A relaxing pontoon boat ride can be a lot of fun, especially with family and friends. One can unwind, have fun in the water, and even try out sports activities like skiing. The sport has proven to be one of the most popular fast games on the water. But with uncertainty due to the pontoon boat’s slow speed, one might ask, can you ski behind a pontoon boat?
Skiing behind a pontoon boat is possible with the right engine of a pontoon boat and the ideal speed. Generally, engines below 70HP make it hard for skiing. Although, a higher one contributes to ensuring that the skier remains afloat while enjoying the experience.
Can You Ski Behind A Pontoon Boat
The answer is Yes. The high horsepower makes skiing behind a pontoon boat possible. The possibility of skiing behind a pontoon boat relies on the pontoon boat’s horsepower and the skier’s weight.
It is crucial to know what pontoon boats are to understand the answer to the question fully. A pontoon boat is a flat-bottomed boat that relies on floats to stay afloat. These tubes have a lot of reserve buoyancy, allowing designers to make large deck plans with various accommodations. The designs of pontoon boats made them the perfect cruise ships because they were very slow.However, these days, better tube designs allow a higher horsepower, making it faster.
There are several models of pontoon boats in the market, but the most ideal for skiing are above 70HP. Besides that, the boats with engines less than 70 horsepower are ideal for cruising or fishing, but not for water skiing. This is related to the fact that it takes a minimum of 70HP to generate the right amount of speed for an average-weight adult to ski. An average adult weighs between 58kg to 100kg.
Another critical fact to note is that the number of passengers onboard can also affect the boat’s speed. Therefore, a pontoon boat of 70 horsepower is not always the right choice. If one wants to really enjoy the thrill that comes with skiing, it is best to go for a boat of 115HP and above. A pontoon boat of this power level is the best regardless of any factor that might hinder speed. Examples of some high-speed pontoon boats are:
- Berkshire Sport RFX9 3.0 (300 horsepower).
- PlayCraft Powertoon X-Treme 3110 (400 horsepower).
- Bennington QR27 10 Wide (250 horsepower).
- Manitou 25 X-Plode XT SHP (300 horsepower).
Even though these pontoon boats are pretty expensive, they offer the best skiing experience even while carrying passengers on tour.
How Fast Do You Need To Go
The right horsepower to ski is important, but it is also crucial to know the ideal speed for every skier. If the rider of the pontoon boat goes slow, there wouldn’t be enough speed to ski. On the other hand, if the rider goes too fast, it can cause serious havoc to the skier. Therefore, it takes just the right amount of speed. Below is a speed guide range for skiing:
- Waterskiing with two skis: It is much easier to ski on two skis than one. This type of skiing is safer for children. A speed of 21 to 26mph is just right. Although it depends on how good the child is at the sport, the boat can run much slower.
- Slalom water skiing: Slalom water skiing entails the use of numerous buoys in a skiing course. The aim of the game is to show prowess in skiing as skiers must pass all buoys to win. The sport needs a speed of 25 to 34mph to be successful.
- Tubing: Tubing is another fun sport. It is a sports and leisure activity where a person rides on top of an inner tube while being dragged by a boat. Tubing does not need much speed as skiing because the tube can remain afloat on the water. A speed of 8 to 25mph is okay.
- Two skiers: The higher the number of skiers behind a boat, the more drag the boat will experience, contributing to the weight of a boat. It takes a speed of 20 to 35mph to successfully drag two skiers.
- Barefoot skiing: Itis also known as barefooting. Barefooting is a skiing sport where the skier skis on water barefoot. It is challenging and takes a professional skier to achieve due to how hard it is to balance one’s leg on water; skiing barefoot needs a speed of 30 to 45mph. The speed makes sure the skier doesn’t sink in the water.
- Combo skiing: This type of skiing involves a series of stunts. The aim of the skier is to show off in front of an audience. The stunts include summersaults, backflips, high jumps, etc. Before one achieves these feats, one must attain a speed of 25mph and above.
It is crucial to note that these are average speed figures. Every skier has the ideal speed at which they are comfortable. Sometimes, the skier’s weight and passengers onboard can also affect the speed range, which varies.
The Difference Between Skiing Behind A Pontoon Boat And Ski Boat
The truth is that a ski boat was initially designed for skiing, unlike pontoon boats. A ski boat’s engine is located in the center of the boat and is coupled with a direct-drive transmission. The engine is able to generate hundreds of horsepower necessary for a skier to enjoy skiing, making it the best option for sports.
Even though some expensive models of pontoon boats can generate equal speed, it’s never the same. The controls of ski boats make it very easy to manoeuver, contributing to the creation of ripples and rough water suitable for a skier to go wild.
Pontoon boats, on the other hand, have got a slower response. The build and make-up of the ship contribute to this factor. Ski boats have keels underneath them that make it easy to turn quickly. In comparison, pontoon boats consist of aluminum floats which makes it hard to make a quick turn. Regardless of all these, even though one cannot ski as well with a ski boat, it is possible to enjoy skiing behind a pontoon boat.
The Problems Of Skiing Behind A Pontoon Boat
Although skiing behind a pontoon boat is a lot of fun, a few factors make it not as interesting compared to a traditional ski boat. A few problems of skiing behind a pontoon boat are:
It is not easy to make tight turns:
This situation should not be a surprise due to the way pontoon boats are built. The floats underneath pontoon boats make it hard to make tight turns. Tight turns are one of the maneuvers that make skiing really fun. The skier can wiggle between ripples and display several skills. Sadly, the turns of pontoon boats are mostly slow and boring.
There is less excitement:
Skiing thrives in fear and the rush of adrenaline. The right amount of turbulence generates an exciting feel for a skier. However, pontoon boats do not create enough turbulence to provide the necessary edge or excitement to complement one’s skiing. This predicament is because of the shape of a pontoon boat, which creates a few small humps in the water.
It is not competitive:
Skiing behind a pontoon boat is fun, but it doesn’t allow for a good competition because it has several limitations that will take skiing to a whole level. Even the fast pontoon boats are not completely ideal unless maybe for just a one on skiing practice.
Standing takes time:
Skiers might also find the time it takes to stand uninteresting. Due to the relatively low engine horsepower of pontoon boats, it takes an awful lot of time to stand and start skiing. Most times, this takes away the fun from the sports.
Can you ski behind a pontoon boat? Yes, it is possible. All it takes is a pontoon boat with an engine of 100 horsepower and above. The skier’s weight is still one of the factors that contribute to a smooth experience. A boat of 115HP and above is the boat to go for in case one wants to enjoy the thrill that comes with skiing.