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How To Make a Bigger Wake

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Although wakesurfing has been around since the early 60s, it’s only been in recent years that wakesurfers have been able to push the envelope, performing spins and airs to rack up cool points with their buds. Innovations in boat design and weighting techniques have raised wakesurfing to a whole new leve

The Physics: It’s important to understand the physics of water displacement: The boat’s hull pushes the water out of the way as it moves; as the boat passes, the water returns to its original spot, and waves are generated. The size and length of each wave is determined by both the weight and the velocity of the craft. Looking for a higher wake? Add weight to the back of the boat. Going for a longer ride? Add weight to the front of the boat. As you go, you can adjust the weight for the kind of wake you’re going for.

The Boat: Any seasoned wakesurfer will tell you, NEVER wakesurf behind a boat with an outboard or an inboard/outboard motor. The exposed propeller presents a huge risk for injury and even death! Always wakesurf using an inboard direct drive or an inboard v-drive, where the propeller is positioned under the boat.

Ballast: The newer boats designed for wakesurfing are built with ballast systems in the hull, chambers that fill with water while the boat is in motion. These systems are often configured to accept after-market ballast sacks. Your local dealer will be able to assist you in choosing the correct ballast for your system.


If you can’t find enough change in your couch cushions to go out and purchase a new boat, you can always purchase bladders that you can fill with water and place in strategic areas inside your boat, such as the gunwale or ski locker. (In a pinch, coolers filled with water can also do the trick.) The advantage of bladders over sandbags or concrete weights will become apparent if your boat starts to sink. If you’re a real cheapskate, fill your boat with people. You’ll make lots of new friends, and if you need to adjust the weight, they can move themselves. Keep in mind that the wakesurfer will be riding either the right or the left wake, so be sure to place your weight accordingly.

Double-Up: One trick that wakesurfers like to use is what is known as the double-up. The pilot steers the boat in a wide turn, then circles the boat back into the oncoming wake. The old wake converges with the new wake, creating a wakesurfer’s dream.

Experiment: The type of boat has a great influence over your wake: A v-drive will typically produce a wake that is hip-high, whereas a direct drive will generally produce a thigh-high wake. You will need to play around with the ballast in your boat (here is where people-as-ballast have a real advantage). Begin with the majority of the weight in the back of the boat and shift the weight until you have the killer wake you’re looking for.