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Old     (FatWakeboarder)      Join Date: Jun 2012       06-11-2012, 11:31 AM Reply   
Looking for some thoughts on boat speed for younger riders. In particular for a 9 year old (10 in August) that weighs 73 lbs and rides a 124 board. He is being towed by an Air Nautique 226 with 1100 pounds of ballast. He has progressed to riding full ballast, but has been being pulled at 15 so he doesn't get a lot of pop.
Old     (boarditup)      Join Date: Jan 2004       06-11-2012, 11:37 AM Reply   
With the younger, lightweight riders I don't use ballast. I do shorten up the rope and travel 16-19 mph, depending upon wake and how they progress. I favor technique over wake size. Get to a nice wake shape in the 16-19 mph range where the kid can hold a good edge. As they gain skills, confidence, and size, then add line length and add a little ballast.
Old    sperbet            06-11-2012, 11:39 AM Reply   
Yep, fully agree. Dump the ballast and pull the rope in as far as you can.
Old     (FatWakeboarder)      Join Date: Jun 2012       06-11-2012, 11:42 AM Reply   
OK, right now he's riding at 60 feet. His progressive edge is getting better, his side slide are very good. I'll dump the ballast in favor of boat speed. On my current line 60 is as short as it goes, do you suggest coming in even further?
Old     (boarditup)      Join Date: Jan 2004       06-11-2012, 12:08 PM Reply   
Yes, for the young kids I use a trick ski line - about 40-45 feet. It really makes a big difference. Also, a small diameter handle. MasterLine makes them in a .888 diameter and only 13" wide (a lot lighter). The kids get a better grip and they ride more comfortably - even if they don't mention it. Yes, they outgrow it soon and it is about $125 - but the smiles and the progress is priceless!

Your kid is blessed - most dads won't ask these questions. Good job dad!
Old     (boardjnky4)      Join Date: Dec 2011       06-11-2012, 1:16 PM Reply   
I would be really surpised if you are actually getting a clean wake at 60 feet with 1,100 pound of ballast at 15 mph. Dump the ballast and bring the line in to get him into a nice clean section of wake.
Old     (FatWakeboarder)      Join Date: Jun 2012       06-11-2012, 1:44 PM Reply   
It's definitely not clean, it really doesn't get clean until 19+. Next time out will definitely dump the ballast and try to bring him in. Never gave the handle much thought but will consider that as well, couldn't find the one you were talking about on, but I have a ski rope and handle that may work. Thanks for the advice, I'm learning along with him so making adjustments on the fly.
Old     (cccbuilders)      Join Date: Jun 2007       06-11-2012, 2:11 PM Reply   
Speed all depends on the riders experience. My son rode at 22 mph at 7 years old, and could go w2w. IMO, a true beginner younger rider should ride with no ballast, 14-17 mph and drop the rope back to 65 - 70. Rope length does not need to come in until they are getting a good progressive edge into the wake. As they progress you can click the speed up a little to the riders ability, and pull the rope in when they are getting closer to jumping w2w. You will just have to play with speed and rope length to find a decent clean wake. Typically a boat with no ballast, you can get a cleaner wake at slower speeds, but will depend on your boat. Just get out and experiment.
Old     (boarditup)      Join Date: Jan 2004       06-11-2012, 3:22 PM Reply   
Here is the MasterLine link for the handle:

Here is the link to the trick rope:

It is a slalom handle and a trick ski rope, but this works the best for kids, women, and other lightweights with small hands. You will always be teaching kids, so it is a staple in my boat over the years.

To say it another way - let the kid and his progress inform you what works and what does not. Kids seldom have the capability to say .5mph slower, take the rope in 10' or the wake does not have the right peak for pop. You just have to see it and adapt. Keep working and you will find out where the sweet spot is. Then, start the progression as the kid is interested and ready.

Enjoy being a dad!


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