Answering the Questions
What speed is the best for wakesurfing? - Speed is something that you have to determine when you are out on the water. It is up to the ride, boat, and the shape of the wake. Different boats and weight configuration will need different speed. The best answer to this question is, what ever makes the best wake to surf on.
What kind of board? - For me, it was a skim board. I wanted something that I could progress on, do 360s and aerials.
How far back, or forward? - Depends on what you are doing, there is a lot of movement going on the board. Learn forward to get more speed, learn back to put on the brakes. It all depends on what is happening that exact second you are out there. If we are talking about where in the wake, right where the wake starts to break. Adjust your rope to be a little further than that, and just pull yourself in closer to the boat until you are in the sweet spot.
How should I distribute my weight? - Answered above, depends on what you are doing at that particular point in time.
How much weight to put in the boat? - AS MUCH AS YOU CAN WITHOUT BREAKING THE LAW. More weight = bigger wake, simple enough. I guess too much weight could wash out the wake, just make sure you distribute the weight throughout the boat, not just in the back, and you will be fine. If you are wakesuring like me, then get whatever large friends you have, and have them sit in the back corner of the boat you want them on. Make sure they are on the side of the boat that produces the wake you are riding.
Can I afford this? - No, luckily I can mooch my way through the project.
Does the driver make a difference? - Yes, there is a lot to say about a driver who knows what they are doing, and one that does not. Boat speed, direction (just a slight turn in direction of the wake you are riding), and communication is critical for this. You don't want a driver who does not pay attention or your experience will not be good.
If I am able to go without the rope, how quickly should I learn a trick? - I can't answer this question...just yet.
Fins or no fins? - For me, fins. I need the additional support and tracking while I am wakesurfing. Maybe when I actually can ride without the rope, I will be able to take off the fins.
Does the shape of the board make a difference? - There are three types of boards, surf, skim, and hybrid. Surf is for people interested in surfing the wake. Skim, more for the surface tricks (360 or shuv-its) and the hybrid is a mix of the two. I picked the skim, I have more experience with wakeboarding, wakeskating, and skating than I do with surfing, so I felt it was a natural choice for me.
Is it too cold to do this? Will a wet/dry suit screw with the learning? - Yes. It was a little cold for me. Make sure to have appropriate equipment before you make the attempt. Not sure if wetsuits would make it difficult, I am not a fan of them when I wakeboard so probably it would for me.
How deep does the body of water have to be? - Another question that depends on the situation. For me, the river runs about 6 feet deep and can get really shallow. My friend in northern California says that when you are behind a boat with a lot of weight in it, you want a pretty deep body of water or the wake will start to get mushy and will crumble closer to the boat do to the size of the wake and the bottom of the water way. Same reason you get white wash closer to the shoreline at the beach.
Fail.....well not really
But for all of those that are disappointed in my "failure," here is a video of a professional to keep you busy until I can post my own.