If you have been around wake surfing for any length of time, chances are you’ve heard someone mention a wake shaper. Maybe you knew exactly what it is but wanted to learn more about how they work.
Or, maybe you have no idea what a wake shaper is, what it’s for, or how it’s used. Wakesurfers everywhere are looking for the perfect wake – a tall, wide wake with smooth walls.
The challenge, however, is getting your boat to make the perfect wake. But once you’ve experienced a ride on an ideal wake, it is tough to want to ride anything else. The ride is smoother, the entry points into the wake seem more inviting, and lift from the wake feels effortless.
There are ways to make the perfect wake every time you go out and using a wake shaper is a great way to do just that.
I’ve looked into how wake shapers work and researched a few to give you an overview of how they work and to give few recommendations
What Is a Wake Shaper?
What is a wake shaper and how can it be used for max wake surfing fun? A wake shaper is a tool that attaches disrupts the flow of water to help form a better wakesurfing wake.
There are a lot of variables that affect the anatomy of a wake and there are a handful of companies who have made it their mission to help wakesurfers get the perfect wake every single time they go out.
With a few simple adjustments, wake shapers can change the shape of the wake being produced by the boat, effectively giving riders the best ride possible. Wake shapers have become an essential accessory for wakesurfers everywhere who are looking for the perfect wake.
The Anatomy of a Wake
Boats produce a wake when they move through the water because the water cannot be compressed, and therefore must be displaced.
Any object that moves through the water creates a wake, but there are a few things that impact the size, shape, and velocity of a wake.
A leaf that is blown across the surface of the water will create a very small wake that may be hardly noticeable, but an oil tanker will produce a wake that is rather large with effects that can be seen far from the tanker.
There are a few factors that impact the size and shape of a wake – hull design, weight, and the flow of water.
Hull design – While individual boat manufacturers have each worked out what they believe to be the best hull design, all wake boats generally have a similar shape. The hulls found on wake boats typically have a deep-v hull that is tapered towards the rear and is relatively flat and wide.
This kind of hull design is used to create a long and strong wake which is ideal for wake sports. The engine is housed close to the rear of the boat to create more weight at the stern, causing the boat to sit lower in the water.
Weight – Boats float because of water displacement, or the amount of water that is moved out of the way when the boat is sitting in the water.
Because water cannot be compressed, when something enters the water, a boat, in this case, the water has to be moved out of the way to allow room for the new object. The heavier the object, the greater the amount of water that needs to be moved.
This means that if a boat is very light it won’t displace much water, and when it moves it won’t produce a large wake. On the other hand, if a boat is heavy it will displace a greater amount of water and will produce a larger wake when the boat is moving.
Wakesurfers and wakeboarders add weight to the stern of the boat to create a larger wake. If a 6,000 lb. boat has the capacity for 5,000 lbs. of ballast, the amount of water being displaced, and the size of the wake has been increased significantly.
Water Flow – Both boat weight and hull design impact the way the water flows to create the wake. How the water flows off the rear of the boat has a direct relationship to the shape of the wake.
If the boat is well balanced, the wake will be even on both sides. If the weight on the boat isn’t evenly distributed, the wake will be taller on one side and shorter on the other.
Also, anything attached to the transom that is submerged will affect the water flow coming off the boat, having an impact on the wake shape of the wake.
How Does a Wake shaper Work?
A wake is formed when water flows past the rear of a boat as it moves through the water. As the water that’s been displaced by the boat makes its way past the boat the effects of the displacement can be seen in the form of a series of waves moving away from the boat at an angle.
When the boat is at speed, the flow of water coming from the boat will work its way back together after the boat has passed, meeting in the middle at the “convergence point.”
When the flow of water coming from both sides of the boat is traveling the same distance along the boat and with similar displacement, the point of convergence will be similar, creating a well-balanced wake.
However, if there is a difference from one side of the boat to the other, the points where each side of the wake make their way back to the middle will be different, creating an uneven wake.
There are times when having an even wake is ideal – wakeboarding, skiing, kneeboarding, etc. In each of these sports, the rider tends to go from one side of the wake to the other using both sides as a ramp.
If the wake was uneven it would only leave one usable side of the wake. When wake surfing, though, only one side of the wake is being used at a time and it needs to be tall and well-shaped to give the best ride.
A wake shaper is a tool that is meant to change the flow of water coming from the back of the boat. It attaches to the hull on the side of a boat below the waterline (fully submerged) and acts kind of like a trim tab to change the flow of water.
The wake shaper disrupts the flow of water, forcing the water on one side of the boat to travel a longer distance and at a different angle, changing where the two sides of the wake converge behind the boat.
This allows for one side of the wake to be tall and well-formed while the other side doesn’t have a lot going for it. Before wake shapers were used, people would shape their wake by placing weights or ballast on one side of the boat, but not the other.
This is an effective way to approach shaping a wake but can take up a lot of room in the boat and isn’t the most efficient method since it requires moving weights around. Wake shapers, on the other hand, use suction cups or Velcro to attach directly to the fiberglass.
They are easy to put on and easy to take off and allow a lot of control when it comes to getting the perfect wake.
Wake Shaper Recommendations
With the number of wake shapers available, it could be tough to decide which is the right one for you. Here are a few of the best on the market, one of them could be just what you are looking for.
Swell Wakesurf Creator 2.0 – Swell is a family-owned company that’s been around since 2016 when they started building wake shapers with a focus on functionality and design.
The Creator 2.0 claims to double your wakesurf wave by producing a longer and larger wave and it fits on most inboard and v-drive boats. Pros of the Creator 2.0 include suction cup attachment, instead of Velcro, easy removal and attachment so it can be changed in the water quickly, and it floats high in the water if it were to ever fall off.
Mission Delta 2.0 – Mission was the first company to bring suction cup based wake shapers to the market and has only been able to improve on their initial design since then.
Their Delta 2.0 creates more turbulence in the water by using their RipFlowTM technology, which creates a cleaner wake on the opposite side of the boat where the wakesurfer is.
Pros of the Delta 2.0 include suction cups for easy attachment and removal, RipFlowTM technology for enhanced wake shape, and ability to use on most boats.
Nauticurl FLEX Wake Shaper Surf Gate – The FLEX Wake Shaper is there to serve the population that has boats other wake shapers won’t work on.
They have specifically designed the FLEX to fit on boats with sharp angles, extreme curves, or raised decals. This wake shaper uses three suction cups instead of two, which helps with the added flexibility in placement and the boats it will work with.
Pros of the FLEX Wake Shaper include the ability to use it on challenging hull designs, it floats, and it claims to eliminate listing (boat lean) while using the device.
Getting the perfect wake is every wakesurfer’s dream – a tall, long, and well-defined wake will make your day on the water more fun and your wakesurfing more successful.
Using a wake shaper will help you achieve an amazing wake without the hassle of moving weights from side to side while you adjust the balance of the boat in an attempt to shape the wake.
Any of the products we’ve talked about would make a great addition to your boating gear.