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Creating a killer surf wave for your boat is about striking a balance between your ballast weight, your ballast location, your boat speed, and the location of your wakeshaper. This video will walk you through the four elements that make a great surf wave:
Your boat hull and prop aren’t going to change anytime soon, so changing the position of your wake shaper is the best way to fine-tune things until you find what works best for your boat. The goal is to find a flat, smooth section near the back of the boat and position your wake shaper so it runs just below the surface of the water when you’re at “surf speed”. This puts the wake shaper right in the center of the stream of water rushing past the hull and introduces the turbulence you need to reduce the strength of that stream. As you're adjusting the location of your wake shaper, watch the top of the surf wave. If it’s looking crusty, move your wake shaper up, down, or further back on the side of the boat until things smooth out. The less crust the better.
Once you’re getting a clean wave, you can start shaping the wave. After hull shape and prop influence, the biggest influences on wave shape will be your ballast setup and location, and your boat speed.
Start the process by evenly weighting the boat left to right. Listing the boat is not necessary and can reduce the effectiveness of your wake shaper because you’ll end up lifting the wake shaper out of the water. Add about 60 percent of the ballast in the rear, 40 percent in the front. Keep in mind that if you have a center engine boat, you need to add more ballast to the rear. Also, if you're only running stock ballast tanks only fill the rear tanks. This gets the back of the boat further down in the water, preventing the boat from planing, and will keep your wake shaper fully submerged.
To increase the height of the surf wave, add a little more ballast in the rear of the boat. This digs the back end of the boat further down into the water, resulting in more displacement, which in turn increases the wave height. NOTE: the more height you add to you wave, the less length and push it will have. Remember that it’s about finding the right balance between height and length.
When you’ve got your ballast and boat speed dialed in, you'll get a nice little tube forming at the back of the wave. Increasing the surfable length gives the surfer a lot more room to play, which allows the surfer to recover from tricks without falling off the back of the wave. Create a longer wave by increasing the boat speed and adding more ballast to the FRONT of your boat.
Push is the amount of energy contained in a wave. This is what propels the surfer forward and keeps them in the wave. The vertical height or “rampiness” of the wave definitely helps with this, but boat speed is what generates the most push.
Aftermarket wake shapers like the DELTA 2.0 or ECHO enable you to run at a much faster speed than you could if you were listing your boat – 11 to 12 miles an hour, versus 9 to 10 miles an hour. By increasing the boat speed, the water becomes firmer so that wakesurf board planes out, which generates more lift and less drag. This gets the board out of the water, so it becomes much more forgiving when dropping the handle and doing tricks.
The length of your wakesurf board also plays a role in how much push you feel while on the wave. Longer boards generate more lift, so they’re good for smaller waves or larger surfers. But they're less maneuverable, so tricks are more difficult. Find a board that fits your weight range. We've noticed that many of the published weight ranges seem to be calculated with smaller waves in mind. Now that you have a larger wave with more push, you may be able to drop down a size or improve maneuverability doing tricks.
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