The X-Link Ballast System is designed for owners with pre-2013 boat models that want a SurfGate or NSS style system. Installing the X-Link system gives you the option to quickly transfer water from one ballast bag to the other in half the time. Anyone that's been on a boat with regular and goofy wakesurf riders knows how cumbersome it can be to switch the ballast between riders. The X-Link System takes the process down from 10-18 minutes in a 750 pound bag to right around 5 minutes. Leaving you with more time for wakesurfing and less time waiting for your bags to fill and drain. Continue reading
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The Sumo Open Bow Bags are one of the new ballast bags available from Straight Line. With a 500 and 750 pound option, the open bow bags give you the ability to level load the front of your boat for better performance while wakesurfing and wakeboarding. With two different options available, the Sumo Open Bow Bags are a great fit for almost any wakeboard style boat. We recommend using these bags if you want to get the most capacity out of the front of your boat without losing any seating. Continue reading
Austin Hair is a world class wakeboarder and a team rider for Supra Boats. When he isn't traveling the world for contests he spends his time riding with friends on Clear Lake, Florida.
(WM) Can you walk us through a typical day in the life of Austin Hair?
(AH) I wake up to a semi healthy breakfast of ezekial bread covered in bananas and almond butter. Then I go out for a set on the boat, afterwards I’ll head to the cable, then I’ll do some training at my kickboxing gym. It’s a pretty active day.
(WM) You’re one of the Pro Team riders for Supra. What Supra Boat do you currently have and what’s the best part about riding for them?
(AH) I’ve got the SA550. The boat is awesome. It has the swell system so we love wakesurfing behind it. I also love the wake for wakeboarding. The best part about being on the team is that we’re more than just associates, we’re all one big family.
(WM) Why do you ride for Supra? What sets Supra apart from the other boat brands?
(AH) I ride for Supra because I absolutely love their product. When you’re in the driver seat, you feel like a king, and when you’re riding you can just launch.
(WM) What was the biggest improvement from your older Supra to the new SA?
(AH) Probably the Supra Swell System. Its awesome to be able to transfer from wake to wake and ride either side.
(WM) As a pro rider what aspects of the design made you move from the Supra 242 to the new Supra SA? Was it the hull change that made you switch from a 24’ boat to a 22’ boat?
(AH) Yeah the hull change was a huge part. This wake doesn’t curl over very easily, so you can add a lot more weight while keeping the wake super clean.
(WM) What wake characteristic do you like about the Supra SA over the Mastercraft X-Star that you ride on tour?
(AH) I like how this boat doesn’t lip over at all. It’s awesome that you can get the wake this huge and keep it clean.
(WM) Can you describe the ballast setup on your boat. How do you weigh each section of the boat and with how much weight?
(AH) I actually was putting weight in the front when I had the 450 to make it a little steeper, but the 550 is actually pretty steep so I’ve been taking that extra weight from the front and moving it to the back. I have the upgraded ballast, then a couple hundred pounds in lead, then 3 additional fat sacks on the floor in the back and the walkway. The ballast does a pretty good job of covering most of the weight these days.
(WM) You’ve picked up some ballast upgrade products from us before. How did you hear about us?
(AH) I heard about you through a friend who did his own plug and play system on an older Malibu. He suggested I try the same thing.
(AH) I’m not sure off the top of my head, but I definitely asked for the “wakeboard” prop. The prop can make a huge difference in getting on plane.
*We think it's probably the ACME 2315
(WM) Does your new boat have the Supra Swell Surf System? We’ve had the chance to ride behind an SC with the Swell System and we were blown away by the wake.
(AH) Yes it does and its awesome. It takes a lot less ballast to get the wake amazing, and if you add ballast the wake gets even bigger. Its cool to just press a button and be able to shape the surf wake.
(WM) Can you tell us about your Pro Model Jobe Maddox Wakeboard & Bindings?
(AH) I wanted something that popped big and landed soft, and that’s what we made. It’s been great! I go huge now and have been learning some new tricks!
(WM) How’s Clear Lake, FL? Who do you normally ride with when you’re not traveling for contests?
(AH) I’ve been riding with Kirby Leisman, Stephen Pierce, and Julian Cohen. It’s a rad lake. Even though there’s a ton of pro’s on the lake no one ever rides.
(WM) We saw on your instagram (@austinhair) that you were in Breckenridge, Colorado for a snowboarding trip. What else do you do to cross-train for the wakeboarding season?
(AH) I like to surf, flow ride, wake surf, and kickbox.
(WM) Any sponsor shoutouts?
(AH) Yep, I love rockin my nectar shades on any occasion, Elevated clothing makes the best wake apparel for hangin out by the beach or going out in general, living fuel is a super food sponsor that keeps me super healthy and energized, zinka keeps me from getting sunburned, and vita coco keeps me hydrated.
(WM) Where can people find you online?
(AH) Austinhair.net and my Facebook page is just Austin Hair.
Our Buyer John Vincent has been in the watersports industry for over 15 years. He's seen wakesurfing pick up steam over the last decade to become the fastest growing aspect of our sport. Here's his review of the 2014 Slingshot Skim Bender Wakesurf Board.
"Recently we took some of the Slingshot Wakesurf Board's out at Prineville Reservoir in Central Oregon.
One of the boards I had been excited to try was the Slingshot Skim Bender. I really enjoy the skim style boards and I don't think they get enough credit in the industry. The board I used was the 56" version. I am 5'10" and 155 lbs. and was riding behind a moderately weighted 2004 Malibu Wakesetter VLX. I could have easily ridden the 52", but I wasn't sure what the wake would be like, so I opted for the bigger board.
The board was easy to keep under your feet for a deep water start and rose out of the water super easy. It was also easy to get up with your feet resting on the top of the board as well if you can't deep water start.
Now keep in mind that this was my first set of the year. What I noticed immediately was how fast this board is. I could get way back in the wake and instantly generate speed to the platform. I also noticed that if I was aggressive on my edging and carving the board wanted to stuff the nose in the water. i shifted my weight back and as I warmed up this went away. I did wipe out a few times if I didn't concentrate on keeping my weight back.
Because this board generated so much speed I could stall out on the top of the wake frontside and backside and easily get back in the wave. I could also carve out to the trough and back which you can't do on a lot of boards unless the wake is huge. I rode the board as a tri fin and would have liked the single fin set up, but I like a board that feels loose on the water, so I can rely on the edges. You can ride it as a tri, dual or single fin.
My overall opinion on the board was that it was fantastic. This board was confidence inspiring because of the speed it generated and definitely made me push my abilities. It put a smile on my face and everyone else that rode it. If I was Slingshot I would add some rocker in the nose for 2015, and some smaller fin options, but I will keep you posted as I will definitely ride this board again and behind a heavily weighted boat."
2014 Slingshot Skim Bender 56" Wakesurf Board
Fin Setup: 3 fins
Rider Weight: 155lbs.
Boat: 2004 Malibu VLX
Ballast Setup: 1x 750 Straight Line Tankbuster Upgrade, Center Factory MLS (Full), 350 Straight Line Big Bag in Bow
Prop: ACME 2079
Water Temp: 67
Push: 8/10[button url=http://www.wakemakers.com/slingshot-skim-bender-wakesurf-board.html]Buy The Slingshot Skim Bender»[/button]
Bob Soven took some time out of his busy schedule to chat with us about life, shampoo, and his 2014 Pro Model Board from Liquid Force.(WM) Where are you right now? And what are your travel plans for Spring 2014?(BS) I’m in my rarest of locations…home. I head to Dubai on Saturday then it’s straight into domestic travel.(WM) Why the 5-stage rocker on your 2014 BOB and BOB Hybrid? What are the main advantages of a 5-stage rocker compared to a 3-stage or continuous board?(BS) The 5-stage rocker allows us to put more rocker into the board without having the abrupt 3-stage feel. The B.O.B. goes P.O.P. !(WM) What do you like about your Open-Toe’d B One? Most higher end pro model bindings are closed-toe?(BS) My open toe binding is actually based off of closed toe technology; allowing your toes to help control your edge. So, we took that philosophy and ran with it. Cutting off the front part of a closed toe binding and adding the strap above the toes was the most advantageous route for increasing toe control. I like to call it the open closed toe.(WM) Who’s the funniest pro wakeboarder you’ve ever taken a trip with?(BS) James Balzer. Hands down, the man is outrageous.(WM) Shampoo or Shampoo and Conditioner?(BS) If hygiene and dandruff weren’t a factor, I would only use conditioner. It does wonders for my curls.(WM) Is risky dancing still a priority for you?(BS) Ha. Not at all, sorry guys.(WM) Now that you’ve become a ROTY, how do you top that?(BS) I don’t, I just ride this out.(WM) Are you going to ride more boat or cable this year? Do you see wakeboarding going in the direction of obstacles and cable and further away from boat riding? if so, why?(BS) I see both aspects of the sport sticking it out for the long haul. I don’t necessarily prioritize or separate my boat and cable riding; it’s all just wakeboarding to me.(WM) What’s your power animal?
(BS) Solar Bear(WM) What’s your favorite Monster Energy Flavor?(BS) OG baby!(WM) Any Shoutouts?(BS) Topanga!!!!!!!
Wakeboard ballast is defined as the storage of mass within a boat to displace the hull deeper in the water which in turn changes both the wake size and shape. There are two common designs for a wakeboard boat ballast system depending on what type of pumps are used.
The aerator pump system is the first and still most common ballast system used. An aerator pump only pushes water in one direction. This system is configured so that one pump will fill the tank from the top port and another separate pump will be used to drain the tank from a bottom port. This design has the fastest fill and drain times, is the least expensive, but does require more space for the additional hose lengths needed to work correctly.
The second ballast system design relies on a flexible impeller driven pump. The flexible impeller pumps are reversible meaning one pump can both fill and drain through the same bottom port in the ballast tank. This system is usually more expensive but is easier to install and takes up less space. This system's on off switch can be controlled by a timer that will shut off the pump when the tank is both full or empty. The impeller pump ballast system is truly automatic in this respect.
Aerator Pumps: Quieter, Longer Lasting, Less Energy Consumption
The aerator ballast pump (Example: Attwood Tsunami, Shurflo Piranha, Rule Livewell) was initially developed to fill livewell tanks in fishing boats. When wakeboarding became popular and riders were looking to enhance their wake size, the livewell pumps were found to work really well to fill portable ballast bags. Boat manufacturers saw this and began integrating the pumps into their boats to fill strategically placed hard plastic tanks.
The aerator pump is flow-through and works by propelling or pushing the water at a faster velocity in one direction. This means when the pump is off it does not act as a check valve allowing water to travel either direction unrestricted. When the pump is turned on water in the inlet is accelerated through the pump to the outlet. Aerator pumps are not self priming and need to be mounted below the waterline in the hull to maintain a consistent supply of water. If the water supply is limited the pump can lose prime and will air lock. No damage will be caused by running the pump dry since an aerator pump uses a hard impeller and is not water lubricated.
Aerator Pump System Design: (Aerator Pump Ballast System Diagram)
We DO NOT recommend using the engine’s raw water intake as the source of water for the ballast system. The risk of damage to the engine is not worth the small amount of convenience during the installation.
The number of pumps that will be using a single water intake will determine the correct size of the bronze thru-hull fitting. When only suppling water to a single pump a 3/4” or 1” thru-hull intake will be sufficient. If the water needs to be distributed to more than one pump the intake should be at a minimum of 1” and should probably be 1-1/4” to 1-1/2”. Once the intake comes through the hull into the boat a bronze ball valved must be placed on top as an emergency shut off. If the intake is suppling a single pump it can be connected directly to the ball valve. When using multiple pumps the intake will need to feed water into a manifold that can be shared by the fill pumps for a continuous water supply. (NOTE: All pumps must be below the water level.) The more pumps that are connected the larger the manifold will need to be but a good rule of thumb is to construct it with the same size fittings as the thru-hull intake. The fill lines should be run to the ballast bag in the least restrictive route possible to avoid tight radiuses that could crush or kink the hose. Before the fill hose is connected to the sac a Vented Loop Anti Syphon Valve must be added in line. This valve prevents passive filling and draining by eliminating the vacuum in the system. (NOTE: This fitting needs to be mounted higher than the intake of the ballast bag when the bag is completely full.) The fill line will then need to be connected to a top port on the ballast bag.
Vent / Overflow
The second fitting that will be used on top of the ballast bag is for the vent or overflow connection. This is a necessary part of the ballast system because without it the bag will either trap air and not fill to capacity or grow larger than the compartment and potentially cause damage. By adding a vent the soft structured bag will only grow as large as the confines that it is given. The bag will also discharge when full alerting the driver to turn the pump off. The vent hose needs to be routed above the sac and the thru-hull fitting needs to be at a level that is higher than the bag fitting when it is filled completely. (NOTE: Installing the thru-hull fitting as far forward toward the bow will ensure that the bag does not drain when wakesurfing since the boat is heavily weighted on one side.)
The drain port on any ballast bag is always at the end on the bottom. The drain pump must be at or below the bag's port to ensure that gravity will do the job of keeping the pump primed. The proximity of the pump is also a huge factor in how well the system will drain. If the pump is close to the water source and primed at all times the chances of an air lock are less likely. The hose connected to the outlet on the drain pump must run up beyond the height of the ballast bag just like the vent line. It is also advised to loop the hose before connecting it to the thru-hull fitting to ensure that the bag does not drain due to the force of water pressure from a full ballast bag.
Flexible Impeller Pumps: Reversible, Built In Check Valve, Easy Installation
The flexible impeller pump has been used for bilge pumping, livewell circulation, washdown systems and general fluid pumping. The first ballast application using the flexible impeller pump was by MasterCraft when they started using the Jabsco Water Puppy pump to fill and drain ballast bags in their wakeboard boats. Jabsco worked closely with MasterCraft to develop the Jabsco Ballast Puppy Pump and has since emerged has the leading supplier in the industry. The simplicity of the pump is what makes it so appealing. Being able to use the same port to both fill and drain is very convenient.
Unlike the aerator pump a flexible impeller pump is self priming meaning it does not need to be mounted below the water line as it will actually pull water into the system from the thru-hull inlet fitting. This also means the pump will act as a check valve and will not allow water to flow in or out. The impeller is water lubricated so running dry will damage the impeller if not the entire pump. The chance of “run dry” can be almost eliminated by installing an ballast pump timer. Another option is to design a system with a visual and audible indication of when the bag is draining. The best rule to keep in mind is that when the pump is not circulating water be sure to turn it off.
Flexible Impeller Pump System Design: (Reversible Ballast Pump System Diagram)
Water Source / Draining
We DO NOT recommend using the engine’s raw water intake as the source of water for the ballast system. The risk of damage to the engine is not worth the small amount of convenience during the installation.
The suction that a flexible impeller pump has can create issues if the water intake is shared. By using a 1” bronze thru-hull fitting the pump will have a sufficient source of water. Immediately after the thru-hull intake fitting install a brass ball valve as an emergency shut-off point to allow you to immediately stop the flow of water into the boat if something goes wrong. On top of the ball valve add a 1” hose barb fitting. (NOTE: Using 1” ballast hose throughout the system is preferred and will make later steps easier.) The fill lines should be run toward the ballast bag in the least restrictive route possible to avoid tight radius's that could crush or kink the hose. To implement a system that drains above the water line install (Visual and audible indication of draining) a check valve or non return valve inline to prevent water from draining back through the intake and out the bottom of the boat. Next to this check valve a tee fitting is needed to redirect the flow of water out the thru-hull fitting when the bag is being drained. One of the two unused barbs on the tee will be need to be connected to the flexible impeller pump via a stretch of 1” oem ballast hose. The hose should slide over the inlet on the pump as most are 1” barbs. The other end of the pump will need to be connected to the port on bottom end of the ballast bag. The pump will fill and drain from the bottom part. Proximity between the pump and the bag is not crucial. The last remaining barb on the tee fitting will be for the drain. Run this hose to a thru-hull fitting above where the bag will be when at its capacity.
Vent / Overflow
The only port that will be used on top of the ballast bag is for the vent or overflow connection. This is a necessary part of the ballast system because without it the bag will either trap air and not fill to capacity or grow larger than the compartment and potentially cause damage. By adding a vent the soft structured bag will only grow as large as the confines that it is given. The bag will also discharge when full alerting the driver to turn the pump off. The vent hose needs to be routed above the sac and the thru-hull fitting needs to be at a level that is higher than the bag fitting when it is filled completely. (NOTE: Installing the thru-hull fitting as far forward toward the bow will ensure that the bag does not drain when wakesurfing since the boat is heavily weighted on one side.)
What type of ballast system do I want?
Most riders want to match what was available from the factory when the boat was new or when the manufacturer integrated a ballast system. That concept has always been the best option in our opinion. If there is already a ballast system in the boat it is best to match what the manufacturer had in mind to ensure the entire system functions and looks like it was installed by the factory. Having an entire system that functions the same will also make trouble shooting any issues that arise much easier. If the system that is already installed is not working properly let us help you find the best solution to resolve the issues.
The aerator pump ballast system is the best option for most riders because of its fast speed and low cost. If there is not enough room in the boat to add the vented hose loop fittings and vent lines above the bag this system is not a good choice.
We recommend the flexible impeller reversible pump ballast system for riders that need to fill and drain through the bottom of the boat because of regulations or if they don't have enough room to implement the aerator pump system. When adding an additional stand alone system on top of a existing factory ballast system the flexible impeller pump system will have the best results with the least amount of hassle.
Disclaimer: The thoughts expressed below are random and come from a thirst for fun and adventure that no office can provide on a Friday afternoon.
This shoot looked like a blast. Must be nice to hang out at Lake Ronix for an afternoon of fun. Who would be the best company to work for while producing this NXT20 edit? I think Tom Czarnowski at Nemo Designs has a pretty good gig but you can't beat the sheer number of days, MasterCraft's, Josh Shave has on the water. We might have to give it to Tom since he lives in beautiful, Portland Oregon. I am not downplaying how rad the state of Tennessee is, but it's still not Oregon.
This marketing piece for the new NTX20 does showcase the talents of Mr. Travis Pastrana and Mr. Parks Bonifay. I guess if I had Jeff Tremaine giving me direction I would be on my A game as well.
"Should I upgrade my Factory Prop for Wakesurfing?" We hear this question a lot and think it's something worth discussing more in depth. The short answer is usually YES. The long answer is a bit more technical... Keep reading to hear the reasons why you should think about upgrading your Prop for wakesurfing.
Most V-Drive Boats come from the factory with a standard Prop. If you are spending a lot of your time wakesurfing with additional ballast you will want to look at upgrading your prop. Both ACME and OJ make props for all of the major brands like Malibu, Mastercraft, Nautique, Supra, Moomba, MB Sports, Centurion, Tige and more. Our easy to use Prop Finder Guide gives you three different options for each boat model. We break down the most popular options available for your boat by listing the suggested prop for Recreational Riding, Wakeboarding/Wakesurfing, and for High Elevation/Heavily Weighted Boats.
Having the right propeller for your boat and application (wakesurfing in this case) is important because it can increase your fuel efficiency, maximize engine life and improve the overall performance and handling of your boat.
Making the switch from an old Prop to a new Upgraded Prop that's designed for your boat and the increased weight that's necessary when wakesurfing will make a noticeable difference. A lot of our customers are shocked at how much better their "old" boat performs once they've switched out the prop.
Upgrading your Prop has it's benefits
- Increased Fuel Efficiency
- Helps to Maximize Engine Life
- Improves Handling
- Minimizes Speed Fluctuations and Vibrations
Now that we've told you WHY upgrading your Prop for Wakesurfing is important we will go over what tools you need to make the switch.
Prop Puller Kits
We recommend spending a few extras dollars and buying one of the Weekend Saver Kits. You save some additional money by bundling the items and you have everything you need in order to change your prop.
Click here to watch our video on removing an Inboard Propeller.
- ACME Weekend Saver Kit W/Harmonic Puller
- ACME Weekend Saver Kit W/C-Clamp Kit
- Replacement Propeller Hardware Kit
Bend, OR – June 4th, 2014– WakeMAKERS, an industry leading eCommerce watersports retailer is excited to announce FREE 2-Day shipping for all orders over $99 in the USA starting on June 4th.
Since their launch in 2008, WakeMAKERS has grown into the largest retailer of ballast equipment and propellers in the nation. Now customers have the most competitive shipping in the watersports industry and the unmatched expertise that WakeMAKERS has to offer.
“Our goal from day one was to be advocates for our customers and we feel that by offering free 2-day shipping to everyone in the states, we’re adding convenience, value and helping foster that relationship.” said the Sales Director for WakeMAKERS.com, Spencer Welch.
“This move will help us reach our customers on the East Coast in a more timely manner,” said Welch. “Especially during the peak summer months when they need their products as soon as possible.”
With over 30 years of collective experience, WakeMAKERS has built a reputation of helping customers have more fun behind their boats with a combination of knowledge and an unmatched product selection. Dedicated to their goal of “making sure you’re having as much fun as possible when on the water”, WakeMAKERS is located in Bend, Oregon and serves customers on the web at WakeMAKERS.com.