How do you go from surfing the ocean to inland lakes and rivers? Simple—add a boat and a smaller board. The rest is down to a love of the waves.
In the years since its inception, and its growing popularity since then, wakesurfing has become a beloved sport—not only by those who live inland but by the very people who grew up surfing the ocean swells, too.
It’s a testament to the thrill of wakesurfing, that even the most devout surfers are willing to try their hand at another kind of wave—and thoroughly enjoy it, too!
For coastal converts who make the move inland, or professional surfers looking for a new way to enjoy the water, wakesurfing is just the ticket. And if you find yourself making the switch, there are a few ways you can use your passion for surfing to fuel your newfound interest in wakesurfing. Just read on to learn more.
Go with what you know…
The great thing about wakesurfing with a surfing background is the wealth of experience you already have. If you know how to ride a wave, you’re halfway there!
First, determine if you are right or left-footed—or, in surf terms, goofy or regular. Whichever foot you use first on your surfboard will go first on your wakesurf board, too, even though the wakesurf board is typically shorter.
Another key similarity between wakesurfing and surfing—one which surfers will find very intuitive—is the gas-brakes relationship between the forward and rear feet. Lean forward (but not too far) to climb a wake, or backward to stall or put some distance between you and the boat.
… and learn something new, too
Of course, every sport has its learning curve, and there a few key differences between surfing and wakesurfing that cross-participants ought to learn. If you’re a surfer, for example, you might be tempted to jump right on your surfboard and hit the water, but it’s likely worth waiting for the proper wake gear. Even though the same basic mechanics are at play—using a board to cruise up and down a wave—the wakesurf board is typically shorter and thicker, to make up for the lower buoyancy of freshwater.
Once you get your gear (including a tow rope, PFD and, of course, a boat!), your surfing instinct might also tell you to paddle out, chest down on the board until you find a wave. This won’t work while wakesurfing, simply because you need to hold on to the tow rope as the boat until the boat works up a wake… otherwise, there won’t be anything to surf! Rather, you start in the water, with your feet on the edge of the board, all while holding onto the rope—once the boat picks up speed, you’ll be picked up by the movement and there will be less slack in the rope, signaling that you’re about ready to let go.
Build up your endurance
You’ve heard a lot about the endless waves that wakesurfing can produce. It’s one of the best parts about the sport, in fact—as long as you can stay upright, you can enjoy the simple pleasure of riding a wave, back and forth. But to be able to do that, you need some endurance! You get it, naturally, through run after run on your board—but at-home exercises, like jogging or biking, can help you even more when you’re off the water. By ensuring that you have enough endurance, you can really make the most of your wakesurfing session—to see just how far it will take you.
Add some style
Wakesurfing is an attractive sport—there’s no doubt about it! Its effortless style likely has something to do with that.
The sport attracts surfers who find themselves receptive to its hands-on nature, the cool rail-grab moves and turns that other towed water sports may not provide—in other words, the sport looks as cool as it feels.
To take up wakesurfing after surfing, the same style and flourishes you used on the ocean can be put to the test on a lake or river run—perhaps to an even greater degree, since you never run out of chances or “perfect” opportunities to get a move just right.
Just take a page out of Josh Kerr’s book. The Australian surfer wowed the world with his impressive aerial moves on the ocean, and then did something perhaps not-so-surprising—he took up an interest in wakesurfing, and doled out aerial after aerial, each more high-flying than the last. He has since come to be known as one of the world’s greatest wakesurfers in addition to his traditional surfing prowess. You can take your passion just as far.
Ready to hit the water? Wakesurfing lets you enjoy the thrill of riding a great wave, no matter where you roam—so pick up some gear and bring out your Chaparral to experience it for yourself!