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Wakeboarding is a thrilling sport that almost everyone enjoys in the summer. Surely, you want to give it a go too, but you’re a bit confused about something; can you wakeboard behind a jet ski?
Short answer, yes. You can wakeboard behind a jet ski, but there are some factors that you need to take into account.
Don’t worry though, as I’ve compiled all information that you should be aware of. So before you grab your wakeboard and head in the water, keep on reading till the end, and all your queries will be solved.
Can You Wakeboard Behind a Jet Ski?
This will be good news for you that yes, you can wakeboard behind a jet ski.
Jet skis are light, powerful, and certainly less expensive than jet boats. So to be able to wakeboard behind them is like an all in one package. However, there are some problems that you may have to face.
What’s the Catch?
Below you’ll find some cons of wakeboarding behind a jet ski.
Not All Jet Skis Are Designed to Pull a Wakeboard
Vintage 2-stroke and stand up jet skis do not hold enough power to pull along weight, so it would be impossible to wakeboard using them.
However, most modern 3-seater jet skis come equipped with a powerful engine that makes them cruise at high speeds. Some examples are the 2020 Yamaha VX, 2020 Sea-Doo GTI SE 130, 2020 Kawasaki ULTRA LX, etc. You’ll get better performance if you go for jet skis with 250-300 horsepower.
So if you’re interested, then give your dealer a visit and find the best one for yourself.
Check up on Your Local Laws
The worst thing that can happen would be enjoying yourself in the water, only to realize that various laws were accidentally broken.
There are several rules and regulations regarding wakeboarding in beaches or lakes. For example, some states require another person on the jet ski to observe the wakeboarder.
Moreover, tow-rope length, re-boarding procedure, speed limits, hand signals, etc. differ from state to state, so take a look at the U.S. Coast Guard’s Boating Safety Resource Center’s website.
Lack of Space
Jet skis are small and do not offer much space for your friends or family to cheer you on from. In contrast, a boat has seats and enough power to pull along two wakeboarders instead of one.
Since jet skis are compact, there isn’t much space for storage as well. So stowing life jackets, ropes, towels, etc. is more or less impossible.
Jet skis are known for spraying water behind them while cruising along the waves. This means that you might end up soaking wet before you even stand up straight on your wakeboard.
Now, this isn’t a huge problem, but you might want to take a look at different models of jet skis as their performance differs from each other.
Jet Skis Don’t Have a Wakeboard Tower
A wakeboard is equipped on the back of the boats. Its primary purpose is to provide some height for hooking in the wakeboarding rope. This ensures that the wakeboarder is not pulled downwards in the water, so it’s an excellent beginner’s option to stabilize themselves.
Instead, in jet skis the rope is tied to the bottom, limiting you from performing tricks such as jumping. Balancing on the wakeboard may also be a bit difficult.
Advantages of Wakeboarding Behind a Jet Ski
Wakeboarding behind a jet ski is not all that bad. In fact, some people love using jet skis to wakeboard in the water for several reasons. Let’s take a look at them.
Maneuverable and Speed
Jet skis are small and light, yet they hold a lot of power. On the other hand, boats are big, bulky, and weigh a good few thousand pounds. They cannot change directions fast, and cruising up to the desired speed takes up a bit more time.
Comparing them to jet skis, they are easier to handle and can go up to 50mph in seconds, which is a pretty impressive feat. They are also a bit safer, as sharp turns will less likely turn them over.
Storing Them is Easy
Another advantage of jet skis being small is that they can easily be stored in your garage’s corner. However, make sure that they are appropriately stored; otherwise, natural elements can tear down your vessel.
If you’ve ridden your jet ski in salt water, wash it with vehicle safe soap and water. Otherwise, the residue salt will damage the paint and metal surface.
Drain excess water from the engine, and disconnect the battery. Buffing your jet ski with a high-shine protectant car wax will act as a layer and protect your vehicle from natural elements.
Jet Skis Are Less Expensive
An average boat will cost you good tens of thousands of dollars in just the initial payment. Maintenance costs will add in a couple more grand’s every year.
Although jet skis are expensive too, compared to boats, they are way more affordable. The cost ranges from $10,000 to $20,000, a decent amount of dollars for a good quality product.
Beginners Guide on Wakeboarding Behind a Jet Ski
- Start with a straight course. Balancing on the wakeboard is difficult as it is, especially if you’re a beginner, so make sure to tell the driver not to make any sharp turns. You need to take a feel of wakeboarding before attempting to try turns and twists.
- Having an observer or a spotter is a must. They can alert the driver if you lose your balance, or come across any problematic situation such as the rope snapping.
- Since the rope is tied on the bottom of the jet ski so you’ll be pulled directly from the front. Raise the tow-rope handle to your hips and not higher; otherwise, you can lose balance and fall. Also, check out the position of your knees and feet.
- Ask wakeboarders around you to give you tips and tricks so that your first couple of tries turn out successful.
- Research online and in-person from people around you. Attempting to wakeboard can be a little daunting, so mentally prepare yourself.
- Learning hand signals is extremely important. It’s crucial for you and the driver to be able to communicate and understand each other correctly. One wrong move can put both of your lives at risk.
- The driver should maintain a steady pace and slowly put on speed. Suddenly cruising fast can jerk the wakeboarder and make them lose balance.
- Most importantly, have fun and let the jet ski guide you on the water. It’s a thrilling experience, and hopefully, yours would be just as enjoyable.
Safety and Precautions
Take a look at the precautions listed below.
Wearing a lifejacket is extremely important. Even if you can swim, a lifejacket will reduce the chances of falling into danger, especially if you are wakeboarding in the sea and come across a sudden change in waves.
Wear a helmet as well. It’ll only add to your protection.
Also, tightly strap up your wakeboard bindings so that they don’t unravel in the middle of the ride. Moreover, make sure to position yourself several times on the wakeboard to see which foot you’re comfortable with being on the front.
If you are a beginner, you can opt for a rope that is somewhere between 30-50 feet. A short rope will keep you closer to the jet ski, and balancing on the wakeboard will be more comfortable.
Plus, if you fall, you can quickly get out of the water and onto the jet ski.
Another thing to remember is to let go of the rope when you fall. Most people, especially beginners, forget to do this, and it can put you into harm like choking on water or getting injured.
So remember this cardinal rule; let go of the rope.
Make sure that you only wakeboard when it’s daytime. You and the observer need to spot each other quickly if you fall in the water.
Also, communication via hand signals can only occur if there is ample light.
Hire an Instructor
If it’s possible for you, then hire an instructor. After all, who knows more than an instructor who has been in the business for long? They can guide you, tell you tips and tricks, and simultaneously ensure that you’re having fun.
Hire an instructor for a couple of sessions until you feel comfortable in the water. If you think that this is a bit out of your budget, don’t worry; take a look at our trusty friend, the internet.
You’ll find tons of guides and videos on YouTube and other websites, so make sure to give it a peek.
There you have it. Now that you’ve read this far, I’m sure you’re ready to go out in the water and have a blast wakeboarding behind a jet ski.
Just make sure to take a look at the laws, and if you’re a beginner, then keep the tips mentioned above in your mind. With a little bit of practice and dedication, you’ll soon become a pro at wakeboarding.
So put on your life vest, and have a go at this thrilling water sport.