The Pointless Guide to Wakeboard Boats

Let’s face it, the Pointless crew knows how to roll. That’s why the top wakeboarding boat companies hook them up with free boats and fun trips. So what’s their secret? We chased down Nick Weinacker, Danny Harf, Shawn Watson, Erik Ruck, Chad Sharpe, Parks Bonifay, Shane Bonifay and Brian Grubb to tell you how to roll like a pro.

Words: Craig Kotilinek Illustration: Sebastian Surroca

If you had to pick one thing besides your boat and gear that really makes a day on the water, what would it be?

Weinacker: A cooler of beer.

S. Bonifay: I could say camera. I could say chicks. I could say beers … can I say all three?

Grubb: Good music.

P. Bonifay: A step-off ski.

Sharpe: My friends.

Watson: My girl and her ladies and, of course, beer.

Harf: A good playlist on the iPhone, and don't forget the auxiliary cord.

Ruck: You gotta have the right crew.

Is it more important to ride well or to look good out there?

Weinacker: Anyone who knows Shane knows it's more about fashion than function, but, for me, it's riding well.

S. Bonifay: You have to look good. I've always said it's fashion before comfort, which is totally opposite of what most people say and it's the reason I say it.

Grubb: Obviously, riding well is most important, but we try to do both.

P. Bonifay: You gotta ride well out there.

Sharpe: I think ride well.

Watson: I'd say look better.

Harf: Probably ride well, because nowadays it's like a snowboard hill — everyone looks good out there.

Ruck: I'd say ride well. It doesn't really matter what you look like.

What advice do you have for people looking to buy a new boat?

Weinacker: Now is the best time ever. There's never been a better time.

S. Bonifay: Make sure it's big enough to hold all your friends, and make sure it's big enough that you can always get more friends.

P. Bonifay: There's never been a better time. I know there have been some ups and downs, but right now is a really good time to buy a boat because there are a lot of good deals out there.

Sharpe: Get out there and demo them and see what you like. Make sure to take advantage of dealers that will do on-water demos.

Watson: Look for quality because you're making a heavy investment and you want your boat to last, but you're also going to want a boat that has a great wake.

Harf: Now is the time to buy a boat. The manufacturers are all trying to move product. Shop around and find a dealer that's willing to work with you.

Ruck: Look past all the flair and find a boat that really works for you in terms of wake, budget and everything else.

What was your first boat?

Weinacker: An inflatable 6-foot boat with a 12-horse motor. The first boat I rode behind was a Carolina Skiff. It was a center-console fishing boat.

S. Bonifay: We've had a boat since I can remember, but the first boat I remember liking for wakeboarding was the Ski Nautique 2001, an '80- or '90-something.

Grubb: A 22-foot Four Winns I/O. That's what I learned to wakeboard on.

P. Bonifay: Cypress Gardens always had MasterCrafts. I think it would have to be the stars and stripes MasterCraft, probably around an '81.

Sharpe: A 16-foot Vanguard with a 90-horse Johnson. Luckily, that got stolen and we bought a '95 Malibu Flightcraft — which had a really big wake at the time — with the insurance money.

Watson: An outboard, 19-foot Chaparral with a 150 Evinrude. That was around 1990, I think.

Harf: A 21-foot outboard Sea Ray. It was more of a fishing-style boat, like a Boston Whaler.

Ruck: It was made by OMC. I think it was called the Sea Swirl. It was maybe a 20-footer, and it was a rip-off of the old MasterCraft MariStar.

How crucial is it for your boat to be named?

S. Bonifay: If you ask any boating captain, it's bad luck to not name your boat.

Grubb: It's good if your boat has some steez, like I have my boat all blacked-out to match my truck. My boat got the name Malichew while we were filming for the Hyperlite Rewritten intro.

P. Bonifay: I would like to think it would be more important than it actually is. I wish it were required to name your boat and put the stickers on just like registration.

Sharpe: I don't ever name my boats. I think a boat needs to be 30 or 40 feet-plus to name it.

Watson: I don't have a name for my boat.

Harf: I don't know why the wakeboard community doesn't name boats, but I think we should start making that a necessity. I saw a boat on Lake Powell named Happy Daze. I thought that was a good name.

Ruck: If you really like your boat and you're really feeling the boat's vibes, then it's necessary. But if it's a boat you're not really getting along with and it's a lemon, then it's not worth making the emotional attachment.

Does the name pick the boat or the other way around?

S. Bonifay: That's a tough one. You can't have a crap boat and a sweet name, and you can't have a sweet boat and a crap name.

Grubb: I think the name picks the boat.

P. Bonifay: I would say the boat picks the name. I normally order my boat and get the color ways, then I find a name after that.

Sharpe: I think the name would be more a part of the person's personality.

Watson: The boat picks the name because of the color and whatnot. Parks used to have a MasterCraft and above the tow eye he changed it to say Sex Boat.

Harf: The other way around.

Ruck: The boat tells you what to name it. You just know.

How many times a month do you clean your boat?

Weinacker: A couple times a week.

S. Bonifay: My boat sits at my house where Collin Harrington takes care of it, so I'd say I've probably helped out on it once in 2009.

Grubb: Once or twice a month. You gotta clean the scum line every once in a while, but other than that, I keep it pretty clean.

P. Bonifay: I usually give it the once-over every couple weeks — you know, get the trash out and whatnot. But I don't scrub down the entire thing too often.

Sharpe: I wipe it down every day, but I'll pull it out of the water about once a month and give it the good cleaning.

Watson: I should say like 10. I wipe it down every time I'm done riding, but I only wash it when I pull it out for service or something. It could be a few months.

Harf: I leave my boat in the water, so it depends on what the weather is like, but probably about once a month.

Ruck: It's never really on a schedule, but if it's dirty, it needs a cleaning. But, if it's not broke, don't fix it.

What's the most customized part of your vessel?

Weinacker: This is funny because I have an old team rider's boat right now, and the hydraulic system on the wake plate broke so I have it held in place with four hose clamps — pretty customized.

Grubb: My tinted windows. It's all blacked-out so you can't see in the cockpit. It works great, especially in the summertime. It doesn't really let much light in. You got your Bimini top and your tinted windows and it keeps the whole area a lot cooler. It makes your boat look really good too.

P. Bonifay: My wrap. I got to pick the colors and it has my name on it.

Sharpe: I'd say the wake, the way I have it weighted down. I really focus on getting the weight in the right places.

Watson: The wake, I guess. I've got seven fat sacks in my boat, plus lead. I'm not sure how much that weighs. The wake on the Nautique 230 is massive, and the boat still jumps on plane.

Harf: Nautique got me this hardtop Bimini that's pretty sweet, and I was one of the only team riders to get it. Maybe the most custom thing would be the mildew on the fat sacks.

Ruck: I'd say my slaysh wake. Over the years, we've done a lot of surfing and testing, so it's pretty good.

What's your favorite feature on your boat?

Weinacker: I have 20 custom profiles of all my bros I ride with programmed into my Tigé.

S. Bonifay: The fact that you can hit three buttons and it's completely weighed down. With MasterCraft, it's really easy — a few buttons and your boat is sitting on the bottom.

Grubb: The wake. I like being able to put a lot of weight in my VLX and balance it out with ballast tanks and go ride. It's a big, consistent wake.

P. Bonifay: Lots of cup holders.

Sharpe: Can I say two? The ballast system and the MaliView.

Watson: It's all about the wake.

Harf: The ease of driving. With as much weight as we put in our boats, it's nice to just be able to crank around a double-up in the Super Air Nautique 230. The Zero Off makes it pretty effortless to drive, and you don't get yelled at too often.

Ruck: Just that it runs. That's pretty important.