How to set up your boat for Wakesurfing

Setting your boat up right is crucial to maximize your wakesurf wave. Many factors come in to play including hull design, boat length, ballast, factory installed surf systems, speed and installation of an after market wake shaper. 


Ballast is the foundation to a great wave. Fundamentally, creating a wave is performed by displacing water. The more water displaced the larger the wake. Items such as Wake Shapers can minimize the amount of ballast necessary, but ballast and weighted bags cannot be overlooked.

Keep in mind that size isn't everything (giggle), the shape, length and push provided from the wave is just as important.

If you wakesurfed in the 90's and early 2000's, you likely know a few things about listing (leaning) a boat to create a wave. With today's advancements in technology and surf systems, both factory installed and aftermarket, listing your boat is a thing of the past like skurfers and wakeboard pylons. 

Supplemental ballast such as FatSac and Wake Bags can be added to your boat for additional weight. Ballasts can be conveniently pumped in and out, while Wake Bags require manual lifting, but can be hidden easily under seats and within smaller compartments to maximize weight without sacrificing floor space.

Creating the perfect wave for your boat and riding preference takes some time. Due to the variety of boat hulls and riding styles, there's no simple calculation to create your ideal wake. You'll dial in your perfect wave over time, but to start, NautiCurl recommends an even 50%-50% balance from starboard to port side and a 60%-40% ratio rear to front. From here you can increase the height of the wave by adding more ballast to the rear, and lengthen your wave by adding more ballast to the front. Keep in mind that people and cargo is ballast too, you can quickly shuffle around your crew to dial in your wake.

Check out NautiCurl's lineup of FatSac Ballasts. Bags can be selected and tailored to your boat type and even come in a variety of colors.


Wake devices have changed the game in wakesurfing. Prior to these devices, the art of wakesurfing required severely listing (leaning) your boat, finding some deep water and driving in circles while aggressively pumping behind the boat with a surf style board. Much has changed in the last decade. Surf devices are often incorporated into wake boats, but are also available as aftermarked devices that attach to your boat in a few seconds.

The Science:
Wake devices are fairly simple in nature, they consist of a plate that projects outward or downward from the rear hull of the boat. This plate or face of the device forces water passing by outward which delays the convergence behind the boat, thus creating a surfable wave on the opposite side of the boat.

Wake Devices:
Many modern boats come with integrated wake shaping devices. These wake plates or wake shapers are often operated and engaged by a push button or can even be operated with a remote by the rider. Older wakeboats, ski boats or even modern ski boats that haven't been equipped with these devices can opt for an aftermarket wake shaping device such as the NautiCurl Wake Shaper.
Aftermarket wake shapers attach to the side of the boat with velcro, magnets or the least intrusive, by suction cups. Whether integrated or factory installed, these wake devices eliminate the need to list (lean) the boat and speed the change over from a regular foot rider to a goofy foot rider by a simple push of a button or quick disconnect and connect of an aftermarket wake shaper. 

Although integrated devices ease operation and are designed to the hull of the boat, the advantage of aftermarket devices is the freedom to position the device based on ballast, speed, hull shape and the rider's preferred riding style. The NautiCurl Wake Shaper can be quickly re-positioned up/down and bow/stern to dial in your wave.


Speed is often looked over when it comes to creating an ideal wakesurfing experience. Selecting your speed is based on your wave preference and riding style. Higher speeds create a longer wave with more deep push, where slower speeds create a taller wave with more close range push. Depending on your riding style, you may prefer a different speed than your fellow riders. 

Typical wakesurf speed ranges from 9 to 13 mph, NautiCurl suggests starting with a speed of 10-11 mph and dialing up or down to create your preferred wave. 

Keep in mind that ballast, hull shape and riding style are key factors when selecting your speed. Be patient and try a few speeds until you see what works best for your boat setup and riding style.

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