How to Choose a Wakesurfer & Size Guide

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evo Size and Buying Guides - We have one of the largest selections of wakesurfers on the web, a super knowledgeable staff and expert guides. 

Wakesurfing is a sport where a rider surfs the boat wake very closely behind an inboard boat. A good rider is able to stay in the sweet spot of the wave without holding onto a rope. 

Too many boats on the water? Windy? You'd rather avoid high speed face to water explosions? Wakesurfing is a fun way to spend the day when you do not have glassy water to go wakeboarding. There is also plenty of potential for the passengers on the boat to have close up views of some great wipeouts. 

To choose a wakesurf board, consider:

Shape & Length 

Wakesurfers span a wide array of shapes in order to accomodate for different riding styles and ability levels. Wakesurfers are measured in feet and inches like surfboards. There are no strict length recommendations. Below are guidelines for choosing a bigger or smaller wakesurfer.

Bigger wakesurfers have more surface area and more float, which means they work well for heavier riders. If you are riding behind a boat that throws a smaller wake, choose a bigger board. Larger wakesurfers move more slowly through the water and are easier for beginners to learn on.

Smaller wakesurfers are more maneuverable, spry and faster on the wave. These are an excellent choice for more advanced riders and lighter weight riders. Big wakes will support use of a smaller wakesurfer.

Wakesurf board shapes come from the surf and skimboard worlds, and tend to fall into 3 general categories: "shortboard" / "thruster" shapes, "longboard" shapes, and "skim" style shapes.

Shortboard/Thruster Shapes

This is the most common and versatile wakesurf board shape, reminiscent of surf shortboards, but in a smaller package. These boards come in a wide variety of materials, lengths, and configurations.

                                      Ronix Koal Technora Thruster

Hybrid Shapes

Just what you might imagine: a mix between surf and skim. There are a huge variety of hybrid shapes, but skim style shapes equipped with surf fins and surf style shapes with smaller skim fins fall into this category, too. The goal of these boards is to combine the playfulness of a skim board with the power of a surf board.

                                   Slingshot Ankle Biter Wakesurf Board

Skimboard Shapes

Skim style surfers are usually shorter, thinner and are often equipped with fewer fins for a fast, ultra-playful "skim" style feel.

                             Inland Surfer 4-Skim Black Pearl Wake Surf


Less Rocker
This makes your board faster on the wake and give you a smoother feel.

More Rocker
This causes your wakesurf board to be slower and tend to plow through the water but react more dramatically with the wave.


Just like a surfboard in the ocean, a thinner rail on a wakesurfer bites into the boat wave and is faster, quicker and less forgiving. Thicker rails are slower and more forgiving.

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Rope and Handles

Wake surfing rope/handle combinations are shorter and thicker than standard wakeboard ropes. You will use the rope to get up and into the wake. The width allows you to use the rope to pull yourself forward into the wave. Once you are in the wave you can throw the rope back to the boat. Wakeboard ropes are too skinny to hang on to directly and they have the potential to tangle around your arms, legs or neck causing injury.

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The Boat for Wake Surfing

Only wakesurf behind boats with an inboard engine. Outboard engines expose the surfer to the prop, which, as you might have guessed, is extremely dangerous. Say there was a fight between you and the prop… We’re putting our money on the prop. Sorry.

Boat Speed for Wake Surfing
A good wakesurfing speed is around 10 MPH, depending on your boat.

How do you make your boat throw a wake that is good for wake surfing?
You need weight or ballast. The optimal experience wakesurfing requires that you add additional ballast to one side of your boat to increase the wave size. The most common way to do this is by weighting down the port (left) side of the boat. The prop wash is spinning off in a direction that makes this side of the boat most desirable for surfing. Some boats have internal ballast systems which fill tanks with water to weigh down the boat. You can also add weight with external water ballast in ballast bags. Other forms of additional weight include your fat brother Bob, heavy bricks, bowling balls and anything else you can think of. The nice feature of the water ballast is that you can get rid of the weight easily and it doesn’t roll around like the bowling ball. Ok, seriously, maybe don’t use the bowling ball. 

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Learn more with our other wake guides below:

Wakeboards – How to Choose & Size Chart
Wakeboard Boots & Bindings – How to Choose
Wakeboards & Wakeboard Bindings – Compatibility Guide
Wakeskates – How to Choose
Wakesurfing – Boat Setup / Safety
Wakeboard Vests / Life Jackets – How to Choose
Wakeboard Ropes & Handles – How to Choose

This is evo. We are a ski, snowboard, wake, skate, bike, surf and clothing online retailer with physical stores in Seattle and Portland. Our goal is to provide you with great information to make your purchase easy.

Still have questions? Please give our customer care team a call at 866-386-1590, Customer Care Hours. They can help you find the right wakesufer to fit your needs.