Wakesurfing is a thrilling water sport that can be the perfect solution for getting an adrenaline rush, especially after you have mastered some of the basics first. As you are starting out learning how to wakesurf, it is important to start with a strong foundation before moving on to those bigger, more complex tricks that might be drawing you to the water. This guide has been designed to give beginner wakesurfers an overview of some of the first things they should learn about wakesurfing with beginner-friendly moves and tricks that will set you up for success as you advance.
Getting Up on the Board
The very first thing any wakesurfer needs to learn is how to get up on their board. If you already have experience with other watersports, such as wakeboarding, then this step might come easy to you (even if the equipment is slightly different). If this is your first time learning a watersport, then do not worry if you need some time to find your footing – this is easily the first hurdle for most new wakesurfers to overcome. Our go-to piece of advice for getting up on the board comes from experienced wakesurf rider, Cobe Mikacich – pretend you are getting up out of a chair.
Dropping the Rope
Once you can get up on the board, the next step is learning how to maintain control so you can work towards staying with the wake. If you have ever been on a surfboard or seen someone surfing, then you may be familiar with how riding the board is all about taking advantage of the momentum of the wave. With wakesurfing your board moves with the wake that the boat makes, and much like surfing (though unlike wakeboarding) you will be surfing the wake without holding on to a rope, so you need to learn how to drop it. To drop the rope, stand up straight, steadily let the rope go slack (you will feel less tension) and then drop it once you are able to maintain your balance.
Staying with the Wake
Staying with the wake is a fundamental wakesurfing skill that precedes every other move and trick. You will need a lot of control, proper positioning, and correct foot placement to find your balance on the board and be able to move it across the wake. Learn this crucial skill with Cobe Mikacich in this instructional how-to wakesurf video.
Carving is essentially making a zig zag motion as you move up to and down from the top of the wave. You will want to master this move before moving on to airs and spins, as this will teach you how to use your feet to pivot the board and control the direction you move in.
Performing an Air
This trick is almost exactly what it sounds like – to do an air, you will jump out of the water into the air with your board. This involves shifting your weight on the board and bending at the knees. Start by placing your weight into your front foot. Bend your knees, then move the weight to your back leg and use your front foot to pop your board up. As the board comes up, bend your knees closer to your chest and then put them back down to land. Many beginners find that performing this trick is easier to learn outside of the wave first.
The First Wakesurfing 360 Spin
One of the first tricks you may want to try is a 360-degree spin. This move is most easily accomplished on a skim style board, but you can also make it work on a surf style wakesurf board. To start the move, make sure you have a strong wake, then start at the back to gain both speed and momentum. Crouch down as you would on land in preparation for a jump, then start to initiate the spin by carving into the wave. You will need to shift some of your weight to the front of the board to bring it up and use your back hand to start the spin. Stay crouched so you can spin fast enough to complete the 360, then put your hand back in the water once you are facing the boat again to slow yourself down.
Ready to Try Wakesurfing for Yourself?
With any of these beginner moves and tricks, remember to stay safe by using proper equipment, having procedures in place, and communicating with your boat driver. Always know the rules of the water and stay alert to your surroundings. If you find yourself struggling to master any of these first moves, do not feel afraid to ask someone more experienced. You will undoubtedly meet other wakesurfers on the water, and they would be more than happy to make suggestions to help you!