Tips & How To

How to Stand Up On A Wakesurf Your Very First Time

Kait surfing.

I’m excited to see you are interested in wakesurfing! Getting behind the boat with this unique board the first time can be intimidating, especially when you notice that it has no bindings. What the fudge!? Brah, it’s a surfboard of course there are no bindings! 

No worries, I’ve got you covered. My fellow Shred Babe Co-Founder Alie and I are pros at getting newbies up and surfing the first day out. In fact, we have had three people get up on their very first try this season even! Two of whom have no background of wakeboarding, which generally helps.



First, lets do a quick rundown of boards. There are three styles of boards: surf, hybrid, and the skim board.

The surf style board has three fins, providing greater stability for beginning riders however many of these boards are made for consistent carving so it is easy to fall behind the wave.

Hybrids can be a stable board as well when used with all three fins, this is a great board to both learn and excel on as many brands offer interchangeable fins. Changing out the fins will change the riding style of the board. This board in my experience has been the most popular and what I myself learned on.

A skim board has one small fin. It is considered a “squirly” board meaning the ride is slippery, the board loves to move. These are great boards for people throwing lots of playful tricks. This isn’t to say you can’t learn on a skim, but if you have little to no background with board sports I would advise you to stay away from this board to start with so you can have a more relaxing, fun, and most likely longer ride.


Once you have found a ride crew and someone a proper boat to go wakesurfing behind you can begin your latest adventure! Be sure that you are being a polite guest on their boat, for some tips check out my post about the do’s and don’ts of being a boat guest.

There are multiple techniques you can use to stand up on a surf. I will be discussing my personal preference, which seems to be a fool proof method so far for those whom I’ve taught and those whom have learned previously but were still struggling. I taught them my method and they were up in no time! Follow these step by step instructions below:

Step 1: Determine Your Stance

Your stance is which foot you will have towards the front of the board. Standing with your left foot forward is referred to as regular stance whereas having right foot forward is called a goofy stance. Generally, if you are right handed your left foot will be forward, but this is not always true.

You can determine your riding stance before getting set up on the board by doing a “pull test”. Have someone take both your hands in theirs and slowly pull you towards them as if you are falling forward. Whatever foot reflexes out to catch yourself will be the foot you place at the front of the board.

Step 2: Get Set Up With Your Board

Jump into the water and position yourself on the proper side of the boat for your wakesurfing stance. Regular riders should be on the left, goofy riders will ride the right side. Place your feet on top of the board and rope in hand with your toes pointed up to the sky.


Step 3: Flip the Board to Your Feet

The driver will put the boat in gear giving you a slight pull in the water. Use one hand to push the edge of the board closest to you under the water. You will now have the board pushing to your feet and be in a crouched position in the water. Return your hand to the handle and yell “Go!”.

Alie with board upright.

NOTE: I usually reach for the board in between my feet and give it a push. This is close to the handle so I can easily grab it once my board has been flipped up. I prefer this method because when people use their heals to push the board underwater they generally end up losing their balance and falling backwards.

Step 4: Stand Up

USE YOUR LEGS to stand up. It is a common misconception you are using your biceps to pull you out.Let the boat do it’s job in pulling you out of the water, you just need to squat up to a standing position. Work those legs and that butt!

Step 5: Get Outside the Wake

Once standing you need to exit the wake as quickly as possible. You will shift your weight slightly to the heels of your feet pointing your board to the edge of the wake. You will find yourself going that direction between that and the pull of the boat so don’t let go!

Alie steering outside the wake.

NOTE: Which side of the wake you are on will be determined by your stance. If you have a regular stance, you will aim to the left side of the boat. If you have a goofy stance, you will cruise on over to the right.

Step 6: Find The Pocket

Now that you are outside of the wake you will climb up the rope pulling yourself closer to the boat. DO NOT wrap the rope around your hand, fingers arm or any other part of your body, let it hang to the side. Pull yourself into the heart of the wave finding the “pocket” where the wave will begin to push your momentum forward rather than the boat pulling you with the rope.  You can determine this when you have consistent slack in the rope. 

Pulling into the pocket.

Make sure you are comfortable in your stance on the board, sometimes your feet may move during standing up or you didn’t have them placed in quite the right spots to begin with.


TIP: Your feet may not be in quite the right position. Use your toes by curling them to ever so gently scoot your feet into a comfortable position. Below is a sample of my stance. Please note how far back on the board I am.

Step 7: DTR (Drop The Rope)

Once you are riding with consistent slack in the rope you are ready to drop the rope! This may not happen your first few times riding. Don’t get discouraged, once you find that “pocket” you will know and be able to find it again very quickly. 

Alie getting slack in the rope.

NOTE: The pocket will vary depending on the boat you are riding behind. You will find some boats have a pocket just a couple feet from the platform, others are farther back.

TIP: If you are uncomfortable or find yourself losing your balance when tossing the rope into the boat you can drop it to the side and your awesome crew will pull it in for you!

Step 8: Enjoy the Ride

Congratulations you are now wakesurfing! Once you start getting comfortable you will find yourself trying jumps and spins or fun poses on the board.

Kait surfing


Was that a lot of reading or are you more of a visual person? No worries, I have a handy dandy gif I made just for you! Meet one of my bests and fellow Shred Babe Alie for your demo:


I would love to hear if this helped you on your first time out wakesurfing or if you found some other useful tips. Comment below or contact me to let me know!

Surf’s up, good luck!


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No Comments

  • Reply
    August 8, 2016 at 8:16 am

    Your site is looking great! Loving whatever you’ve done to it.

    I’ll have to come out with you guys some time – Maybe you can help get my surf game to the next level 😀

  • Reply
    Kaitlyn O.
    August 8, 2016 at 8:43 am

    Thanks Leah! I’ll keep you in mind next time we have some space on the boat!

  • Reply
    Summer Glitter
    August 9, 2016 at 8:58 am

    Great tips, Kaitlyn! I have done wake surfing once and I can’t wait to have another chance to do it again!!

    Choosing which foot forward is the same way we do it for springboard diving (which foot to start the approach with) – another good way is which foot they use to start a cartwheel 🙂

    • Reply
      Kaitlyn O.
      August 9, 2016 at 9:25 am

      ooo I like the cartwheel idea! Unfortunately there’s not enough space for that on the boat though haha

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