compiled this quick guide with a checklist of must-have equipment to simplify your search into one efficient location, so you can get an idea of what you are looking for without overwhelming your search bar.

Wakesurf Equipment Checklist

Before we get into the specifics, here is a go-to list of items you’ll want to consider as you outfit both yourself and your boat with wakesurfing equipment:

  • Wakesurf-appropriate clothing
  • A wakesurf tow rope and handle
  • A board rack for your wakesurf board
  • A wake shaper and ballast system
  • Safety gear

The next sections will go into each of these pieces in more detail, so you know what you need and what to look for as you shop.

What to Wear Wakesurfing

The first thing to consider is your clothing. When it comes to wakesurfing apparel, there are a few key characteristics you want to keep in mind:

  1. Stretch: Wakesurfing requires mobility, so if your attire (bathing suit and life jacket included) is restricting your motion, you are going to have a harder time learning how to wakesurf or performing tricks.
  2. Comfort: Time passes quickly on the water, so you want to be comfortable in what you wear. Buckles, tight straps, and other itchy or scratchy components should be avoided.
  3. Security: You want your clothing to stay put without having to adjust it every time you move or perform a trick, so aim for something that offers your ideal level of reliable coverage.
  4. Safety: Always wear a lifejacket while wakesurfing. Traditional styles may be uncomfortable or limit your movement, so you may want to consider a less obtrusive style, such as an inflatable life vest.

woman wakesurfing behind boat

Tow Ropes and Handles for Wakesurfing

Next, you will need to pick out a wakesurf tow rope and handle. First, note that you should never use a wakeboard tow rope and handle for wakesurfing. Although the two water sports might appear to be similar on the surface, they are quite different, and these differences can have a huge impact on your riding. The biggest difference, of course, is the use of the tow rope. In wakeboarding, the rider keeps ahold of the handles for the duration of their ride. In wakesurfing, the rope is simply used as the rider pulls themself out of the water and stabilizes their position. Once surfing comfortably, the rider drops the two rope. To learn more about these differences you can check our blog, Wakeboarding vs. Wakeboarding.

When it comes to tow ropes, in general shorter ropes are going to be better for beginners and longer ropes will make it easier for more experienced wakesurfers to position themselves appropriately for more advanced tricks. Although thicker than wakeboarding ropes, you want to make sure that your wakesurf rope will not get heavy when it is wet (you want it to be light for when you are holding it). Pick a lightweight handle to go with it and you are ready to choose your wakesurf board.

Choosing a Wakesurf Board

We have a dedicated blog to everything you need to know about choosing the right wakesurf board, but here is a quick overview of the basics. There are three common styles of wakesurf boards: surf, skim, and hybrid. Each of these offers a slightly different riding experience, and which one is right for you depends on your style and experience level. Beginners will typically want to start on a surf style board, while more advanced wakesurfers may feel comfortable experimenting with other styles and customizing their board setup with fins, tails, and rails to change the way it rides and feels.

Board Racks for Wakesurf Boards

Next, you will want a way to safely stow your wakesurf board on the boat until you are ready to put it to use. Wakesurf board racks give you a place to keep your board safe from damage while also freeing up space and keeping your boat organized. They are a great solution for busier boats or those looking for a way to add a little extra protection for that investment made in equipment.

monster tower wakesurf board rack

Best Boats for Wakesurfing

Beyond having an inboard motor for safety reasons, the most basic requirement for a boat to be able to pull a wakesurfer is that it needs to be capable of making a wake, but you may find that simply being able to pull a rider and create a wake is not enough. As you gain experience as a wakesurfer, you will notice that boat speeds can vary depending on the rider, the board being used, and other factors. Having a multifaceted boat that can change as you grow into your riding style is recommended. Though, keep in mind that there are some ways you can customize your boat down the road to change your riding experience, such as wake shapersand ballast bags, so it may not need to be perfect right away (and likely will not be as you grow into your wakesurfing style).

Wake Shapers and Ballast Bags

A wakesurf shaper is sometimes called a wakesurf wedge. These removable devices can be added to the side of your boat to disrupt the flow of water and boost the wave quality. We recommend trying to add these only if you are a more seasoned rider, and then only if you find it necessary. It may be that your boat makes a fantastic wake, but if you find yourself craving more.

Ballast bags, on the other hand, are compartments designed to hold water and create extra weight in specific areas of the boat. This added weight is used to weigh the boat’s stern down, displacing more water and causing a larger wake. Used in tandem with a wakeshaper,boaters have significant control over the size and shape of their wake.

Safety Tips for Wakesurfing

We find that no equipment list is ever complete without safety gear, so we will end this wakesurfing equipment guide with a few safety tips. We already mentioned using a lifejacket, but you will also want to have a throwable flotation device, a sound signaling device (such as a whistle or horn), a visual signaling device (such as light flares) and a fire extinguisher.

Finally, before you head out to the water, always double check that you have all necessary and legally required safety equipment on your boat. Local and state regulations can easily be found online. Not only will this help ensure that everyone stays safe, but it will also help you have a better time overall on the water.

Ready to learn how to wakesurf? Once you’ve collected your gear, be sure to check out the other articles on our blog for beginner wakesurf tricks, wakesurf board selection tips, and more!

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