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Another Surf Gate post 1997 Sunsetter


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I am new to the boating world, I bought my 1997 sunsetter about 2 months ago. After wakeboarding I decided its not worth the injurys on my body (26 and grew up skateboarding and BMXing so my knees are shot) so Ive turned to surfing. I only have 3 400lb sacs right now and cant seem to weigh the boat right to go ropeless (Im sure some of you could) which pisses me off. So, Ive started to think about modifying my boat, most likely with a surf gate. I know that more holes = more problems so Im looking for advice. Ive browsed many pages on the gate but with an older boat theres not much help outside the "poormans" gate. I would prefer a fixed gate but Im not sure my teak swim deck can take the force but I also don't want to drill holes. Ive read its not much force but havent found the post that states the amout of force the gate puts on a swim deck. Im just wondering if the deck mounted brackets can SAFELY support the stress of a surf gate. I've moddified cars but I am new to boats and my biggest fear is ripping a hole in the transom and sinking my boat.

Just wondering

A. How much force is really applied to the transom
B. Can my 1997 Sunsetter take the force on the deck
C. Should I just mount an automated gate and drill holes..

Thanks for the help I know this topic has been beat to death.

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Here's my project...


I automated mine simply because of the hassle of driving the boat with a manual gate attached. It is downright dangerous on my boat IMO. You can only turn the boat around in the direction of the gate (think of a canoe with the rear paddler dragging his paddle in the water on one side). On a lake that has much traffic and the need to quickly get back to a rider I was not a fan. I was a huge fan of what it did to the wave and how it allowed me to safely run more weight in the boat. Since I automated the gates it has been fantastic. We surf more than anything else now. Goofy and regular rider go when they please and with the wireless remote transfers are an absolute blast. You won't regret adding gates and automating them if you enjoy surfing regularly.

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I am still tweaking mine, but here is where i am at so far.


I took it out this weekend and i need to build a few iterations and try them all out. This particular one does not have much push at all. but we are getting there. I was running 2x540 on either side of the motor ~350 in the ski locker and ~300 on top of the ski locker.

Edited by twitchee2
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We have darn near identical boats (save for the tower), what ballast are you currently running? I've seen a few different numbers thrown out. I don't have a wedge. Always good to have similar set-ups to compare. The Winter project will be an auto-gate system like yours.

To the OP if you are worried about the grid through bolting w/ a larger backing plate (not just washers) for your grid can help distribute the load much more evenly. I had spider cracking on one side of mine (not gate related). I repaired and made plates instead of just washers and all has been good since even with adding a gate after the fact. I will be doing a transom upgrade similar to MA's as I want a floating wedge but will still employ large backing plates.

Edited by dmc
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