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How Skill Level Determines the Correct Wakeboard Towing Speed

by Grant Draper
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Whether you’re a complete beginner or seasoned pro, ensuring you’re being towed at the correct speed is going to have an affect on how you progress as a rider. And as wakeboard towing speed varies on a range of factors, it’s not a one size fits all approach.

In our quick fire guide below, we’re going to explain the best wakeboard speed for towing, which is going to depend on your ability level, rope length and the choppiness of the water that you’re riding on.

The Best Boat Speed for Wakeboarding by Skill Level

How experienced is the boarder you’re towing?

One of the biggest factors that determine the perfect wakeboard boat speed is going to be the ability of the rider that you’re towing. The less experienced the wakeboarder you're towing, the slower you’re going to need to go.

Typically, we see boat speeds for wakeboarding of around 12mph through to 24mph. Any slower than 12mph isn’t going to provide the momentum needed to keep the wakeboarder up right, or provide a clean enough wake. On the flip side, anything above 24mph is going to create too large a wake, and create an unstable environment for the rider you’re towing.

Beginner

Beginner wakeboard boat speed should be around 12-15mph once they’ve popped up. They’ll be used to carving slower and a speed above this is going to catch them out and result in them being face first, more than they are up on the water.

Intermediate

For riders transitioning from beginner to intermediate, a typical wakeboard speed is around 15mph, with the more experienced in this category feeling comfortable around 18-20mph.

Expert

For the most experienced wakeboarders, a wakeboard boat speed of around 20-24mph seems to be the sweet spot. Expert riders will be able to carve quickly, and 20-24mph isn’t going to be a problem.

More importantly, the faster a wakeboard boat speed is, the bigger and cleaner the wake. This is going to make it easier for them to do tricks. They simply wouldn’t be able to do it at lower speeds with a smaller and choppier wake.

In Summary

This guide assumes you already know how to pull a wakeboarder, and are just trying to determine the correct speed.

Wakeboard boat speed is determined mainly by the ability of the wakeboarder you are towing. The less experience a rider has, the slower you should go. 12-15mph for beginners, 15-20mph for intermediates and 20-24mph for experts.

Always remember though. The faster you go, the cleaner the wake will be. So, always try and push the wakeboarder you tow to hit the high end of speed that they can comfortably maintain, as it will actually make it easier for them.

Wakeboard Towing Speed FAQ

Can I tow a wakeboarder on my boat without a tower?

A tower isn’t essential for towing a wakeboarder. However, it’s going to make their life a lot easier. Being pulled from a point with an upwards trajectory makes it easier to pop up, as well as doing jumps and tricks.

Is a water ski rope suitable for towing wakeboarders?

No. Buy a wakeboard specific rope. A water ski rope has much stretch in it, which makes wakeboarding extremely hard. You'll also need to ensure you pick the right wakeboard rope length.

Will a 90bhp wakeboard boat be powerful enough for towing?

It’s not impossible to tow a wakeboarder with a 90bhp boat, as it’s the acceleration that creates good wake; a boat with good acceleration (regardless of BHP), will create a solid wake for your riders. 

However, wakeboard boat BHP tends to in the 150bhp-300bhp range.

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