Water skiing. Wakeboarding. Wakesurfing. Kneeboarding. Tubing. If you’re looking to get wet and go fast you’ll find there’s no shortage of fun to be had with a boat. The wide world of watersports offer you and your family the ultimate in thrills and high-energy adventure!
Ready to Make Waves? Start with the Basics.
Watersports Boat Types
How to Buy a Boat for Watersports
For most people, a boat will likely be one of the biggest investments of their lives, so it’s important to get it right. First you need to determine what you want to do with your boat. If you’re a passionate wakeboarder, for example, you shouldn’t waste your time looking at 18-foot stern-drives. Know what you want, then seek out boats in that category. For watersports, inboard boats are your best bet.
In many cases, the number of potential participants can dictate the size of boat you need. In general, more people equals a bigger boat, but it’s not quite that simple. The activities you want to do with the boat can also be a determining factor. For example, if you’re a serious slalom skier, you won’t look past a 20- to 22-foot direct-drive with a center-mounted pylon and a capacity of no more than five to nine people. These boats are purpose built for three-event skiing (slalom, trick and jump), so they generally don’t provide much potential for other sports.
Inboards in the 20- to 22-foot range with a V-drive configuration, however, are perfect for wakeboarding, wakesurfing, wakeskating and tubing, but their ski potential typically tops out at a recreational level. So if you want to ski, make sure you take a few passes behind the boat before signing on the dotted line.
If you’re after the most wakeboarding and wakesurfing potential, move on up to inboards in the 22- to 25-foot range. Smaller boats can throw great, well-shaped wakes too, but they don’t have the mass to make the bigger wakes and waves prized by more advanced riders and surfers. Boats in this range can wakeboard, wakeskate and wakesurf at a very high level, but their ski potential is recreational at best. Look for big numbers on internal ballast, plenty of storage and a quality wake-shaping device if you’re planning on wakeboarding or surfing. Big boats also tend to handle big water better than small boats.
Boating can be a social affair, especially when you raft up with all your boating buddies. Learning how to properly raft up with other boats involves understanding how you secure the boats together, and how you’ll keep your raft of boats in place.
Both new and experienced boaters should all take time to master important safety skills, including how to identify different parts of a boat, read channel markers, tie boating knots, improve boat handling, and understand the "rules of the road."
Take me out to the ballpark–by boat! For great family fun, boating and baseball go hand in hand. These 10 stadiums are right on the water, with dockage nearby, ideal for boaters looking to head to the ballpark by boat. Did your favorite team make the list?