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Best speed and ballast location

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  • Best speed and ballast location

    Hi guys.
    Bit of a novice having not wakeboarded for many years...I now have a 18ft bowrider with tower and hope to try a bit when the weather gets a bit warmer.
    Previous times out, I was behind a 17ft maxum with 3.0. Not ideal, I know but did the job. This was a friends boat. He used to insist in putting the ballast up the bow ? I could never get this....surely you would want it at the rear so that the weight would cause the big wide flat bit of the hull to run deeper and produce a bigger wake ? Or at the very least...put it in the floor of the ski locker ?
    What do you suggest I do for the best set up in mine ? She produces a decent wake as it is...being a fairly wide boat with lots of weight caused by the big lump under the hood.
    Best speed ideas welcome too...I'd imagine looking at my wake, about 20-22 mph ?
    Any top tips welcome. Ta

  • #2
    The best speed is a bit below planing. When loaded, an 18' bow rider will be 17- 20 mph on a GPS. The normal boat speedo will not be accurate at that speed. The guys wakeboarding at higher speeds are usually very good and running very heavily weighted boats. Some run at 24 mph, but the boat is still not planing due to the heavy load.

    The best place to put ballast is in the bow. With a sterndrive bowrider you load the weight forward and then trim the drive up, maybe 25%, to adjust the wake shape. This pushes the stern down and also lets you control your speed better. If you load the stern you can't get that downward force from the prop to add to your wake load. Maximum wake size is the goal, and you set your line length to cross it where it is clean and the wake is a good width. If the lip is frothy when you are riding there are two things that can directly affect that. The pull the boarder puts on the boat when they run out to the side will list the hull and clean up the side they are going to cross. If they cut back reasonably quickly it stays clean until they cross it so you get a nice launch. If they are not that good yet, or there is still froth on the wake lip, you can weight that side of the boat a bit to cause list and that will clean up the wake. Having a passenger watch and move from side to side is a good way to accomplish this.

    Good luck. My best advice for those learning is that the water hurts less the slower the boat is going. No shame in not being a pro. They can do flips on flat water being towed by a SeaDoo.


    • #3

      This is just what I was after and more. Some detail above I hadn't even thought about. Especially the clean wake bit. Makes sense.
      Really appreciated.


      • #4
        Rallyart said it perfectly. I always put the ballast bag in the bow area, and trim up . As far as speed goes , it really varies between boats and the load you have . With 3 or 4 people on my boat , 20.5 on the perfect pass is about right, but even that can vary according to the amount of people or ballast. Another thing is, when you're first learning , keep it slow regardless of how the wake looks, then as you get better you can focus more on fine tuning the wake


        • #5
          Thanks both.
          Still very much on the learning curve. Managed to get up without bother, it's just the jumping bit I need to perfect.
          It doesn't help that I've only just realised that I'm using a 136 board, which is way too short for me and of a fair age now. Time to invest in a new one more suited.
          I can understand the trimming up bit and location of fat sac now.
          Sounds like I'll be using a lot of fuel this year !!!
          Not a good thing here in the UK !


          • #6
            When you are first learning, take some time riding between the wakes at 13-15 mph. This is to learn how to carve and sideslip the board, with less painful faceplants. Take the time to learn how to slide the board on both the heel side edge, and the toe side. Learn how to to run normal foot forward and with your off foot forward. Being aware and experienced with non normal riding helps you to recover from problems and do more tricks. Learn how to move the handle from one side of your body to the other and how that turns the board by changing where the pull comes from. Also learn how to pass the handle behind your back and do surface spins. All these are easier inside the wake at slow speeds.
            Good luck. Faceplants happen and friends laughing at you is common, but that's all part of the sport if you want them to cheer for your successes also.


            • #7
              I agree, work on basic riding skills before you spend much time practicing jumps. I've seen a lot of people who can only ride with their dominant foot forward , and while there may be nothing wrong with that, you can go so much farther, do so much more and recover from a lot more "oopsies" if you learn to ride both ways. gain experience with basic riding before trying anything "fancy" . Believe me, I speak from experience lol


              • #8
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                Thanks guys. Points taken on board.