July 2007

What’s Up With Wakeboard Boats?

Some Buying Suggestions From One Who Knows

By Chris Cameron
President, Arizona Wakeboard Association

Wakeboard boats are a specialized category of boats that are designed to create a large wake.  This wake is used to propel riders, enabling them to perform tricks.

Once the decision has been made, there are many options in boats such as Epic, Malibu , Mastercraft , MB , and Nautique to name a few. Each manufacturer offers several models that they target toward wakeboarders, and the choices are nearly endless. 

For first -time boat buyers, trying to narrow down the field can be a daunting task.  A boat show is a great place to compare all of the manufacturers and hopefully eliminate ones that obviously do not fit you or your family's needs. 

One of the first decisions that needs to be made is what size boat you are interested in buying.  Are you going to be using it with your family of three or with 13 of your closest friends?  Does it have to fit in your garage? 

What will you be using to tow the boat, and can it safely pull the boat you are looking at?  These three questions will help eliminate boats that obviously don't fit your needs.

Hopefully now your choices have been narrowed down, and you can start really looking.  Since we are all independently wealthy, price doesn't matter right?  Don't we wish? 

However, don't let price scare you. Sometimes by the time you add all the bells and whistles, you will find that the prices really aren't that different between two manufacturers. 

Try to compare apples to apples, in that all the boats you look at are equipped the same — or at least the way that you would want them — before ruling out one manufacturer over the other.

Check the fit and finish of each of the boats. Crawl around, open all the compartments, feel the vinyl and carpet, shake the tower, wiggle the windshield, kick the tires, and look at the details.  Pay particular attention to the quality of the workmanship and the hardware used. 

Down to two or three boats yet?  It's time to schedule demos!  This is your opportunity to check out the wake and see how the boat drives. 

Ride behind the boat. Do you prefer a nice rampy wake or a steep wake?  Do you ride at 80 feet and the wake is washed out back there? 

Drive the boat.  How does it handle turning, pulling a rider up, when a rider is cutting hard? 

Still having a hard time deciding?  Don't forget to take into account the reputation of the dealership and most importantly, the service department.  The last thing any boat owners want is their boats to be in the shop more than they are on the water.