In the late 1980s a surfing-inspired offshoot of waterskiing called “skurfing” started to appear in lakes and rivers around the U.S. and Australia. The same boat and tow-rope were used, but instead of water skis, riders would stand on small surfboards and carve the wake that waterskiers would avoid. As popularity grew and specialized finless boards with boots attached began appearing, the sport became known as wakeboarding. More than two decades later it seems a new version of wakeboarding, minus the tow-rope and foot-straps, called “wakesurfing” is beginning to take over. This new version takes yet another step toward surfing, where riders begin by holding a tow-rope just like wakeboarding, but once they’re up to speed the rope is dropped and the rider truly surfs the endless wake on special hybrid wake-surfboards. In the last couple years the wakesurfing movement has grown in popularity to rival even its wakeboarding roots.
Wakesurfing has really started to grow in the past four years starting with a new focus within the inboard boating market. Today nearly all competition inboard boats have some sort of wakesurfing feature and marketing has shifted its focus to the sport and now wakesurf athletes have boating sponsors. If a sport is defined by competitions then 2013 seems to be the benchmark of accomplishment for wakesurfing, as this was the first year for multiple national wakesurf tours and competitions throughout the world (World Wakesurfing Championships and the Endless Wave Tour) and six major boating companies competing for consumer surf-boat sales.
In the past couple of years new inboard boat technology has created bigger and cleaner wakes at the push of a button. New technology is making it easier for the average consumer to surf without having to fill ballast bags full of water manually. Centurion Boats and Nautique have created a surf system that allows one to transfer the surfing wave from one side to another in a couple seconds, while Tige has created an electronic platform that seems to extend the length of the boat along with the wake.
With all this being said the biggest wakes and the best wakeboard wakes are not always on the boats that make things easier with push-button technology and LED screens. It all comes down to weight displacement and the shape of the hull of the boat itself.
The inboard boating market started out creating boats with true V hull designs because they were smoother over open water and now companies are resorting back to these designs because of their ability to create better surfing wakes. Mastercraft has introduced a deep V hull design on its X 30, while Tige has developed its Convex V Hull design. Meanwhile, California boat companies like Centurion, Sanger, and Supreme have maintained some of the deepest hull designs in the industry for nearly a decade with California emission standards requiring catalytic converters for cleaner emissions. In general, the bigger the boat the bigger the wake, which is why most of the competition towboats are at least 23 feet in length with a 102-inch beam.
The future of the sport has already begun to take place at several competitions that offer a live feed on giant projection screens.
The Future of Wakesurfing is looking Bright!