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ajive

Driving Advice

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ajive

So the thread started earlier by js9476 (major water over the bow) reminded me how much different it is to rock a wakesetter vs. a runabout or cruiser. I made a mistake similar to the driver described in his post; i.e. slamming the bow under a roller; I'm thankful for the friendship I tested that day that I only put 3" in the boat as opposed to 3', but it was scary as hell and I re-live it all the time, especially since I'm a week or two away from the weather turning and the subsequent breaking in of my new VTX.

So I'll be the one to start this thread because I know I'm not the only one who needs to know. I have some things I think I know and some things I think I'd like to know. Please help me, and all the rest of us that are first time wakeboat owners, have a safe summer with a dry wife ;)

Things I think I know:

Correct me if I'm wrong on these, but I had pretty good success last season with these rules and these are the ones I'd teach a friend prior to pulling me-

1.) Bow up over head-on rollers -- if your under ballast and there is a tall roller heading your way head-on get bow up or on plane to keep 'em out...

...but...

2.) if all hope is lost, let them crash and don't power in (that was my mistake that I eluded to in the intro)

3.) Post surf/wake tow, pull up to a stop, let the wave pass and flat turn into the center of the wake. (From here on, I usually take any small rollers at 25-45 degree angles to avoid the additive effects of multiple bumps)

4.) Float and cruise with no or light ballast.

Things I'd like to Know:

These are items that I wonder about, but am not sure my intrinsic approach is the right one--

5.) These boats are pretty safe laterally, right? I.e., if I'm floating down river and some asshat in a malibu is surfing right past me ( :) ) taking a major roller on the gunwales is safe... assuming everyone braces. I guess to me it seems like a big wave from the side isn't going to break over and that the center of gravity is so low that noting is ever going to tip her.

6.) When not under power (and not under extreme ballast) you are intrinsically safe. No roller from any direction is going to cause you any problems... right?

I'm sure there are other good questions to ask or lessons to learn. Teach me! This will be the one time I openly newb it, so lay it on me!!

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Bawshogg

Your always better to take rollers on from the sides if you can help it.

When surfing and you drop a rider, cut the throttle and spin the wheel immediately. This will allow you to spin inside both of your own rollers.

Rollers big enough over the front can put enough water in your boat, even when sitting, ballast or not.

I owned a VTX for quite a few years. It doesn't exactly have the most freeboard. It WILL take water over the bow at some point.

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Pnwrider

6) You can still take a big enough roller over the stern. I took a roller over the side last summer from a dbag that decided he needed to surf right next to me while I was floating not far from shore. Won't air the rest of what happened after, but now I pay closer attention while floating and will reposition if someone passes me while surfing.

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vigwilson

6) You can still take a big enough roller over the stern. I took a roller over the side last summer from a dbag that decided he needed to surf right next to me while I was floating not far from shore. Won't air the rest of what happened after, but now I pay closer attention while floating and will reposition if someone passes me while surfing.

Kick his a** sea bass! Sorry had too relive a little dumb and dumber. Back to topic

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MEYJR

Thanks for posting this ajive. I have a lot of learning to do. I don't mind admitting I know nothing about driving these boats. I have zero experience with wakeboard boats. But I do plan on taking advantage of the once a week customer nights my dealer offers to come to the lake and learn these type of things. I think it's awesome they are willing to let you come out and teach you anything you need to know about the boat or boating in general.

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teamerickson

Your always better to take rollers on from the sides if you can help it.

The non listed side, right? Or does it matter?

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Bawshogg

Of you can help it, of course the non listed side, but I have had better luck with even the listed side vs the bow.

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Murphy8166

The one thing that I have learned since owning and driving multiple wake boats since 2000 is that it is always better to let your rollers pass you when you come off the throttle.

When a wakeboarder falls - I get off the gas, and let the boat slow down on it own before doing anything. This allows the rollers to pass me and I can manuever the boat to pick up the rider following the same line i was pulling. The whole process resembles the shape of a paper clip. No rolles for my boat, no roller for other boat and a comfortable ride for everyone!

When a surfer falls - I get off the gas and turn the wheel all the way to the listed side. This rocks the boat but never taken water on board and when it is all said and done, the nos of the boat is pointing towards the fallen surfer and you idle to pick them up.

I agree with taking rollers on the side if you - much less chance of taking on water.

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MEYJR

When a surfer falls - I get off the gas and turn the wheel all the way to the listed side. This rocks the boat but never taken water on board and when it is all said and done, the nos of the boat is pointing towards the fallen surfer and you idle to pick them up.

What about with surf gate? Would you turn to side surfer is on? Seems like that is side with larger wake and would be best to turn other way. Or is it just best to turn right every time to keep them on the driver side? Wow never thought about how much there was to this. I am really glad everyone here is so willing to help out the newbies. Great bunch of guys here.

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tn_rider

Also, if you have a downed rider, and another boat is headed toward your rider. You need to immediately turn around and out your own boat in the path of the boat headed toward your rider. (Safely). That boat is more likely to see you in the boat than the rider in the water.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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flapjack

Also, if you have a downed rider, and another boat is headed toward your rider. You need to immediately turn around and out your own boat in the path of the boat headed toward your rider. (Safely). That boat is more likely to see you in the boat than the rider in the water.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Hey TN, I think a key thing you mention in an early post is keeping an eye on the rider. If you power down the second your rider falls, everyone is much safer.

Edited by flapjack

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Afun

What about with surf gate? Would you turn to side surfer is on? Seems like that is side with larger wake and would be best to turn other way. Or is it just best to turn right every time to keep them on the driver side? Wow never thought about how much there was to this. I am really glad everyone here is so willing to help out the newbies. Great bunch of guys here.

We surf goofy and my boat always goes starboard after going into neutral. This has more to do with prop rotation, correct? With all the weight that I have in my boat, I did not have any issues getting the nose up over the roller. I had no choice, and I was ready for it. You have more freeboard too.

Remember 95% of the time you are able to avoid these rollers. Things that increase your chances is not paying attention, inexperienced driver (less than 65 Hours), busy lake

Edited by Afun

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JasonK

Goofy surfer, with ballast, we always turn left away from the ballast and always try to take rollers from the side. Did get a roller over the side of the boat before, my boat just didn't rock with the wave enough.

On busy days we have everyones waves coming from every direction. In that case we stop slow, turn slow and retrieve the rider slow. And usually can't help but take one over the back (hey, one side has to be low) when waves come from front and rear.

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Murphy8166

What about with surf gate? Would you turn to side surfer is on? Seems like that is side with larger wake and would be best to turn other way. Or is it just best to turn right every time to keep them on the driver side? Wow never thought about how much there was to this. I am really glad everyone here is so willing to help out the newbies. Great bunch of guys here.

MEYJR - with surgate I have know experience, but I think would handle it like a wakeboarder. Back off the throttle and let the boat slow slow and the waves pass you, then manuver to boat down the same line you pulled the rider.

When in doubt, I think it is always safe to take the slower, calmer method to manuever a boat....UNLESS THERE IS IMMEDIATE DANGER / then do whatever the Freak you need to do to protect your crew and rider.

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isellacuras

In regards to a listed boat, as mentioned above,reduce throttle and immediatley turn to the high side (non weighted side). I will start my turn and reduce throttle ASAP after the rider falls. This is how I do it with ANY tow sports. Keeps the water cleaner for the next pull and others around you, reduces the chances of a bow dip, allows the rider to relax for a brief momement and it saves gas to boot. It is also safer to other boat traffic if you turn in your own tracks too. Help me out if I am missing other good reasons not to do a power turn.

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Bill_AirJunky

One more suggestion...... when your rider is down, ALWAYS be aware of where your rider & rope are located. If your going to power up & over a wave, DON'T do it when the rope is going thru your rider's hands. I've been busted in the mouth & eye by the handle by the driver doing EXACTLY this. Then he couldn't figure out where all the blood was coming from.

Like others have suggested, when your rider goes down, it is usually best to chop the throttle, let your wake go by & make your turn around & past your wake SLOWLY rather than turning around at speed & then having to contend with your own wake while your back by the rider.

Edited by Bill_AirJunky

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Cipro

Until you post pictures of said Orange boat...no more responses!

Things I'd like to Know:

These are items that I wonder about, but am not sure my intrinsic approach is the right one--

5.) These boats are pretty safe laterally, right? I.e., if I'm floating down river and some asshat in a malibu is surfing right past me ( :) ) taking a major roller on the gunwales is safe... assuming everyone braces. I guess to me it seems like a big wave from the side isn't going to break over and that the center of gravity is so low that noting is ever going to tip her.

6.) When not under power (and not under extreme ballast) you are intrinsically safe. No roller from any direction is going to cause you any problems... right?

I'm sure there are other good questions to ask or lessons to learn. Teach me! This will be the one time I openly newb it, so lay it on me!!

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ajive

Until you post pictures of said Orange boat...no more responses!

Oh man... If I had the cash to go dream-boat my orange/white/charcoal (or maybe black) LSV would be arriving right about now. Unfortunately, all I could swing was the last '13 on the floor which happened to be a black and white VTX (wow... weird typing that... if this ain't a good problem to have I don't know what is!). She's classy like a tuxedo, but hopefully I'm on a 3-5 year plan for that dream-boat of mine :)

Anyway, I appreciate the advice so far. It sounds like I learned good lessons last season and just have to keep being conscientious. That end of the day chilly dip that I always seem to do really p!$$es off the girls (my wife claims the bow as a girl only zone... jokes on her, I guess); but as time goes on I'm sure I'll get those down to once a month or so!

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Rmack

6) You can still take a big enough roller over the stern. I took a roller over the side last summer from a dbag that decided he needed to surf right next to me while I was floating not far from shore. Won't air the rest of what happened after, but now I pay closer attention while floating and will reposition if someone passes me while surfing.

You have to give details! Did you go "Afun" on him?

Edited by Rmack

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tn_rider

Idk if this has been said yet but when you pick up a downed rider ALWAYS pick them up on the drivers side just a rule we have always had. Another rule we have, never leave the wheel with the boat in gear. I don't care if you are swapping drivers just idling. If the driver leaves the helm, the boat is in neutral. Always

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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Badgerfb5

Great topic! I'm taking delivery of my first "wakeboard boat" on the 16th -- '09 VTX (upgrading from a 19' Sea Ray bowrider) and this has been extremely helpful. Any thought of pinning this thread in a "new to wakeboard boats" file? A repository of this and other first-timer threads would be invaluable.

Cheers!

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Afun

You have to give details! Did you go "Afun" on him?

Honorable Mention

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wienrdog

To build on TN's comments.. One thing from a USAWS certified driver course is to never leave the help with the boat running... Better safe than having someone or a child playing around the helm & accidentally drop it into gear...

For the wakes - we typically take surfing wakes on the side. I've only once had a wave top the gunnel & my freeboard is lower than most VLXs. It can take a few seconds to power up & get the nose to rise, so need to be aware of what's coming your way early.

You will likely take some water over the bow no matter what & it's much more serious when heavily weighted. The rest of the advice is spot-on. The worst thing you can do it to start to turn back under power & then cut throttle as you're approaching the wakes. You'll end up with a very wet boat interior and everyone rocking a LOT.

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Brodie

I ALWAYS turn away from the surf side. The waves are much smaller. When rider falls, I slowly cut the throttle to neutral and spin the wheel immediately to the non-surf side(usually the right). The waves go right under the boat as we are usually sideways to them. If you turn to the surf side, you have larger rollers, and your boat is listed lower into the larger rollers which equals a bad combo.

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