New Larger Standard Ballast – A Double-Edged Sword
Posted by Dan Miller
Most of you know by now that the LSV & Mojo in the Moomba line, and all Supra models were all upgraded to include 1300 lbs (2- 650 lbs bags) of rear factory ballast for 2013. There are lots of benefits to added ballast, and a caveat or two as well. The key to maximizing the new ballast configuration is education for your sales team and for your customers.
Larger factory ballast is a great added benefit for surfing, as it allows you to add weight to the side of the boat you are surfing on, which makes the wake on that side larger and more defined. Tips: Adding a little front ballast can make the surf wakes longer, and more forgiving as well. Moving people to the back corner of the side you are surfing on will bring the wakes up the most. Most of the time when surfing, you should run with the wake plate all the way “up.”
Most experienced wakeboarders will advise you to add front ballast to a boat first, since you already have 700-800 lb. motor in the back of a V-drive. To get larger wakes, start adding rear ballast then use the wakeplate to shape the wakes you want. A 60% rear / 40% front weight ratio is a good rule of thumb for wakeboarding, but every boat model is a little different, and you may have to experiment to get the ideal mix. Tips: Most wakeboarders ride with the wakeplate at 30-60% down. Boats that are more heavily weighted, tend to need more wakeplate engaged. The VISION system in Supra automatically adjusts the wakeplate to 100% down when the boat speed is below the (programable) cross-over speed. This helps the boat plane off faster. Once it reaches the cross-over speed, it re-sets to the wakeplate setting for that rider. That’s why we call it Smartplate. Moomba wakeplates must be adjusted manually, meaning, if you have full ballast, you may want to adjust the wakeplate all the way down for take-off, then re-set it to a higher reading once the boat reaches the set speed for that rider.
Too much weight in the rear can make the wakes very steep, or make them curl over. Too much in the front can make the wakes too flat.
Safety / Handling Considerations:
Filling all ballast available in any boat is rarely the answer to every customer’s needs, so starting your demos that way is a poor way to demonstrate a boat. It is best to show a customer how a boat operates with no ballast, then build it up for various sports, and rider levels. Overweighting any boat can subject that boat to taking on water from your own wakes, or from stopping too quickly. Moderation is always a good policy.
Be advised that running above 25 mph with a heavily weighted boat is not only be inefficient (burns lots of gas), but it can be dangerous, as the boat will not handle as well. With the larger rear ballast in most models for 2013, you can actually overweight the back of the boat for wakeboarding. Too much weight in the rear of any boat can lead to excessive bow rise, slower planing, steep or washy wakes, poor handling, and porpoising (a condition where the bow of the boat begins to bounce off of the water). These problems can easily be addressed by a combination of weight distribution and wakeplate adjustment. Porpoising is a sign you have too much weight distributed in the back of the boat. Start by removing weight in the rear. Adjusting people, or ballast further forward can also help. From there, use the wakeplate to fine-tune the wake shapes.
In summary, Ballast can be a double-edged sword. Used properly, in conjunction with the wake plate, it allows a user to custom shape the wakes for any rider, and any watersport. Used improperly, it can lead to customer dissatisfaction due to perceived performance issues. Properly allocated ballast adds size to the wakes. Properly adjusted wakeplates shape the wakes to each rider’s preference. Get educated by experimenting with the various models, so that you are credible and knowledgeable when you do on-water demos with prospective buyers.
Checkout the 2013 Supra & Moomba Boats at Marine Product Pro Shop, arriving soon!