Boat Wake / Weight

netwindernetwinder Posts: 10 New Baller
Hello BallofSpray forum,

I'm fairly young - 17 to be exact. I've been skiing for the past 4 years, and I'm "ok" but always looking to improve.

When I was younger and weighed closer to 100 - 120 lbs I would ski behind a small fishing boat we had, it pulled me fine, and it had a very small wake. However in the last couple years growing has caused me to grow in weight, i'm now in the spectrum of 130 - 140 lbs and the fishing boat can't pull me anymore.

Recently we did get a larger boat, its a Glastron gt185 with the 190 hp 4.6 liter mercruiser v6 engine. Its a great boat don't get me wrong, however I skiied behind it for the first time and wow it was quite the shock - sometimes when I tried picking up speed to cross the wake I would catch air coming off of the end of the wake.

My concern is the boat weighs close to 2500 lbs, and the boat isn't designed to be a ski boat. It does have a substantial wake - however It could be because the driver at the time wasn't trimming the boat properly (I could be very wrong there). I do have a few questions
  • How should I ski behind a boat with a larger wake?
  • How should I size the tow rope? How long should it be? How do I find this length?
  • General tips for getting over the wake without having to get off the edge of the ski?
Thank you for your time :smile:


  • IlivetoskiIlivetoski Posts: 985 Crazy Baller
    Welcome! I'm not too much older than you, 21, and started on this site around your age. Anyway, the best advice for not getting air is keeping the handle in, shoulders square to the boat, and most importantly SOFT KNEES. They will act as shock absorbers and launch you across the wake
  • IlivetoskiIlivetoski Posts: 985 Crazy Baller
    Length should be around 60 feet for the tow rope
  • netwindernetwinder Posts: 10 New Baller
    Thank you! I'll try that next time around. What about the boats weight? And would trimming it properly (so its not plowing) have a large affect on the wake?
  • oldjeepoldjeep Posts: 2,729 Mega Baller
    edited June 2016
    The boat weight isn't really an issue, weighs as much or less than a ski boat. The issue is more the hull type.

    I skied behind a bayliner 195 for 10 years and in that boat what helped the most was to speed up to around 34MPH and make sure that any people in the boat were as far forward as possible and evenly distributed. Trim never seemed to impact the wake much on my boat at ski speed. The other thing that helps is to play with the rope length and speed to find the sweet spot on your particular boat.
    Chuck P
    Not a mechanic but I play one at home
  • Alberto SoaresAlberto Soares Posts: 260 Baller
    @netwinder - @oldjeep is right, if you have an open bow try to put some weight there, 50lbs to 100lbs water tanks will make a huge difference on wake. Also try to find the best rope length by testing as @oldjeep suggested.
  • ScottScottScottScott Posts: 351 Solid Baller
    edited June 2016
    I ski behind a sea ray 18ft bow rider and just started successfully getting through the course behind it, at 15 off. Trim will definitely make some difference. On an I/O usually you will want to trim all the way down, that will take the bow down, so the stern then is not as deep. Some weight in the front will do that also, but you don't want to go too far with the bow down thing (50-100 shouldn't be too much and may help,) overall more weight will bring it all deeper so a bigger wake, but leveling the boat so stern isn't as deep can help. Play with trim while skiing to find the best, most likely trimmed all the way down. Then start adding some weight in front to see if that helps or hurts. There is big difference between just the driver in the boat, and a couple extra people too (but any extra people.....better if they sit mid to front, replacing any extra weight you may have placed up front.) I ski some behind a friends outboard and trimming all the way down is too much and there is a big rooster tail, we end up about 1/2 up. Different speeds may have different trim that is ideal, there is more drag trimmed down so you may want to trim up some as you start going faster.

    Faster does have less wake, but you also have to ski a proper speed for your ability. Especially if you are trying to get through the course. I started at 28, now that I have accomplished the course at 28 I'm trying at 30. The wake is a little better at 30, but the balls go by faster.

    Soft knees definitely help too, and the more on edge you are will also cut through the wake instead of bouncing off it. I think in the long run it maybe helps me with my position. If I'm not in good position (handle low, hip forward, hips square to ski) especially on my offside, I will feel it pull me forward as I hit the wake (borderline over the front wipeout, or sometimes not so borderline.) I often notice I hit the wake harder on my offside than onside, which tells me I need to work more on my offside position and get on more edge.
  • foxriveratfoxriverat Posts: 365 Solid Baller
    Trim should make a difference. When I had my malibu flightcraft barefooter the 200 merc was trimmed all the way down for skiing and footing. We would trim up a 1/4 to mess with the wakeboard
    2000 Malibu Response LX 67 Radar senate double vector highwraps
  • oldjeepoldjeep Posts: 2,729 Mega Baller
    When I say didn't make a difference, I mean it was all the way down as it has to be to get up to speed and trimming up at speed didn't improve it at all.
    Chuck P
    Not a mechanic but I play one at home
  • lantleylantley Posts: 60
    I free ski behind a 1980 Galaxy that's about 21 feet long. It weighs 3500 pounds. Needless to say, it's a big boat with an even bigger wake! I always ski at 15 or 22 off. The wake is a little softer there. If the line is longer, the wake is too wide. If it's shorter, there is a steep ridge from the deep V hull. I tried 35 off behind it for fun but couldn't do anything due to the ski almost getting ripped off my feet at the wakes. Trim seems to make only a small difference - the white foam area of the wake gets wider but not much shorter. Speed doesn't change the wake much from (30-36 MPH). Hope this helps if the boats are similar at all (ours has an I/O too). The deep V almost makes it impossible (I weigh 145 - it's easier for my dad who is substantially heavier).

    As far as style, bend your front knee over your ankle (which is normal I think) and bring your hips up to the handle. If you stay back like this (with "soft" bent knees), you should pop right through (with only a little air that becomes normal). Of course, if you lose form, you will crash hard (I've had quite a few OTF).

    Like I said, this will only help if our boats are similar (and most I/O boats have pretty similar wakes).

    Or you could just buy a racing boat. I saw someone skiing behind a race boat the other day and there was maybe 3 inches of wake!
    If you don't crash, then you ain't trying hard enough!
  • lantleylantley Posts: 60
    Oh and put the people in the front of the boat, not the back.
    If you don't crash, then you ain't trying hard enough!
  • 6balls6balls Posts: 4,606 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    Trim down, a little weight up front, experiment rope length and speed.
    Dave Ross--die cancer die
  • MitzysmanMitzysman Posts: 190 Baller
    i feel your pain - have the same issues with my Bayliner. Thanks for starting the post - i'm finding it helpful :)

    I get to ski behind a Nautique 200 tonight for the 1st time - that should be quite a change.
  • netwindernetwinder Posts: 10 New Baller
    Thank you for all of the constructive comments! I really appreciate it. I'm hearing mixed opinions as to the length of the line, so i'll clarify a few things:

    When i first skiied behind the boat the line was about 60 feet long. There was only a driver in the boat (and a dog, she likes to sit in the front). I may use an old tow rope and shorten it and see if that helps with the wake situation.

    Matter of fact the line broke while I was skiing (what can I say, im strong :wink: ... just kidding) so for now the line can only get shorter, so the big factor here will be boat speed. Im not looking to skii the full 36 mph but still. My ski is a little large for me - its an older taperflex ski, taller than i am and designed for a heavier weight. Still works, but not ideal.

    Anyways thank you for all the constructive comments! I'm at the lake now so tommorow testing will be done and i'll get back to you on what works. Thanks again for all the help :smile:
  • skibrainskibrain Posts: 893 Crazy Baller
    @netwinder thanks for a couple of extra details regarding rope and ski you are using. I totally understand getting started in our sport with the boat and gear available with family, friends or relatives. I did it and so did many folks on here. Sounds like you could be on a 35 yr old ski that is also to big.

    Skis have improved since then. And getting you on any one of about 100 BETTER inexpensive, used skis is going to help you have more ski control, cut through the wake more easily and turn more confidently.

    You might start another thread and ask for some ideas on a ski. Or maybe someone on the forum has unused gear they'd sell. State some specifics of your height and weight and not to exceed budget. ($100, $200, 500) Really, it will make a difference.

    Oh, and a rope that breaks may be a similar scary vintage as the ski. Either cheap and stretchy or old and brittle with a slippery handle. Safer and better skiing days are ahead!
  • netwindernetwinder Posts: 10 New Baller
    I've been skiing for a few years, I used to ski with an O'Brien Jr Celebrity. However I really have outgrown it. I am using my Dad's old ski, it is a little big however (imo) it handles better then the O'Brien Jr Celebrity.

    A little irony: The Rope was only 2 years old.

    I'll look for a new ski as well. For now I'm happy with the taperflex though.

    I did go for a Ski today and I found that speeding the boat up a bit helped alot, and by holding the rope lower and bending my legs more I could easily get over the wake and bounce. I only caught air a few times, its a matter of practice at this point.

    Thanks everybody for the useful advice!
  • netwindernetwinder Posts: 10 New Baller
  • netwindernetwinder Posts: 10 New Baller
    Sorry about the delay - here's my current ski. Is this doable?

  • wtrskiorwtrskior Posts: 704 Crazy Baller
    edited July 2016
    Doable? :) Ski is about twice your age. If you enjoy skiing on it for sentimental or nostalgic reasons, fill your boots but it was made before the Internet really existed...

    If you want to improve your skiing any measurable amount you'll have to get a newer ski.
  • ScottScottScottScott Posts: 351 Solid Baller
    I'd say that the condition of the bottom is enough reason to look at a new(er) ski. And there is much written about the wing....most agree to learn without it until you are doing the course with a pretty short line.
  • Mastercraft81SnSMastercraft81SnS Posts: 94 Baller
    I'm not a expert or any thing, but I learned how to ski on my dads EP Stiletto when I was 13 or 14 and then I bought a 1990s HO. Then I bought a HO CX in 2014 and that made a world of difference. I'm 20 years old. On a big wake boat you just have to find what works for you.
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