View Full Version : Driving a Wakeboarder
03-10-2004, 02:25 PM
We're new to owning a boat and wakeboarding. My 15 year old son, having wakeboarded now for approx. 3 weeks is the expert. I have pretty much gotten the hang of driving him, but now that we are seeing many more boats with wakeboarders out, I am wondering about driving etiquette and protocols. In particular when I am passing a wakeboat that has a boarder in the water preparing to get started, is it best to go slowly past them or go fast past them. My son the expert says we should go fast past them because our boat will create less wake doing so. But, it seems like I should slow down. What are the guidelines on this? Do boarders in the water want you by them quickly? I know the bass boats and cruisers just fly right by. Any tips would be much appreciated.
03-10-2004, 05:16 PM
Do you have a boarder out as well? If so maintain your present speed ..and concentrate on putting as much distance as possible between yourself and the other boats. Nothing makes me more nervous than to have a skier in the water and see someone coming up the channel right behind me no matter what their speed. Faster speeds do reduce the size of your rollers(as do very slow ones), but also reduces your ability to react suddenly if the boat you are approaching makes a sudden start. This happens a lot, a driver has a skier out and gets focused on them and not what is in front of them when the skier finally yells "go" some drivers will face forward and give it h(*l...That is one of many reasons you should never cut across the bow of a boat with a skier in the water. If you are skiing on a small body of butter go over when the other boarders are between sets and see if you and the other boats can work out some sort of rotation to keep it safe. You will find most of us out there will be receptive because that will insure their riders have a shot at some smooth water instead of fighting boat chop and dangerous conditions. There are many little things you will pick up on over time, and as long as you continue to be patient and considerate of others, and mindful of safety on the lake you be just fine. Sorry My post was so long winded, but boating safety is kind of a hot button with me. I have been boating all my life and have seen some needless bad stuff happen on the water. Nice to see someone new to the activity asking for assistance. Glad to share the water with ya
03-16-2004, 12:02 PM
medevac130 said it perfectly. I'd also like to add about the boating etiquette this info that can be found at www.wakeworld.com in the don't be that boat article.
Stay at a steady speed. Don't juice a rider in his or her approach to the wake
Go straight. Pick a spot on the horizon and drive to it. This will ensure a consistent wake for the rider. Don't make a long continuous arc that will result in a wake that is big on one side and small on the other.
When you circle around a fallen rider, SLOW DOWN. Don't go making the power turns like you see in the James Bond movies. You send rollers across the whole lake when you make the fast turn around. Instead, bring the boat to a stop, then make a slow turn and return to your rider.
Once the handle has reached the rider, throw the boat into reverse just a little. This will keep from ripping the rider's arms out of their sockets as the rope passes them at 10 MPH. This will also reduce the chance of injury from wrapping the rope around an arm, leg, neck or other body part.
Finally, pay attention. This is simply common sense, but is still good to remind you.
The power turn part in bold lettering is a big issue typically with newer drivers. They feel they have to get back to the rider as fast as possible for their safety. Now if the rider is in any kind of danger by all means get back to them as fast as you can but most of the time it's not necessary to do a power turn to get back to the rider. The power turns ruin the nice water conditions on the lake by makeing huge rollers in all directions.
03-18-2004, 12:10 PM
I like this thread. Some good advice here. It is funny how the lake can seem quiet and you pick your time to go out. Then all of a sudden, eveyone is on the water. If I am driving and this happens, I just let the skiier/boarder know and we find a safe place to stop. Many times it is just not worth fighting the slop from other boats just to complete the course or get back to the dock. I am always amazed to see someone being dragged all over, barely able to stand becuase the the water is so rough. Or a driver putting himeself and his skiier/boarder in an unsafe situation just to "complete" the trip. Circle back to protect the guy/gal in the water and take a time out. I in a few minutes the chaos will pass.
Inliner is spot on. Have a plan before you go out and let you skiier/boarder and spotter know what it is. Even better if you let others using the same water in on it. This is what drives me nuts about people tubing and pwcs. They are content to go out for ages and aimlessly chew up a perfectly calm lake and you have no idea where they headed next. They never seem to get tired either? Sorry to rant but it is my current pet peeve.
03-23-2004, 02:04 PM
Thanks for all the great advice. So far I think I'm doing OK with driving safely and considerately. I still get a little anxious when I am pulling my son and approaching multiple boats stopped ahead. Lake Austin has pretty much a two channel route for boating and it seems pretty tight when there is a stopped boat on the left, one on the right and another in the middle. But, so far everyone seems to know what they are doing and everyone seems pretty considerate. One thing that has made my driving much much easier is Perfect Pass. It took a few weeks to get in and we took the boat out several times without it. Without it, with my wife watching the wakeboarder and me driving, it still was a lot to keep the speed near constant, keep an eye in the mirror and keep two eyes ahead. Now with it, I have actually been able to take my oldest son out wakeboarding by myself without feeling overwhelmed. There is no way I would attempt just him and me without the Perfect Pass. I'll look into that driving class. Thanks again.
04-19-2004, 10:59 PM
ALL OF THIS INFORMATION IS GREAT... And the only thing i never really saw reading all of these is if your lake is small like most of them hear in Colorado the marina usually will have lake directions. Most of the ones i have been to hear are counter clock wise. This is prob the one thing i hate most is when your going the right direction and another boat doesn't know the lake is going backwards...That is how people get hurt..
Have Fun boating but definitly be safe
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