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The Psychology Behind Wakesurfing

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Mental preparation might not be what you have thought a lot about when it comes to wakesurfing, but it is the key to being successful out on the water. When you understand the psychology behind wakesurfing, you will have a much better time in the sport and might find that you are not going to wipeout as often as you used to. 

The physical aspect is only part of the wakesurfing, because you also need to use your mind. This is what you should know about the psychology of wakesurfing.

Being comfortable

The initial thing is to be comfortable on your board. If you are new to the sport, you will want to pick a wakesurf board for beginners that works for your needs. Likewise, if you are more experienced in the sport, you will want to make sure that your board matches your skill-level. If you have the wrong board, you will never be able to achieve the mental state that is ideal to reach your peak performance.

Getting overwhelmed by anxiety

If you have ever heard the phrase ‘there’s nothing to fear, but fear itself,’ then you already know how fear affects your wakesurfing skills.When you get wrapped up in the fear of an act, your body will become less pliable. Your blood pressure will increase, and your mind will become clouded. When you are gripped in anxiety, you will never be able to become the best version of yourself. The only way to overcome the fear of the sport is to practice the sport. 

While initially it might be scary, you need to just do it. The more that you are able to attempt a move, the easier that it will become to do. The best way to overthrow the anxiety and become calm and confident in your own abilities is to practice the move until you know that you can do it. The more practice that you have, the more comfortable you will be.

Learning to read the water

This is especially true for beginners, but when you learn to read the movement of the water, your skills will be less erratic and given to chance. When you learn to concentrate on the water and learn how it moves to know what move you should make, you will turn the sport into a learned skill. It becomes more of an intellectual stratagem. You will need to practice movement and learn how your movements can be improved depending on the water itself.

If you are new to the sport, you might want to learn with a professional who can help you work out what to look for in the water and what kinds of moves that you should make or try out depending on the environment. Taking lessons is always a good idea if you are new to any sport, because then you’ll really have an opportunity to learn what you should be doing.

Finding a calming strategy

One of the best things that you can do to manage the psychology of wakesurfing is work out a calming strategy. There are a few different types out there and there isn’t just one right way to do it. Here are some ideas:

  • Focus on the moment. You can calm your mind by trying out some mental exercises. The first thing is to focus on where you are in the moment. Take away all of the movement and noise around you and focus on the task at hand. When you do this, you will be able to put all of your energy into the movement, tapping into all of your motor competencies, giving you better response time.
  • Tap into your senses. The next thing that you can do is to tap into your senses. Listen to the water around you. Hear the wind blowing. This is also called grounding, allowing you to be physically present and to push all of the anxiety and distractions to the wayside.
  • Let it go. Finally, you need to just take a breath and let it all go away. Breathe out all of the anxiety and stress in your life and breathe back in the confidence in knowing that everything is going to go right. Visualize the perfect wave and how you are going to master it, and then do it.


All athletes need to keep their head in the game if they have any hope of becoming skilled at the sport. They need to learn to concentrate on the sport and be successful in the skill of it. This type of concentration and mental exercise is not something that you can expect to master in a day, but something that requires practice to perfect. Give it a shot next time you are out on the water and see how much you improve.

Tommy Williamson did his degree in psychology at the University of Edinburgh. He has an ongoing interest in mental health and well-being.

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