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wake surfing

Posted: Wed Jul 19, 2006 10:26 pm
by KUKayaker
Monty directed me to this link but it seems pretty cool and possible with just one boat unlike the 2 boat system in twitch.


Posted: Mon Jul 24, 2006 10:23 pm
by Bob Nicholson
That link doesn't come up. I wonder if it is gone for good or just temporarily.

I did a big write up on the 2 boat kind of wake surfing last fall. It wasn't my cup of tea. I prefer to play on river features, and wakeboard or ski behind a tow boat. Luckily there is a very nice play hole that is in a lot near where I live (actually very similar to the one formed behind the two boats). This is just my opinion - my friends were digging it more than I was. The hole formed befind the two boats is not a small hole. We all agreed that it was a medium size hole. Of course, those terms are relative.

I have heard that on rivers with barge traffic, kayakers or people on surf boards sometimes get towed to the face of a barge wake with a boat or personal water craft and once established surfing that wake they can do it for a long ways. Somebody was telling me about people surfing a barge wake for a long ways on the Columbia on a surf board at night when the river was smooth.

I wonder if you can surf barge wakes over deep water or if you need to be where the barge waves build and get steeper as they come into shallow water. I'm guessing that a good spot is where the barge lane is close to shallower water and somewhere between the shore and the barge lane is a zone where the wake gets steep. I know that when surfing wind blown waves the water depth is important. If you are in deeper water, the wind blown waves tend to just go under you, but if you get in towards shore in shallower water, you get a lot better push. I'm talking about when the wind is blowing up or down the river.

If you are surfing right behind a tow boat (like say 10 feet off the swim deck of a wake board boat), you might want to think about the exhaust fumes. I don't think you would have a problem at 10 feet behind the boat, but I know that hanging directly onto the swim deck and getting pulled along is a very bad idea due to the exhaust fumes. I think some kids have passed out doing that. I have never seen it done myself, just heard about it.

Posted: Tue Jul 25, 2006 6:24 am
by KUKayaker
Yeah for some reason teh direct link isn't working you can find it here: under wakesurfing/ how to wakesurf

They address some of the exhaust issues and things like that in the video. What I find cool about this is you only need one boat.

Posted: Wed Jul 26, 2006 12:15 am
by Bob Nicholson
I didn't take the time to download the software needed for the video clips in that link.

Although I'm not really wanting to participate in kayaking behind a tow boat, I am interested in how people are doing it. The thing that intriques me is the idea of surfing the barge wakes. I've actually tried it a few times (like when I was paddling on the Columbia and a barge went by), and I didn't have any luck, but perhaps one could figure out the conditions where you get the long long rides.

About how fast does the motor boat go, and where is the kayaker in relation to the boat?

My friends who are really into barefoot water skiing and white water kayaking (for example they can barefoot backwards and do tumble turns going foreward and one of them is a sponsored playboater) went through a short phase where they were kayaking behind a ski boat (a big old inboard direct drive barefoot Natique - very cool boat). I think the boat was going around 5-8 mph, and they were maybe 10 feet from the swim deck (sometimes closer) and directly behind it. I was in the tow boat but never took a turn in the kayak. They were having fun, but they just did it for 1 or 2 outings I beleive.

These friends stuck with the two boat way for a longer period. I think they went out maybe 5 or 6 times last summer. I haven't heard about them doing it yet this summer, but we still have August through about mid October ahead of us.

They have been barefooting in their neoprene booties (the ones made for kayaking). I'm not sure if this was just a passing phase or if they will keep doing it. These were pretty slim booties - like something you would wear in a play-boat. I want to say they were using the NRS camel toe booties. I think they take longer turns with these booties than with just bare feet.

If I want to do something different behind a ski-boat, I try to ski on a single ski with no bindings (just non-skid strips). We call it a plank. My plank is one of those wider slalom skis - not really wide, but definitely wider than a performance ski. We pull each other at about 26 mph on the plank. I wouldn't say its a really cool thing, but something different to do once in awhile for a change. I have worried a tiny bit about getting hit by the loose ski afer you fall.

Back to the kayaking behind the tow boat, I assume most people would agree that an inboard boat is the safest (as apposed to an outboard or IO) because the prop is up under the back of the boat.

Perhaps kayaking behind the motor boat is something you could do when the water is too rough from so many boats for skiing or wakeboarding.

Are water skiing and wake boarding and tubing really big in Eastern Kansas? It seems like these would be a big deal due to the heat and the water.

Posted: Thu Jul 27, 2006 4:25 pm
by Monty
The idea of surfing in a kayak, behind just one boat, is currently a hypothesis as I am not aware of it ever being done. I do wakeboard and have started taking an interest in wakeskating and wakesurfing. I am most interested in wakesurfing as my trips to Southern California to get my sufing fix are getting expensive. I have yet to actually waksurf but I have ordered the requisite equipment and expect to get going in the next several weeks. Once I get that going I will have a much better idea as to whether or not we can substitute a kayak for a wakesurf board.

Bob, you have hit on several of the imperative safety issues. First of all, inboards only and I wouldn't consider it without a swim deck. Just an added margin of safety. Second, as you are in close proximity to the motor, exhaust is something you need to be aware of and on the watch out for. Also, as you pointed out with your loose "plank", I suggest you take your kayak helmet along.

Generally, this is how it works with wakesurfing and I think it should be similar with a kayak. Load up the boat with ballast on one side and at the rear (I would use the port side). Boat needs a wakeplate with the wakeplate in the up position. Now the boat will plow deeply in the water while listing to one side (port side). You need to steer the boat in large circles turning in the direction of the side you loaded up with ballast (left). Ideal spead is just under 10 mph. You have now created your own custom surf wave.

You wakesurf with a 25' foot rope so you are riding close to the stern. This is where the pocket of the wake will be. You start with the rope behind the center of the boat. Once you are up and in tow, you quickly edge out over the wake (surfer's left). Now, once you are comfortably in the pocket of the wake and feel it pushing you gently along, throw the rope to the other side of the wake and you are surfing!

Again, this is how I hear its done as I have yet to do it myself. Once I try it out, I'll give you a report on how viable it may be with a kayak. Based on the videos I have seen, it looks doable.

Posted: Mon Jul 31, 2006 1:11 pm
by cbass
We have been wakesurfing for the last few years and I think you could use a kayak and one boat but i dont think it would be much fun. If you are wanting to teach front surfing it would be alright but if you are looking to do spins or aerials moves you would most likely have to have 2 boats. With only one wave I have noticed, when i am carving, that any wrong move will send you off the wake. Its easy to surf straight and carve alittle but if you wanted to get alittle crazy in your boat I think 2 is the way to go. We have 2 malibus that we ride behind, 21 vlx and 23 lsv, the vlx has seemed to work out better for wakesurfing unless there are like 8 people all on one side in the lsv. We have not yet tried getting our kayaks behind both of them, been too busy wakeboarding. :) Figured once it start cooling down we will get our boats out there. As soon as we try it I will post a video.

Anyways theres my 2 or maybe 3 cents.


Posted: Mon Jul 31, 2006 1:27 pm
by KUKayaker
Yeah we were talking about the idea but matt was saying that a lot of lakes have regulations on how close 2 boats can operate that would make the dual setup illegal

Posted: Thu Aug 03, 2006 3:23 pm
by cbass
Speaking of wakeboarding, here is Thursdays paper here in springfield. This is an article about us wakeboarding. ... 30316/1037


Posted: Thu Aug 03, 2006 11:01 pm
by Bob Nicholson
I read the article and looked at the pictures.

It looks like you guys really get after it.

I did see some wake surf boards in a sporting goods store the other day when I went to buy some fishing stuff. I never knew the sport had evolved to the point where they have special boards for it.

That wake looks REALLY big!!! I would say if there is a single boat you can surf behind, that would be the one.

Posted: Fri Aug 04, 2006 8:32 am
by Shawn
Sweet article Jay.