How to Drive a Wake Boat for Wake Surfing: Wake Surf Etiquette & Safety

How to Drive a Wake Boat for Wake Surfing: Wake Surf Etiquette & Safety

Posted by Jennie Spillane

We often get questions from customers new to wake surfing and wakeboarding about the proper operation of a towboat and how to properly set it up for the optimal experience. Here are a couple key bullet points to ensure that both rider, driver and crew have a great time out on the water! 

  • It’s important for drivers to have a clear view. Make sure to adjust the seat to a comfortable height and use the bolster seat if needed to make sure the driver has a view of everything around them. 
  • Adjust the mirror so the driver can see the surfer behind them at a quick glance. 
  • Make sure the rider is equipped with a proper coast guard approved life vest. 
  • Attach rope to tow area and once the rider confirms ready, engage the throttle in one fluid motion.
  • Common mistake is a full send on throttle. This can pull the rope out of the rider's hands or pull them up and over.  Slow, consistent throttle pressure is the best way to get the rider out of the water.
  • Speed recommendation is between 10-12 miles/hour. 
  • Find a focal point to make sure the driver is heading on a straight path as slight deviations will affect waves. 
  • The driver should check on the rider occasionally and make sure they’re still riding!


When the rider is down, wait for waves to dissipate and then turn the boat to the opposite side of the rider. This prevents waves from coming into the boat. 

Approach the rider from the driver's side so you have a clear view of the rider. Circle around the rider until they have rope and are ready to ride again. 

As long as you follow these simple instructions you should be able to provide your rider with a fantastic experience! If you have any questions about this or other tow boat operations don’t hesitate to reach out at at or give us a call!