TOWBOAT ANATOMY 101
Low-slung slalom slammers and fat wake makers might be tarred with the same brush, but despite their superficial similarities, ski and wake boats vary dramatically in design and intent.
On the whole, skiers are a cautious, paranoid bunch who chuck a panic attack when an afternoon zephyr ruffles up knee-jarring, marshmallow-sized ‘chop’. They prefer their patch of water to have the disposition of a pancake. It’s for this reason ski boat hulls are flat, with some boats sporting concave hull surfaces. Inboard engines are predominantly mid-mounted for balance and to minimise any potential wake. Tow points are mounted either mid-ships or on the transom.
Wakeboarders, on the other hand, employ all sorts of gimmickry and Hocus Pocus to pump out almost tsunami-sized waves and then run them down and jump them. Lunacy! Complex hulls are tuned to generate large, peaky wakes that can be fine-tuned to the rider’s needs by balancing speed, ballast and occasionally single or twin trim tabs. Engines are shoehorned into the back of the boat, forcing the hull deeper into the water at the generally lower speeds wake boats operate at.