Double boat wakesurfing, or "double surfing," also called "surfing the spine" is a wakesurfing term referring to the ability to surf both frontside and backside waves simultaneously. This feeling is obtainable in the sport of river surfing and with the right equipment, crew and professionalism, it can be enjoyed on the lake behind the boat. For years the World Wake Surfing Championships has showcased a double wake surf exhibition during its practice sessions. It is a very difficult maneuver, but if pulled off and ran smoothly, can be very fun.
How to double boat surf? The most important part is having the right people and the right equipment: the boat and the driver. Here is a great video by Doug Shih featuring "2 Centurion Enzo's Double Boat Bowl Wake Surfing" as he calls it. Notice how the first boat stays in a direct line and maintains speed:
Most importantly, like any watersport activity, please be safe. According to legendary double wakesurfer Jeff Page, it is important to "Always check your local laws and wear Coast Guard approved vests before attempting double boat surfing. All parties should be aware that this is a dangerous task and things can happen. We do not recommend it." But if the lake/river is empty and you have enough space to attempt, here are a couple things you should keep in mind-
1. ) The rope should be about 30' off of your pole you’ll want it just a head of the spine, so test the length first. Speed about 13.5 mph., but will vary depending on weight and type of the boats used. It helps to have two boats that are similar in weight and style. Do not use inboard/outboards, or outboards.
2. ) The tow boat should drive in a straight line setting your speed on your speed control. The second boat should slowly, come in on the left or port side of the tow boat, with no speed control on. The driver can control the speed and distance between the two boats, ( 10 feet + or -) while the tow boat simply drives straight and watches for traffic. Match speeds and maintain a distance that creates a perfect spine. You don't have to be overly close or overly weighted down to get the perfect wave. We are behind two large v-drives with the side tanks filled 60%. Our front tank is filled 100% and back side sacks at 100%.
3. ) As the boats slowly come together, the surfer will feel a push of the wave. It is important to keep holding on to the handle as you learn to stay in the sweet spot of the spine. If you glide down into the trough too far you will loose the wave and slide out the back. If you are falling out the back, you need to pump the board to get back in. Use your weight to shift forward and back to stay at the peak of the wave. When the rider falls slowly come to a stop and restart the process.
Double Wakesurfing Today? Today double wake surfing has gotten a little bit easier thanks to the SUPATX crew who have introduced SUP boards designed with wake surfing in mind. This is a lot easier because the bigger the board the more buoyancy you will have, plus you have the ability to get way back in the white wash and wake pocket and can even paddle back in to catch up. If you are going to try this out, then you might as well enjoy the ride with a big, buoyant and speedy paddleboard versus small wake surfboards that require professional skill. "It is so much easier to do than with a normal wake surfboard; you can even surf tandem or with your dog," says Buck Ashcraft with SUPATX. "I got to give credit to the boat drivers who need just as much skill as the surfer. Get used to SUP wakesurfing first with just one wake. Once you master frontside (body facing the wake), try backside."