Perfect Your Pickups

Words: Travis Moye Photos: Bill Doster

It seems like every time I'm out on a public lake there's some guy whipping huge turns under full power to double back and pick up a fallen rider — seriously, every time, without fail. The problem with power turns is that they send rollers all the way down the lake, generally transforming a nice day on the water into a huge churning mess. Power turners also bounce everyone around in the boat, surround fallen riders with a ton of huge rollers and waste a bunch of gas unnecessarily. Long story short, drivers who power turn are jerks — no different than the telemarketer who calls your house at 7 a.m. on a Saturday. In this wakeboard how to, follow these steps for perfect pickups. You'll not only keep the entire lake much calmer, but you'll also actually pick up your rider faster than you would with a power turn.

Neutralize As soon as the rider falls, chop the throttle to neutral. As you do this, turn the steering wheel either right or left to set up a little pre-turn just like you would if the boat were under power. I like turning left because my boat makes a tighter circle in idle to the right.

Turn around Once the boat comes off plane, put it in idle and turn the wheel completely to the right. You will have to go over very little rollers.

Head back Idle back in a straight line to your rider. Make sure to drive about 20 feet away so that when you circle around your rider the rope will catch him but he won't have the entire length of the rope drag down his body as you tighten up.

Pick up and go Once the rider gets the rope, tap the boat in and out of gear. When you can tell the handle is 10 to 15 feet away from his hands, take it out of gear and coast so you don't yank the rider abruptly. Once the rider has the handle and is ready, drop the hammer.