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phantom

Sportster for wakesurfing

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phantom

Hello All

I wanted to introduce myself, I lived in southern california in my youth, bought a 2000 closed bow sportster in 2010 for beginner wakeboarding, joined the peace corps for 4 years, came back to the US and realized my boat was outdated and wakesurfing is the new crave. I was able to go a couple of times but I couldn't go ropeless. I need some advice if it is me, the board or the boat. I was hoping someone on here has a sportster and went ropeless to help me out with details. I am not in position to buy a new v drive boat and solve all my problems but I was able to do a few things to get a decent wave with a curl on the boat.

Ballast-

2-500lb fat sacks on both sides of the engine

1-550lb fat sack where back seat was

270 lb of weights in the bow

do it your self surfgate that sticks to the side of the boat (I ride goofy)

teak platform( I dont know if this is affecting the wave)

Wakeboard tower with speakers and night lights

310 hp carburetor indmar engine

1 driver, me, 180lb

2 observer, 380lb in observer seat 

Board- using a Ronix Koal 5 6 and Shredd Stixx Piranha 5 2 and a stretch board 4 8

Experience

no wakesurfing experience, but I do seem to wakeboard and snowboard at a decent level. I also do not have the luxury of having any friends that are wakesurfers, I guess that is what five years being away from home will do.

Speed- speedometer is broken, but RPM is usually @ 1900-2000. my phone app says im going 11-12 mph ( wave creates curl @ 2000 rpm)

Analysis- all my wakeboard friends say the curl is pretty decent with the wedge down and surfgate on (boy the surfgate really makes the curl come alive) I have a 25 foot rope, I ride up and down the wave looking for a sweet spot but Ive never found it. Everytime I push toe forward, the board still slowly pulls back. I guess I am not finding the "push" area of the wave. I tried three different boards, same results. I have ridden with the nose touching the teak platform, still no sweet spot

I know some other people have stated they surfed behind a sporty with alot of work but no one actually went into detail about how they did it, (actually I have never once heard a sporty owner said they went ropeless) the threads would get response and sunsetter owner giving their take and experience more than the sporty owners. I used some of their advice but still no success. Would be great if someone told me how close to the water my rub rails need to be. or their ballast alignment and weight used. also I love malibu boats, all of them actually. 

 

 

 

Edited by phantom

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BFresh

Hello,

I've got a sportster LX and I will let you know where I'm at with surfing.  We generally wakeboard but just started to give surfing a stab.  I think the key to having any chance with a Sportster is to make a homemade surf gate type device because you won't get a big enough wave before you sink the boat with ballast alone.  I will snap a photo of the one I whipped up out wood next time I have it on the boat.  We just had 2 people in the boat on the port side, the surfgate mounted on the starboard side, and a 400 lb fat sac filled up along the back seat and I had no problem getting up but could not go ropeless without losing the wave.  Next time I am going to try more weight with people or another 400 lb fat sac i picked up on the port side of the boat in addition to the surf gate and see if I've got a chance of going ropeless or not.  Remember if you try to surf goofy, you've got the gas vent to deal with - you don't want to sink that.  Luckily we've got no goofy riders in my pilot tests but I'll probably reroute the gas vent over the winter.

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braindamage

There are some on the forum that have been able to surf behind older dd boats.  

I have a '00 Lxi and have given up on surfing ropeless.  I assume your sportster has the stepped transom like mine.  

If you are serious then buy a Vdrive or find a friend with one and use yours for ski/barefoot and theirs for wakeboard/surf.

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phantom
8 hours ago, BFresh said:

Hello,

I've got a sportster LX and I will let you know where I'm at with surfing.  We generally wakeboard but just started to give surfing a stab.  I think the key to having any chance with a Sportster is to make a homemade surf gate type device because you won't get a big enough wave before you sink the boat with ballast alone.  I will snap a photo of the one I whipped up out wood next time I have it on the boat.  We just had 2 people in the boat on the port side, the surfgate mounted on the starboard side, and a 400 lb fat sac filled up along the back seat and I had no problem getting up but could not go ropeless without losing the wave.  Next time I am going to try more weight with people or another 400 lb fat sac i picked up on the port side of the boat in addition to the surf gate and see if I've got a chance of going ropeless or not.  Remember if you try to surf goofy, you've got the gas vent to deal with - you don't want to sink that.  Luckily we've got no goofy riders in my pilot tests but I'll probably reroute the gas vent over the winter.

Bfresh,

I think we both have the same problem, I do have a homemade surfgate which makes the wave better but I can't go ropeless, I guess the main point of my thread was to find a sporty owner that has gone ropeless. But I would still love to see some pics of your wave and surfgate. If you ever go ropeless let me know asap. Nothing beats the feel of a sportster driving on glass, that is the part I would miss most if I had to sell the boat

Edited by phantom

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Tags

i think it will always be a bit of a struggle but it can be done. You will likely end up surfing a lot closer to the boat unless you only weigh 100lbs and can drift back a little. The dry weight of our iRide is probably 1500lbs more than a sportster and thats before you take ballast into consideration. With 500lbs center ballast, 750lbs rear, 175lbs bow, wedge down and 5 people in the boat our wave is decent but that puts the weight of our boat nearly 3000lbs more than a sportster before you add any ballast. If you had 2 750lb bags each side of the engine, one across where the rear seat is, wedge down, some type of wake shaping equipment fitted and a few people in the boat i'm sure you could surf rope-less its just never going to be a big wave. Plus you have to weigh up (pun intended) losing all that room in the boat as well.

We regret going DD when we bought last year. We bought a DD thinking we would be barefoot and slalom skiing a lot but with young kids and busier lakes its much more wakeboard and surf.

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phantom
6 hours ago, braindamage said:

There are some on the forum that have been able to surf behind older dd boats.  

I have a '00 Lxi and have given up on surfing ropeless.  I assume your sportster has the stepped transom like mine.  

If you are serious then buy a Vdrive or find a friend with one and use yours for ski/barefoot and theirs for wakeboard/surf.

Ive seen one video on youtube of a kid going ropeless, albeit it was for only a minute or so, but he looked really light. Ive also read your response has had a few people who have gone ropeless, so there is hope for your boat. Or maybe you are like me, maybe it is the board or surfer. I may have to bite the bullet and rent a vdrive one day to see if it is me or the wake. Ive never heard of one sporty owner going ropeless yet, hopefully there is a magical configuration out there that will allow me to surf on this boat. I guess I am a hard head and want to see if this ropeless thing on my sporty is possible before I go out and drop big change on a V drive. None of my buddies have a boat so having two boats is out of the question

Edited by phantom

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phantom
11 hours ago, BFresh said:

Hello,

I've got a sportster LX and I will let you know where I'm at with surfing.  We generally wakeboard but just started to give surfing a stab.  I think the key to having any chance with a Sportster is to make a homemade surf gate type device because you won't get a big enough wave before you sink the boat with ballast alone.  I will snap a photo of the one I whipped up out wood next time I have it on the boat.  We just had 2 people in the boat on the port side, the surfgate mounted on the starboard side, and a 400 lb fat sac filled up along the back seat and I had no problem getting up but could not go ropeless without losing the wave.  Next time I am going to try more weight with people or another 400 lb fat sac i picked up on the port side of the boat in addition to the surf gate and see if I've got a chance of going ropeless or not.  Remember if you try to surf goofy, you've got the gas vent to deal with - you don't want to sink that.  Luckily we've got no goofy riders in my pilot tests but I'll probably reroute the gas vent over the winter.

Would it be okay to just tape up the gas vent when I surf or would this hurt my engine?

3 hours ago, Tags said:

i think it will always be a bit of a struggle but it can be done. You will likely end up surfing a lot closer to the boat unless you only weigh 100lbs and can drift back a little. The dry weight of our iRide is probably 1500lbs more than a sportster and thats before you take ballast into consideration. With 500lbs center ballast, 750lbs rear, 175lbs bow, wedge down and 5 people in the boat our wave is decent but that puts the weight of our boat nearly 3000lbs more than a sportster before you add any ballast. If you had 2 750lb bags each side of the engine, one across where the rear seat is, wedge down, some type of wake shaping equipment fitted and a few people in the boat i'm sure you could surf rope-less its just never going to be a big wave. Plus you have to weigh up (pun intended) losing all that room in the boat as well.

We regret going DD when we bought last year. We bought a DD thinking we would be barefoot and slalom skiing a lot but with young kids and busier lakes its much more wakeboard and surf.

Hmmm I may try the 750lb upgrade idea, that but my transom is pretty low, I hope I wont get too much water into the boat, these boats are known to be really low in the water when weighed. Yes sometimes I see a large V drive boat go by and my heart jumps onto that boat but my mind and wallet keeps me on mine. 

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40 minutes ago, phantom said:

Would it be okay to just tape up the gas vent when I surf or would this hurt my engine?

Hmmm I may try the 750lb upgrade idea, that but my transom is pretty low, I hope I wont get too much water into the boat, these boats are known to be really low in the water when weighed. Yes sometimes I see a large V drive boat go by and my heart jumps onto that boat but my mind and wallet keeps me on mine. 

i wouldn't tape them shut. They allow everything to breath and prevent fuel vapors from building up in the bilge etc...

You'll just have to be super careful when slowing down. Throttle back to 1200rpm or so and wait for the transom wave to fizzle out before going to idle. We had a similar problem with our MC X7 until I started driving that way.

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GaryB

We surfed our 97 Sunsetter this weekend, no ballast, no surf gate, my daughter went ropeless, pretty easily, 130lbs, although the sweet spot was small.  We had 6 in the boat, 950 lbs of people and gear. 9-10 mph. 1/4 tank of gas. Doable, some ballast and a wake shaper, should make a pretty nice surf wave. 

 

 

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Michigan boarder

I think your set up should work, it sounds pretty much like what I would do.  Can you post a pic of your wave?

Some other points are 1) make sure your toes are closer to the toe edge than the back edge of the board 2) you need to be steering your surf board into the wake, which is turn pushes you back out.  Not really hard, but a constant lean into the wake 3) your sweet spot should be just in front of the curl, probably not 20' back but more like 6 or 8' back from the platform. 4) the driver may need to make a steady turn toward the surf side, a nice gradual like 5 degrees turn, that helps create a good curling wake.

My Echelon is not that different than your Sportster, and we can surf ours ropeless pretty easily.

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phantom
47 minutes ago, Michigan boarder said:

I think your set up should work, it sounds pretty much like what I would do.  Can you post a pic of your wave?

Some other points are 1) make sure your toes are closer to the toe edge than the back edge of the board 2) you need to be steering your surf board into the wake, which is turn pushes you back out.  Not really hard, but a constant lean into the wake 3) your sweet spot should be just in front of the curl, probably not 20' back but more like 6 or 8' back from the platform. 4) the driver may need to make a steady turn toward the surf side, a nice gradual like 5 degrees turn, that helps create a good curling wake.

My Echelon is not that different than your Sportster, and we can surf ours ropeless pretty easily.

Michigan,

How much do you weigh? I am 180lbs. You have given me hope to keep trying on my sporty to go ropeless. Its just makes me feel like a idiot when I see people ride their board and have a beer. How can it be so easy yet so hard for me. I will be on the lake this week with an additional 500lb sack to add to the rear to see if it makes a bigger difference. Ill post some pics up soon.   Ill definitely try to turn the boat a little as I ride, never tried that trick yet. If its not too much trouble could you post a pic of your surf gate? Maybe your surfgate creates a better curl than mine 

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Michigan boarder

I haven't built mine yet.

I don't think you need more weight, be careful with how much you put in that little boat.  Maybe next time have one of the occupants ride up front, bow weight helps lengthen the pocket.

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phantom
12 minutes ago, Michigan boarder said:

I haven't built mine yet.

I don't think you need more weight, be careful with how much you put in that little boat.  Maybe next time have one of the occupants ride up front, bow weight helps lengthen the pocket.

Michigan,

You have no surfgate but you are able to ride ropeless on your echelon? You really need to give me your exact configuration setup when you get a chance. Also do you have a swim platform? I read some people have issues with their platform ruining their wave

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Michigan boarder

Here's what we've done:

Wedge down

750 bag in rear surf corner of boat, back seat in sundeck position

370 bag in ski locker

1 driver

1 passenger in bow

1 passenger on sun deck in surf corner

1 passenger sitting on gunnel, surf side

About 10mph, running a gradual 5 degree turn

I'm about 180lbs as well, and use a Hyperlite Broadcast 5.4

Since then I've gotten rid of the 750 bag and have a 370 to fit more niceley under the seat, and then I have 5 155lb brick sacks that I spread around.  Goofy or regular, that configuration above gave us a great wave.post-8942-0-08567700-1395681177_thumb.jppost-8942-0-38705400-1395681162_thumb.jp

 

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iwam

Like Michigan boarder we've also been doing a fair amount of surfing behind our direct drive.  To be honest it sounds like your boat is set up to be surf able, and you just need practice, or to see someone else do it behind your boat.  

 

We just got our Echelon, and early on my brother in law wasn't able to drop the rope.  I had a bit more experience, and was able to drop the rope immediately.  i don't know if this pertains of you, but the difference was being comfortable putting my weight foward, without submarining the board.  By keeping the nose lower, the board glides more and plows less.  Putting too much weight on the tail will make surf able waves feel impossible 

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phantom
34 minutes ago, iwam said:

Like Michigan boarder we've also been doing a fair amount of surfing behind our direct drive.  To be honest it sounds like your boat is set up to be surf able, and you just need practice, or to see someone else do it behind your boat.  

 

We just got our Echelon, and early on my brother in law wasn't able to drop the rope.  I had a bit more experience, and was able to drop the rope immediately.  i don't know if this pertains of you, but the difference was being comfortable putting my weight foward, without submarining the board.  By keeping the nose lower, the board glides more and plows less.  Putting too much weight on the tail will make surf able waves feel impossible 

Iwam.

I think that might be my issue, Ive never wakesurfed before, I put too much weight down in front I submarine the board, maybe it is alot harder than it looks. Can you tell me how far back you surf from the boat and your rope length. Did you ever get your brother in law to go ropeless, if so how long did he take to get it down. 

10 hours ago, Michigan boarder said:

Here's what we've done:

Wedge down

750 bag in rear surf corner of boat, back seat in sundeck position

370 bag in ski locker

1 driver

1 passenger in bow

1 passenger on sun deck in surf corner

1 passenger sitting on gunnel, surf side

About 10mph, running a gradual 5 degree turn

I'm about 180lbs as well, and use a Hyperlite Broadcast 5.4

Since then I've gotten rid of the 750 bag and have a 370 to fit more niceley under the seat, and then I have 5 155lb brick sacks that I spread around.  Goofy or regular, that configuration above gave us a great wave.post-8942-0-08567700-1395681177_thumb.jppost-8942-0-38705400-1395681162_thumb.jp

 

I will be trying the boat out this week, im really excited to go at it again after seeing what you did with your echelon. That lake in Michigan looks awesome. Thanks for all your help

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iwam

We are typically 2-3 feet from the swim deck. Not sure what the rope length is.

Next time you surf, try moving your front foot (and weight) forward.  No guarantees, but it sounds like it it'll help

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phantom
On July 18, 2016 at 11:17 AM, Michigan boarder said:

Here's what we've done:

Wedge down

750 bag in rear surf corner of boat, back seat in sundeck position

370 bag in ski locker

1 driver

1 passenger in bow

1 passenger on sun deck in surf corner

1 passenger sitting on gunnel, surf side

About 10mph, running a gradual 5 degree turn

I'm about 180lbs as well, and use a Hyperlite Broadcast 5.4

Since then I've gotten rid of the 750 bag and have a 370 to fit more niceley under the seat, and then I have 5 155lb brick sacks that I spread around.  Goofy or regular, that configuration above gave us a great wave.post-8942-0-08567700-1395681177_thumb.jppost-8942-0-38705400-1395681162_thumb.jp

 

Was able to go out to lake for a day and try out a new configuration. Basically 400lb behind engine and 750lb on top of back seat. With 270lb in the bow. Four people about 700-800lb. Wedge down. Was able to get a wave much like the picture your son was in. But I am goofy and I prefer the wave on starboard side. I am thinking about getting a RH prop, or does your wife surf goofy just as well as your son does on the regular side. The wake on the regular side of my boat looks a little higher and cleaner. So what do you guys think is a Rh prop a good idea for me to go to get a little higher and cleaner wake on goofy side?

 

Still haven't gone ropeless yet because water was really choppy today so didn't get to practice much.

I tried uploading photos from my iPhone but it isn't working I'll have to wait until I get to a computer and try it.

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iwam

Can't change the prop rotation, it doesn't work that way unfortunately.

 

i think practice is still your best bet!

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phantom
On 7/24/2016 at 5:08 AM, iwam said:

Can't change the prop rotation, it doesn't work that way unfortunately.

 

i think practice is still your best bet!

Yeah I forgot the rotation doesnt change on the prop. Tell me how my wave looks to you, where do you think my sweet spot would be? ropeless surfable?large.IMG_4298.PNG.68984d37fe521ad6aad48

Edited by phantom

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Michigan boarder

VERY surfable wave.  So I'm calling operator error!

You are right, looks a lot like my wave.  Sweet spot is pretty small, right about where my son was.  Move your toes a little closer to the toe edge of the board, and steer into the wave.  You have to be steering into the wave in order for it to "push" you along.

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phantom
3 hours ago, Michigan boarder said:

VERY surfable wave.  So I'm calling operator error!

You are right, looks a lot like my wave.  Sweet spot is pretty small, right about where my son was.  Move your toes a little closer to the toe edge of the board, and steer into the wave.  You have to be steering into the wave in order for it to "push" you along.

Michigan,

I know it looks good on regular side but goofy side isnt as good. I am assuming your boat makes a better wave on regular side as well. How does your goofy side wake look? I have no idea why I did not take pictures of the goofy side of the wake, maybe I was too busy trying to ride it. I will next time. I am happy you called operator error, I will also try the right side with my back to wave if I can't replicate a good wave on the goofy side. I cant get my driver to keep my boat at 5 degree angle, can you still ride your echelon in a straight line and still go ropeless goofy side or do you need to always be at a 5 degree turn

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phantom
On 7/25/2016 at 0:34 PM, Michigan boarder said:

VERY surfable wave.  So I'm calling operator error!

You are right, looks a lot like my wave.  Sweet spot is pretty small, right about where my son was.  Move your toes a little closer to the toe edge of the board, and steer into the wave.  You have to be steering into the wave in order for it to "push" you along.

Hey Guys,

Im finally ropeless, it was basically what you guys said "operator error". I can now probably go on as long as I want and was able to pull off a few tricks already :) I felt like a kid in a candy store going ropeless. Thanks for all you guys help! I have to admit the response, echelon, and sportster line are probably the most versatile boats out there. We went camping. We skiied in the morning, bare footed for awhile (friend said that was the best barefooting experience he ever had), then tubed/kneeboarded with wedge down for a really nice lift to get some air. The next day we wakeboarded (I got inverted for the first time) and finally wakesurfed. Favorite part was waking up in the morning and going 50 mph on glass on the lake and doing turns like I am on a sportscar. I truly felt like I was on a jet ski at times, I was keeping up with a few jet skis. I also met a guy with a Malibu Wakesetter, he took me out to show me his wakesurf wake. He had a wedge, stock ballast and extra fats sacs ballast. It looked alot like my sportster's wake height. I surfed it three times and it wasnt much of a difference in height but the pocket was longer. I was blown away when he said he easily spends around 100 per day on gas for his boat and he has to use premium. I usually spend 20-25 dollars a day on gas (5-6 hours use) on regular unleaded. I don't know who was in charge of Malibu back in the 1990s but they produced some high quality ski boats and they look great in the water. It just amazes me how you can use the same hull to do all these water sports. 

Edited by phantom

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Roachie
20 hours ago, phantom said:

Hey Guys,

Im finally ropeless, it was basically what you guys said "operator error". I can now probably go on as long as I want and was able to pull off a few tricks already :) I felt like a kid in a candy store going ropeless. Thanks for all you guys help! I have to admit the response, echelon, and sportster line are probably the most versatile boats out there. We went camping. We skiied in the morning, bare footed for awhile (friend said that was the best barefooting experience he ever had), then tubed/kneeboarded with wedge down for a really nice lift to get some air. The next day we wakeboarded (I got inverted for the first time) and finally wakesurfed. Favorite part was waking up in the morning and going 50 mph on glass on the lake and doing turns like I am on a sportscar. I truly felt like I was on a jet ski at times, I was keeping up with a few jet skis. I also met a guy with a Malibu Wakesetter, he took me out to show me his wakesurf wake. He had a wedge, stock ballast and extra fats sacs ballast. It looked alot like my sportster's wake height. I surfed it three times and it wasnt much of a difference in height but the pocket was longer. I was blown away when he said he easily spends around 100 per day on gas for his boat and he has to use premium. I usually spend 20-25 dollars a day on gas (5-6 hours use) on regular unleaded. I don't know who was in charge of Malibu back in the 1990s but they produced some high quality ski boats and they look great in the water. It just amazes me how you can use the same hull to do all these water sports. 

That's awesome! I have a 2003 Sportster and would like to try this. What are you using for a surf gate? Please post a pic if you can.

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iwam

Awesome! Glad you figured out going rope less.  I hear the wedge is what really kills gas mileage.

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