Wakesurfing vs Wakeboarding | Practical facts you need to know

Wakeboarding and wake surfing are two water sports. A wakesurfing boat does not pull the rider directly. In contrast, wakeboarding involves the constant pull of the rider by boat.

Do you love to have fun in the water and want to have some adventure? Then, you will love watersports also. Watersports are physical activities that you can perform in water bodies. It may help you to stay fit and provide recreational opportunities.

Nowadays, riding on the waves is becoming most popular among watersports. But you’ve to move to an ocean to ride on a wave. This problem gets solved with some new watersports such as wake surfing and wakeboarding. Both of these games involve the artificial generation of wakes with the boat so that you can ride on them. We’ve presented in the article to give you some knowledge about these games.

Wakesurfing vs Wakeboarding

This article will discuss wakesurfing vs wakeboarding, wake surfing’s wakeboarding, and much more about these games. So, let’s start.

What is wake surfing?

Wakesurfing is a water sport and is a subsidiary of wakeboarding. It’s also related to surfing. You can say that it’s a combination of surfing and wakeboarding. Wakesurfing is very popular among beginners and water sports players. Although it’s a new sport, it has various competitions around the US.

In this sport, the surfer rides behind the boat. The surfer climbs the wake of the boat even though it is not pulling him directly. Now we will see how you can wakesurf. 

● First of all, get on board with the help of a tow rope.

● Hold the tow rope.

● Now, the boat will start going, and the rider will begin riding the wake. 

● Lose the grip on the rope and allow it to fall in water after reaching the top of the wake. 

● Start riding on the waves generated by boat, just like surfing. You can ride for as long as 5 minutes. If you are a pro surfer, you can also perform stunts. 

If you love to play other water sports, you should try wakesurfing. The best thing about wakesurfing is that you don’t have to move to the ocean to have magnificent waves. You can start playing in any water body, whether it’s a stream or lake. Your boat will create waves for surfing. 

Equipment for Wakesurfing 

You need a board, a boat, a rope, and a life jacket. 

Specific boards for wake surfing are also available in the market. However, you can also use regular surfboards. You will find the difference in their size, length, and buoyancy. If you’re a beginner, you need to be careful in choosing a wakesurfing board. Many boards are not suitable for learners due to flaws in their design and structure. 

wakesurf board typically ranges from 4.5 feet to 5.5 feet and comes in two forms: skim and regular. Skimboards have fewer fins and are useful for an experienced player. Traditional boards have more fins and are more extensive than skimboards. These are most useful for more than one rider. 

Wakesurfing boats should carry weight to get maximum wake. You can use ballast bags, heavy lead, or fat sacs to tilt the boat on one side. 

While buying a life jacket, you should consider if it’s comfortable and has safety features. 

The ropes used in wakesurfing should be thick with small handles. 

What is wakeboarding?

Wakeboarding is a water sport with its origin in Australia in the 1980s. In wakeboarding, the rider is fastened to a board and pulled with a motorboat at 50 km h-1 of speed. However, the speed of the boat can vary anywhere from 5-30 miles per hour.

Wakeboarding is a blend of water skiing, snowboarding, and surfing. It’s like water skiing because you will be skiing through the water. But it’s different because you’re using only one board. Similarly, you will be riding the waves in the same way as in surfing. Further, you will be performing stunts across the water, the same as in snowboarding.

It could be best if you learned different tricks to start wakeboarding.

● First of all, you have to learn which foot should be leading one. Wakeboarding with your left foot as the landing foot is regular. While using the right foot as the leading foot is goofy.

● After finding your leading foot, stand up on the board. While standing, put 60% of your body weight on your front foot.

● You should straighten your legs and stay close to the board.

● Choose a short rope with a low tow handle in the beginning.

Wakeboarding equipment

If you want to start wakeboarding, it’s best to rent all the equipment. However, if you’re going to buy all the equipment, you have to buy the following wakeboarding equipment.

A boat affects wakeboarding. It’s available in different forms in the market. Some classic boats for wakeboarding are Calabria Boats, Axis Boats, and Bayliner Boats. However, you should keep in mind boats can be heavy on your pocket. You should consider it the last thing to buy.

board should be double-ended. Moreover, it should have a fin. Such boards are stable and best for beginners. Boards used in wakeboarding are mostly made up of honeycomb, coated fiberglass, or foam.

Board bindings are of three types: Velcro, adjustable boot, and high back boot. All these bindings have a standard function to bind your feet to the board. Velcro is suitable for you if you’re a beginner as it provides high stability. The adjustable boot is somewhat supportive. On the other hand, the high back boot is suitable for you if you are an expert and want to perform stunts. It will provide you extra stability.

The rope should be small and stretchable if you’re a beginner.

Wakeboarding vs. Wakesurfing

If you think wakeboarding and wakesurfing are the same, you’re wrong. There is a huge variation between the two. Here we will discuss wakeboarding vs. wakesurfing.

The difference in goals

Both wakeboarding and wake surfing have different goals. Wakesurfing aims at staying behind the boat and maintaining the speed with the speed of the boat. You have to do it without being attached to the boat.

While wakeboarding, the boat towed you all time. You are not as close to the boat as in wakesurfing.

The difference in boat and boat speed

In wake surfing, the use of an inboard or V-drive boat is common. It’s so because the propeller in these boats is under the boat. It assures the safety of the rider in wake surfing. However, such boats are not compulsory in wakeboarding as the rider rides at a safe distance from the boat.

The speed of the boat in wakeboarding is about 15 to 25 mph. The pace is higher in wakeboarding as it will make the wake firm and clean. Moreover, higher speed allows the rider to do stunts and tricks easily. In contrast, the speed of a boat in wake surfing is about 10 to 14 mph. Slow speed in wakesurfing is necessary as the rider has to cope with the speed of the boat.

The difference in terms of boards

Wakeboards are symmetrical and have larger fins. Larger fins offer good grip at high speed. In contrast, boards used in wake surfing are directional. They can be similar to a surfboard, thinner and longer, or identical to skimboards, broader and shorter.

Another difference lies in them due to the presence of bindings in wakeboards. In comparison, wake surfs have no such bindings. Wakesurfs carry a traction pad, which enables them to ride on it barefoot.


Wakesurfing ropes are shorter than the strings of wakeboarding. Moreover, ropes are thick in wake surfing and thin in wakeboarding.

Wakeskate vs wakesurf

 Both wakeskate and wakesurf are like wakeboards.

Wakeskates have no wheels or trucks. The rider has to wear special water shoes. Moreover, there are no bindings in wakeskates. On the other hand, wake surfs are larger than wakeboards. You can use them without any towline. Furthermore, you can use both of them without any binding.

Wakesurf boards come in two styles; surfboard style and freestyle. Surfboard style wakesurfs are suitable for beginners. In contrast, freestyle boards are smaller and best to make stunts and tricks. So, these are best for experts.

Similarly, wakeskate with flat decks is suitable for beginners. However, if you want to do stunts, you need wakeskate with more rockers. Wakeskate with compression molded composite skates is like a wakeboard.

One more thing, wakeskate covers the whole area behind a boat. Whereas wake surf involves simply surfing the wake.

How to improve wakesurfing?

Do you love to spend time in the water? If yes, wake surfing is just for you. If you know about it and wakesurf sometimes, you should increase your expertise in it.

To take your wake surfing to the next level, you need to do the practice. You know very well practice makes a man perfect. Here are some tips to tell you how to improve wake surfing.

 Carving: Craving is moving back and forth. It’s a trick you should try. In craving, you need to maneuver further into the wake and then to move around again. You can make carving as you wish, either a simple one or a pronounced one.

Carving is not fun itself; it will also help to learn some more moves. So, it’s worth understanding the movement. Take the following steps to do the carving.

● Position yourself at the center of the board.

● Turn the front side of your board upward towards the top of the wave. You can do it by pushing your front foot slightly.

● Now do precisely the opposite and push your back foot towards the boat.

In this way, you make to and fro motion on the board. It will help you ride the wave easily.

Stand on the wave: You can also use the term floating for standing on the tide. You will feel like you’re walking on water while making this move. In this trick, firstly, sit down on the board on your knees. Then extend your body upward without jumping. You will see that you are being propelled to the top of the wake. Now, sit again in the same position.

Standing on the wave is similar to craving. In floating, you will not change your foot position once you’re at the top of the wake. In this position, you’ll feel like you’re floating on the wave. Whereas in craving, you will push your back foot to come back at the wave’s bottom.

Rail grab: Some riders think that the wake-surfing is a no-hand game. But it’s not so. Although you cannot grab the rope in your hands, you can use them as you want. In this technique, rail grab, you will sit on the board and grasp your board’s front end. You can leave this once you learned the right position to stand on the board. It will help you to have more control over your board.

Ollies: Ollie involves jumping to leave the board. You can do this trick first with rope in your hand and away from the wake. Once you learn it, you can try it in the wake. You can master this trick with some practice.

360 Spin: 360 spin is a fun trick, and more often, beginners love to do it. In this trick, you have to sit down on your board. Then, you have to extend your arms and turn your body and board at 360. It’s one of the most challenging tracks in wakesurfing.

Wakeboard speed for beginners

Typical wakeboarding speed for beginners is 12 mph for children and 18 mph for adults. However, a speed of about 5-12 mph is recommended for strugglers. Once the rider becomes comfortable with wakeboarding, you can increase the speed.

How can you pull a wakeboarder out of the water?

Pulling a wakeboarder out of water is an art. You need a skilled person to take you out of the water. Here’s some point that you need to take care of while pulling a wakeboard.

Speed of the boat

The speed of the boat plays a vital role if you’re learning wakeboarding. Some learners try to stand earlier and don’t wait for the boat to pull them up. Such learners need more throttle.

You should drive the boat at the speed of 12 mph for beginners, 12-15 mph for an average rider. Further, a speed of 18-24 mph is suitable for an expert wakeboarder. Higher speed produces a better wake, perfect for stunts. However, riding the board above 24 mph is risky. 

Always start at a low speed, 5-10 mph for a wakeboarder who has just begun. Once the rider becomes comfortable in getting up, you can increase the speed of the boat. You can see if the wakeboarder is moving through the wake without falling. If yes, increase the speed of the boat. 

The pattern for driving a boat

You can drive a boat in different patterns to get a clean and straight wake. The straight wake will make the jumping easy for the rider. A good driving pattern will avoid the creation of messy water waves. Thus, a sound design can help in controlling speed while turning.

The first most crucial pattern is to run the boat in a straight line. Just select a point on the coast or horizon and keep an eye on it. Now start moving your boat straight in the same direction in a straight line. It will help you in generating consistent wake for the wakeboarder. 

Secondly, you can create a good pattern by maintaining a constant acceleration. It’s essential as a sudden change in acceleration can destabilize the rider. A sudden decrease in acceleration can cause the rider to move next to the boat. 

In the end, you should take care while turning your wakeboarding boat. You should turn your boat after pre-turning the boat in the opposite direction. Moreover, always take a broad turn. It will help the wakeboarder to move away from the wake. 

A typical pattern that follows all these rules is a “dumbbell”-shaped pattern. The steps in making a dumbbell shape pattern are:

● First of all, make a left pre-turn.

● Then turn to the right at 180º, making a broad arc.

● Now you can move back to the wake.

● Slow down your boat

● Move-in straight line until next turn

● Do the same till the completion of the dumbbell.

Recovering a falling rider

If you want to efficiently drive the wakeboarding boat, you should know how to recover the fallen rider. 

● First of all, you should slow down your boat as soon as the rider falls. Turning the boat at the same speed can be risky for the fallen dangerous. 

● After reaching idle speed, turn the boat on either side and let the waves turn the boat. 

● Once the waves fade out, you can go back to your wakeboarder. Reach the rider from your side as you can see the rider without the risk of hitting her. 

● Stop the boat entirely and slide it up to 12 feet away from the rider. 

A typical pattern of driving a boat if the wakeboarder falls is as follows:

● Rider falls down

● Steer the boat around

● Drive and swing the boat around the rider to get the rope over him. Never allow the cord to tangle around the rider. 

● Finally, drive the boat in the same line, but in the opposite direction, before the rider falls.

Communication with wakeboarder

Another most crucial aspect of pulling a wakeboarder out of water is to communicate well. Some vital communication signs with hands are as follows:

● Thumb up if you want to go faster.

● Thumb down if you want to go slower.

● Cut (neck cutting movement) if you want to quit.

● Grasping your wrist above your head if you are OK after falling. 

Wakesurfing starting from the boat.

Some people think that they have to ride behind a boat in wakesurfing. But you should remember that the boat plays a vital role in wakesurfing. The first thing that you need to do is to create a perfect wake.

When your boat moves across the water, it produces a constant water flow to create a wake. A general rule is that a boat with weight on the front makes a shorter wave in height. However, if your boat is carrying more weight on the back, it will produce a higher and faster wave in length. Further, if you want to surf on any specific side, you can increase the weight on that side of the boat. These ballasts can be in various forms, such as ballast tanks and ballast bags.

Nowadays, wake shapers are also available in the market. These wake shapers are best to improve the wake from your boat. They can give the best results if you use them in conjunction with ballast. You can attach it to your boat with the help of a Velcro or suction cup. Like ballast, you also need to be careful in its placement. You don’t need to worry about its order. You can easily remove it from one side of the boat and place it on the other side.

Can you wakesurf behind any boat?

No, you cannot wakesurf behind any boat. If you’re thinking of wakesurfing behind any boat, you are putting yourself in danger. For example, wakesurfing behind a boat with exposed propellers can cause injury or even death. So, if you’re fond of wakesurfing, never put yourself at risk by riding behind such boats.

The inboard direct drive boats or inboard V-drive boats are the necessity of wakesurfing. It will be a great option as the propeller is under the boat. 

Direct drive boat: The engine of a direct drive boat is at the center of the boat. So, you side ballast on either side where you want to do wakesurfing.

V-Drive: In a V-drive boat, the engine lies at the rear of the boat. You can add the weight on the front of the boat or your desired side. 

Not only these, but you also have to do some modifications to the boat’s propeller and engine for wakesurfing. 

Can you wakeboard behind any boat?

No, it’s not possible. You cannot wakeboard behind any boat. To avoid the risk of injury, you should not wakeboard behind an outdoor boat. You can also do some modifications to make a boat a wakeboarding boat. However, using specific boats such as indoor-engine skiing or wakeboarding boats is best. 

Moreover, you can also add a tow rope to the boat to make it feasible for wakeboarding. Take a string designed especially for wakeboarding, and attach it to the boat. Ski and non-ski boats have the pylon at the center or on the rear side for rope attachment. On the other hand, wakeboarding boats have a complete tower system with a rope attachment point at the center. 

You can also add weight to the wakeboard boat to increase the wake size. Some wakeboard boats have ballast tanks. You just need to turn on the switch, and weight would be applied to the boat. 

Moreover, you can also put fat sacks, concrete or water-filled plastic buckets, and sandbags to add extra weight to non-wakeboard boats. You should start by putting the first one on the rear side of the boat. Then you can distribute it evenly on the boat. But, you need to be careful in putting weight. Never put weight more than that suggested by the boat manufacturer. Your boat can sink if the weight is more than the recommended weight.

Can you wakesurf behind a jet boat?

 The straightforward answer is “yes.” The people who don’t believe in surfing behind a jet boat might not have tried the Yamaha models. 

Now the question arises, will any SWELL Wakesurf Creator be suitable for the jet boat? You just need enough space to attach the swell wakesurf creator to the boat. For example, Yamaha’s 2.0 model can fit in easily and need an area of 5″ high x 13″ long.

However, the jest of the jest boat has an issue. The attachment of the swell wakesurf creator will produce a wave near the center of the boat. Twin-engine jet ships are better to use with a swell wakesurf creator. 

Now comes an important point, how much weight you should put on the jet boat to produce a better wake. You should remember that the wave will be more enormous if your ship goes deeper into the water. A ballast of at least 1200 lbs is best for the wakesurfing boats. 


Is Wakesurfing dangerous?

Wakesurfing is dangerous if you’re surfing near the shore. It can damage rocks, swimmers, and other boats. So, ensure that you are surfing in a large water body away from the coast and the other ships.

Moreover, wakesurfing with a boat having an exposed propeller can also be dangerous for the rider. It happens because you’ve to surf very near to the boat. Make sure you’re wakesurfing behind a boat with a propeller under the boat.

What is easier, wakeboarding or wakesurfing?

Wakesurfing is much easier than wakeboarding due to several reasons. Firstly, letting go of the rope at the start makes it much more comfortable. Further, the speed of the boat is significantly less. The less speed produces less strain on the body, due to which a surfer can ride even for three hours. However, wakeboarding can induce high stress on the legs and arms.

But, wakeboarding is easy for some people as it doesn’t involve any change in the feet position. In wakeboarding, bindings fix your feet.

What is the difference between wake boarding and wake surfing?

Wakesurfing and wakeboarding are different in many aspects. A wakeboarding boat pulled the rider throughout the game with a rope. On the other hand, a rider holds the rope just at the start of surfing and releases it to ride the wave.

Moreover, the equipment of both these water sports are also different from each other. For example, wakeboards have bindings, and surfboards have no bindings. Wakesurfing ropes are thick and shorter than the wakeboarding ropes.

Is Wakesurfing harder than surfing?

Surfing is a more challenging skill to learn than wakesurfing. In surfing, you have to experience inconsistent waves. The waves in surfing can vary in size, speed, and strength. On the other hand, waves created by boats in wakesurfing are more consistent. You can also say that waves in the ocean are killing.

Surfing required some most challenging skills, like paddling, popping up in the wave, and duck diving under the waves. You need a lot of practice in identifying a wave, positioning, and paddling into it. However, there are no such issues in wakesurfing.

Does Wakesurfing help surfing?

Wakesurfing may help you in surfing, but it’s not like surfing. It can help you in learning the stunts and tricks of surfing. Moreover, you can easily maintain balance if you’re a wakesurfer. But, identifying and catching a wave can be a problem for you in surfing.

What is the best speed for Wakesurfing?

There is no definitive answer as to which speed is the best for wakeboarding. It depends on various factors, including your weight, height, experience level, and board type.

The best speed for wakesurfing can vary with boat and weight on the ship. However, the best speed for a learner in wakesurfing is ten mph. A professional can even ride at a tempo of 12.5 mph. When it comes to boards, a skim-style board is best for slow speed.

Speed for the Wakesurfing also depends on the depth of water. It should be faster for shallow water and slower for deep water.

However, generally speaking, speeds between 12 and 16 mph are ideal for beginner riders. As you become more experienced and learn how to ride your board at higher speeds, you may want to move up to 18 or 20 mph speeds.
Some general guidelines that can help you choose the right speed for wakeboarding are:

  1. Always stay within your comfort zone. If you feel uncomfortable at a certain speed, slow down or stop and adjust accordingly.
  2. Listen to your body. If you feel like you’re not getting enough air, increase your speed.
  3. Try different speeds and find what feels best for you. There is no one “right” speed for wakeboarding; it’s all about finding what works best for you and staying safe while enjoying the sport!

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