While there are many boats out there, there are only a few types that make good choices as a learn-to-wakeboard boat

Wakeboarding Behind A Wakeboard Boat
Wakeboarding Behind a Wakeboard Boat

The Ski and Wakeboard Boat

There is nothing like a ski and wakeboard boat to deliver power and safety in one package. The purpose built design delivers on so many levels. For safety, the propeller is a couple of feet from the swim platform and is deeper in the water than any other kind of boat. Also, ski and wakeboard boats use a large rudder behind the propeller that protects the rider in case of any accident. All the other types of boats need to controlled manually, but ski and wakeboard boats have a variety of cruise control devices that keep the speed set at a pre-determined amount, which allows the driver to focus on the water ahead, while keeping on eye on the rider behind in the mirror.

Wakeboard boats always come with a factory fitted wakeboard tower, that can be night and day for new wakeboarders trying to learn this sport. Popular wakeboard boat brands are Mastercraft, Ski Nautique and Malibu. The size of wakeboard boats is getting larger and larger and many lakes are banning boats over 20 feet due to the amount of wake they create that can destroy lake walls that keep lake front properties from eroding.

Wake Boarding at a Cable Park
Wakeboarding at a Cable Park

The Cable Park

Although it is clearly not a wakeboard boat at all, the cable park is another way to learn to wakeboard. At the cable park the student will often spend most of the day falling down and then having to swim back to shore. They will receive little to no instruction, as there will not be anyone close enough to see what they are actually doing. The learning curve at the cable park to become better at wakeboarding is very steep.

Lady Driving Outboard Boat
Outboard Speed Boat

The Outboard Boat

Learning to wakeboard behind on outboard boat is both difficult and dangerous. These types of boats do not have a swim platform to train on and they put the rider at incredible risk. If the driver was to accidentally hit reverse instead of forward throttle, then the rider could be maimed or killed by the propellot that stick out of the back end if the boat. Freshwater lake injuries are often more fatal that salt water injuries due to the amount and type of bacteria that can lead to sepsis.

Wakeboarding Behind a Pontoon Boat
Wakeboarding Behind a Pontoon Boat

The Pontoon Boat

Pontoon boats are built for parties on a floating patio and are a terrible tool for teaching people to wakeboard. The pontoon boat will have all the safety problems of an outboard motor, just like an outboard boat, and will often be very under powered to be able to get anyone out of the water.

Wake boarding Behind a Jet Ski
Wakeboarding Behind a Jet Ski

Wakeboarding Behind a Jet Ski

This kind of boat is far safer than a outboard boat, but often lacks power to get a wakeboard rider up out of the water. If the jetski is powerful, or the rider is small enough, then the rider runs into other issues. The jet ski or wave runner create very little wake, cannot automatically control its speed as will be dragged sideways when the wakeboard rider pulls hard to the side of their run window. The jet ski is far from ideal as a wakeboard boat, but if this is the only choice, then it is better than nothing.

Wakeboarding Behind an I/O Boat
Wakeboarding Behind an I/O Boat

The Inboard/Outboard (I/O) Boat

One step up from the outboard boat, there is the I/O boat that borrows components and features from each of the technologies, by putting the more powerful engine inside the hull, but keeping prop and mount outside of the hull. This kind of boat certainly has more power to deliver and may even have a swim platform, but safety issues still exist with an exposed propeller, that puts riders at risk. This kind of boat usually does not usually come with a wakeboard tower. This boat will need to be fitted with a wakeboard pole that straps to all four corners of the boat to be able to lift the wakeboarder out of the water.