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​Back to Basics: Stance and Boat Set Up

Posted by James Maloney on

Properly weighting the boat

The most important aspect of surfing is setting up a killer wake . In order to do that, you have to correctly weight the boat. If you expect to wakesurf and stay on the wake after tossing in the rope, there are three things to keep in mind:

  • Your boat needs around 1,800 pounds of extra weight on top of the stock ballast you already have in place to produce a beefy wake. That’s about 216 gallons of extra water.
  • ¾’s of that extra weight should be on the right or left side (depending on rider preference) of the back to middle back of the boat, and one quarter of it should be in the front of the boat.
  • It’s possible to have that weight built into your boat by installing after-market fat sacs underneath the seats and connecting them to the ballast system or supplementing them with their own pumps.
  • Remember to make your turns correctly for everyone’s safety. It’s OK if your boat is leaning mostly to one side, that’s what you want, but you need to be aware of your own wake and how to avoid it. Example: As soon as the rider falls, shift into neutral and turn the wheel all the way to the opposite side of the wake. The reason for this is because you don’t want to drive over the waves you just created – it will flood the boat with water, which can be dangerous.

Staying on the wake

You’ve set up all the ballast in the boat and the wake looks good. Now it’s time to go surfing. Here are a few useful tips.

Staying in the pocket. It is important to find the sweet spot where you can hang out and ride without the rope. Every boat has a different wake but keep this in mind. Most of the time the sweet spot is near the trough of the wake at the bottom part of the slant roughly 5 ft. from the boat.

Foot placement. The fundamentals are simple; your front foot is the gas and your back foot is the brake. Your back foot should be flush up against the kick tail and your front foot should be comfortably set at the middle of the front pad on the board.

Once you have your stance down and you get on the sweet spot, you can stay toward the boat by putting your weight more above your front foot, and then fall back from the boat by putting your weight more above your back foot. It is important to counteract your weight before you need it. For example, the second you start to fall away from the boat, you need to put some weight on the front foot in order to not fall out of the wake.

We all know that wakesurfing is an art and everyone has their own style and flare. These tips are meant to get you started so you can take it from there. Obviously there is a lot more to it than what we’ve covered here, so watch for more posts about the exquisite art of wakesurfing. Be safe and have fun out there.


James is a freelance writer and avid wakesurfer. When he’s not playing golf or chasing boats he can be found watching tennis; cheering for Andrea Petkovic.