Top 10 Wake Surfing Tricks for Beginner / Intermediate Riders

Learn some new skills for your wake surfing toolbox with world champion surfer Keenan Flegel. 

Before we dive into this, please understand that these tricks/techniques were chosen because they are the building blocks of the foundation you will need to master more difficult tricks. They are listed in the general order I suggest you master them from #1-10.

  1. Floater- A floater is simply the action of riding on top of the wave for a short time. This trick is #1 because it will help beginners get a better understanding of how to get to the top of the wave and what it feels like to ride there.
  2. Ollie- An Ollie is the act of jumping the board off the surface of the water. I recommend learning this trick with the rope and away from the wave at first. Once you are able to get the board up out of the water, bring it over to the wave.
  3. Pumping- Pumping is the act of riding the board up and down the wave to generate speed. While pumping, you get your speed from pushing the inside rail into the wave while also driving the board down the wave. It is best to let your knees bend as you let the board climb back up the wave to minimize speed loss. Next time you ride see how far back you can get in your wave and pump back up towards the boat. Also, try to experiment with how much power you can get from one single pump.
  4. Snap- A snap is a sudden turn banked off of the wave creating a splash over the wave. The snap is primarily a surf style trick, but I believe it is useful for all riders. Practicing a snap will help develop better edge control over your board, and also help with generating momentum and swing with the upper-body.
  5. Board-Slides- Board-slides are a type of floater. In order to do a board-slide, you would ride up on top of the wave and turn your board perpendicular to the wave and the path of the boat for a short slide. A board-slide can be done facing towards the boat and facing away from it (FS & BS). I recommend mastering both variations. The BS board-slide will be a building block for tricks such as BS 360 and a BS Big Spin.
  6. Riding Switch- Riding switch is an underrated skill among intermediate riders. It will feel awkward at first and for this reason many riders do not like to ride switch. Switch riding is essential as a building block for progression and will allow you to learn all different kinds of spin and shuv variations
  7. Riding Backside- Most of our boats these days are able to switch the wave from one side to the other relatively easily making it more convenient than ever to ride on both sides of the wave. While riding backside, remember to bend your back knee and rotate at the waist to have your chest open towards the boat.
  8. Air- An Air would be considered an Ollie off the top of the wave with some degree of rotation on the board. This can be attained by pumping from the back of the wave towards your spot at the top of the wave where you will take off for your air. It is important to point your front hand where you are looking to go. When approaching the wave for the air you will point your front hand towards the top of the wave where you will Ollie. As you are coming off of the wave you want to swing your front arm out away from the wave to allow your body to rotate enough to land on the downslope of the wave.
  9. 360 Spin – The 360 is the trick everybody wants to jump straight into. This is a fun trick for surf and skim riders. It can be done several ways but I like to do it on top of the wave. To do a 360, start from the back of the wave and get some speed coming towards the boat. Once you reach the mid point of the wave, stick your back hand in the wave and use that pull to start tracking up the wave. As you begin to come up the wave you want to look over your back shoulder until you see the boat again. Less is more with any spin. If you find yourself overdoing it, imagine a 180 instead of a 360 to help slow it down.
  10. Body Varial- a Body Varial is when you jump and spin with your body while the board stays put. This trick can be useful for getting back to your desired stance after a shuv or spin trick. I recommend starting with a switch regular body varial first as it will be easier to land in your dominant stance. Try to get your shoulders turned halfway as a set up. It is important to jump off the board with equal pressure on both feet so the board does not follow you into the air

I hope you find this list useful in building a solid foundation as a beginner/intermediate rider! I will have more advanced trick lists coming out soon!

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