The History of Wakesurfing

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The history of Wakesurfing is disputed with several companies and various people claiming to have started the sport. Some claims go back as far as the 1920s, but no credible evidence is currently available. There is plenty of film and print media from the 1950s and 1960s showing surfers riding their ocean boards behind motorboats. These are the first records of wakesurf board riding that can be found!

Promotion of Wakesurfing

The real promoting of the sport started in 1963-1964 as Dick Pope, Sr., an award-winning water skier and renowned self-promoter, added wakesurfing to his ski shows at the Cypress Gardens in Florida. This media coverage and heavy promotion of the sport put wakesurfing in the international spotlight! Gary Warren, a California bred surfer and water skier, was brought to Winter Haven, Florida to star in Pope’s highly publicized water ski and wakesurfing shows.

According to Gary, he and his older brother, along with many other surfers on the West coast, began towing their surfboards behind their ski boats in the 1960s when the waters got too rough to surf. They took to this type of “surfing” because they didn’t have to paddle out to the wave, wait for a bomb wave and then ride it. They could get several people to sit in the back of their ski boat to produce a clean wave and ride the wake of the boat for longer than a regular wave.

Wakesurfing Catches on in the 1990s

To add to the history of wakesurfing, the sport began to catch on in the 1990s when wake boarders were trying to increase the technology of the board while increasing the size of the wake. Boat companies helped move wakesurfing to where it is today by improving their technology. 

When boat manufacturers heard about the popularity of wakesurfing, they altered their boats to get bigger waves by weighting the back of the boat and adjusting the rear of the boat that rode in the water. 

When surfboard manufacturers began changing their surfboards to better the waves and combined with the modified ski boats, the sport spread across the United States and across the world!

Beginning of Competitions

The first known competition of the World Wake Surf Championships was held at Mission Bay in California in 1996 with approximately thirty people led by Tim Lopes and a local surfboard team. Since Tim was the only one that rode the entire wave, he was declared the winner! Tim then worked with a local surfboard manufacturer to improve their boards for wakesurfing.

Today, the World Wake Surf Championships bring thousands of people to their event held in Parker, Arizona to crown the latest World Wake Surf Champion!

Wakesurfing Today

Since the early days of wakesurfing, there have been many modifications and upgrades in the boating and wakesurf boards industry to make it a safe and fun sport that you can enjoy today.

Having a boat that can produce a great wake is the key to enjoying wakesurfing. Please enjoy surfing our website to find a boat, a board and wakesurfing accessories that will increase your fun on the water.

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