Between my stints at The Boarding School and on the King of Wake, I spend more time in the driver’s seat in a month than most do in an entire year. After all that time behind the wheel, I’ve picked up a few things to help out every one of my riders as well as a few tips for self-preservation. While most of these boat driving tips were developed during 12-hour shifts pulling high-pressure sets on the MasterCraft Pro Wakeboard Tour, they’re just as handy under less extreme circumstances. Words: Travis Moye Photo: Rodrigo Donoso
Time Your Tows
At The Boarding School, we typically keep sets to a 20-minute max because if you ride much longer than that mental and physical fatigue can lead to dumb falls. It’s easy to lose track of time during a session unless you have someone to remind you, so I always mount a stopwatch to my steering wheel. Whether I’m pulling a student or Shaun Murray, I start the clock when he drops into the water.
Throttle Down on Landings
So many times riders land a bit out of control or on top of the second wake, and speed is only going to magnify the problem. Whenever possible, I back off the throttle a bit on landings to help my rider ride away or take some of the sting out of a hard fall.
Bead the Heat
A wooden bead seat is the first thing I put in every new boat I get. I know it may seem wrong to put an $8 bead seat from Auto Zone in your new $80,000 boat. I actually resisted it when Kyle Rattray first suggested it to me, but after a few minutes I was sold. Trust me, you’ll thank me when you feel the air flowing beneath your man — or lady — business instead of getting stuck to the seat on a 90-degree day.
Get a Big Bimini
I’m not sure why people want a Bimini that’s 7 feet tall. Sure you can stand under it, but it only works from about noon to 12:45 p.m. and only if you’re heading in the right direction. Instead, get the largest, lowest Bimini top you can find. I always go with the Z5 Cargo because you get tons of coverage and you can store three boards up top. It’s a win-win.
If your state allows, throw on some presidential-grade window tint. It makes a huge difference with glare and heat inside the boat. I pride myself on doing all I can for the rider, but if I’m not comfy my focus isn’t going to be as sharp as it should be. So spend a little time and set yourself up.