Ok folks, don't flame me! This is just a start and all you experts feel free to add your two cents, perhaps we can create a concise checklist for folks to go over and self-diagnose.
If you haven't already done so, a review of this site is VERY HELPFUL. http://www.howtowakesurf.com/
The wake doesn’t need to be huge, knee high is adequate. For learning, smaller is better than HUGE. However, a too small wake will prove frustrating. Shoot for knee high.
You need a crisp clean pocket. If there is white water, it’s usually caused by too much weight on the OPPOSITE side of the boat, or the speed being set too slow. Hopefully you are surfing on the weighted side of the boat. If you are still seeing white water, try slowly increasing the speed of the boat until it cleans up. This speed should PROBABLY be in the 9.0 to 10.0 mph range.
To set your speed, start slow, around 8 mph and then gradually increase speed until the wake cleans up. It can take a little time for it to clean up, so be patient. Perfect Pass is GREAT for this. Just bump the speed up one click.
For learning a bigger, slower, more stable board is better than the more maneuverable trick style board. This isn’t to say that big slow boards are better than skimboards…only that during the learning phase (first time trying to ride without a rope) stability is what you need. As you improve, you’ll most likely migrate to one of the shorter more maneuverable boards.
If you are having trouble dropping the rope, be sure that you are in the pocket. This may seem extremely close to the swim deck. The nose of the board should NOT be hitting the swim deck, that is too close. If there is a small curl on the back of the wake and that is hitting the tail of the board, that position is too far back. Try slowly pulling yourself forward towards the boat until you feel the board sort of take off. That is being in the pocket. The board should be aligned with the forward travel of the boat. Always remember you can dive to the side if the board hits the boat. Don’t dive forward towards the boat.
If you can feel the pocket, or believe that you are in the pocket, but cannot stay there, try shifting your weight forward on the board. First simply try leaning forward, if that doesn’t work, then try shifting your feet forward – scooting them towards the nose of the board. If you get to a point where shifting weight forward causes the nose of the board to go underwater, commonly referred to as pearling, you should try a larger board with more volume.