Words: Travis Moye Photo: Bill Doster
At The Boarding School, one of the most common mistakes we see is riders putting too much weight in their boats. Everyone — from beginners to pros — seems to think more weight will make things easier. In reality, the opposite is true. Why? For starters, waiting for the top of the wake is one of the hardest hurdles in learning a new trick, and when the wake is larger and more intimidating, it usually magnifies the problem.
A larger wake will also amplify whatever it is you’re doing wrong, so something you may have actually gotten away with on a smaller wake becomes a bigger issue on a bigger wake. In addition to too much weight, configuring it wrong can worsen the shape and consistency of your wake and hamper your boat’s natural handling characteristics. In this wakeboard how to, follow these basic rules to ensure you aren’t doing your riding and boat more harm than good.
Start With Less As a general rule, start with less weight than you think you should. If you’re just learning to jump the wake, you probably don’t need any additional weight. Once you master wake jumps you can start adding weight, but I would still stick with only stock ballast.
Keep It Even Too much weight in the back will make your wake more lippy and likely to curl over while too much weight in the bow tends to make your wake washy. Dispersing weight as evenly as possible throughout the boat will have several positive effects. First, it will help maintain your wake’s natural shape while making it larger. Second, it will help preserve your boat’s natural handling characteristics. Sure, your boat will perform differently with more weight. But if you distribute that weight evenly, it will respond normally, just a little slower.
Add and Experiment Once you have all of your 180s, several 360s and a few inverts, you more than likely deserve some extra weight. Add it slowly and evenly throughout the bow, cockpit and rear lockers. Of course, each boat is a little different and so is every rider’s wake shape preference, so it may take a few tries to get things exactly how you like them. But if you take the time to build it right, your riding and your boat will thank you.