Wakeboarding is a mix of surfing, skateboarding, snowboarding and water skiing, all in one pack. It’s a fantastic activity for summer days at your local lake, spending time with family and friends and creating memories. Although it does require a minimum level of fitness, everybody can try it and once the basics have been learned, there’s a high chance you will be hooked on it for life.
Although a wakeboard boat must create a great wake, there are also other characteristics that it should have to make it ideal for this activity and electric boats, with their instant power delivery, could be a great option.
A good wake. This means the wake must be clean, to avoid the rider from catching the nose of the board with the white water. Also, the wake face should create a ramp. At beginner levels, you don’t need the curve to be too steep as this will make it harder for them to learn and more prone to catch the nose. For advanced riders, a steeper wake will provide higher air time and also more radical landings.
Hull shape. To create the large and clean wake mentioned above, a boat designed for wakeboarding usually has a hull with a deep V and a hard forward keel that narrows towards the rear of the vessel.
Propulsion system. For safety reasons, you should only wakeboard on a boat with a V-drive or an inboard drive. This keeps the rider away from the propeller that is not exposed at the back, and eliminates the risk of hitting it if he gets too close.
Power and Torque. Instant power delivery is needed to reach the desired speed needed for wakeboarding. Here is where electric boats provide a big advantage over combustion engines, with their direct power delivery.
Weight. The quality of the wake can go from decent to great based on the amount of weight placed on the boat and its distribution. A heavier boat will be pushed further down into the water and displace more water, thus creating a larger wake. Also, adding weight to the front part of the vessel creates softer wakes, while adding weight to the back part creates steeper ramps. Specifically designed wakeboard boats use a ballast to modify this behavior. The ballast is filled with water using onboard pumps to increase the weight, or drained to reduce it and reach the desired balance.
Flooring. With wakeboarding being an action sport, a proper flooring made with robust materials against impacts is mandatory. Think about being able to move your boards freely around the deck without having to think twice. Also, materials that are grippy (to prevent slipping), are easy to clean and don’t heat easily during the summertime are what you should be looking for. A great option would be cork flooring, which is not only durable, but looks the part and is also made with a sustainable material.
Rear-facing seating. All the action takes place at the rear end of the vessel, so it only makes sense to have seating facing backwards to enjoy it. Having a boat with a modular interior will allow you to customize your seating area according to the activity you want to partake.
An open stern. Having the rear part of the boat open will allow the rider to mount or dismount easily and safely.
Although having the characteristics listed above will make your boat ideal for wakeboarding, you can still use a regular boat and enjoy some fun rides. While the generated wake might not be as perfect as the one created by a wake boat, you will still be able to get up on the board and ride. The fact that it can be less intimidating for beginners makes it a great starting point.
All you have to do is attach a tow rope to the stern and you’re all set. Having a low attachment point for the rope makes it harder for the rider to keep the board on a plane. The rope can also get in contact with the wake during the ride, which can throw water to the rider. Investing in an accessory such as a pole, will provide a higher attachment point for the tow rope and will make getting on a plane a much easier task.
With electric boats creating more and more buzz, the question that might arise is… are they a good option for wakeboarding? If being able to enjoy your rides with less fumes and noise is not convincing enough, think about the amount of torque and instant power delivery that electric boats have, compared to a traditional combustion engine. Also, the speeds required to tow the rider and the average time spent on the water per session (2 to 3 hours) are well within the ranges of current electric motors making them a great, eco-friendly alternative.
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