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Old     (ship_of_fools)      Join Date: Sep 2007       02-25-2009, 8:06 PM Reply   
I don't want to be that "jerk" driving the boat that everyone hates.

I am fairly new to boating and started pulling my kids wakeboarding last year. I have never had anyone in the boat with me that knows the correct way to pull wakeboarders, so I am all self taught.

I have read a few things online but still have questions...

I have heard of (and tried) driving in a pattern that has 2 loops and 1 long straight line that gets traveled both directions. I was told that other than hitting the wake when you finish your loop (going back into the straight line) you have clean water the entire time you are in the straight part because the wake dissipates out of the center line. Is there more to this than just doing that? Any tricks to handle the turns while executing the loop?

What about double - ups. I know what they are but not sure how to make it work. The timing seems hard to do.

Someone also told me that they have seen wakeboarders get back up after falling without the boat ever stopping. The driver slows the boat down and somehow they grab the rope and get up. How hard is that to do?

Any other tips??

Old     (cpizzle)      Join Date: Sep 2007       02-25-2009, 8:19 PM Reply   
The "pattern" that you learned sounds good. You can offset a little to allow 2 boats to pass going in opposite directions. One of the most important rules to us riders is not to do power turns when picking up your rider. Stop, make a slow turn around (I do a sort of quick 3 point turn) then idle back down your line to pick them up remembering to always pass your rider on your side of the boat so you always have them visible. Even if you have to speed up to pick them up if a boat's coming you will still avoid throwing rollers down the lake or whatever body of water you are on. I wouldn't worry about the no stop pick up right now.
Old     (tcaz)      Join Date: Aug 2008       02-25-2009, 8:23 PM Reply   
If a boat is in front of you, cruise behind their wake and not to side. This will be smoother for the rider as your wake is not disrupted by rollers.

Drive in straight lines. On bends in the lake/river, try and drive angles rather than make curves. I know sometimes you have to steer curves but they wash out the wake when you do. Angles allow you to maximize every chance to hit the wake.

That last tip you have sounds like something out of Shaun Murray's Wakeboarding Unleashed. HAHAH. Toss the rope in the boat and they'll pitch it back.
Old     (srh00z)      Join Date: Jun 2003       02-25-2009, 8:26 PM Reply   
A nice tip on reducing rollers when a rider falls is to ease off the throttle and cut the wheel hard in the opposite direction that you intend to make your turn around. Let the roller from the slow down to pass the stern and then turn the wheel back the other way and idle back to your rider.
Other tips are to maintain a constant speed and straight path, especially when your rider is cutting in. Also, drive in straight lines by picking a point on the horizon and continue to head for that point.
Old     (skidaddy)      Join Date: May 2008       02-26-2009, 6:00 AM Reply   
The double loop system you describe works great if you're the only boat running on a small lake. It creates total chaos on your typical lake and is pointless with multiple boats on the water. Stay on the right side of the lake when it's crowded. We have an incredible number of boats that don't observe this on our lake. Most are just incompetent, but the ones that tick you off are those that act like they own the lake and you should just stay out of the way while they take their runs.

The above tips are great. As to driving, a steady pull in a straight line taking curves with angles is key. Our driver extends their arm out at the new angle they are going to take to give the rider warning. Go ahead a make a fairly quick angled turn and get set on your new straight line as quickly as possible so the rider can get back to the action. Great pointer about picking a spot on the horizon to stay on a line. When you turn around at the end of your lake, take a "V" through you're own wake as you cross back through it and stay wide of it as much as possible as it heads to the shore on your right so your rider has clear water. If you immediately cut back towards the shore after you cross the wake, your rider has to deal with the rough water on the right side. Definitely stop and then make a slow turn around when your rider falls. And DEFINITELY stay to the right side on a crowded lake.
Old     (slipknot)      Join Date: Aug 2001       02-26-2009, 6:25 AM Reply   
Here is a great article by a friend of mine. We rode together way back then.

I wonder where he is these days? Gid?
Old     (ironj32)      Join Date: Jan 2007       02-26-2009, 6:29 AM Reply   
"It creates total chaos on your typical lake and is pointless with multiple boats on the water. Stay on the right side of the lake when it's crowded."

so you're saying that you should go around the edges of the lake, all traveling counter-clockwise? if so, that would just create non-stop rollers all over the lake. maybe the "ones that don't observe this" have the right idea? if people were to stay towards the middle of the lake it make for smoother water for everyone. yes, you still have stay to the right though...on-coming boats should pass you on your left. i know it can be tough getting everyone to do it, but it works magic if you can.
Old     (rallyart)      Join Date: Nov 2006       02-26-2009, 7:42 AM Reply   
"The Book" DVD series, or at least the Disk 1, is really useful for driving and for basic boarding skills.
Also, don't cut the throttle when you come up on an unexpected roller. That puts the bow down and you might wind up really wet. Give a touch of gas instead. Practice manoeuvering near something like a buoy so you know how the boat handles at slow speeds.
Old     (tuneman)      Join Date: Mar 2002       02-26-2009, 7:46 AM Reply   
These "loops", that everyone is referring to, are also known as "button hook turns". Imagine driving around the circumference of a button at each end of the run. First turn a bit left/right, then turn around in the other direction. If done correctly, when you come around you should have a striaght shot down your original boat path.

For double-ups, it's the same turn, except for your initial turn left/right, make an abrupt 90 turn. Go straight for several seconds and then slowly turn back in the opposite direction (really big circle). If done correctly, you should end up approximately in line with your original boat path. Hit your wake at 90 degrees and the rider typically hits the inside wake.

For non-stop pickups, leave that to the experts. That can be dangerous if someone isn't paying attention.
Old     (tripsw)      Join Date: May 2006       02-26-2009, 7:48 AM Reply   
Great article indeed.
There's one thing I'd like to add, copied from an article by Dave Briscoe:
"Driving a straight line - The easiest way to drive a straight line is not by looking forward. The shoreline could be bending without you noticing and this will cause your wake to suck. The turbulence line from your prop won't ever lie though. So watch your turbulence line in your mirror and make sure it's drawing a straight line in the water. If you don't have a mirror, then get one. You'll never be a good driver without a mirror."

There's a couple other helpful hints in that article. I copied it to our website:
Old     (skidaddy)      Join Date: May 2008       02-26-2009, 7:55 AM Reply   
Jay: If you could organize everyone you'd be right. On your average public lake (I am actually on a large private lake, but still too many folks to control), it's not possible.

I don't think everyone should go to the edges, but other than your early or late runs when traffic is light, it's more survival and safety than absolute wake management that's the issue and you do need to stay of the right half of the lake running counter-clockwise. You've also got pleasure boaters out there who don't give a rip. Of course the water skiers aren't even out there mid-day because they care even more about chop than wakeboarders do.

We have one area on the lake (in front of my house) which is one of the best spots but includes about a 120 degree turn. Most folks do it as a 2 point turn which keeps them on the right half but the real problem is the guy who doesn't want to be bothered with that and does a one point turn which sends him cruising right up the left shoreline. Obviously a pet peeve of mine.

If you can get everyone to drive a double loop in the middle on a small lake, that would be awesome. The Book has a driving section that shows the exact way to drive the double loop so you minimize wake effects (and can virtually eliminate them if you're out there on your own). Heck, Obama said we all need to pull together - maybe we can make it work on the lake.
Old     (cpizzle)      Join Date: Sep 2007       02-26-2009, 5:51 PM Reply   
I personally think looking forward while driving is a purty good idea but, hey, call me crazy.
Old     (ship_of_fools)      Join Date: Sep 2007       02-26-2009, 6:21 PM Reply   
Thanks for all the replies.

I was doing the button hook pattern and thought that worked pretty well. I have done this on both a small lake and a big lake. But on the big lake I was doing it a smaller area in front of a dam because the rest of the water was choppy.

I can see how several boats could just ruin this and make it a mess...

Several people mentioned driving in "angles". Does that apply to even the button hook pattern?

How many small straight "angles" should I use to make a 360 degree (or even 180) turn?

I would like to see if the kids can hit the double-up. But I am still a little unclear on how to make that work.

I don't have a mirror....I think that will need to be my next purchase. My back would probably thank me too. Any suggestions on what kind of mirror to get?

Old     (jtnz)      Join Date: Sep 2007       02-26-2009, 6:27 PM Reply   
One thing that frustrates me the most, although not really a driving thing, but a good driver/crew should do it every time, is balance the boat out before pulling the rider. I can't stand watching the boat take off all on a lean and having one clean wake on one side with a crappy mush pile on the other (I was actually thinking of mounting a spirit level on the dash at one stage.) because you can't do anything but either let go or ride for a bit looking pissed off, then let go. Usually this happens when we have a boat full of new people first time out, but having the boat level before taking off makes a huge difference to the quality of your wake.

The other thing I don't like is when drivers don't bump the boat out of gear when pulling the rope back around to the rider, last time out I let a friend of mine drive for the first time and he tried to tear my arms off when bringing the handle back around.

(Message edited by jtnz on February 26, 2009)
Old     (lakemiltonwake08)      Join Date: Oct 2008       02-26-2009, 7:09 PM Reply   
What does having it balanced beforehand have to do with anything? It's the driver's responsibility to shift people around after the boat is on plane to even out the wake. Or get yourself some small lead plates so you don't even have to move anyone.
Old     (steve_jones)      Join Date: Jun 2006       02-26-2009, 8:49 PM Reply   
FJK, it sounds like your head is in the right place. You'll be just fine. Wish we had more new boaters like yourself!

There are some tips on this link on our website, pick through what might help you. A couple of the links will bring you right back to older ww articles.
Old     (saceone)      Join Date: Jan 2009       02-26-2009, 9:33 PM Reply   
great thread!
besides ''THE BOOK'' , where can I get a tutorial video a la youtube?
Old     (bftskir)      Join Date: Jan 2004       02-26-2009, 11:15 PM Reply   
forget about the double up for now too...get some driving experience first, like a season or two, then try it when you've got the lake to yourself and plenty of room.

get a big mirror ciba 7x14...windshield mount unless you have a tower and want to go tower mount

(Message edited by bftskir on February 26, 2009)
Old     (skidaddy)      Join Date: May 2008       02-27-2009, 6:12 AM Reply   
Get a mirror so you can focus on looking forward (not backwards). One bad thing about being the driver is you can't be a spectator (which is particularly hard if you are pulling your kids). Keep your line straight, speed/pull constant and wakes balanced, but also focus on safe driving. Can't tell you how many times I have seen someone coming right at me who has no idea I am there because he's looking behind him.

On turns, if you are turning around (at the end of the lake for example), just do it and be done with it. No fun for the rider and they are just wasting energy hanging on, so the sooner it's over with the better. Use angles to handle curves in your lake. Rather than curving with the curve of the shoreline, stay in a straight line to the apex of the curve and then just take a new straight line to continue up the lake. Long, slow turns are just dead time for riders.

The other thing I am sure you are picking up is that there is a lot to being a good driver. There's about as much to it as being a good rider, and it's more work than fun. Like riding, most get better with experience. A good driver is always appreciated though.

By the way, I agree with the advice about getting more experienced before trying a double up - it's an advanced move for both the driver and the rider. Last thing you want to do is have your kid take a bad fall on a double up and loose some nerve or worse yet, get completely turned off to this.


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