Wakeboarding Without a Tower - Is It Possible?

Are you interested in trying wakeboarding but wondering if it's possible to do without a tower? Although you might not have access to a boat with a tower or extended pylon, it's still possible to learn how to wakeboard.

Wakeboarding Without a Tower - Is It Possible?

Why is a tower useful for wakeboarding?

A wakeboard tower is a metal frame that is attached to the boat's hull, making the tow line higher off the water, usually 6 feet or higher. A higher tow line provides an upward rope pull for the wakeboarder, making it easier to get up on the wakeboard and reducing the chances of falling. A tower also enables big airs and more advanced wakeboard tricks.

Do you need a tower to start wakeboarding?

No, most wakeboarders begin without a tower or extended pylon and can do just fine. However, a tower provides more opportunities for advanced tricks and makes the boat more practical and comfortable.

What are the benefits of using a wakeboard tower?

A higher rope pull from the wakeboard tower helps you get up on the wakeboard more easily, and it also allows you to jump higher and longer off the boat's wake. This provides more air time, which is essential for advanced tricks and rotations. Additionally, a higher rope has better clearance above the water, making your ride more comfortable.

Using a wakeboard tower creates an experience similar to riding in a cable park, where the rope pull is even more vertical, allowing for more advanced tricks and bigger air. The tie-off point on the boat tower is usually placed inside the boat, which gives you more height compared to a standard ski tow eye.

In conclusion, wakeboarding without a tower is possible, but a tower provides many benefits that can enhance your wakeboarding experience.

Wakeboarding without a tower

Wakeboarding is a fun and exciting water sport that involves being towed behind a boat while riding a board. If you're interested in wakeboarding but don't have access to a boat with a tower, you might be wondering if it's still possible to wakeboard without one. 

The answer is yes, it is possible to wakeboard without a tower, but there are some things to consider.

Rope attachment and downward pull

When wakeboarding without a tower, the rope is usually attached to a ski eye at the back of the boat, which is quite low above the water. This can result in a downward pull that can make you easily faceplant if you catch the front of your board, especially when switching stances. The negative angle of the rope toward the low eye can also pull you down when jumping off the wake, preventing you from going high. The rope also gets more easily affected by the agitated water behind the boat.

Tricks and flips without a tower

Despite the challenges, wakeboarders still commonly perform all kinds of tricks and flips behind boats that are not true inboards and don’t have a tower or pylon. However, they may not get as big of air as they would with a tower.

Alternatives to a standard low ski eye

Some boat owners use the cleats on the boat stern to tie the wakeboard rope to as an alternative to a standard low ski eye. However, cleats are not designed for towing, so it may be necessary to reinforce them with a backing plate. A side cleat may also cause the boat to lean to the side when towing a wakeboarder.

Using different rope lengths

When wakeboarding without a tower, trying different rope lengths can help position you in the best place on the wake. A shorter rope, about 15 to 22 inches shorter than regular, will place you closer to the boat where the wakes are narrower and closer apart, with more ramp to them, which facilitates jumping across them.

The cons of using a wakeboarding tower

Acquiring a wakeboard tower can be expensive, with OEM towers that fit specific models costing as much as $5000-$8000. More affordable universal towers are bolt-on products compatible with many different types of boats, priced in the $500-$1200 range. Having a tower installed on your boat can set you back another $1000-$1500, as some require around 4 hours to set up.

Alternative to a wakeboarding tower: extended pylon

An alternative to a wakeboard tower is an extended pylon, which is easier and quicker to install and remove. However, a pylon typically has 2-point support (versus 4 for towers) and is attached using straps to the bow of the boat, getting in the way of passengers. Pylons need to be constantly adjusted.

In conclusion, it is possible to wakeboard without a tower, but there are some things to consider. Using a standard low ski eye can result in a downward pull that can make it difficult to do tricks and flips, but trying different rope lengths can help position you in the best place on the wake. Acquiring a wakeboard tower can be expensive, but there are more affordable options available. An extended pylon is an alternative to a wakeboard tower, but it has some drawbacks. Ultimately, the choice of whether to use a tower or not depends on your budget, the type of boat you have, and your personal preferences.

How to Choose a Wakeboard Tower for Your Boat

If you have a wakeboard boat, you may already have a tower set up, or you can buy one from your dealer. But if you have an older boat, you have many options to choose from. Custom towers based on your boat’s dimensions are more expensive but offer an exact fit, while standard or adjustable towers are cheaper and can fit many boats.

Towers come in different tube materials and sizes, with most being made of strong and lightweight aluminum. The tube size and strength are important for supporting wakeboard racks, speakers, lights, and more. Some towers mount on top of the boat hull, some inside under the deck, some outside, and some collapse for easy storage.

If you’re looking for an affordable wakeboard tower, the Origin OWT-I Advancer is a good choice. It fits most boats in the 68″ to 98″ beam range and 17′ to 22′ hull length and is relatively easy to install if you’re handy with tools.

Using a wakeboard tower has many advantages, such as allowing you to get bigger air and work on more advanced tricks. It also provides a convenient way to store your wakeboards, mount speakers and lights, set up a bimini for shade, and free up space in the boat. Additionally, it provides a beam to hold on to when moving around the boat.

In conclusion, a wakeboard tower is not necessary, but it can make it easier to learn and perform higher jump maneuvers. Setting up a tower on your boat can also make your life easier by storing your boards, adding lights and sound, and protecting you from the sun. While towers do come at a cost, there are decent aftermarket products that can be adjusted for most boats.

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