Budget Wake Boarding Tow Options

MotorMan101

Seaman
Joined
Sep 28, 2022
Messages
72
I have a 1986 Thunder craft that I just got to try out the world of boating and wake boarding. I am new therefor to both sports. The boat does not have any mounts on it currently and I am wondering do I need to put a tower on it for wakeboarding or what are your Ideas? I have $3000 into the boat and was trying to stay under 500 for accessories...but am looking at raising that to 1000. I do have a old ski pylon thing which looks like a tripod but don't know how to mount it of if its best option. I also saw some things that mount over the outboard like a mini wake tower when searching...over all what are your thoughts to get started in wake boarding?
 

Scott Danforth

Grumpy Vintage Moderator still playing with boats
Staff member
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Jul 23, 2011
Messages
48,020
Your 38 year old boat may had structural issues. Look for signs of rotten transom, stringers and deck before adding a tow rated tower or pylon.

A good tower is about $5k or more

Generic towers can be hard for about $2k

Adding a tow tower or pylon will require adding appropriate structural mounts

Not sure the wake off and old thundercraft is going to be good for wakeboarding based on the deadrise
 

MotorMan101

Seaman
Joined
Sep 28, 2022
Messages
72
The boat is in really great shape as far as I can tell from looking it over ...we have a semi (4 month) short boating season do to weather. I have looked it over pretty good too although I grant I am new at this...What makes a good pylon or tower vs a bad one? I keep seeing posts on price difference, but is it like how they attach or what they are made from...?
 

ks64

Recruit
Joined
Mar 23, 2023
Messages
1
Good point above on the boat's shape (that you've now answered) but I 100% disagree w/wake board tower. Yes, very nice ones may be 5K, but you're a beginner and you can go cheap, and still look just fine on your boat (it's not a 200K new wakeboat!). Monster tower is what you want. Their cheapest one right now is $599. https://monstertower.com/mt1-wakeboard-tower.html

You will want a tower, trust me on this. I bought a Bayliner Element w/115 o/b Merc. Great power & torque to get you going. You will want the height to pick you up out of the water, pulling from the transom is very difficult, and damn near impossible if you've never done it. Good luck, it's a lot of fun!
 

rallyart

Lieutenant Junior Grade
Joined
Jun 7, 2008
Messages
1,177
The order in which to spend money on wake boarding is:
-A good non stretch tow rope with a wide handle. Not a ski rope.
-A wakeboard with a constant rocker that is big enough. Used is great and if it's too big it just makes it easier to get up.
-Some ballast bags to add weight to the boat. Perhaps one 400# or maybe two of some weight so you can adjust where the weight goes.
-A tower.

Really good wakeboarders can do flips and rolls behind a SeaDoo. That's what technique does. The tower helps with air time, can let you store gear, and makes the boat look 'cool'. Neither are essential to see if you like the sport (unless you have a 12 year old). The biggest trick to getting some air is the size of the wake and the ability to load the rope. Start with doing Bunny Hops behind the boat or off to the side. You ride flat and quickly force the back foot down. That loads the rope and as it is not stretch the board gets pulled quickly up the water ramp you just made by pushing your rear foot down. Pop, you are in the air. Not far but practice and you'll get the feel. Do the same thing when you get to the bottom of the wake as you cross it and the ramp is bigger so you pop higher.

To get a good wake run at about 18mph on a GPS. Boat speedometers are not great at that speed. The intent is to be below planing speeds so your hull is pushing water out. Trim up about 25% to push the stern down more and steepen the wake. Add bow weight to make the wake deeper but keep the bow up more than you would cruise at. Adjust and play around as you figure out what works for you.
When first learning, don't worry about adding weight or trimming the bow up. Just drive about 13-14 mph and get towed inside the wake. Learn to spin the board, travel with either foot forward, and Bunny Hop. Those basics really help and just time on the board will make you more comfortable. If the board is small you might go a bit faster.

Enjoy. The non stretch rope is better for kneeboarding and hydrofoiling also.
 

Scott06

Vice Admiral
Joined
Apr 20, 2014
Messages
5,880
I put this tower on my sea ray 200 sport https://www.krypt-towers.com/x-mobe-wakeboard-tower-polished-or-black-1/

it is a good quality tower for the money doesn’t rattle and has held up well for several season

you can do it from the stern tow hook but it is much easier pulling up from the tower. Luckily my boat throws a bigger wake ( compared to other lake bowriders) so is ok to get your feet wet so to speak.

you can add fat sacks etc as you get into it, all depends on how much you want to get into it And your skill level. Rally above gives good advice on driving , big adjustment from towing skiiers. Bottom line you can go broke with hardware purchases but im sure you can find used stuff on CL and ebay, and move up to better hardware over time. My daughters and their friends get a lot of use and enjoyment out of a relatively cheap bowrider. none of them are any good… but we have a great time and they have lifelong friendships with their lake friends

also with a boat that vintage definitely check the stringers and transom by drilling a couple holes if dry wood comes out you are fine if wet not so much
 
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