The addition of ballast to a boat is intended, principally, to sink the boat down so it can displace more water and create a bigger wake. That’s the easy part. The harder part is fine-tuning that wake to create crisp, clean launch ramps and landing zones with just the right amount of steepness. “Having the right distribution of weight is crucial to getting the best shape out of the wake,” says Dean Smith. “It may take a few sets to sort this out, but it will be worth it in the long run.” Generally, you’ll want the weight in the boat to stay fairly equal from side to side to get a symmetrical wake that’s approachable from both sides. Try to get it as even as you can, then play around with it. For example, if the wake is rolling over on one side, it’s as simple as moving weight to that side until it starts to clean up. The boat’s weight from bow to stern, however, is much more crucial. “Putting weight in the front of the boat will normally cause the wake to be less steep, and putting weight in the back will make the wake steeper, as a general rule,” says Hansen. This means if your boat tends toward the steep side and you want to mellow it out for longer landing zones and a less-vertical pop, try throwing some weight in the bow. The opposite is true for a long, flat wake with no pop. However, there’s always a case where these general rules may not hold true. “You’ve got to play around with it,” says Hansen. “There’s lots of different ways to weight a boat. All boats are kind of similar, but some boats are going to do better with weight in the front or the back or the middle.” Most modern boats have an integrated ballast system that’s easy to tweak and will get you to where you need to be in terms of even weighting. They also have options for pretty substantial ballast straight from the factory as well as dry weights that are heavier than ever, so they will be more than adequate for the majority of beginners straight off the showroom floor. But these guys are pros, and they can’t help themselves. The years of habitually weighting boats (and possibly the result of so many heel-edge hookups) have them engrained with the necessity of putting weight in their boats, and here’s how they do it.