The tip this week is going to be on driving. One of my biggest frustrations on the waters of the world are the way people drive their riders. Most of the time it isn’t even their fault it’s just the lack of knowledge on where their wake is going.
So here’s a few tips for drivers:
1. How to find the calm water – Simply drive directly into the wind, if you drive into the wind you’ll eventually get to the shoreline that is protected from the wind and find calm water.
2. Picking a path – Once you’ve found your shoreline pick a straight path (the legal distance from shore) that is long enough for a run, This line will be your sacred path to protect from waves so that your rider always has good water. Never, Ever (unless the law say’s you have too) run in a circle.
3. Proper driving in your path – The best thing to do is pick an object at each end of your path, this could be any land mark, a tree, a dock, house, whatever. You always want one of your land marks in front of your bow light and the other in your mirror. When you get to the end of your run and it’s time to turn you want to “dog bone” your turns. Imagine the shape of a dog bone, this is your boat path. Turn the boat 45% to your boat path to get away from center then turn back the other way and come down the boat path you just came from. When you do this at each end your path will look like a Dog Bone.
4. Keep your own rollers out of your path – When your rider falls it’s your job to protect the path. When they fall stop the boat on your line so your rollers (Wake) keeps going away from your path, Turn the boat in an idle as to not send rollers down your path, once your pointing at your land mark again then go ahead and get back to your rider as fast as you want. When you get back idle around them again as too not make rollers. Get them on your line again and drive away. If you power around every time they fall you’ll destroy your own water.
5. Driving a straight line – The easiest way to drive a straight line is not by looking forward. The shoreline could be bending without you noticing and this will cause your wake to suck. The turbulence line from your prop won’t ever lie though. So watch your turbulence line in your mirror and make sure it’s drawing a straight line in the water. If you don’t have a mirror, then get one. I sell Roswell mirrors and will be happy to hook you up. You’ll never be a good driver without a mirror.
6. Etiquette – When you see a driver running a path your not doing him any favors by running a path away from them, or going to the other side of the lake. Your rollers will eventually get to them and theirs to you. The best thing you can do is idle over to where their running and sit and wait until their changing rides or fall close enough to talk. Ask them if they mind if you run the same line or if you can take turns running the path. Any driver that you see driving like this will know enough that your trying to help them have a good day on the water and will work with you.
7. Multiple boats on a path – You can easily run 3 boats in one path and have great water for everyone. But you must be very conscious to make it safe and fun.
-Always pass on the drivers side of each other when possible.
-When a rider is fallen be aware of your wakes to the other boats.
-Be very aware of the other riders your following, Sometimes you’ll be following their boat path, so you must keep a keen eye on their fallen riders.
-Have your riders hold their board up if their nervous about a boat coming at them.
-When your rider has fallen and you have his line tight and ready to go, wait for another boat to pass if their coming your way, that way the other rider doesn’t have to get hammered on your start up wake.
-Communicate with the other driver let them know it’s ok to drive close whhen a rider falls so the waves clear fast and you have a good path.
-When you pass each other cross the other boats wakes as soon as you pass their rider, then you’ll get in good water quicker.
Communication will replace fingers – I don’t know how many times I’ve seen it, Boaters assume that someone is trying run them down by coming close to them when all their doing is trying to give them good water. Then the arms start flailing, everyone starts screaming, fingers are flying, and everyone wants to kick everyone’s ass. Just avoid the situation by slowly idling up and have a conversation about what your going to do before you do it. I’ve even seen fisherman be fine if you just talk to them first. I’ve even gone up to jet skiers and told them if the give me 20 minutes of good water I would make a wake for them to jump when I’m done riding. Tubers, that’s a tough one, But you can try, offer them a beer or something. Or just give in and surf when the lake gets too busy. The point is the lake can be destroyed by 2 boats driving badly. or everyone can have a great day on the water with a little education.