You probably know that wakesurfing requires certain gear, such as a handle with a rope, a board, and a boat. One thing you may not have considered is the need for a well-placed wake to wakesurf. In wakesurfing, you ride off to one side of the boat so you can surf on the highest part of the wake. In order to achieve a wake, the boat needs to be properly weighted. Keep reading to find out the best ways to weight your boat for the perfect wake and shape the wake for the best ride possible:
How a Wake is Made
A wake is created by the boat as it moves through the water. The hull of the boat displaces the water and then that water returns to where it was. This constant back and forth creates the “waves” riders surf on behind the boat. Typically, if there is more weight in the front of the boat, the wake will be shorter in height but longer in length. If there is more weight in the back of the boat, then the wake will be taller in height and shorter in length.
You may be wondering why changing the wake will be helpful when it comes to wakesurfing. The size and shape of a wake is actually important when it comes to this water sport. The right height and length of a wake can make it easier for beginners to learn how to ride or allow experienced riders to get creative. Typically, the more weighted down your boat is, the bigger the wake will be because of the water displacement. To get the right shape of wake you’re looking for, the weight you added may need to be placed in different areas of the boat. Long wakes are better for beginners because it creates an area where you can stand up on the board for longer periods of time.
Regardless of skill level, wake surfers typically want a bigger wake. With a big wake, you have more room to surf farther back from the boat. Once you have a big wake, you want it to be clean and smooth. You don’t want any white wash because it causes turbulence and makes it difficult to surf. You also do not want the wake too steep because it isn’t as long and doesn’t provide as much room to work the board forward and back from the boat. If wake is too steep and short, you can add weight to the front of the boat which typically will lengthen the wake.
Ways to Weigh Down Your Boat
To change the size of the wake, you need more or less weight on the boat. There are a variety of tools that can be used to shape the wake and weight down the boat in ways that create a larger wake. The various techniques and tools used to add weight include:
Most ski boats produced after the early ‘00s newer ski boats come with a factory installed ballast system, but to get the best wake, you might need to add some more. Many people just buy ballasts and add them to the back of the boat, but you should consider where the ballasts should go. Typically, the majority of the ballast weight should be in the back corner (the corner off of which your rider will be wakesurfing) with smaller amounts of ballasts distributed towards the front of the boat. By setting up the ballasts this way, you lengthen and smooth out the wake. The placement of these ballast bags on your boat will determine the shape of the wake, so you may have to do some trial and error to figure out the best place to put the ballasts on your boat. You should never travel with a ballast while your boat is on a trailer.
Wake shapers are probably the easiest way to customize the shape of your boat’s wake. These tools disrupt the flow of water and create turbulence to change the direction of the water, creating a wake. They attach to the stern of the boat with bolts, velcro, or a suction cup. Most wake shapers are angled, which displaces water and creates a bigger wake, but there are all kinds of shapers you can use. Similar to a ballast, you will have to figure out where the best placement is on your boat with trial and error. Wake shapers are easy to put on and remove. We recommend checking out the SurfMode Maverick Wake Shaper.
Another way you can add weight to your boat for wakesurfing is by using passengers on the boat. The people you take out on the water with you will naturally add more weight to the boat, but you’ll want to be cautious. It may seem like an easy thing to do when you ask all the passengers to sit on one side of the boat and weigh it down, but there are rules and regulations that vary from state to state about where passengers can sit. If you plan on using people as weight, please read up on these regulations in your area and follow them in a safe way.
Other Supplies for Wakesurfing
You may be wondering what else you’ll need other than a boat and some weights if you want to start wakesurfing. Of course, you’ll need a wakesurf board and a tow rope. You also won’t want the boards and other equipment cluttering up your boat, so check out our wakesurf racks to keep your boat clear.
Now you know how your boat will need to be properly weighted to create the perfect wake. Want to know more about wakesurfing before you head out on the water? Find out the differences (and similarities) between wakesurfing and wakeboarding.