“Don’t Be A Kook!” – A Quick Guide to Wakesurfing Etiquette

By Alliance Wake

Be this guy… (photo: Jeff Mathis)

Just like surfing in the ocean, wake surfing has an inherent set of rules that we all need to consider in order to all get along and have the most fun together. Sure, having an entire glassy lake to yourself is the thing we dream about, but most of the time, that is not a reality. So what can we do to keep everyone on the water happy? Step one is to share the space and be conscious of other riders and local property owners. That’s pretty obvious…but to help you with the rest, we’ve come up with a little list so you can maximize the good times on the water and minimize the bad.

  1. MIDDLE RUNS ALL DAY – If you can, surf in the middle of the lake in order to give your wakes time to dissipate before landing on shore or smashing someone’s boat against their dock. That’s day 1 stuff.
  2. SHORELINE COURTESY – If the conditions are no good out in the middle of the lake and you need to run a shoreline, make sure you run down as far as you can and don’t keep riding the same short run over and over again.
  3. KEEP THE TUNES DOWN – We’re sure your boat has some big, shiny speakers on it that could drown out the whole lake if you wanted to but do you really need to be bumping your tunes that loudly? The answer is no. We all like to enjoy some music while out on the water but unless there are no other souls around, try to keep the volume down a bit. Maybe not everyone around likes Metallica as much as you do…
  4. BACK OFF – This is a no-brainer but don’t follow another wakesurf boat (or any boat for that matter) too closely. Whether it’s behind or on the side, just keep your distance. Simple as that.
  5. LOOK FORWARD – It’s definitely tempting to look over your shoulder while driving to watch your buddy kick up some buckets on the endless wave but this makes it easier for accidents to happen. If you’re going to be the captain, keep your eyes forward and the crew will thank you for it.
  6. TRIM IT LOW – This might not go for everyone out there depending on the boat you have but if your vessel has trim tabs, make sure you keep them where you can still get a clear view of what lies ahead. If you can’t see where you’re going, you’ll hit something eventually and that will put a little damper on your surf session.
  7. NO WAKE – Every boater knows the buoys that mark off spaces where wakes are not welcome. Be aware of them whether you’re out on your home lake or a new spot and make sure that you follow them. Also, try not to run right next to them. There’s no easier way to get somebody upset then to rip through their spot that’s supposed to be wake-free.
  8. BE RESPECTFUL – Giving respect gets you respect. Use your brain while on the water and don’t be the guy that makes someone dislike all wakesurfers. 

If you follow this list and use some common sense, you’ll not only have a solid day on the water, but the other people on the lake will too. Be cool and share the lake.

NOT this guy! (photo: Jeff Mathis)