Wakeboarding – The Kit

Guide to wakeboard equipment – preparation & safety

Towing a wakeboard behind your RIB (rigid inflatable boat) is a great way to spend time out on the water. It’s a fantastic activity to involve the family too. Part 1 of our guide covers everything you need to get started.

How to tow a wakeboard part 1

Equipment tips:

Getting the right equipment for your boat and rider saves time on the day. When the conditions are right you just want to be able to set off in the RIB and start towing.

What engine size do you need for towing?

RIB designs and engines vary considerably. What you need is a good power to weight ratio to tow efficiently. Otherwise, the forces of the skier can start to pull the boat around. As an approximate guide:

  • 5.5m to 6.5m RIB with 100 – 200hp engine is capable of towing all types of skier
  • 4m to 5.5m RIB with a 50 – 100hp engine will pull up a person on two skis and probably a mono skier if the engine is around the 100hp range

We recommend Yamaha engines as a highly reliable and durable outboard.

What RIB should you use to tow a wakeboard?

If you are wanting to tow skiers or inflatables occasionally, it is worth buying a family RIB or leisure RIB that is well suited for towing and versatile for other purposes too. If you are looking at any RIBs for sale, look for a boat that is strong, durable and built for towing.

Features it needs include:

  • suitable for carrying high loads at speed
  • stable at high speed and when stopped (easier for getting back in!)
  • strong construction and build – ideally, with a strengthened ladder chassis
  • offers a dry ride – combines a deep V hull and spray deflected by the tube position which helps to keep your spotter and driver dry!
  • has good stowage room for skis, wakeboards and gear
  • comes fitted with a modified or double A Frame suitable for towing

What kit does your wakeboard rider need?

Your riders should always:

  • wear a wetsuit, or at a minimum neoprene shorts, for protection and warmth
  • wear a ski vest/well fitted buoyancy vest
  • wear a helmet
  • remove any jewellery or earrings that could catch on the ski rope

Tips for before you go afloat:

Boat & safety preparation

  • top up the fuel, do the boat pre-checks and check all safety kit is aboard
  • plan your trip so you can ski in safe open water
  • carry a fire extinguisher, spare fuel and a comprehensive first aid kit
  • always carry a VHF radio and mobile phone
  • carry a sufficient buoyancy vests for everyone on board, plus one spare

How to attach the tow rope to your RIB?

Most RIBs are fitted with two U-bolts on the transom, to which you can attach a towing bridle and then the tow line. Some RIBs may have a tow post or an A Frame fitted, which can be use for towing a wakeboard if it’s a structural one or double A Frame. This means it is made from two metal hoops that are welded or bolted together. Normally made from stainless steel or aluminium, it should have a towing point. The advantage of a structural A Frame is that the line is held high and the direction of pull makes it easy to for the rider to get up out of the water.

Never tow inflatable toys and “ringos” from the A frame due to the higher loads they exert. A towing bridle should always be used for these types of towables.

Contact us for advice on which RIBs, attaching tow ropes and essential equipment for wakeboarding. Call 023 9239 7000 or email us.

See Part 2 of our Towing a Wakeboard Guide – RIB drivers tips for towing a wakeboard.

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