Wake Surfing Tips for Beginners: How to Get Started

By Debbie Hanson

Aug 03, 2023

Summary of wake surfing tips for beginners, broad overview of beginner wake surfing techniques, wake surfing safety, how to balance on a wake surfing board

Have you thought about trying an exciting new watersport this summer? You may want to consider learning how to wake surf. There are now entire magazines and websites dedicated to wake surfing tips for beginners because wake surfing is quickly gaining a huge following across the country.

Beginner Wake Surfing Techniques

It’s important to learn some of the basics about wake surfing boats, wake surfing gear, and get a few beginner-friendly wake surfing tips before you head out on the water. In addition to reading about wake surfing or watching instructional videos online, you can take in-person lessons from experienced professionals on how to start wake surfing. To give you a broad general overview, check out these fundamentals.

Wake Surfing Boats & Safety

Since wake surfing (or wakesurfing) is a water sport that involves surfing on a wake less than 10 feet behind the boat, it should only be done behind an inboard or V-drive ski or wake boat for safety. When shopping for a life jacket/PFD for wake surfing, make sure you check to be sure the vest you choose is USCG approved. Some of the wake surfing vests on the market are not approved by the USCG and may not turn you face up in the water.

Best Type of Tow Rope

The best wake surfing rope for beginners will be a rope that’s between 30 and 50 feet long with a triangle-shaped handle that is covered with foam for flotation. When you use a shorter tow rope, it makes it easier to stand up because the shorter rope positions you in the narrower section of the boat wake.

Getting Your Balance and Stance Down

The preferred wake surfing stance for beginners is to stand perpendicular on the board with one foot in front and one in back. Be sure to place your dominant foot at the back of the board because this stance will help you maintain your balance. As you stand up, lean back slightly while holding onto the rope and push your heels into the board to pop it up. Keep your feet roughly shoulder width apart to help maintain your balance.

Gently Toss the Rope

Once you’re up on the wake surfing board, experts recommend gently tossing the rope to one side (as opposed to throwing the rope to the side too aggressively or tossing it back into the boat, which can alter your body position and/or weight distribution). You are much more likely to retain your balance if you remember to gently toss the rope to the side.


Now that you know about some of the basic wake surfing tips for beginners, you can watch a few instructional videos online or sign up for an on-the-water lesson to decide if it’s the right watersport for you.

Debbie Hanson
Debbie Hanson
Debbie Hanson is an award-winning outdoor writer, women’s sport fishing advocate, IGFA world record holder, and freshwater guide living in Southwest Florida. Hanson’s written work has appeared in publications such as Florida Game & Fish Magazine, BoatUS Magazine, and USA Today Hunt & Fish. To learn more about her work, visit shefishes2.com or follow her on Instagram @shefishes2.