For those intermediate to expert wakeboarders who are thinking about investing in a high quality wakeboarding winch tow system, we have developed a great buyer’s guide for these extreme machines!
Why Invest In a Winch Tow System for Wakeboarding?
When it comes to considering alternate options for wakeboarding that don’t involve investing in an expensive wake boat, another highly viable option to consider is a wakeboard winch tow system. These amazing machines are essentially a beefed-up and improved version of more classic and traditional winch systems, although true wakeboard winch tow systems can be much more powerful and sporty than a basic utility winch design. These remarkable systems give a wakeboarder incredible freedom and versatility in terms of being able to wakeboard a wide variety of locations and setups, and they do so by utilizing one basic core function.
The basic dynamic of using a winch system for wakeboarding is to first find a desired spot, determine a line-corridor for where the rider will be traversing the water, the rider orients themselves to prepare for takeoff, and finally the winch is initiated, pulling the rider at speed across the predetermined line. This is a wakeboarding variation that is growing in popularity as newer and more sophisticated wakeboard winch tow systems come to market, and for the benefit of wakeboarders everywhere we will cover some of these new, cutting-edge designs here below.
When preparing to make an investment in a wakeboard winch tow system, there are a lot of reasons to think about when this decision is on the table. One of the most obvious reasons to think about a wakeboard winch tow system is that generally speaking, these systems cost a lot less than a wakeboard boat would cost. If we are talking about an average ballpark price range of about one to three thousand dollars for a sophisticated and high quality winch tow system, it is likely that the ballpark range for a wake boat can be anywhere from $30,000.00 to $100,000.00 or more. With that massive price disparity between wake boats and wakeboard winch tow systems in mind, it becomes clear to some wakeboarders that the price difference is simply too much to justify a boat when a winch will work for many purposes.
1 – “Wake Model” Wakeboard Winch Tow System:
For a relatively introductory wakeboard winch tow system, the Wake Model winch system by Ridiculous Winches is available today and offers a solid amount of power and torque for countless hours of wakeboarding fun. This model is by no means a bare bones product or a bargain model, but it is definitely a more entry level wakeboard winch tow system on the basis of pricing, features, and even aesthetic design too. The Wake Model winch system is a high speed winch that is perfect for wakeboard setups of all kinds due to the extreme portability of this system. It is an American produced item that is backed by the utmost confidence of the manufacturer, considering that there is an attached two-year warranty on this winch system.
Featuring a powerful seven horsepower, four-stroke Subaru built engine that also has its own two-year warranty, the Wake Model winch system gives wakeboarders the power and speed required to execute awesome lines. Not only does this product feature sufficient power, but it also comes with a torque conversion system that allows for lower RPM torque performance. This kind of torque conversion design is critical for a quality wakeboard winch tow system, since it permits wakeboarders to perform deep water starts allowing for even more flexibility in terms of location availability for where it’s possible to ride using this type of machine. In fact, the Wake Model winch tow system is capable of deep water starts all the way up to 225 pounds.
The Wake Model winch system is built ruggedly and for the purpose of weathering the elements with no issues, with almost all of the parts powder coated to resist corrosion or malfunction. Not only will this system provide extreme durability, but it also gives wakeboarders a sizeable riding range with six hundred feet of winch line attached to this unit. As if that wasn’t enough, the Wake Model also has features that permit the owner of the unit to attach it directly to a hitch for transport, allowing for a quick in-and-out time when poaching random fun wakeboarding spots!
With an adjustable throttle system that gives a rider an overall speed range of about 2 MPH to roughly 30 MPH depending on conditions, and an efficiency rate of seven hours riding time for each gallon of gas, this is a wakeboard winch tow system that is a true workhorse. Retailing at $2,149.00 the Wake Model is at a price point where riders can get their foot in the door in terms of using a winch system, without completely breaking the budget.
2 – Ben Horan’s Pro Model Wakeboard Winch Tow System:
Moving up a few notches in terms of overall quality and performance, we now focus our attention on another creation by Ridiculous Winches; the Ben Horan’s Pro Model wakeboard winch tow system. This wakeboarding winch system is without a doubt a serious step up from the more basic Wake Model tow system introduced previously, and there are very clear advancements in power, torque, aesthetic qualities, durability, braking, and other critical technical features. For one thing, the engine on the Ben Horan’s Pro Model system is a full two horsepower more than the one on the Wake Model design.
The Ben Horan model includes an engine that is still built by Subaru and offers a two-year warranty, but this engine is a nine horsepower four-stroke that gives wakeboarders some substantial power and speed increases on the water. Featuring bronze-orange colored CNC milled lightweight and water resistant side plating, the Ben Horan’s Pro Model design offers a clear improvement in outer casing material durability and aesthetics on this wakeboard winch tow system.
Although this model also comes with a six hundred foot winch cable as the standard or stock design, it is upgraded in the sense that it has the capacity to hold twelve hundred feet of winch line within the hardware. This offers a major improvement in terms of winch line capacity, which could be a very important feature for some wakeboarders who want longer rides and who are generally considering options for available wakeboard winch tow systems like this one from Ridiculous Winches. The Ben Horan’s Pro Model also includes a fairly unique design quality that helps a lot for winch stability, and this feature is an innovative single auger or stake kit assembly that utilizes a rod and pin dynamic for driving and setting into an earthen surface.
The Ben Horan’s Pro Model also offers a beefed up design in the contest of deep water starting, which for some wakeboarders is going to be a critical aspect of whichever wakeboard winch tow system they end up selecting for their own personal use. The deep water starting capacity of the Ben Horan’s Pro Model is rated at 285 pounds, providing a substantial increase over the more basic Wake Model design. A marginal drawback of the Ben Horan’s Pro Model when compared to the Wake Model is going to be that the fuel efficiency is a bit lower on the Ben Horan’s design, with 1.5 gallons of gas equaling seven hours of riding time instead of only 1 gallon equaling the same time with the Wake Model.
If a wakeboarder is genuinely looking for a winch tow system that is going to offer truly superior pull, torque, and overall power, then the Ben Horan’s Pro Model is definitely a product to consider. This is a design that has been touted by Ridiculous Winches and by other third party reviewers as being one of the most powerful wakeboard winch towing systems that can be found anywhere on the market today. It even comes standard with a helpful “S” design handle, making transporting the unit by foot a reasonable task. At a retail price point of $3,149.00, the Ben Horan’s Pro Model is a significant step up in price of one thousand dollars from the more basic Wake Model design. For the more serious wakeboarders who want the extra pull offered by the Ben Horan’s Pro Model, the extra thousand dollars could prove to be well worth the money.
What Are the General Pros and Cons of a Wakeboard Winch Tow System?
In terms of finalizing consideration for which wakeboard winch tow system is going to make an optimal purchase, sometimes it can come down to simply running through the pros and cons of a winch system compared to using a boat or other method. In running through the pros of acquiring and using a wakeboard winch tow system, there are definitely some advantages that come to mind. For one thing, using a winch tow system gives wakeboarders the ability to poach (quickly use without necessarily having authorization or permit, not that we advocate breaking any rules, regulations, or laws) a great urban spot or some other type of tight squeeze location that could never be hit with a boat. This includes smaller waterways, retention ponds, or other viable bodies of water where boat use is disallowed or completely impossible. It is difficult to overstate the amazing freedom that a wakeboard tow winch system allows, since it can be set up virtually anywhere and produces consistent, endless lines.
Another significant pro aspect of using a wakeboard winch tow system in place of a wake boat or other pull system, is that the rider doesn’t have to rely on the expertise (or lack thereof) of a boat operator. This is to say that a winch tow system offers the utmost consistency, dependability, speed control, braking controls, and all around reliability that eliminates the kind of human operator error that comes with a wake boat. Yet one more massive advantage in terms of using a wakeboard winch tow system instead of a boat, is that the overall portability of the winch system is much higher than a boat. Transporting a winch tow system is generally inexpensive, and for many people it can be a much more realistic option in terms of how to get out and wakeboard without taking out a second mortgage.
Of course it can’t all be positive with any one tow outlet for wakeboarding, and so it is important to also consider any and all negative aspects of a wakeboard winch tow system before making any final decisions. For one thing, top end speed is generally much more limited with a wakeboard winch tow system compared to a high performance wake boat. Wake boats can often easily top fifty miles per hour out on the water, while even the most powerful winch system is probably going to struggle mightily to reach forty miles per hour, which may even be an unrealistic projection. In short, if high end speed is an absolute necessity for a wakeboarder, then towing via wake boat is probably going to be the only feasible way to make that happen. However, if moderately fast speeds, go-anywhere portability, and a massive price decrease is something that a wakeboarder is interested in, then it is going to be difficult to beat a winch for those aspects.