Most of the riders attempting wake surfing for the very first time are unsure about how to launch yourself out of the water and get on the wake - the fact that the board is not attached to your feet with bindings, is not helping either! Here are 5 things to know to be best equipped for your first wakesurf session:
Define your side of the wake: professional wakesurf boats are designed in a way that they can create two similar wakes on both sides of the boat - the wake on the right hand side of the boat (starboard side) is meant for those riders who are riding right foot forward (goofies!) and the wake on the left hand side of the boat (port side) is meant for those riders who are riding left foot forward (regulars!). Unsure about which foot forward you should be riding? Here is a quick check to find out - ask literally anyone around you to lightly push you from behind so that it gives you the impulse to move forward. You will intuitively (that's how our body and mind designed!) - step forward with you leading foot: if you stepped forward with your right foot - you are a goofy and will be riding on the starboard side wake, if you stepped forward with your left foot - you are a regular and will be on the port side wake!
Grab the board, the rope and jump in the water: when you are all set, wetsuit of swimsuit on, life vest on, then, first things first - jump in the water, make sure that your board is in front of you and you are facing the boat. Then check the direction of the board in front of you - nose of the board has to be directed to the side of your leading foot (to the right for goofy riders and to the left for regular riders) Then lean backwards and position your heels on the board. The board stays flat. Put the rope between your legs over the board and relax!
Don't bend forward and don't pull the rope: when the boat starts towing you forward, press as much as you can on your heels while still leaning backwards so that the board turns 90 degrees and stands on it's edge. Then bend your knees and allow the rope to raise you from the water. Remember to keep your knees bended for more control over the board and don't lean forward to follow the rope - resist the pull of the rope. Once you stand up, look in the direction of where your board is directed and slide to the wake.
Keep your knees bended at all times: congratulations - if you've got this far, you are already a surfer! Nonetheless, it will be so much more fun when you will let the rope go! To do that, while you are on the wake, pay attention to these details, which make all the difference: keep you knees bended (I cannot stress it enough - at all time keep your knees bended, because that's what gives you control over the board) align your shoulders with the board (close your shoulder on the wake) bend slightly forward and try to balance still in the bottom of the wake, feeling it's push from behind. Once you find the sweet spot, you will immediately feel that the rope is not pulling you any longer - the wake is carrying you! Now try to give a little pressure to your front foot and feel how the board is gaining speed toward the boat. Then shift your weight to the back foot and you will feel feel the board slowing down, dragging you backwards to the back side of the wake. Being able to move forward and backwards is an essential foundation for all your future tricks!
Let go of the rope: once you are able to stand still in the bottom of the wake without the rope pulling you for around 10 seconds, you are ready to let the rope go - so throw it away from you over the wake and keep balancing on the board. Now it is official - welcome to the surfers club!
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