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Wakesurfing is one of the most popular watersports in today’s world. Wakesurfing can be as simple or as challenging as you’d like it to be. It has become so popular because virtually anyone can enjoy this fun sport.  

Not to mention that it has a very low impact in comparison to other watersports such as wakeboarding and waterskiing. Because of these reasons, wakesurfing has taken over as the most popular watersport. The big question remains, can you surf behind any boat?  

A quick answer to that question is no. There are select boats that you can surf behind and other boats that you cannot based on type of motor on the boat. This is due to the safety of the rider and how close to the boat they are riding. Knowing this, let’s dive into which boats are safe to surf behind, and which are not safe.

What Boats Are Safe to Surf?  

You may be thinking that the only boats that are safe to surf are surf-specific boats. However, that’s not always the case. Several boats are not built specifically for wake surfing that are safe to surf. Let’s dig into what boats are safe for surfing.  

Inboard Boats  

All wakesurf boats fall into this category which is why it is likely the most obvious boat. Inboard boats are built with the motor permanently installed in the hull of the boat. The prop is below the hull of the boat.   

With the propeller well under the boat, wake surf riders can safely ride just feet behind the boat. There is no concern about falling into the prop with this type of boat. You can safely enjoy the watersport of wake surfing behind an inboard boat.   

For example, MasterCraft’s are inboard boats. These boats are made specifically for watersports. And even more specifically, wake surfing. These inboard boats are meant to give the rider and driver the best experience while enjoying this fun sport.  

Though inboard boats are the most popular boats for wake surfing, they are not the only type of boats that are safe for watersports.   

Surf Specific Sterndrive Boats  

Before you take off running with the idea that sterndrive boats are safe for surfing, you need to make sure that it’s a sterndrive boat built for surfing. Not every sterndrive or inboard/outboard boat is built to accommodate a rider just a few feet from the stern of the boat.  

Surf-specific sterndrive boats are built with forward-facing propellers that spin counterclockwise. This build allows the props to pull the boat through the water rather than pushing it. With the forward-facing props that are positioned under the hull of the boat, wake surfing is safe.   

You can enjoy surfing behind these boats with the ability to adjust the wave with the trim controls. These surf boats are found on big bowriders such as Cobalt boats. These are perfect for big lakes or boating on the ocean.   

What Boats Are NOT Safe?  

Now that you know what boats are safe to surf behind, we need to acknowledge the boats that are not safe for surfing. These boats are unsafe because of the position of the propeller and the motor on the boat. These boats are not built to have a rider directly behind the boat.   

Outboard Boats  

Nobody should ever attempt to surf behind an outboard boat. With the entire motor positioned on the exterior of the stern on the boat, the prop sticks out behind the boat. With the spinning prop right there, it is not safe to surf.  

These boats are always unsafe to surf behind and it should never be attempted. Though surfing is not an option, you can do longline watersports such as wakeboarding and waterskiing. If you’re interested in surfing, always make sure the boat is not an outboard.  

Non-Surf Specific Sterndrive Boats  

Most sterndrive, or I/o boats are not safe to surf behind. These motors are built to be a combination between outboard boats and inboard boats. They are meant to combine the adjustability of an outboard with the performance of an inboard.  

Since these are a combination of both motor types, the lower unit is similar to that of an outboard. This design leaves the prop sticking out the back of the boat. For this reason, you cannot safely surf behind these boats.   

The exception to this rule is sterndrive boats that are made specifically for surfing. As mentioned earlier in this article, these boats are safe to surf. But your typical sterndrive boat is not safe for surfing.   

Safe Surfing  

After going through this article, we hope that you have a clear understanding of which boats are safe to surf and which boats are not safe. It is always important to be sure that your boat is built for surfing before throwing the rope out. It will help keep everyone safe and enjoying the water.  

In addition to a boat that is safe for surfing, it’s always crucial to follow the Wake Responsibly Code. This helps to ensure that everyone on the water enjoys their time. Check it out to be sure you’re always a responsible boater.

Now it’s time to get out on the water and spend time with your friends and family. No matter what kind of boat you have, you are guaranteed to have a great time out on the water.   

If you have any further questions about boats that are safe for surfing, contact your local Action Water Sports. Our expert staff can help answer any questions you have about surfing and whether your boat is safe or not.   

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