Pontoon tubing, wakeboarding, and water skiing are great ways to make the most out of your next lake adventure. So, can you wakeboard behind a pontoon boat? The answer is yes, but you’ll need to go fast enough.
Here, we will discuss the speed requirements, lake requirements, and rope length that will allow you to wakeboard behind a pontoon boat.
Tow Speed for Wakeboarding Behind a Pontoon Boat
Yes, you can wakeboard behind a pontoon boat, but you need to make sure you have the speed. The proper speed to tow a wakeboarder is usually between 15 and 25 mph. When it comes to speed, you need to understand that the faster you go, the cleaner and more firm the wake will be. This will make it easier and more consistent for you wakeboard riders. If you go slower than 20 mph, the ride will not be nearly as enjoyable. Faster speeds also make it a lot easier to try new tricks.
First-time wakeboarders should begin at a slower speed of about 15 mph until they can safely get up and used to the board. After a few tries, move up to 18-19 mph and then eventually you’ll want to get north of 20 mph to have a truly enjoyable experience and try out some tricks. Once you see a rider try to take a few cuts, you’ll know that they are ready to move up in speed and approach 22-25 mph.
The challenges with wakeboarding behind a pontoon boat are that you can’t really make tight turns like a speedboat. That said, with more experienced riders, after you can go over 21 or so mph with them, you may want to look for waves and other boater wakes for them to jump
One other point we want to make is that every pontoon boat is different. A pontoon at 22 mph might feel like 19 mph on another. You need to work with the rider to feel out the optimal speed for different skill levels for your specific boat.
Lake Requirements for Wakeboarding Behind a Pontoon Boat
Most all-sports lakes and rivers will allow you to wakeboard behind a pontoon. That said, there are numerous lakes that only allow pontoon boats and some of them do not allow water sports. Many smaller lakes won’t even allow you to create boat wake at all.
If you are renting a boat, be sure to check the lake requirements to make sure you can wakeboard or go pontoon tubing on that particular lake. In addition, if you are planning to rent out your boat, be sure to specify if your guests can do water sports on your lake or river.
Proper Rope Length for Wakeboarding Behind a Pontoon Boat?
You’ll want to set your rope length to where the rider is just in front of where the wake goest from a clean looking ramp to white water. This length is usually between 65′ and 85″ and will depend on speed, size of the wake, and the ability of the rider.
The further the rider is away from the boat, the further they will have to go to jump the wake. Likewise, the closer, the easier it is to jump the wake. That said, consider starting the beginners with 65′ long rope and the more advanced riders between 75′ and 85′.
With wakeboarding behind a pontoon, you can use rope length to your advantage if you’re looking to “cheat” on new tricks. If you’re landing in the flats every time, let the rope out a length. If you’re coming up short, pull it in a few feet. When teaching people how to jump the wake on the more difficult toe-side, pull the rope in 5-10 feet to shorten the jump and help them learn. The same strategy can be used to help someone who’s constantly coming up just shy of clearing the wake – pull the rope in and see if it helps.
It is important to have a good, non-stretch rope for wakeboarding. A rope with stretch to it will stretch during your jump up wake ramp and then snap back to its original length in mid-air, and it can throw the rider off balance when they try to land.
Pontoon Boat Weight Distribution for Wakeboarding
To get a clean wake, you will want to have several people on your pontoon and begin by evenly distributing them throughout. After you get going, have one or two move to each side of the boat to see if you can get the wake to firm out. It may take a couple of tries but you’ll soon get the hang of it.
If you’ll be routinely wakeboarding and will not have always have enough people to move around, you may want to try a ballast bag to assist with weight distribution. Ballast bags are inflatable sacks that hold water to create extra weight. One advantage of using ballast bags is that they can be moved from one side of the boat to another without much effort.
What is the Proper Wakeboard Size?
You’ll decide on the size of your wakeboard based on your weight and ability.
Wakeboard Size Chart:
|Rider Weight (lbs)||Wakeboard Length (cm)|
|< 100||< 130|
Some wakeboarders like to ride a board at the short end of their suggested size range. The feeling you get from a shorter wakeboard depends on the board’s shape, but in general, shorter boards are slower and take more energy to push through the water (the more surface area the board has on the water, the faster it will move across the surface). However, a shorter wakeboard is easier to spin and maneuver in the air as you flip or fly across the wake. However, the decreased surface area makes landings harder and the nose may tend to dig in which causes your nose and the rest of your face to dig into the water too.– EVO Sports
Best Tow Bar Options for Wakeboarding Behind a Pontoon Boat
You can read our review about the MonsterSwing turbo swing ski tow bar and also check out these great options if your pontoon is not currently equipped for pontoon tubing, wakeboarding or skiing.
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