Although wakesurfing is a discipline with a long tradition behind it, it is still a fairly unknown water sport in our country. However, like any activity derived from surfing, it does not skimp on fun and adrenaline. However, wakesurfing has a whole series of advantages that make it unique and spectacular. In this article we present them to you.
The adrenaline of water sports trawling
Decades ago, inquiring minds and lovers of water activities combined sports with boards and boats to propel them across any kind of water. Their practice and pirouettes would give rise to water skiing, later to skurfing and then to the sophisticated wakeboarding and wakesurfing.
As is usual in the world of nautical sports, water sports are reinventing themselves and intermingling with each other. From this restlessness, new modalities are born, each one more fascinating and original than the last.
Wakesurfing and wakeboarding are practices that derive from the natural – and tireless – evolution of surfing. Surfers, using a rope similar to that used in water skiing, are dragged into the water by a motor boat. This time, however, they surf fictitious waves…
The peculiarity of wakesurfing is that it is rarely done at sea, but rather in calm waters. This is why they need a special boat which, while dragging them, generates a wake that simulates a big wave. In fact, wakesurfing can be practised in the sea as well as in rivers or lakes, but it still provides adrenaline and excitement.
The truth is that, despite its scarce practice in our country, the so-called boat surfing has many sporting facets. Indeed, it can be considered a water sport of dragging, a new dimension of surfing – river surfing – or a boat sport.
In any case, its simplicity and adaptability to all ages make it an ideal activity to introduce you to the world of water sports, so we highly recommend it!
The background of wakesurfing
Actually, the origin of wakesurfing as a drag sport is to be found in skurfing. Although the first boards in this discipline, which were very similar to surfing boards, did not have bindings. The bindings – in the form of boots similar to those used in snowboarding – came later, in response to the need to make it easier for riders to perform more complex movements.
In addition, the first skurfing boards had the disadvantage of high buoyancy, which made it difficult to get out of the water.
With the invention of wakeboarding, boards have become more specialised and more suitable. Moreover, riders can jump over the wake left by the boats that tow them because these are also improved.
In this discipline, participants hold on to the rope that connects them to the boat at all times, while surfing on one side of the wake. But one lover of this type of drag water sport came up with the idea of letting go of the rope at some point during the practice. That’s when wakesurfing came on the scene…
What is wakesurfing?
Wakesurfing actually predates wakeboarding and water skiing, although it was the last water sport to arrive in Spain. Its practice began with old surfboards decades ago. It consisted of positioning oneself behind a motor boat that created water wakes that could be surfed. In this way, it was not necessary to be in the middle of the sea to be able to enjoy surfing.
However, because of the rudimentary materials used at the time, it was impossible for riders to let go of the tow rope for more than a few seconds. But after the production of special, smaller, sturdier wakeboards and wakesurf boards, and specialised wakeboarding boats, their popularity multiplied worldwide.
Now this type of surfing has the necessary resources so that users can surf with total freedom. They only need to hold on to the rope to get out of the water. This is because today’s boats are designed with a special ballast system, which allows surfing the wake of the boat without the need to hold on. This allows the wakesurfer to manoeuvre freely as soon as the boat creates a suitable wave.
Therefore, it can be said that in order to practice wakesurfing it is only necessary for the boat to be able to generate a sufficiently good wave with its wake. This is achieved after having reached the necessary speed. It is then that the rider, who is behind the boat, throws the rope to one side of the wake, while the crew picks it up.
The role of the vessel in this discipline
As we mentioned earlier, surfing with a speedboat uses specialised and exclusive boats for this sport. These are the latest generation boats with computers that allow you to create the most suitable wave, in terms of size and position or side.
Thanks to its automatic ballasting and speed control systems, the boat can generate a wave very similar to those that originate in the sea. For example, a wave with a crest similar to what you would find on a beach. Thus, riders can perform the same manoeuvres and movements they would do at sea.
Generally speaking, the wakesurfing craft itself should consist of a central or rear axle motor. In this way, it is able to maintain a permanent speed of between 9 and 15 km/h. In addition, as it does not have an exposed propeller motor, the rider’s safety is guaranteed.
Unlike wakeboard boats, the speed of wakesurf boats is lower. However, this always depends on the make, model and the amount of weight the boat allows or carries.
There are also boats that can be used for both wakeboarding and wakesurfing. However, for wakesurfing it is necessary to add more weight to the boat. Because the best waves for wakesurfing are those that are more consistent and bigger, and for this the wake must be longer. This is achieved by putting most of the weight in the back corner of the boat, sometimes using ballast bags for this purpose.
However, the advancement of technology applied to the new boats allows them to increase and clean the wave they create, without having to keep an eye on their balance.
How to make a good wakesurfing start
As with all water sports, it is advisable to practice the main movements on land first, if you are a beginner. Or do a light warm-up before getting into the water.
At the start, you must stand with your legs bent and your heels on the board, which is completely flat on the water. While holding the rope, the arms are stretched out and the feet have a distance between them similar to the distance between the shoulders.
This is the ideal position for getting on the board and slowly pulling your body forward when the boat starts to accelerate. As long as the wave is not clean enough to surf, stay to one side of the wake. As the wave takes shape and energy, the rider stands on the wake and starts surfing the wave.
Once we are comfortable and have the wave under our feet, it is time to release the rope to one side. From that moment on, we will surf as much as we want and following the chosen wakesurfing style.
There are two types of wakesurfing, depending on the size of the board and the manoeuvres performed:
- Skim style is carried out with smaller, wider and thinner boards. They have a flatter profile and shorter fins. According to the rules of wakesurfing competitions, the dimensions of a skim board must not exceed 2.54 cm in thickness or have a keel depth of more than 5.08 cm. Or simply no keel at all. With this mode you can do very advanced tricks and jumps, similar to skateboarding.
- Surf style is a modality closer to surfing, highly recommended for beginners. It is practised with a stable board, which is easier to turn. Therefore, the rider can catch the wave and manoeuvre the position with greater ease. Unlike skim boards, in the surf sub-mode the boards must be thicker than 2.54 cm and have a keel of more than 5.08 cm.
Otherwise, the equipment necessary to practice this water sport consists of a specific board and boots, a wetsuit, a life jacket, a boat and a wakesurf rope. This rope is usually about 6 m long and is thicker and shorter than the rope used by wakeboarders.
Finally, as for the type of board, there are also hybrid boards, which offer the best of both styles of wakesurfing.
The attractions of surfing with a speedboat
The reasons why we advise you to try this nautical discipline are endless, but here are the most relevant ones:
- Wakesurfing is considered a low-impact board sport, unlike wakeboarding which requires physical strength and comprehensive training. Wakesurfing is much less demanding on the user’s physical condition and less dangerous, which makes it more accessible to everyone.
- In this sense, wakesurfing can be practised by children and adults, regardless of their condition and previous experience. It is undoubtedly a very affordable way to make initial contact with the world of surfing. It allows us to learn how to balance on a board, make turns and jumps of different lengths and, in short, to acquire our own surfing style in an easy and safe way.
- As an adventure sport, it offers excitement, vitality and fun in equal measure. It can even be a relaxing sport, despite the speed, manoeuvrability and movement that go with it.
- Moreover, with constant practice you can go from surfing the waves recreated by the wake to performing manoeuvres that involve real juggling pirouettes. This makes it a very versatile and gradual water sport.
- It is a good discipline to keep fit and train your surfing skills when you are far from a coastal area, but close to a territory with abundant water.
- It can be done in any aquatic environment, without the need for waves, because the waves are generated by the trawler itself. It can therefore be practised in rivers, lakes, marshes and calm seas.
If the rivers lead to the sea, may you experience that journey by surfing all the waters!
For those of us who are fans of surfing and all its modalities, but do not always have good waves or are not even in a place with sea; wakesurfing is an ideal modality to fulfil your desire to surf the waves.
In other words, boat surfing helps us to recreate the charms of the sea when we are in more stagnant and narrower water areas, such as lakes or marshes. It is not for nothing that some call it river surfing.
Without a doubt, a very interesting and exciting way to disconnect from the hustle and bustle and give free rein to your passion for surfing and water sports!
Whether it’s summer or winter; whether you’re in a coastal area or in an inland territory with a lake, reservoir or river nearby… You can always get ready to enjoy a surfing session that revives your body, mind and spirit. At Water Sports Mallorca we want surfing, in all its forms, to mark your steps and your wake around the world, and wakesurfing helps you to achieve it!
Aeromarin (2020). How to set up and weight your wakesurfing boat. Retrieved from https://bit.ly/3TcBKJT
Salt and rock (2016). What is wakesurfing? Retrieved from https://bit.ly/3es7sV2
Wake School (n/d). Wakesurf. Retrieved from https://bit.ly/3RZbtxD
Wake-shop (n/d). All about wakesurfing. Retrieved from https://bit.ly/3MqREyd
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