If you are new to water sports, you might hear the words wakesurfing and wakeboarding and wonder if they are the same thing. While wakesurfung is similar to wakeboarding in some ways, there are several major differences in terms of equipment, method and technique. Even seasoned wakeboarders need to bear these differences in mind when they decide to try wakesurfing, but don’t worry, we at Wake UP! Wakesurfing Koh Phangan are here to help you get up and riding in no time.
Here’s a quick introduction to wakesurfing to get you started:
The most obvious difference between wakeboarding and wakesurfing is the method. In wakeboarding, the rider is pulled by the boat via a tow rope while a wakesurfer only uses a tow rope to get them started on the wave. Once a wakesurfer is up and on the wake, they drop the rope and ride freely on the wave, much like ocean surfing. Look! No hands!
Wakesurfing is popular with surfers because the wave doesn’t just end and wash you up on the shore after those exhilarating few moments. An ocean wave usually lasts for between 5 and 30 seconds, then the surfer has to paddle back out to catch the next one. A wakesurfer can ride for as long as the boat keeps providing the wave, or as long as they can stay up. Despite all this, it was a long time before wakesurfing became a distinct sport in its own right. Until the 80’s and 90’s, wakesurfing was very much a fun experiment by ocean surfers. Over time, it has evolved and become a hugely popular sport outside of traditional surfing. The other advantage is that you don’t actually need to be near the sea to do it. Many wakesurfing spots are inland in lakes. We just happen to be lucky enough to be surrounded by beautiful, warm, azure waters here so wakesurfing in Koh Phangan is enjoyed right off the stunning sandy beaches.
We have two boats at Wake Up! Both are suitable for wakeboarding but we favour the MasterCraft for wakesurfing- not just because it has a cool name either. MasterCraft is the most well recognised (and popular) brand for wakesurfing, water skiing and wakeboarding. As well as good quality and high-performance, an important thing to look out for is a boat that can be weighted heavily towards the back. The weight helps create the wake and we do this with ballast in the form of water in the onboard ballast system and extra containers filled with sand to create a nice fat wave.
Another nice little difference is that compared to wakeboarding, wakesurfing happens much closer to the boat. This makes it more sociable as your friends can sit at the back of the boat and chat to you while you ride- hopefully with words of encouragement, but that depends on the friends.
Wakesurfing continues to grow in popularity as more people realise how much fun it is and how easy it is to get up and riding if you have a little professional tuition. If you would like to try wakesurfing in Koh Phangan, contact us to make a booking or to find out more. We are happy to answer any questions and look forward to hearing from you.
PS- Watch this space for the next article in which we explain some of the basics on wakesurfing techniques!