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Driving the Sunsetter with Surf Ballast


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Hi Guys,

The responses to my previous sunsetter post have inspried me to try surfing behind my Sunsetter, but I'm not sure how to steer or stop (to pick up a rider or otherwise) with the boat loaded with ballast (I'm used to the two sacks by the engine only). Any tips for me?


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Depending on which side of the boat you are trying to max out the surf wake on, move additional people, coolers, etc. to get the exact shape of the wake you want. Also, if you are having trouble getting a crisp top edge of the wake (too foamy), try having the driver do a continuous very gradual turn in the same direction as the wake. For example, if I want the crisp edge of the wake at my port side rear, I'll have the driver steer just slightly toward the left when pulling me.

As for stopping and picking up riders, when a rider falls, I always cut the throttle completely while still keeping the rudder straight. Let the first big wake and rollers ease past you. I always turn to the right and pick up my rider on the right so he/she is always in full sight. With a short surf rope, you need to pass the rider and then turn so that they are close to the side (5 - 10' away from the boat) in order to get the rope without swimming for it.

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What boardersl said.

If you turn before the rollers & then come off plane, you'll end up with about 2" of water at your back seats before it drains down into the bilge. (I got to watch helplessly from the water while an experienced I/O driver did that to my boat & passengers).

Play with your weight & speed a bit. It may vary by rider & board too. We ended up around 8.7 - 9 MPH.

Edit: Turn towards the side with the weight to crisp up the wake.

We use a surf rope at 15 - 17 ft tied to the tower. You don't want to get into a situation where as the surfer pulls into the pocket, they end up with a loop of rope hanging. That's a bad accident waiting to happen - even at just 9 MPH.

Edited by wienrdog
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