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Our library of free diagrams, guides and how-tos includes all of the information you need to get the best wake out of your boat.

  • Removing Cemented Fittings From Fly High Ballast Bags

    On many factory ballast systems equipped with soft bags, the fittings are actually cemented into the bag during construction so they won't pull out prematurely. That's great if you want the fitting in the bag, but what if you need to change the fitting to a different type or system? We already posted step-by-step instructions on how to remove fittings that have been cemented in place, but figured a video is better than pictures.

    So here's a brief video that shows the process:

  • Easily Install 1-1/8" Fittings into 1" Ballast Hose

    Thanks to a standard that extends back more than 30 years, most marine bilge related products use 1-1/8" hose connections rather than the more common 1" inside diameter size. To make matters worse, many fittings are advertised universally as being designed for 1" hose, even though the actual nominal size of the fitting is 1-1/8". As you can imagine, it can be difficult to make a fitting that's too big fit into a hose that's too small. Unfortunately many ballast systems actually do use a true 1" fitting somewhere in the system, which means that 1" hose must be used throughout.

    We have a lot of customers contacting us why it's so difficult to get the 1" fittings they purchased inside the 1" hose they bought from us. Refer back to the paragraph above for the answer, but basically the fitting is 1/8" too big for hose. Fortunately with a little knowledge, it's actually quite easy to get the fitting to slide into the hose. It's a question that's asked enough that we decided to put together a little video that shows the process:

  • SkiersChoice Supra / Moomba Gravity Ballast System History

    SkiersChoice Supra and Moomba Ballast Systems Explained

    SkiersChoice Ballast System History:
    In the early 2000's SkiersChoice offered two automated ballast systems installed at the factory. Dealers were able to order Supra and Moomba boats with the single tank Bertha Ballast System or upgrade to the optional three tank Hippo Ballast System. This was the beginning of wake enhancement and SkiersChoice was at the forefront.

    During the 2002 season the Hippo name was dropped when the parts supplier, Hippopotamus Wake Systems, closed their doors. SkiersChoice moved forward with the Bertha name designation. The overall design and components of the system stayed the same.

    In 2005 SkiersChoice changed the name to the Gravity ballast system and offered three package options. The Gravity I system consisted of a center ski locker ballast bag only. The Gravity II was a center ski locker ballast bag and an under rear seat bag to optimize the wake behind direct drive boats. The Gravity III system was the ultimate in wake enhancement and included a center ski locker bag and two more rear bags, one in each of the v-drive storage lockers. In 2007 the Moomba Gravity Mobius LS (direct drive) had the option of a Gravity III system that had a split rear tank which allowed for adjustment in weight from port or starboard.

    For 2009 the Gravity III ballast system was redesigned to decrease fill and drain times by moving away from the Hippo system. The new ballast system uses a dedicated 1” thru-hull fitting suppling water to three Jabsco Ballast Puppy pumps. The Gravity I system is unchanged and continues to use the Hippo design as per the user manual printed by SkiersChoice.

    Ballast Bag Capacities: (Supra and Moomba Custom Fit Ballast Bags)
    The factory center ski locker sacs in both Supra and Moomba boats are either 400 lbs, or 650 lbs depending on the bow seating configuration. Standard open walk through bow areas have a medium sized ski locker in the middle of the boat. The larger boats have a play pin style bow which has a ton of storage under the giant walk through seat cushion that stretches up under the bow area.

    In the beginning the factory rear bags had a capacity of 270 lbs each and were square in shape which took up a lot of space when full. Between 2004 and 2005 the rear ballast bags were increased to 400 lbs and were built longer in length and shorter in height allowing for more rear compartment storage when filled to capacity. This new shape allowed dealers to be competitive with other makes like Malibu that introduced hard tanks under the floor.

    The Gravity name has always confused Supra and Moomba owners as to what capacities their bags actually are. The Fly High Gravity Games Rear Sacs (565 lbs.) and Fly High Gravity Games Center Sac (1180 lbs.) were only offered on the Gravity Games Edition boats. To make it even more confusing for consumers many of the SkiersChoice boats say “Official Tow Boat of the Gravity Games” right above the swim platform. The larger bags were made to fit perfectly in the rear lockers and center play pen style bow storage lockers of the Moomba XLV and Supra 24SSV boats. In 2011 when the Supra 242 was introduced we saw a glimpse into the future with one new hard tank located in the bow. We would not see anymore hard tanks until the 2013 Supra SA22 which arrived in late 2012. 2013 is the year when the Moomba LSV, Moomba Mojo, and all Supra models come equipped with 650 lbs ballast bags in the rear lockers from the factory.

    2003 – 2008 Gravity III Ballast System Overview: (Supra/Moomba Bag Buster Upgrade Kit 03-08)
    The Gravity III ballast system is made up of two parts. There is a fill system and a completely separate drain system. These systems are controlled using a 3 way rocker switch located at the helm near the throttle.

    The filling system begins with a scooped intake strainer that forces water up into the fill pump whether the boat is sitting still or underway. The thru-hull intake fitting is capped with a manual shut off ball valve that can be closed to prevented water from entering the system in emergency situations. The aerator fill pump (Rule 2000 Pump) is located on top of the ball valve to stay below the water line which helps keep it primed. A short section of hose connects the pump to an in-line water strainer that filters out any debris preventing the solenoid valve from getting forced open. The strainer is connected to a home sprinkler system manifold. Each port off of the manifold had an electronic solenoid sprinkler valve (Orbit Brand).

    By selecting fill on any of the ballast switches a relay activates the fill pump and also opens the selected valve allowing water to flow into the bag. The fill system's bottle neck is triggered when multiple bags are filled at one time. The aerator fill pump does not have enough head pressure to force water through the open valves and into each bag efficiency. Each valve is connected to the top port on the ballast bag using a length of 3/4” hose and a Fly High Straight Quick Connect fitting.

    On the bottom of each bag is a short section of 3/4” hose which is connected to the inlet on a Rule aerator drain pump. The rear drain pumps are mounted to the lower wall in the motor compartment just far enough away to lose prime leaving standing water in the bags. The center bag drain pump is located close to the port on the bag in the ski locker. The drain system also acts as the overflow since SkiersChoice engineers did not see any reason to add a vent to allow the release of air that would get trapped in the top of the bags.
    Shop Supra Moomba Gravity III Ballast System Upgrade

    2009-2013 Gravity III Ballast System Overview: (Supra/Moomba Bag Buster Upgrade Kit 09-12)
    The 2009 Gravity ballast system update provided the perfect solution to a problem that had plagued Supra and Moomba owners since the introduction of the Mobius and Launch lines of wakeboard specific boats. The system was a strikingly different design that relied on flexible vane impeller pumps. By implementing this design each self priming Jabsco Ballast Puppy reversible pump is essentially it’s own closed ballast system. No longer did the driver need to be moving in order to prime the fill pump or increase the throttle to lift the bow in order to prime the drain pumps.

    Each pump has it's own 1” mushroom style thru-hull fitting in the bottom of the boat with a ball valve right on top for emergencies. If a leak occurs the water source can be shut off. From the intake 1” ballast hose is run to the pump located in the motor compartment. From the other side of the pump 1” hose makes it's way into the rear storage locker and into the bottom of the ballast bag using a Flow-Rite 1” Elbow fitting connected to a Fly High W743 bag fitting. Unlike Supra and Moomba ballast systems of the past the bags are vented. On the top of the bag a Fly High W736 fitting is connected to a Flow-Rite 3/4” Elbow fitting. The smaller 3/4” ballast hose runs up under the wall and is discharged using a 3/4” thru-hull fitting. This allows for both venting of air when filling and overflowing of water when filled to capacity. The system uses Jabsco Artificial Intelligence Timer Modules to control just how long the pumps are run. Since the system both fills and drains out the bottom of the boat, the person at the helm has no idea of when the bags are actually drained. Because SkiersChoice uses ballast bags instead of ballast hard tanks there was no way to monitor the levels of water without an expensive pressure system from CleanMarine. This did in fact become reality when the Supra VISION system was introduced in 2011. The timer modules were ditched for a more integrated system built right into the display that showed a graphical display of time to provide real time ballast bag levels. Around the same time Moomba boats were outfitted with the ability to adjust the timers within the speed control interface. For 2013 every Supra and Moomba boat comes standard with 1" vent lines and newer style 1" thru-hull vent fittings in the hull

    2013 Shock and Awe (Supra SA22)
    For 2013 the new Supra SA 22 foot wake machine comes equipped from the factory with hard ballast with the ability to also piggy back more ballast on top of the factory system. The sub floor “Liquid Lead Ballast” comes in at 900 pounds which is a great base for any rider. The new factory plug and play, “Flex Ballast” system, provides an additional 1,300 pounds. Why stop there when you can add the new Fly High Supra SA Plug & Play Rear Surf Sac for more surf ballast in the rear compartments?

    To Be Continued...

  • GALLERY: Axis A22 Plug-n-Play Ballast Upgrade

    One of the great selling points of the Axis A-Series wakeboard boats is the factory Plug'n Play ballast upgrade option. We sell a lot of these kits to Axis customers (and even more rear bag upgrades for those customers that want to use their boats for surfing), so we regularly have questions about what is involved with the installation.

    Below is a gallery of pictures we took the last time an Axis came through for an upgrade, so take a look through them and hopefully that will answer any questions you have.

    Feel free to contact us if you have any questions about the Axis Plug-n-Play upgrade, or optional bags that we offer that are compatible with the factory system.

  • Centurion Typhoon Ballast System

    A customer of ours sent in some pictures of the ballast system he installed in his Centurion Typhoon using our components and we wanted to share it with you. This customer wanted a fast, reliable and durable system to fill his oversize surf bags in the rear lockers. The resulting setup makes use of aerator pumps, which combine all of the previously mentioned requirements along with unmatched value.

    Take a look at the pictures below, and feel free to contact us if you have any questions about the system installed, or would like assistance planning your own ballast upgrade.

    NOTE: We now offer a hose of adapters for all of the component ballast pumps we sell, which makes the PVC fitting used unnecessary.

  • FAQ: Do I Need a Vent/Overflow Connection With Reversible Pumps

    Q: I will be installing an automated ballast system in my boat, and would prefer not to have a vent connection on each bag so that I don't have to drill additional holes in my boat for the thru-hull fitting the bag will vent/overflow through. Is it okay to run an unvented automated ballast system?

    A: We strongly recommend having a dedicated vent/overflow connection for each bag in the system, especially when bags are to be hidden in storage lockers as many installs will be. That said, if you fully understand the reasons for that dedicated vent line (pressure relief and air purging), ultimately it's up to you to weigh the pros and cons and come to a decision that works best for you.

    One of the big advantages of a fully automated system though is that it allows you to fill while driving the boat across the lake, and that makes it incredibly easy to start filling the system, and leave it running for long enough that the bags are full and the pressure in the bag gets to a point that is dangerous.

    If you know for sure that you will be able to monitor the bags during filling 100% of the time and you would rather not install the thru-hull fittings for venting the bags then an unvented system can be used. But we've had numerous customers that have installed systems using reversible pumps (that generate higher pressure than aerator pumps) without vent lines that have done significant damage to the trim panels in the locker and fiberglass/gelcoat of the deck of the boat. We understand the reluctance to drill additional holes in the boat, but our belief is that there is a right way to do everything, and the correct way to install an automated ballast system is with a dedicated vent connection for each bag.

  • Weight Your Boat for Wakesurfing

    WakeMAKERS | Wakesurf Ballast

    With how quickly the wakesurfing movement is growing, there's no question that it's one of the most popular activities behind the boat. With that much interest there is a lot of bad information out there on how to achieve the best possible wake from your boat. In an effort to clear the water, and help our customers achieve the best possible wake, we've compiled the following guide on how to produce a wake everyone will enjoy surfing all summer.

    The Physics

    The first thing to understand about building the perfect wake is how the wake is produced in the first place. When a boat is sitting in a lake it's taking up space that would otherwise be occupied by water. The amount of volume taken up by the boat is known as the displacement of the hull, and depends on a myriad of details such as wetted surface area, gross weight, etc. Essentially though, the heavier the boat, the lower in the water it sits and the more water the boat's hull is displacing. The wake is created once the boat starts moving and water rushes back into place as the boat moves through it. So, in order to make a bigger wake, increase the weight in your boat. These days, while most wakeboarding specific boats do come with a factory ballast system, it won't be enough weight to create a great wakesurfing wake. So in order to create a wake big enough and consistent enough to wakesurf behind you're going to need to add more ballast to your boat. In which case WakeMAKERS can help you with that, we have over 20 years of experience in create the best wakes in the industry for both wakeboarding and wakesurfing.

    Building a great wakesurfing wake doesn't stop there. It's easy to think that all you need is a bigger wake in order to wakesurf, however contrary to this belief, size isn't everything and the shape of the wake is almost just as important as the size. And while wake size might be an easy concept to visualize (more weight = bigger wake), the shape is more about finesse and placing the added ballast weight in specific locations through out your boat. Each boat is different and it might require some trial and error, but by finding those sweet spots in your boat you'll be able to not only create a bigger wake but also a better shaped one that's easier to surf.

    Chad Sharpe Riding the Koal PowerTail
    Generally, when you're out surfing, only one side of the boats wake is being surfed. In which case, a surfing ballast set up will focus the weight to that side of the boat. Key point: To increase the wake's size on either side of the boat, increase the amount of weight on that side of the boat. It is possible that one side of your boat might make a better surf wake than the other, so don't be completely surprised if a ballast configuration that produces an epic surf wake on one side doesn't work as well on the other. Now, if you only have one extra ballast bag or maybe two, focus that extra weight in the back corner of the boat on the side you'll be surfing. This will get the maximum wake size out of your ballast. If you're able to add more ballast after that, you can start playing around more with placement of the weight in order to create a more optimal shape for wakesurfing. When working on the shape of your wake remember that the more weight you add to the back of the boat, the taller the wake will be in height but the shorter it will be in length. By adding weight to the front of the boat, the shorter the wake in height and the longer in length. Therefore, an optimal wakesurfing wake would generally include the majority of the ballast weight in the back corner with smaller amounts of ballast distributed towards the front in order to lengthen and smooth out the wake. Giving your wake more "volume", meaning more water is moving/pushing the rider. The more volume the better and the easier the wakesurfing. For a general application, we recommend 700-1000lbs of additional ballast weight for your wakeboarding boat in order to create the optimal wakesurfing wake.

    If you are new to wakesurfing and you aren't quite sure what ballast setup to get, we recommend looking at our Ballast Bag & Pump Combos. They are a great value and provide enough weight to make most V-Drive boats surf-able.

    [button url=http://www.wakemakers.com/wakeboard-ballast-bag-pump-combos]Shop Ballast Bag & Pump Combos»[/button]

    While we recommend liquid ballast for building your wakesurfing wake, it is possible to use solid ballast. People are a great example of solid ballast that can be used to fine tune your wake after you get the liquid ballast set up. If you've got a bunch of friends with you in the boat, don't be afraid to move them around in order to produce the best wake possible. Another tip to creating a great wakesurfing wake is to make sure you're surfing in deeper water. It's been said that anything over 8ft-10ft will help produce a better wakesurfing wake for your boat. And always remember to drain your ballast before you put your boat back on the lift or trailer. By leaving the extra ballast weight in your boat you're just going to be causing more stress and wear on them which will just make both wear out quicker.

    Another important part of the wakesurfing experience is getting the right wakesurf board for your riding style and ability level. We created our "Wakesurf Board Buyer's Guide"  to help you pick the perfect board for your perfectly weighted boat.

    If you've still got questions about building the perfect wakesurfing wake for your boat, don't hesitate to contact us! We're always up for helping build better wakes in the wakeboarding and wakesurfing community!
    [button url=http://www.wakemakers.com/wakeboard-ballast]Shop Now»[/button]

  • What Are Jabsco Ballast Pump Timer Modules?

    We get a lot of questions about the Jabsco Timer Module, especially from Mastercraft owners as they are installed from the factory on 2007 and newer boats. Most commonly we're asked what does a timer module do, is it necessary, and why doesn't my timer work correctly?

    To answer those questions, first we need to cover a little background on Jabsco (and all flexible vane impeller) pumps. By design, this type of reversible self-priming pump relies on water flowing through the pump to cool and lubricate the impeller. It's for that reason that we want to make sure the pump is not running without water flowing through it, which most often happens in a ballast system when the ballast tank of bag is empty but the pump has not been turned off. With that information out of the way, let's get on to answering the most common questions regarding timer modules.

    What Does A Timer Module Do?
    A timer module limits the amount of time that a pump is running "dry" by automatically turning off the pump after a programmed amount of time (which is set to allow the ballast location to be fully filled or drained). In the case of Jabsco's Artificial Intelligence Timer Modules, additional functionality, such as monitoring for fault codes and dangerous operating conditions is also included.  All of this is designed to help extend the life of relatively expensive flexible vane impeller pumps and their impellers.

    Are Timer Modules Necessary?
    They are definitely not necessary, but they can add considerable convenience by eliminating the hassle of having to turn the pump off as soon as the ballast is done draining. Currently timer modules are only available for use with Jabsco Ballast Puppy Reversible ballast pumps, so if you're using a Johnson Ultra Ballast pump unfortunately you're out of luck, at least for now. Flexible vane impeller pumps rely on water flowing through the pump to cool and lubricate the impeller. The concern is that when draining the pump can run dry if it is not turned off when the bag is empty. A timer module will take care of managing all of that for you to help prevent the risk of damage.

    What Timers Are Installed in my Mastercraft Boat?
    If your boat was made prior to 2007 then you have no timer modules in your boat, and can expand, reduce or change your ballast system without having to worry about the timer modules.

    If your boat was made in 2007 or very early in 2008 (within the first two months of production), there are timer modules in your boat, and they can be set to run for a maximum duration of six minutes. That means that if you want to add additional ballast in the form of auxiliary bags that are connected to your factory system then you'll need to replace the timer module with an update version that can run for longer, or deal with cycling the switch multiple times to achieve a complete fill.

    If your boat was made after the second month of production in 2008 you have the 20 minute timer modules already, and can easily reprogram them to run for as long as you need. Instructions for programing the modules will be included with the ballast upgrade you purchase from us.

    This information is current as of the publication of this article (May 2011), but may change for future model years. Contact us if you're unsure what you have in your boat.

    If you want the additional piece of mind that your Jabsco Ballast Puppy pump will be protected from damage due to negligence on the part of the operator then adding a Jabsco Timer Module can help provide that, while at the same time automating the filling and draining process of your ballast system, so you have one less thing to worry about on the lake.


    [button url=http://www.wakemakers.com/mastercraft-ballast-pump-timer-module.html]Shop for Jabsco Ballast Timer Modules»[/button]
  • WakeMAKERS Ballast Hose vs. the Other Stuff

    Times are tough these days which makes saving money more important than ever. But saving money and buying an inferior product is never going to be a money saver in the end. And sometimes it’s even easy to think you’re saving money by shopping at the bigger discount stores without doing the due diligence first, and finding out you could have spent less and gotten more somewhere else. Which brings us to the topic of this post. The difference between the PVC Hose you’ll buy at Home Depot vs. the Ballast Hose that we sell here at WakeMAKERS.

    We have two types of ballast hose here at WakeMAKERS; standard and premium. The standard ballast hose is just that, the industry standard. This is the hose Centurion, Malibu, Sanger, Supra, Moomba and others use from the factory on their wakeboard ballast systems. It’s heavy duty walls and thick internal reinforcing spiral minimize kinking when put into tight turns and corners and also do an amazing job of withstanding exposure to any compounds in the bilge of your boat. This hose is going to give you the performance you need without compromising that OEM look.

    WakeMAKERS Premium Ballast Hose

    WakeMAKERS Standard Ballast Hose

    Our premium ballast hose goes above and beyond the industry standard hose without going above and beyond your bank account. This is the highest quality marine ballast hose we could find. The PVC hose has rigid spiral reinforcements which allow it to remain unkinked around some of the tightest corners and bends. On top of this, the premium ballast hose offers partial visibility. This is going to come in hand when you’re troubleshooting your system and want to see the flow through the hose. And if those two attributes weren’t enough, know this; this hose was made specifically for the marine environment. Meaning this is THE hose to use for your bilge. Things like salt water, gas, oil, and heat certainly won’t weaken or destroy it.

    So what about the generic PVC hose you can get from Home Depot or Lowe’s or wherever. Well first and foremost you might think you're saving money, but you’re not. Last we checked, Home Depot’s price on PVC hose was $1.72 for 3/4”, and $1.92 for 1”. Compare those prices to our industry standard ballast hose, which is now on sale for $.99 for 3/4" and $1.49 for 1”. So by doing the research and reading this blog, you just saved yourself some cash, saved yourself a trip to Home Depot (now you can put that gas money in the boat), and got the best quality product available! Other than being more expensive, generic PVC hose isn’t built to handle the pressures or vacuum of marine grade ballast hoses. It will kink when bent too sharply and won’t stand up to the elements of the environment you’re putting it in. Plus, it’s not going to even come close to looking like it was factory installed. Stick with something that’s going to give you that OEM look.

    Got questions? We’re always around and glad to help! Hopefully this post will help make the right decisions when it comes to which hose to use on your install. Even if you do find some generic hose on sale somewhere, the few bucks you save isn’t going to be worth the hassle of reduced flow and durability. Stick with a hose you KNOW is built specifically for your boats ballast system.

    3/4" Ballast Hose


    1" Ballast Hose


    3/4" Premium

    Ballast Hose


    1" Premium

    Ballast Hose


    Starting at $.99
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    Starting at $1.49
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    Starting at $1.49
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    Starting at $2.49
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  • Check Valves vs. Vented Loops

    Don't know if you should use a Check Valve or a Vented Loop for your Wakboard Boats ballast system? Or maybe both? Well let us help you figure it out!

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