Yes! The good news is that you can legally wakeboard with a jet ski in most states! What’s more, they can also pull wakeskates, waterskis, and tubes with ease. As jet skis are far cheaper than boats, they are more commonly used for tow sports.
If you want to learn more about jet ski wakeboarding, this post is for you!
Can a Jet Ski Pull a Wakeboard?
Today’s jet skis are so powerful that nearly all of them can easily pull a wakeboard. However, some models are better than others for tow sports. Let’s drill into the details and see which jet skis are the best for tow sports!
Which jet ski is the best for wakeboarding?
The best jet skis for wakeboarding are arguably the 3-seater models powered with 125-180 HP engines. These jet skis are typically equipped with many features like cruise control, a reboarding ladder, or large swim platform. All of these features come in handy if you want to wakeboard with a jet ski!
Although even the smallest Rec-Lite jet skis can be used for tow sports, they are definitely not the best choice.
This is because they are very lightweight, so they can easily be pulled around by the wakeboard. Moreover, they have small seats and storage compartment.
The supercharged performance jet skis aren’t recommended for wakeboarding either. Simply put, they are too powerful for the average wakeboard rider. So, it doesn’t make sense to invest in such an expensive jet ski.
It’s also good to know that there are jet skis on the market specially built for wakeboarding, like the Sea-Doo Wake series.
These models come with many tow sport accessories like jet ski wakeboard towers and wakeboard racks. They also feature special riding modes for smoother starts and a better towing experience.
Do You Need a Spotter on a Jet Ski?
Yes, in most states you need to have a spotter on the jet ski to legally tow a wakeboarder or tuber. When it comes to tow sports, in some states the same laws apply to jet skis and boats, while in others the applicable laws may be different.
To stay safe and legal, best practice is to check the local laws before you hit the water!
Cons of Jet Ski Wakeboarding
There is no question that jet ski wakeboarding has many advantages. Jet skis are cheaper than boats and don’t have exposed props, which could be dangerous for the wakeboarders.
On the other hand, it has to be mentioned that there are many cons of jet ski wakeboarding. Let’s take a closer look at each!
Sucking Up the Tow Rope
The biggest complaint against jet skis is that their pump can easily suck up the tow rope. This happens when the rope is in the water and the jet ski runs over it, or it gets too close to the pump.
If the pump sucks up the rope, it can bend over the driveshaft or the impeller, which can cause a lot of headaches.
As removing the tow rope in the water is sometimes impossible, you have to tow the jet ski back to the shore to remove the rope.
Another main drawback of towing a wakeboarder with a jet ski is the low weight of these tiny crafts.
Compared to boats, jet skis are much lighter as their weight ranges from 500 pounds up to 1000 pounds depending on the model.
This can cause a problem if you want to carve aggressively behind a jet ski, or want to do jumps. As doing these tricks always requires more power and speed on the wakeboard, you can easily pull the jet ski around with the tow rope.
This means that you can easily force the jet ski from its original direction and you very often can’t get as much speed on the wakeboard as you need.
Of course, if you are a beginner wakeboarder or just looking for some fun this won’t be such a big deal for you. Jet skis certainly have enough power for the average wakeboard rider!
But if you are considering doing tricks on a regular basis, you should take a look at boats instead.
There is another noticeable difference between jet skis and boats, and this is the size of the wake.
The other disadvantage of jet skis’ small hull and weight is that they generate much smaller wakes than the average boat, not to mention the huge wakes generated by special wakeboard boats!
If you are looking for huge jumps, you might be disappointed with the small wakes of jet skis.
Another common problem that occurs behind jet skis is their “jet spray.” Some jet ski models generate water spray, which can be annoying if you ride directly behind it. Many wakeboarders say that it’s like riding in the rain!
Lack of Space
Compared to boats, jet skis feature a very small rear platform. So, prepping for the wakeboard ride is far less convenient. In contrast, boats offer plenty of space and comfort.
Moreover, jet skis also have a lack of storage space, so you can’t store as much gear on them as on a boat.
Although you can mount wakeboard racks on their footwells, these racks have limited capacities.
Other Watersports with Jet Ski
Can a jet ski pull a tube?
Yes, jet skis can pull smaller tubes with ease. If you consider tubing with a jet ski, it’s recommended that you choose a smaller tube. Multi-person tubes are too big for many jet skis and put too much stress on them.
How big of a jet ski do you need to pull a tube?
Towing a tube with a jet ski requires a lot of power, as it has more resistance compared to wakeboards. So, the best jet skis for tubing are the bigger, more powerful models. If you want to regularly go tubing, it’s recommended that you purchase a jet ski with (at least) a 160-180 HP engine.
Can you go wakeskating behind a jet ski?
Yes! Wakeskating behind a jet ski is not only possible, but also becoming more and more popular than wakeboarding. Why? This is because wakeskates don’t feature bindings, so they’re easier to handle and store on a jet ski. Moreover, wakeskates are better for flat-water tricks!
Another huge advantage of wakeskating is that switching riders is much easier and faster compared to wakeboarding.
Can you wakesurf behind a jet ski?
It’s a lesser-known fact that it’s possible to wakesurf behind a jet ski! However, this requires a suitable jet ski model as well as an experienced driver. Based on this video, to wakesurf behind a jet ski it should go a steady speed of 8 mph. Another trick is that the driver should stand on one side of the jet ski.
Conclusion – Can You Wakeboard with a Jet Ski?
As you see, you can wakeboard with a jet ski without any issues. Besides wakeboarding, tubing and wakeskating are also popular among jet ski owners.
The best jet skis for wakeboarding are definitely the 3-seater models with an engine power of about 125-180 HP.
As a rule of thumb, 2-seater jet skis are not suitable for tow sports, as most states require you to have a spotter on the jet ski. This means a 3-seater saddle is a must!
Using a jet ski for tow sports has many advantages, as it’s safer and cheaper than a boat. On the other hand, jet skis are very lightweight and generate small wakes. All of these could be issues for experienced wakeboarders!
What’s more, jet skis are prone to sucking up the tow rope, which is always a big hassle.
As the final word, before you try jet ski wakeboarding, it’s highly recommended that you check the local laws to stay safe and legal!