So you want to get your first wakeboard boat? There are many options available to you that wont break the bank and give you the same great ride you are looking for in a 50k-60k boat. First things first, unless you don’t want to spend a ton of money on a newer boat, consider looking for something a little older. Boats from 1995 and older if maintained and well taken care of will do you just fine. Here’s a few tips that will help you better determine what’s right for you.
You will want to determine primarily what you will be using the boat for?
If you are going to be using the boat for all of the above, you will want to consider a bigger boat. With a larger boat you will be able to accommodate all your buddies, family and gear. If you are a hard-core slalom skier or barefooter you will want something smaller that has less of a wake.
So what am I going to look for?
If you have finally decided that you want something for everyone, you should look for a boat 20 feet and larger, with an open bow. A open bow allows passengers to sit in the front of the boat and will have a bench style seating. If you are that die hard skier and are just looking to get out and make some turns, than something 19 feet and smaller should do you just fine and a closed bow will make things lighter and give you a smaller wake. A closed bow will not have any front seating and will be part of the fiberglass shell of the boat.
V-drive/direct drive vs Inboard/Outboard?
Professional wakeboard and ski boats will all have direct drive or v-drive engines. While the cheaper more family oriented, all around ski, fish wakeboard, tubing and relaxing boats will have either inboard or outboard or what they call inboard/outboard.
- Direct drive engines will be located mid boat and send the power directly from the motor to the drive shaft and finally to the propeller which is located under the boat closer to the middle. Direct drive boats are know for smaller wakes and are usually preferred by skiers due to their flat bottoms and smaller wake sizes.
- V-drive engines will have a rear-mounted engines with the same concepts as a direct drive engine. The power goes from engine to a driveshaft and to the propeller. With a V-drive boat you will get a much larger wake that will cut through the choppy water with ease.
- Inboard/Outboard boats will have a rear-mounted engine inside the boat and a lower end unit outside the boat coming off the transom or the rear end. The lower unit is what holds the propeller. Inboard outboard boats are more family recreational boats and are good for all around fun. If you are a serious wakeboarder and skier you probably want to go with a direct or V-drive boat.
Both the direct and V-drive boats will have a rutter for steering under the back end of the boat. This will make your boat have full control and be able to turn on a dime at normal riding speeds.
As far as direct drive and V drive boats go for skiing or wakeboarding, it really doesn’t matter as much as you may think it does. One is no better for your first boat than the other. V drive may give you a bigger wake but with the right accessories a direct drive can have a perfect wake that will be plenty huge for hurling yourself off of. Consider looking at these accessories to make either one of these boats that much better.
- Ballast Systems – There are many different options available from rear seat types to large looking duffel bag types. Either way these will give you the extra weight your looking for to push that huge wake.
- Wakeboard Towers – Towers are what work in conjunction with the wake and allow you to get the height needed to pull off certain tricks. Towers also hold all the goods (Speakers and Board Racks).
- Tower Speakers – A must have for anyone riding behind a boat. Who doesn’t love to rock out to there favorite tunes while riding.
- Wakeboard Racks – Also a must have to give you and your buddies that extra legroom in the boat. Racks get the boards up and out of the way, which makes everyone a little happier, rather than tripping over all those boards.
Be sure to look on Craigslist or Ebay locally, there are always numerous amounts of boats that will fit your needs on those sites. Another site I have found to be really useful is http://www.iboats.com. This site also has localized listings and is a great reference site to determine what kind of boat you want. I have found some of the best deals just driving around and finding them sitting on the side of the road. The nice thing about looking locally is that you can inspect and drive the boat for yourself before making the purchase. If the seller allows you to, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to bring the boat to a marina and have it looked over. You will probably have to pay for this yourself but consider it cheap insurance in the long run. Here are some key words you should be looking for while searching for a boat.
- Ski Centurion, Mastercraft, Moomba, Supra, Gecko, Correct Craft, Malibu, Direct Drive, V Drive
There’s nothing better than spending the day on the water relaxing and riding with some of your friends. Hopefully these pointers will help influence you on your next boat purchase. Remember to stay safe and always wear a life vest while riding.