Is wakesurfing harder than surfing?

How does wakesurfing compare to surfing for learning? Everyone agrees that learning to surf is much more difficult. Wakesurfing doesn't require some of the toughest surfing skills, such as rowing, riding the wave, fighting the current and diving with ducks under the waves. For some, wakesurfing is easier than surfing because you don't need to paddle to catch a wave. Just hold on to the boat's tow rope and ride the wave it creates.

This also makes wakesurfing more accessible because ocean waves are unpredictable. Some days, it pumps, while other days, it's just flat. Surfing also requires surfing waves according to your level. Therefore, beginners cannot surf in other areas due to massive waves.

Wakeboarding tends to be riskier than wakesurfing because it involves greater speed, tied feet and extreme tricks. Surfers often compare a wakesurf wave to a stationary river wave, as the flow of water tends to drag you up (and above) the face of the wave. In contrast, wakesurfers who start surfing usually go from a board larger than 4 feet to an 8- to 10-foot board, better suited to small ocean waves, a significant change. For beginners, it is recommended to have a surf-shaped wakesurf board with a larger surface area and a stable three-fin configuration to get the most stable platform for learning the basics.

Another important difference is that in wakesurfing, you can cycle while the boat is running or until you get tired, which may be for hours. In fact, when wakesurfing, a surfer uses the wake of a boat to ride the wakesurf board, while in surfing, a surfer uses the waves to ride the surfboard. Although wakesurfing is a little more like ocean surfing due to the style of the board and the absence of a trailer, the two sports still don't look much alike. The biggest differences between surfing and wakesurfing come from the environment in which these two sports are practiced: the ocean in front of the flat waters behind a boat and the nature of the wave (natural waves versus standing waves made on ships).

You have to keep the wakesurf board under your feet, which move freely while the boat pulls you, so that there is a slight learning curve, which requires a little coordination. Ocean surfing, on the other hand, usually involves cuts and falls, something rare in wakesurfing because the waves don't break, the higher flow speed and the face is much shorter. Either way, this approach is much more difficult than waterstarting for a beginner, unless you use a large surf board in the ocean. If you ask a wakeboarder if wakeboarding is more difficult than surfing, they will most likely say “yes” to you.

Wakesurfing also eliminates the challenge of reading the wave, positioning yourself correctly, turning around when the wave hits, and lifting the surfboard as it falls. Other fundamental maneuvers that wakesurfing and surfing have in common are the downward and upward curves (going up and down the surface of the wave), 360 and non-stop laps. The boat's wave is not only faster but also much shallower than an ocean wave, making wakesurfing seem more like surfing a standing wave than a real sea wave.

Jeanie Spaun
Jeanie Spaun

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