Wake surfing has been increasing in popularity dramatically for the past several years. Whereas at one time, it was relatively unusual to see a wakesurfer in action, now you’re likely to see them on calm waterways everywhere.
Why is wake surfing so popular? wake surfing is popular because it is an attractive alternative to traditional surfing as well as offering benefits that extend past those provided by wakeboarding. It offers the ability to do fun tricks, can be surprisingly relaxing, and doesn’t require a lot of equipment to do well. Besides, it just looks cool.
Whether you are confused by why so many people seem enthralled by this blossoming sport or you are interested in wake surfing but not sure exactly what it has to offer, here is what you need to know about why wake surfing is popular as well as some safety tips to do it well.
It Is Very Attractive To Surfers
Surfing is one of the most popular water sports out there. Go to any beach with any sort of waves at all, and you’re sure to see a couple of surfers out on the water trying to catch a ride. Surfing is popular internationally and with all different ages, genders, and walks of life. Inevitably, some of these surfers will move away from the coast and miss their old sport. Other times, surfers just love surfing and are frustrated that there aren’t always good waves to catch.
For surfers without a wave to surf, wake surfing is a natural next step. Wake surfing provides a perpetual wave that surfers can enjoy for an extended period. It can be done even when there isn’t a wave to be found and works just as well on calm lakes and intercoastal waters as it does on the ocean. Whether you’re sick of waiting for a wave or the pattern of paddling out and surfing in or you don’t have a coast available, wake surfing is a great way to catch a wave.
It Enables Fun Tricks
One of the most attractive things about wakeboarding or surfing is the capacity to do tricks and play with the water. Wake surfing enables tricks that are impossible or extremely difficult for either the wakeboarder or the surfer.
The wave produced by the boat constantly curls, which allows wake surfers to carve through the wake and get in the curl in a way that you can only do under perfect conditions for very brief periods when surfing. The wave creates a launch pad to do jumps and tricks off of, similar to how a wakeboarder would.
However, the wake surfer doesn’t need to hold on to the line like the wakeboarder, which allows even more interesting and exciting tricks. For the thrill-seeking water sport enthusiast, it’s hard to beat wake surfing.
It Can Be Very Relaxing
Not every wake surfer is in it for the thrills. Some wake surfers just really enjoy the activity and love being out on the water and taking it easy. When wake surfing, you don’t have to constantly follow the rhythm of the waves and fight through them to get back out like you would if you were surfing.
You also don’t have to hold on to a line the entire time which can be physically strenuous, like you would if you were wakeboarding. Instead, you can simply cruise on the wake from the boat, cutting back and forth as you like and standing comfortably on the board. Skilled wake surfers can even cruise up to the back of the boat to jump on board or grab a drink if they like.
It Can Be Done Without A Lot Of Equipment
Unlike many other water sports, wake surfing doesn’t require a whole lot of equipment to do well. All you need is the right kind of boat, a line, and a surfboard. Anyone can try wake surfing on any body of water.
Boats don’t even need to go as quickly as they would for wakeboarding, which can make more boats an option for wake surfing than for wakeboarding. It doesn’t matter whether you are on a small inland lake, on the intercoastal, or on the ocean on a relatively calm day. Wake surfing is almost always an option for you.
It Just Looks Cool
Let’s face it, sometimes we choose the activities we enjoy not necessarily for their own merits but because once we see them being done, we just can’t get over how cool they look. Wake surfing is such a sport.
It almost looks magical, the way the surfboard can hover behind the boat without any line or attachment between surfer and boat. When you add in the tricks that the wake surfer can accomplish, the attraction is undeniable. Many a wake surfer gets involved with the sport because they saw someone doing it and just had to try it. They likely stick with it because they realize just how fun it really can be.
Is Wake Surfing Dangerous?
Any water sport comes with some inherent risks, but how dangerous might wake surfing be? When done properly, wake surfing is not particularly dangerous, although there are certainly some risks involved. Because the boat moves slower than with wakeboarding and many other water sports, some of the risks of impact or having the boat lose control are reduced.
However, when done improperly, wake surfing can be very dangerous. Here are some things to consider if you’d like to try the sport.
The Right Boat Makes All The Difference
Wake surfing should always be done behind a boat with an inboard motor, rather than an outboard motor. It can be very easy for a surfer to end up right behind the boat or even make contact with the boat, even when they don’t mean to.
This can happen if the boat slows down, if another wave pushes the wake surfer forward, or if the wake surfer just loses control of their momentum. Unlike wakeboarding, which is done at a fair distance behind the boat, wake surfing occurs with the surfer right behind the boat, which can increase the risk.
If you are using an outboard motor, it is possible for the wake surfer to push up onto the motor and be hit by the propeller, which can be extremely dangerous. Therefore, using an inboard motor is absolutely essential.
Don’t Overweight The Boat
Wake surfing boats should be heavily weighted in order to make the wake higher. For many wake surfers, this just means an opportunity to load the boat with as many fellow surfers and friends as possible.
However, it is very important that the boat is not loaded beyond the manufacturer’s recommendations. An overloaded boat may take on water and be very difficult to safely maneuver. While it is typical to weight the boat down more on one side than the other in order to create the wake, it is important that it is not so weighted down on one side that it may be likely to flip over.
Fly A Flag And Always Supervised The Surfer
It can be difficult for other boaters to notice that somebody is wake surfing behind a boat. There is no brightly colored line to connect the surfer to the boat, and the surfer can easily be hidden under the height of the wave, especially when doing tricks like cutting through the curve of the wave.
Therefore, it’s very important to fly a flag to let other boaters know that somebody is in the water and that they should keep their distance. This is also important in case the surfer falls, since they will be very difficult to see while they tread water and wait for the boat to come back for them. Someone should always have their eyes on the surfer so that they will know if the surfer false and be able to mark their position in the water to go back for them.
Beware Of Carbon Monoxide
Wake surfing boats go quite slowly, but they exhaust a fair amount of engine power to propel the boat forward while not being on a plane and while heavily weighted. This can cause carbon monoxide to build up at the stern of the boat around the swim deck.
This can be a risk for the surfer who is right behind the swim deck and also for people who are riding on the boat and sitting in this area. It can be difficult to think about the risks of carbon monoxide while you are out in the open water with the fresh air all around you. Therefore, it’s very important for everyone on board to be conscious of headaches or dizziness so that they can be aware that carbon monoxide is building up.
Enjoy Wake Surfing
Wake surfing can be a lot of fun. Whether you want to try lots of tricks and push the parameters of what is possible or you just want to enjoy cruising along on your surfboard in the wake of a perpetual wave, you are very likely to enjoy wake surfing. As long as you keep safety in mind, you will likely spend many happy hours surfing in the wake of a boat.