If you’ve spent any time on Lake Austin or Lake Travis recently, you may have noticed something you haven’t seen before. People of all ages are riding waves behind boats without the use of a rope.
Turns out you don’t need to go to the ocean to surf. It’s called wakesurfing and you can catch a wave right here in the Lake Travis area!
Now before you go out to buy a wakesurfing board and get behind a boat to give it a try, let’s go over a few of the basics.
One of the most important rules you’ll need to know about wakesurfing – friends don’t let friends wakesurf behind boats with outboard engines! Please don’t try to wakesurf behind any boat where the prop is exposed. You only want to wakesurf behind a boat that has an inboard engine. In other words, the prop is underneath the boat and several feet away from the back where you’ll be surfing. That way, a fall won’t result in the loss of limb or life. For your sake, your friend’s sake, you parents sake, the whole sport’s sake, and your pretty face’s sake, never wakesurf behind a boat with an exposed prop.
If you have an inboard boat and you’re ready to see what it takes to get it setup for wakesurfing, go check out setting up your boat for wakesurfing for a detailed look on setup and safety.
A boat needs to be weighted properly to create a surf wave. This is accomplished by using a combination of the boats ballast system and sacs that are filled with water – kind of like mini waterbeds. Most of the weight will be in the rear corner of the boat and run up along one side. The side you pick depends on what side of the boat you prefer to wake surf on. If your left foot is forward (regular) you’ll want to weight the port side of the boat. If you surf with your right foot forward (goofy), you’ll want to weight the starboard side of the boat. In other words, your toes should be pointing into the wave when you wakesurf.
Wakesurfing is done 10-18 feet behind the boat depending on how long your wave is. Using a short tow rope, you’ll start off in the water in a seated position with your heels on the edge of the surfboard closest to you. As the driver slowly accelerates, the surfboard will roll up to meet the bottom of your feet and this is when you slowly stand up. At first, you’ll want to hang onto the rope until you get the feel of the board and the wave.
Unlike wakeboarding, where you’re traveling at speeds around 20mph and wipe-outs can be painful, wakesurfing is a low-impact sport. Most people wakesurfing set the boat speed between 9-12mph. Young or old, it’s a sport that everyone in the boat can be a part of.
With a little bit a practice, you’ll start to find the pocket of the wave and be able to ride with some slack in the rope. After that, you’ll be able to throw the rope into the boat and surf a continuous wave. And that’s when most people get hooked – surfing a continuous wave. It doesn’t get much better than that!
Learn to Wakesurf
If you want to give the sport of wakesurfing a try without buying a boat, then you’re in luck! The Shred Stixx Wakesurf School is located right here on the shores of Lake Austin.