You’ll understand why wakeboarding is so popular if you have ever seen a wakeboarder, or even tried it yourself. We know that there aren’t many ways to experience the thrill of riding a wakeboard while being pulled behind a boat. We have created a series guides to help you get started pulling a boatman on the water.
You can tow a rider on many boats and in many different locations, making it an ideal watersport. There are some things you should know before you decide to pull someone behind your boat. This page will give you an overview of the information you will find in our more comprehensive guides. It will highlight the most important points and highlights. You might know some things, others might not be so familiar. We may recommend that you check local regulations, but this page is a great starting point for any new driver.
There will be expectations regarding boating etiquette regardless of where you are driving your boat. This is true even if you are towing a rider. In fact, you must follow more rules as you tow. You want to do your part and be courteous to all passengers and boats that pass by. These rules will help you do your part to be safe and courteous. Please note that local regulations may differ.
- The Rules of the Ramp: You don’t have to be out on the water to learn good boating manners. Make sure everything is ready to go before you launch. This saves time and ensures that everyone is ready to go when you are ready to launch. This is particularly important during busy times.
- Be Careful on the Water. When you are on the water, it is important to be aware of speed limits and where you are going. Be aware of the surroundings, such as structures, and give others a wide berth.
- Be friendly: Boaters have a proud tradition of being friendly. Be friendly to other boaters and clean up after yourself. This will allow you to enjoy the best that water has to give.
- Be sure to follow the rules: You will need to adhere to certain rules whenever you go boating. Before you go out on the water, do some research to find out what they are. Speed limits are often included in these rules.
CHOOSE THE RIGHT SPEED
Speed limits may apply to the rider, so it is important to pay attention and follow them. But how can you decide what speed to use when towing? The right speed will depend on how the boat can handle it, the driver’s comfort level, the rider’s experience and the tricks that the rider will use. Before choosing a speed, the driver needs to be aware of their boat’s limitations and their own. Talking to their rider is a good way to come up with a game plan. These are key tips to help you set your speed.
- Know Your Rider: You should know what level your rider is at on their wakeboarding journey. The speed of your boat will depend on whether they are a novice or a more experienced rider. A beginner will need to learn the water and be able to perform slower maneuvers. Advanced riders might prefer to plan and drive quickly, such as the double-up.
- Getting Started: Wakeboarding doesn’t look like water skiing. If you have ever pulled a rider ski, you may need to adjust how you do it. You need to slow down and accelerate with wakeboarding. This is a big difference from skiing. By letting the rope pull them gently, wakeboarders can quickly get up to speeds of barely above idle. You might need to speed up if you are towing a novice wakeboarder. They tend to resist the pull. You can ride at slower speeds, but wait until the rider has found their balance and is up.
- Setting the right speed: Your rider’s skill level will determine your speed once you are on the move. These are just some guidelines. However, every boat, rider, and driver is unique so speed will vary depending on the situation. A beginner rider should aim to travel between 12 and 15 mph, with 12 being the minimum. For beginners, larger riders might need to be faster in order to keep on the water. The speed of wakeboarding moves increases with experience. Most riders can travel between 18-20 miles an hour to perform most tricks. Advanced riders may be able to travel up to 24 miles an hour but this is your maximum speed.
Why is 18 to 20 miles an hour recommended for most riders? You will notice a cleaner wake from the boat at this speed. It is not as soft and mushy as the wakeboard. This allows riders to perform tricks more easily.
BOAT DRIVING PATTERNS (BEGINNERS) WAKEBOARDING
You may not only want to watch your speed when you are a beginner wakeboarder. It may be a good idea to stick to basic boat driving patterns. These patterns are great for beginners, but also make it easy for more experienced riders. These patterns are easy to learn and you’ll be able to continue driving for many years. Be aware that the three main goals of each pattern we will be sharing are:
- Make sure you leave a clean, straight line.
- Do not drag the rider into choppy, messy waters.
- Assist the rider to maintain control of their speed during turns.
These are excerpts from our comprehensive driving pattern guide. First, we will introduce you to the idea of running straight lines. Next, we will show you how to turn the boat and two other popular driving patterns.
- Run a straight line: Start at the point where the boat or wakeboard is planning. Keep your eyes on the horizon ahead and maintain a steady speed. This will create a smooth ride for the rider.
- Turning the Boat You don’t want the boat to go at high speeds, so you shouldn’t be pushing the throttle. Instead, pay attention to your rider and make a pre-turn in the opposite direction to where you intend to go. You want to draw an ellipse when you turn.
- The Dumbell-Shape Course. To begin, follow a straight line. Next, do a quick turn before turning 180 degrees in the direction that you want. You should see a wide, long arc. After you have completed the turn, you can drive back towards the wake you just created and slow down while you pass the rollers. You can then continue in the same direction as you started or do another arc to complete your course.
- The Wide Oval Course: Drive the boat in one direction and make a slight turn to create an oval shape. This pattern is great fun, as it sends the rollers to the oval’s center. However, it is not recommended for beginners.
WOULD YOU WAKEBOARD WITH EITHER AN OUTBOARD BOAT OR AN INBOARD BOAT?
As we mentioned, there are different aspects to towing a wakeboarder depending on what boat you drive. This got you wondering – which boat is best to tow a rider? This is a topic that has many opinions, so we’ll keep it simple. There are many boats that can pull riders, and the best one will depend on your preference. There are some things to consider when choosing an outboard, inboard, or inboard/outboard boat.
Consider what happens when towing a rider. The rider is pulled behind the boat for wakeboarding and other activities. The rider in wakeboarding is pulled close to the boat, often within a few feet of its transom. This could pose a risk to the rider if the boat is too close to the propeller. An inboard boat eliminates this concern. This is why they are the most popular choice for those looking to tow riders.
You can make your own decisions as long as safety guidelines are followed and you take all precautions. Be prepared and plan ahead, just as you would for any other outing on the water.
HOW TO GET A FALLEN RIDDER OUT OF YOUR HANDS
It doesn’t matter if you are trying an advanced move, or a beginner rider who falls in the water. Many drivers want to grab the rider and turn the throttle. But this is not what you should do. This can be dangerous for the rider. This is what you should do:
- You can slow down to a crawl once you realize the rider has fallen.
- Slowly turn around.
- Return to the rider at a slow speed.
- When you’re near the rider, you should approach them from the side that is downwind.
- Allow the rider to swim to the boat.
- As the rider approaches the boat, shift into neutral and then turn off the engine.
Once you have the rider safely back in the boat, you should check to make sure that they are not injured. A medical kit is good for minor injuries that may occur on the water. However, a professional might be required to treat more serious injuries. You will need to be able to access a radio or mobile device to seek help in this situation.
HOW TO DRIVER A DOUBLE-UP
Double-ups are one of the most popular and adrenaline-boosting wakeboarding tricks, but it also makes it one of the most difficult. A double-up requires synchrony between driver and rider in order to be successful. Two experienced people who know their stuff must communicate clearly and continuously. To drive a double up, keep the boat’s speed constant while running straight and turning. At the end of each turn, increase the speed and drive parallel to the line that the boat was driving. This will prevent rollers from crashing into the rider’s path. This is how it should be done:
- Begin by making a turn in the opposite direction to where you want.
- You can drive in one direction, and the wake will build up into rollers.
- Safety is best achieved by getting far enough away
ENJOY THE RIDE
All watersports like wakeboarding are about having fun on the water. Enjoy your time out on the water. Although it may seem overwhelming at first, you will soon be able to focus on the fun and learn as much as you like. This guide should have helped you get started on your wakeboarding adventures.