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3 Things You Need to Know About Wakeboard/Ski Boats

3 Things You Need to Know About Wakeboard/Ski Boats
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There are numerous types of boats being produced around the world. When deciding on what type of boat to buy, it is important to think about what you are wanting the boat for. Is it for cruising around, going fishing, or maybe for a water sport? If it is for a watersport, which one will you be using the boat for more often?

Many may consider a wake and ski boat the same type of boat, but they are not. While you can use either type of boat for both types of boarding, it is best to determine which one you will be doing more often when deciding which boat type to go with. In this piece, we will go over three things you need to know about wake and ski boats.

Boat’s Size

Size is one of the biggest differences between a wake and a ski boat. Wake boats typically range from 18 to 25 feet. Ski boats are typically under 20 feet. They also have a more shallow hull compared to wake boats, so they sit up on top of the water more when moving. Additionally, ski boats are slightly shorter than wake boats.

Ballast Systems

Ballast systems on wake boats are used to displace the hull deeper into the water so that bigger waves can be generated. Ballast systems are a temporary way to add extra weight to the boat so that there is greater water displacement. Wake boats typically utilize ballast systems in order to create bigger wake for water sports such as wakeboarding, wake surfing and hydrofoiling where bigger waves are desired and needed. Opposite of that, ski boats tend to not use ballast systems since they are not designed to create a big wake as skiers prefer calmer water. Ski boats tend to be much lighter so they can sit atop the water and glide across it.

Similar to ballast systems mostly only being used on wake boats, hydrofoiling technology is also mostly used solely on wake boats. These are fin-like structures that are mounted below the hull. As the boat moves, the fins help create enough lift that brings the hull out of the water to reduce drag and even help with fuel efficiency. This technology is part of what makes wake boats slightly more expensive than ski boats.


Since a ski boat sits up higher on the water, it creates more gentle waves and leaves the water fairly smooth – which is desired by skiers. However, wake boats are designed to create larger and more full waves. These make the perfect conditions for both wakeboarding and wake surfing. Wake boats have a U-shaped hull and feature an inboard engine, which helps produce the bigger waves. Ski boats have an inboard engine that is placed in the middle of the boat and a straight drive shaft which helps reduce the size of the wake produced. Note that both of these engines can produce great amounts of power, it is just the way they are placed and paired with other designs and add-ons that contribute to their main differences.

Ultimately, you can use either type of boat for both watersports; but, since they are specifically designed for certain watersports, using one type of boat for the opposite watersport may have some drawbacks. Wake boats are designed to create larger waves, while ski boats are designed to glide across the water with minimal wake. No matter which type you go with, remember to stay safe and have fun while out on the water.

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