Regular surfing can be a lot of fun. But, ultimately, waves are transient – they don’t last! Once you hit the shore, you have to paddle back out to sea and then time your next surf inland before repeating the process all over again.
Ask most surfers what they like the most about their sport, and they’ll tell you it’s the feeling of the wave beneath their feet. And so all of the other parts of the sport – such as slowly paddling back out to sea – seems like a waste.
Wakeboarding attempts to get around this problem by artificially creating a wave the surfer can use. The way it works is pretty simple. A powerboat runs in front of the surfer, leaving a wake in the water behind them. This perturbation mimics the effect of a natural wave, allowing the surfer to surf by leaning the board into the banked waves.
Just like regular surfing, getting the hang of it takes a while. But once you figure it out, you can effectively surf indefinitely. There’s no limit on how long a boat can create a wake, circling a lake.
Is Wake Surfing Dangerous?
Of course, safety is the first concern for anyone looking into whether they should take up wake surfing. The sport is very safe for the person surfing behind the boat, so long as they are wearing a flotation device from a company like Jetpilot.
The main dangers are for other people who might be using the area. Wake surfing, for instance, is dangerous for swimmers. The wake created by the boat can also damage other property, including docked ships and the docks themselves.
Wake surfing, therefore, should be done a long way from the shore and other water users. Ideally, you want to have the entire lake to yourself to avoid damage to anyone else or their property.
Is Wake Surfing Harder Than Regular Surfing?
In many ways, wake surfing is more accessible than the regular variety. For instance, you don’t have to paddle out into the sea or time your popping up onto the surface of a wave. Instead, you simply stand on your board and then allow the boat in front to create a wake in a controlled manner.
You will, however, still have to work on your balancing skills. Just like regular surfing, you’re skimming along with a slippery board under your feet. Expect to fall into the water often (another reason why life vests are so essential).
Is Wake Surfing Exercise?
While wake surfing might look relaxing and serene to the casual observer, it is one of the best cardio workouts you can get. It hits multiple muscle groups and builds muscular endurance. It is particularly useful for developing strength in the legs, helping both fast and slow-twitch muscle fibers.
You can wake surf on a standard surfboard if you have one. Or you can use a wakeboard which is slightly slimmer and more buoyant. It also comes with a fin to assist with changing direction with the boat in front.