For some reason, there just isn’t a lot of jet ski wakeboard information out there. Tons of people are unsure if it’s legal to pull a wakeboarder on a jet ski, what the best jet ski is for wakeboarding, or even what the best jet ski wakeboard is. Aside from wakeboarding, the entire category of tow sports is somewhat of a grey area.
This guide is going to go over all of the above, and hopefully answer some questions that everyone is thinking.
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Is it legal to pull a wakeboard behind a jet ski?
It varies based off of location, but for the most part it is legal to pull a wakeboarder behind a jet ski. Not only is it usually legal, but jet skis are designed for it. Almost all personal watercraft come with a tow hook behind the seat. It’s started to become a standard that jet skis can be used for tow sports. This includes but is not limited to: wakeboarding, wake skating, tow tubes, water skis, and more.
Since legalities can change depending on location, it’s hard to say exactly what they are. The main factors that vary are the watercraft and operator requirements needed in order to tow someone. This goes for not just wakeboarding, but for tubing, or even water skiing behind a jet ski as well. Regardless of what a person is riding while being pulled, there are rules most local governments have in place.
Generally the rules and laws are pretty simple to follow. Again, check with local officials first, but these are a few of the more common laws associated with a jet ski pulling someone.
- PFD: Typically, all riders are required to have a pfd (personal flotation device) of some sort. There are a lot of great life jackets out there, and they’ve become much more comfortable in recent years. Even though no one really wants to wear them, it’s the law. At the end of the day, it’s better to have on then to not.
- Mirrors/Spotter: This is one of the regulations that may vary, but often times the pwc doing the towing is required to have mirrors or a spotter. In some places, both of these may be required. The purpose of this is so the operator is always aware of what’s going on behind the jet ski. Mirrors are great to have, but a spotter is even better.
- Age: The age requirements for someone to operate or be pulled behind a jet ski is another factor that may vary. Jet skis have become increasingly easier to operate, but that doesn’t mean just anyone is allowed to drive them. Be sure to check local laws before going out on the water.
What is the best jet ski for wakeboarding?
Believe it or not, there is actually a fairly large jet ski wakeboard community. Pulling a wakeboarder on a jet ski has even gotten so popular that Sea Doo designed a specific line up for it.
Although these are some of the best jet skis for tow sports, that doesn’t mean they’re the only options available. Just about every pwc comes with a tow hook. It doesn’t take a special model to do tow sports, but some are definitely better than others. At the end of the day, almost any jet ski can pull a wakeboarder. Try not to get too caught up in the marketing of companies, and stick with what’s affordable.
Best jet ski for wakeboarding
It’s hard to say for sure what the best jet ski is for wakeboarding, but these are a few models that outshine the others. Keep in mind that there is no perfect model. Every pwc is going to have something that another one doesn’t.
Sea Doo Wake Pro 230
The Sea Doo Wake Pro 230 is designed specifically with tow sports in mind. Everything about this watercraft was made to facilitate pulling someone on a jet ski.
There are actually two versions of this model. They’re very similar in terms of features, but the larger model has a more powerful engine for the more dedicated enthusiasts. It also comes with a couple extra bells and whistles geared towards tow sports. However, it costs significantly more, it weighs slightly more, and it has less storage. Deciding whether the pros outweigh the cons is up to the individual to decide.
A few of the more notable features of the Sea Doo Wake Pro 230 are:
- 3 person ergonomic touring seat
- New deeper and wider reboarding ladder
- iBR 3.0 (Sea Doo’s Upgraded Intelligent Braking and Reverse System)
- A High Performance Electronic VTS (Variable Trim System). This allows operators to better adjust to different riding conditions.
- Display functions including Time / Distance to empty and altitude indicator
- Direct Access Front Storage
- A watertight / shock proof phone compartment
- Sport, ECO, and Touring Mode
- Slow mode & Cruise Control
- ST3 Super Stable Hull
- Largest swim platform in the personal watercraft industry
- LinQ Attachment System. This allows for additional storage on the rear platform.
- Front Splash Deflector
- Supercharged engine
- Comes with several accessories including a 3 positions retractable adjustable ski pylon and a removable wakeboard rack
- Tow Hook
Yamaha VX Cruiser HO
Despite not having any models made entirely for tow sports, Yamaha still has some great Waverunners that can get the job done.
There are a lot of great Waverunners that can be used for tow sports, but one of the better options is the Yamaha VX Cruiser HO. It comes with everything needed to get started, and has a fairly modest price tag. Of course there are some better models in their line up, but they cost much more. Considering its price and features, the Yamaha VX Cruiser HO is arguably the best Waverunner for wakeboarding.
Some of the more important features of the Yamaha VX Cruiser HO are:
- 3 person cruiser seat with step up
- Largest fuel tank in its class
- Lightweight NanoXcel Hull
- Multifunction Information Display
- Built in Yamaha RiDE technology gives it dual throttle braking and reverse
- Reboarding Step that tucks away when not in use
- Comes with Dual Cupholders
- Security / Low RPM Remote Transmitter
- Cruise Assist / No Wake Mode
- Watertight Storage
- Tow Hook
- Lightest model in its class
- Top speed of 65 mph
- Reliable 1.8 Liter High Output Yamaha Marine Engine
- Option to purchase additional accessories such as a tow tube, ski rope floats, or even speakers
Essential Jet Ski Tow Sports Accessories
Other than a tow hook and a rope, there aren’t very many things that are actually essential for tow sports. However, there are a few things that can most definitely make things a lot easier, and more fun. These are a few accessories worth considering.
Good tow rope is a great accessory to have when it comes to pulling anything with a jet ski. There are dozens of different tow ropes out there, but some of the cheaper ones can barely last a season.
Airhead is one of the most well known companies when it comes to anything related to tow sports. Their tow rope is pretty high quality, and relatively inexpensive. It comes in 50 & 60 foot lengths, and comes pre-stretched.
Wakeboard Tow Rope
Just like with normal tow rope, a wakeboard tow rope is pretty useful to have. Unlike traditional tow rope, a wakeboard tow rope comes with a solid handle so wakeboarders can hold on easier. Another major difference is wakeboard rope should have close to 0 stretch, making it more responsive.
A good tow tube is perhaps the most fun tow sports accessory there is. Almost everyone, regardless of their age, can have a fun time on a tow tube.
There are hundreds of different tow tubes out there, and they come in just about every shape and size imaginable. It’s impossible to say for sure what the best tow tube is, but Airhead tubes are without a doubt some of the most popular.
Anyone who has ridden on a tow tube before knows how annoying the water spray is, and a booster ball gets ride of that. A booster ball simply eliminates spray from the tow rope dragging against the water. It isn’t the most fancy accessory, but it’s practical.
People who use ski pylons or an elevated tow hook most likely won’t need a booster ball. Water spray typically only happens when the rope is dragging the water. When a tow hook is higher up, it’s rare that the rope drags the water enough to create spray. This is more so an accessory for those without an elevated platform to tow from.
One of the most useful jet ski tow sports accessories is an impeller protector. If a jet ski is used long enough for tow sports, sooner or later the rope is going to get sucked up into the impeller. This can usually be avoided if the operator maneuvers properly, but eventually it may still happen.
Even the most skilled riders mess up every now and then. Rest assured that when this happens, the impeller will be standing by ready to snatch up the tow rope. An impeller protector is a great just-in-case item that can be pretty useful to have.
A wakeboard and jet ski are one of the best combinations in tow sports. Using a jet ski for wakeboarding is great because it allows incredibly maneuverability that many boats can’t match. The barrier to entry on a jet ski is much lower than a boat, and they’re way easier to operate.
Wakeboards can vary greatly in quality in performance. Unfortunately most professional wakeboards are somewhat expensive, but there are some decent affordable options available too. Given its price, the Hydro Slide Black Widow wakeboard provides a ton of value, and can be great to learn on.
PFD (Life Jacket)
Unlike some of the other items mentioned, a life jacket is definitely an essential accessory. A pfd is an extremely valuable accessory to have for obvious reasons. Other than literally being able to save someones life, they’re required by law just about everywhere.
For the longest time, life jackets were bulky, cumbersome, and overall uncomfortable to wear. This has started to change though, and there are actually some great options out there. Life jackets have become surprisingly comfortable, and they’re much less of a hassle to wear than they used to be.