Buying a watersports boat, or any boat for that matter, is not a matter to be taken lightly. It’s a huge investment and some meticulous planning and research need to be conducted before taking the plunge. However, once you’ve found the right boat, chances are you’ll never look back and you’ll get your money’s worth in the shape of thousands of hours of pure bliss.
Before jumping in, consider the following:
What will you be using your boat for most often? If your idea of a good time is strapping a wakeboard to your feet and ripping across monstrous wakes, only a very specific type of boat will do. Vice versa, if you’re looking to develop into a tournament level skier, you need the boat for it and a wake boat won’t do. You can get a dualpurpose boat of course, but only if you aren’t too serious about either sport as it will only serve for recreational purposes and won’t give you the tall wake and crisp lip needed for wakeboarding, or the flat and smooth wakes required for advanced skiing.
Inboards are recommended for any watersports, but for wakeboarding you’ll need an inboard in the 24-25 ft range with a V-drive configuration for the best result. Smaller boats of around 20-22 ft will do the trick for beginners and intermediate riders but for advanced riders to be able to get those big wakes and surfable waves, one would need the mass to generate them. Bigger boats also handle chop and big water better than smaller boats would. Other aspects to consider in a wake boat are ballast, enough seating, storage, a quality tower, and a good wake-shaping device for those perfect wakes and waves – and, of course, a high-quality sound system!
Regardless of whether skiers are into slaloming, racing, trick skiing or jumping; if they’re looking to step it up a level they’ll need a boat of around 20-24 ft with a direct drive instead of a V-drive, a centre-mounted pylon and seating capacity for no more than six people. While the smaller overall size of these boats, along with the low deadrise and narrow hull, are all required in a good ski boat, it also means that they usually don’t handle rougher water very well, but this shouldn’t be too much of a concern as skiers tend to stay on dry land when the conditions aren’t optimal.