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Chances are you might have seen or tried wakesurfing behind a Malibu boat. Wakesurfing is hugely popular for its quick learning curve, light falls, and the fact that just about anyone can participate. Plus, there’s just no feeling like being pushed along by a perfect Malibu wave with no towrope in sight and all your friends cheering you on. If you haven’t tried wakesurfing, it’s about time. And this article will show you how.

If you’re already a veteran surfer and you’re looking for another challenge, wake foiling is a great next step. While a little trickier to learn than wakesurfing, the feeling of gliding along on a wake foil can’t be beat. Here are some tips and tricks from Malibu Pro Athlete Jeff Langley that will get you off on the right foot for both sports. Let’s start with wakesurfing. If you want to skip ahead to wake foiling, you can do that here.


Malibu Command Center Wakesurf Presets

With a Malibu, the presets do all the heavy lifting so you don’t have to think about how to make a perfect wave. Presets are installed on your Malibu Command Center straight from the factory, so it’s as easy as picking which side you want to surf and selecting the corresponding preset. For example, let’s say your surfer is left foot forward, or “regular foot.” All you have to do is jump into the 12” main screen of the Malibu Command Center and select the “Surf Left” Preset, then hit “load” and the boat takes over. The ballast fills, the Power Wedge III gets set to deploy, speed control engages, and Surf Gate is set to make a perfect wave on the left side. Now it’s time to customize these settings for the level of your surfer.

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Malibu Boats Command Center

Directly ahead of the wheel, the bright, high-resolution 12-inch MaliView touchscreen gives you finger-tap control of the ballast, Power Wedge III, Surf Gate, and navigation, with fast, easy access to customizable rider presets, media controls, and a variety of gauge displays.

How To Customize Your

Wakesurf Wave for Kids

Because it can add extra mass that first-time surfers don’t need, run the Power Wedge III at a lower setting at first. And if the surfer is lighter, don’t run any ballast weight at all and keep the Power Wedge III in Lift Mode or 1, which will be more than enough wave for them to get the feeling of surfing. Ideally, you want to tweak the wave to the point that they can barely stay in the pocket so they learn to control the wave’s push, then beef it up as they get more comfortable.

How To Customize Your

Wakesurf Wave for Adults

For adults, the key is to not overdo it. Start with the Power Wedge III on 2, 3, or 4 at first, then when they get the hang of it you can bump it up to 6. Again, the key here is to get the wave to the point that it will just barely push them, then nudge it up when they learn to control the board on the wave.

Malibu Command Center — Pro Tweaks

When you’re ready to start tweaking your Malibu presets to really dial in your wave, Langley has some pro tips that will help out. “First off, it’s important to note that due to propeller rotation, all surf boats will have a difference in the left and the right waves,” says Langley. “To counteract this slight difference on Malibu boats, set the Power Wedge III from 2-6 when you’re surfing the left side, and somewhere between 1-4 when you’re surfing the right.”

Next, it’s important to realize that every Malibu boat has an ideal amount of weight it can handle to make a perfect surf wave. If you’re above this, your wave is going to wash out and you’ll lose that perfect shape and smooth face Malibu is known for. “I often see crews with their boat filled to capacity with friends and family that will also fill the ballast and deploy the Power Wedge III at level 6,” says Langley. “This added weight forces the wave to wash out.” The solution? If you have a packed boat you may not even need to add ballast at all to get a perfect wave.

Wakesurfing with the Surf Band

When the surfer is comfortable, they can start to customize their own settings while they’re surfing with Surf Band. Surf Band is Malibu’s exclusive, wearable remote control that allows surfers to dial in their surfside, nudge their speed up or down, control audio volume—and importantly here— control Power Wedge III to tailor their wave to their liking. With Surf Band, there’s no need to communicate with the driver because all the power to control your wakesurf wave is at your fingertips. Set Power Wedge III to a lower number to get a longer, mellower wave with a huge pocket that you can ride really far back, or go to a higher number for a shorter, powerful wave with a steep face. And of course, you can set it anywhere in the middle for a mixture of both.

And just because you initially set up the boat with the “Surf Left” or “Surf Right” preset doesn’t mean you can’t switch sides on demand. Just push the button for Surf Gate’s opposite side on the Surf Band and you’ll hear the boat prepare to transfer with a series of audible horns that let you know exactly when it will switch. There are two short horns followed by a long horn as the boat switches sides. If you drop back on the wave, push the transfer button, then hop over to the other side just as the longer horn is going you’ll be able to nail transfers every time.

Cassidy Gale, Malibu Pro Athlete, Wakesurfing behind Malibu Boat

How to Wakesurf Behind your Malibu Boat

Getting Up

It’s best to find a fairly buoyant board that will allow the surfer to easily stay in the pocket, but a huge board (like a long board) can be more difficult for beginners because it’s so big. Somewhere in the middle is usually best, like a fun shape. The surfer should start out in the water with the board’s side facing the back of the boat, their heels on the board, and the rope between their feet with the handle in their hands. If your Malibu is equipped, you can attach the rope to the surf tow point on the side of the tower that corresponds to the side they will be surfing, which will make it easier for the rider to get outside the prop wash and into clean water to start out. As the boat slowly taxis forward, the rider should raise their arms up into the air and try to do a sit-up into the boat. When timed right, this simultaneously accomplishes two things: First, it brings them on top of the board, and second, it pushes the surfer’s heels down into the board so the edge tips down and the water pushes it against their feet. When the rider is used to flipping the board onto their feet, they can switch to a bigger board to make it easier to ride. It may take some practice, but this is Langley’s tried and true method for getting beginners up time after time.

Wakesurfing behind Malibu Boat

How to Wakesurf Behind Your Malibu Boat


When you’re on top of the board, don’t be in a hurry to stand up. That’s usually how people immediately fall. Instead, stay low with your knees bent for as long as you need to start feeling comfortable with the board underneath your feet. When you’re comfortable going straight and you want to try to turn side to side, put slight pressure on your toes or heels. You can stay outside the wave to try this. When you’re ready, begin edging slowly toward the wave. You’ll feel its power start to take you and the rope will go slack when you’re in the right spot. Shift your weight backward slightly when you get this feeling. This will slow you down. When you’re comfortable, shift your weight forward a little and you will feel the wave start to take you again. When you figure out this balance between the wave and your weight shifts to the point that the rope is consistently slacked, you can throw it over to the other side of the wave so your crew can pull it in. Congratulations, you’re officially surfing!


Because a hydrofoil has very little drag, it moves really easily through the water with very little push. For this reason, you want to set up your boat with a longer, mellow wave with less push for foiling. To accomplish this, jump into the Malibu Command Center and fill the ballast with more weight in the front than you have in the back. Set Surf Gate to whichever side you want to foil on and keep the Power Wedge III on a lower setting.

Malibu Pro Athlete, Brian Grubb, Wake Foil

How to Wake Foil Behind your Malibu Boat

Getting Up

We won’t lie, this can be tricky at first. Some people get it right away, and most others need several sessions before they can consistently get up. But that’s why it’s a new challenge. It’s best to use a longer rope like a wakeboard main line the first time. To start, put your front hand on the handle and your other hand on the board to keep it against your feet. Let the boat slowly pull you up. There will be very little resistance if you do this right, so don’t expect a big pull on your front arm. We can’t emphasize enough that this isn’t as easy as it sounds. If you put the time in you will get it, but for many people, getting up on a wake foil is much more challenging than getting up on a wakesurfer. You just have to keep at it and put the time in.

Malibu Pro Athlete, Brian Grubb, Wake Foil

How to Wake Foil Behind your Malibu Boat


When you’re on top of the board, try to keep it on the surface of the water at first. Then, just try to bring the wing up for a second and drop it right back down so the board is riding at water level again. Anytime you get off balance, just drop the board back down. Keep this up until you feel comfortable, then try to bring the wing up for three or four seconds at a time. Eventually, you’ll stay up long enough that you don’t feel like you have to go back down right away. The same principles of weight shifting to turn apply to a foil, but the feeling is more like pivoting around your back foot. Think about subtly moving your front foot in the direction you want to go and you’ll get the idea.

How to Wake Foil Behind your Malibu Boat


Foils are sharp and can be trouble if you fall close to them, so if you’re in a situation where you think you’re going to fall, just jump away from the foil in whatever way you can. The pros all do this. There’s no saving a foil fall when you get past a certain point, so you should just jump away from it. A good way to make sure the foil is clear of you is to scoot it out in front of you with your back foot. Check your manufacturer’s recommendations for more recommendations on foil safety.

Malibu Boats are the most versatile watersports boats on the planet, and they are specifically made to create the best wakes and waves for towed watersports. You’ve got the wave, so we hope we’ve armed you with enough information to get started on wakesurfing and wake foiling. For more information on Malibu Boats and to build your custom boat, visit malibuboats.com. You can also visit your local dealer for a free test drive that might just include a wakesurf or foil lesson.

Tips & Tricks from Pro Athlete Jeff Langley

How to Wakesurf & Wake Foil Behind Your Malibu

More of a visual learner? Check out this video to kick-start your wake surf & wake foil session on the right foot.


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