Watersports are one of the best things you can do in the summer. Whether you have a dedicated wakeboard boat, or simply a jet ski, you will be able to have loads of fun towing your friends and family on their tubes, wakeboards, and water skis.
Can a Jet Ski or Waverunner tow a tube, wakeboarder, or water skier? Yes, most waverunners these days are capable of towing wakeboards, tubes, and water skiers. In most states, you will need a spotter and a 3 person jet ski as you need room for the towed passenger. Jet ski’s these days have enough power to pull even the heaviest of skier’s up out of the water.
How much power do I need?
One of the main questions is if your ski has enough power. Back in the day, my friend and I would wakeboard behind a Kawasaki 650sx stand up. This jet ski had 52 horsepower and was able to pull us out of the water. Obviously I would never recommend using a stand up to pull a wakeboarder, but we were young and not very smart.
Waverunners these days can have up to 320 horsepower so yes if a 52 horsepower jet ski can pull you on a wakeboard, a 320 horsepower monster should be plenty capable of pulling your weight out of the water on a single ski. We have a Honda with 165 horsepower that is a 3 seater and it is able to pull wakeboarders, skier’s, and tubes with ease, the turbo lag makes it a bit difficult if you are on a single ski, but if you know to expect it it is just fine.
Is it Legal?
Pulling a skier, tuber, or wakeboarder is legal to do if you follow your state’s laws. Some states require a 3 seat waverunner to have extra space for a spotter, and some do not. To find the exact information, make sure to check the state laws of where you will be boating to determine what equipment you need such as:
- Life Jackets
- Age Requirements
Best Jet Ski for Towing
The Sea-Doo Wake is one of the best waverunners for towing as it is specifically designed to do so. First off, the Wake model has a 3 position ski pylon which gets the rope up and out of the water. Second is that is has board racks. We have taken a wakeboard in the footwell of our ski, and be careful as it will crunch your toes when it comes down. I had to learn this the hard way.
One of the best features is the intelligent throttle control. This can control your acceleration speed and provide cruise control to keep at the perfect speed every time. The Sea-Doo Wake can be had in two models, the Wake Pro at 230 HP and the Wake at 155 HP. Both will do a great job of pulling, but the Pro will give you a little more power. Both models have closed-loop cooling as well as a boarding ladder for your riders.
Sea-Doo has done a great job implementing safety features such as the iBR (Intelligent Braking System) This can slow your jet ski to a stop with the flick of a finger. It also has neutral and makes docking much easier. Total MSRP on these models is from $11,999 to $14,799 depending on the Pro model or not.
Is it better than a boat?
Towing behind a waverunner can in some times be better than a boat. For tubing, you can take tighter corners with better acceleration so to whip someone around faster, a jet ski is better. However, doing so quicker can also be more dangerous as riders are not prepared for the increased speed of a quick turn.
On a water ski, it is much better than a boat as the wake from the jet is so small. The driver will need to give it some gas when the rider goes for a deep carve, but if both the rider and skier are in sync, this can be so fun.
Wakeboarding is fun to learn to ride behind a jet ski, but as the wake is not very large, jumping is not as fun. Learning surface tricks is great as you aren’t intimidated by a large wake and a jet ski can go around and pick up a rider much faster than a boat.
If you are learning to wakeskate or wakesurf, both are fun behind a jet ski as it has a quick turnaround and small wake. You may not be able to let go of the rope on a wakesurf, but you will learn the basics.
The best part of towing with a jet ski is that you never have to worry about getting hit with a prop. The impeller is located within a housing with an intake grate, so arms or legs cannot get chopped up.
Tow Sports Accessories
If you want to tow successfully from your waverunner, there are some accessories you may want to get.
A tube will provide hours of fun for kids and adults. I prefer tubes that you can also float on and have a drink to serve a dual purpose. I like this tube as it is a two-seater.
Tube Tow Rope
A good quality tow rope is needed when you are looking to pull a tube behind your jet ski. Make sure the rope is strong enough to pull the tube you are looking at buying.
A towable booster is good to have when tubing to keep the rope from dragging in the water when performing a turn causing slack and essentially whiplash for your riders. They can be purchased here and mounted in the middle of the rope.
A specific wakeboard rope is good to have as you will have a good quality handle. We like this rope as it is lightweight and very strong.
I have once sucked up a wakeboard rope with my jet ski, and I would never want to again. Having an impeller protector will save hours of time getting towed, pulling your ski out of the water, removing your ride plate and intake grate, and cutting the rope off.
A good lifejacket is good to have, make sure you buy a comfortable one if you will be riding or using it to ski often. We like this model.