It stands to reason that the boat you use for wakeboarding must have the ability to leave behind the classic wake for you to play in… As one of the fastest growing watersports in the world, technology is striving to keep up with demand.
It is an interesting fact that the boat you need for this sport does not have to be as big and powerful as the boat required to pull a water skier.
The most important factor of the boat is that it pulls steadily whilst maintaining a constant speed of about 15 to 18 miles per hour. A 16 or 17-foot boat with a 50 to 90 hp outboard motor should be adequate whilst an 18 to 19 foot boat with a 115 hp outboard or 135 hp inboard motor will provide optimal wakeboard pulling.
We started this article off with the bold statement that the wake was one of the most important features and of course this is true – as you will have seen from the above video. A wakeboarder needs a large wake curled just right for getting optimal height. A V hull is ideal because of the size and shape of the wake as the boat increases speed. Flat-bottomed boats will not create enough wake to allow a wakeboarder the versatility he requires to perform higher jumps.
Extra weight at the back of the boat is also an advantage. Unique features such as ballast, wedge and hull technology are being adapted or added to wakeboard boats to help create large wakes.
Most of the boats that are available now are equipped with automatic ballast technology. The ballast tanks are placed inside the hull of the boat and are filled and emptied by the switches on the dash. This helps make the boat heavier and a heavier boat equals a bigger wake.
The wedge on the other hand drags the back of the boat down to help build the wakes. Their basic function is to bring the stern of the boat deeper into the water shaping the wake to the rider’s specific needs. The plates are at the back of the boat behind the prop. Wakeboard boat manufacturers are constantly tweaking this technology. The manufacturer Supra has introduced ‘smart plates’ which automatically lift which allows you to choose the shape of your wake – to a certain extent.
Another wedge innovation, this one by Malibu Boats, is the ‘power wedge’ which, at the push of a button on the dashboard, adjusts the attitude of the boat, as well as displacing the hull, which increases or decreases the wake and can also modify the wake shape. This natty little accessory can now be tweaked mid-session and customised from rider to rider in a matter of seconds. It will make the ballast obsolete and is certainly easier to use than the filling, draining, loading and unloading of ballast.
“The power wedge is the best wakeboarding accessory to be introduced since the tower,” praised Darin Shapiro, World Champion wakeboarder and Team Malibu member. Shapiro explained, “I love the Power Wedge because of the control it gives me to shape the wake however I want. When I have students at my camp, Ride the Spot, who want an adjusted wake there is no problem. I don’t have to spend time filling or draining phat sacks or removing ballast. I only have to push a button and it’s done!”
An extended pylon is also an advantage as it allows the wakeboarder to get more air when jumping. However, to offset the excessive bending stresses from the longer pylon a cable is usually attached to the bow-eye. If you are a serious wakeboarder, though, you would probably consider investing in a wakeboard tower which adds rigidity and makes the cable unnecessary. Both of these accessories elevates the tow position of the rope to help pull the rider up, rather than bring them down.
The following video, too, shows you the advantages of the perfect wake and the rather stately progress of the boat…
Thinking of buying a wakeboard boat? There is so much choice now both with brands and accessories… do your homework, decide exactly what it is you want from your boat, and go shopping. Lovely!