Just starting out Wakesurfing and looking to try some first tricks? Have no fear! Here is our list of must-have beginner wakesurf tricks that are easy to learn, but also unique enough to be cool.
Start with the 360?
My family and I have been surfing now for about 6 years. We have seen all types of skill levels behind our boat and have taught countless riders how to get started in the great sport of wake surfing.
See if you can relate….
You have recently started wakesurfing, you can toss the rope and generally stay on the wave, and now you’re frustrated that you can’t stick that 360? Sound familiar?
We see it all the time. New riders go from a really basic carve to immediately thinking they should next throw a full spin trick that involves better balance, speed, and weight shifts.
Well….maybe we should work our way up to that?
Here are some things you can do that are really fun and that will give you skills you can work on as you progress to nailing the coveted 360. Each one of these helps you master a new ability and will make you not only a trick master, but also a better wake surfer overall.
I know….surfing is about perpetual motion on the wave and is not intended to have the rope. However, tricks done with the rope can be a nice progression to rope-less wakesurf tricks in the future. They are also super fun. My “purist” friends that see me do some of these still end up trying some of them themselves because its fun and hey…what’s surfing for right?
The only warning here is to be careful that you have the right type of surf rope that will make it safer if you fall. We ride this Ronix one.
Rope 180 (beginner)
This is a simple turning of the board backward and then back forward while holding the rope. The spin can be done in either direction, but usually it’s most comfortable for the rider to lean backward and bring their back foot, belly button, and shoulders slowly towards the boat.
You can do this in “the flat” part of the wave, or as you get better you can actually ride up the wave and turn the board on top of the wave.
Rope 360 (intermediate)
No secrets here. Just complete your spin from above. This one is hard to get the hang of for some. It took me a season or so to get consistent and quickly getting up with the rope, riding up the wave a little, throwing a quick 360, and then settling into the rest of my routine.
While they aren’t the coveted rope-less 360, these tricks can be equally as fun and teach new balance and weight shift techniques.
When you can throw the 360 in the flats, try taking the entire trick to the top of the wave. All one motion up the wave, turn a full 360, and back down.
A great trick to learn that will setup more tricks as you progress is the simple Ollie. Now don’t get me wrong here, we aren’t going to Tony Hawk over any rails on this! The idea is to get a little speed, then ride to the flats, compress the board down slightly into the water, and give a little jump. Jump back on that wave and keep going. That’s the “Ollie in the flats” move.
Chop Hop (intermediate)
You can do a similar technique on the wave as well. Get some speed coming forward, give a good carve to come up the wave. At the top of the wave (where the chop is) let that board spring up slightly while you jump and turn the board back down the wave.
Again, your board may not clear the water entirely. Which is fine! What is important here, is to master a technique that will serve you well and teach you not only to get the board out of the water, but how to catch back onto the wave after a trick slows you down.
Lip Slide (intermediate)
The lip slide is completely what you need to learn in order to progress to the coveted 360. In this trick, start with some speed and then carve up the wave. As you come up, pivot your hips so your butt turns to the boat. That will place you backwards, but right on the “lip” of the wave. You can rid that lip for a bi,t and then as you start to slow, turn and come back down the wave to pick up speed again.
This one takes some practice to get the balance right. The important part here is you want to try and disengage the back fins as you come up and turn the board. Getting the balance and feel for “sliding” the board will serve you well as you progress to a full 180 or 360.
I named this trick myself and haven’t seen too many people do it….so I feel good that we can all call it what I do…”The Oceana”. Well, call it whatever you want, this trick is fun! Think of it like an ocean surfer getting up on his board…no rope right? “The Oceana”!
First, start in the water laying on your surfboard. Everything is pointing at the boat at this point and you have the rope in your hands. As the boat takes off you can lean to one side to help you get to the pretty part of the wave. From there, I generally get to my knees as quickly as possible. Please hold for a commercial break about knee surfing….Oceana will return
Knee Surf (beginner)
At this point, you are on your knees on the board with the rope in your hand. As you practice, you will notice that you can kneel up or down to increase speed, and you can also use your hips and arms to move you around on the wave. It is 100% possible, and really fun, to just throw that rope and surf completely in the kneeling position. Sometimes I have to use my arms to help with control. Push on the front of the board for more speed. Drag a hand to keep you straight. Or drag both hands to stop you from heading into the boat!
Give it a try, it’s totally fun.
OK. So you got up on your stomach and have come up to your knees. You did a quick knee surf and everyone had a good laugh. Now, work your way over to a comfortable position on your wave that is as flat as you can get without losing speed. Place both hands on the front of the board so you are on all 4’s at this point. Turn your back foot to your normal surfing position and prepare your front foot to come forward.
Once you are fully balanced, make like the Big Kahuna and just stand up. No rope. No problem. Think like an ocean surfer and get those feet up quickly and you can pull off a really impressive trick that goes from the stomach, to the knees, to fully standing with out the rope. I give you…”The Oceana”.
The wake cross is a pretty simple beginner wakesurf trick. Start on one side of the wave, have the driver switch the wake to the other side, and cross over when the wave changes. I tried and tried this trick on my Axis wave and really struggled. At first I was trying to start regular and then cross over ending on my heal side. That is pretty tough. Here is what I learned.
To start this trick, have the driver start your wave on your opposite side. So if you are regular footed, start on the goofy side. When you come up, you want to be heal side on the opposite side you normally ride. What that does is allow you to transfer to your strongest setup and makes the trick much easier.
So start on your off-side, heals to the wake. Hold onto the rope while you get your balance. Once you’ve got your balance worked out, throw the rope into the boat….or have someone real it in. Give your driver a hand signal and once you see that wake start to transfer, go for it. I find it best to go as quickly as possible to the other side.
It takes a little practice, and depending on your boat, the setup and timing are completely different (tabs versus gates for instance transfer differently). In the end though, you’ve got a quick trick to start your set with!
Summing up Beginner Wakesurf Tricks
As a beginner, don’t go crazy trying to land those 360’s right off the bat. The balance and timing of the 360 will come with experience. This list gives you a number of other skills and beginner wakesurf tricks to work on in the meantime. Master them all and you will definitely be ready for the next level!